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Confused about Dust Collection

79631 Views 70 Replies 28 Participants Last post by  farmfromkansas
I'm getting very confused about the dust collection options. I've seen 1 hp wall mounted units, units with a big filter on top and bag on bottom in sizes from 1hp to 10+hp, units with cyclonic action before the filter and bag, shop vacs which seem to have as much power but much less airflow, and cyclonic add on's to shop vacs.Then there are supplementary filtering units and all of the units come in different specifications from 1 micron to 30 micron with 2-2.5 micron seeming most common. However, those measurements don't give percentages or how they decay over time.

Prices are also over the place. Shop vacs from under $100 to over $600. Top filter units from $250 to thousands. Cyclonic units seem to start at $800 with Jet having some add-on that they claim does a similar function in the same price range.

I'll need to handle one tool at a time. The tools will include a table saw (probably 3hp cabinet but possibly 1.75hp contractor), router table, miter saw, jig saw, handheld router, belt/disc sander, and, maybe circular saw.

What do you recommend? Will a shop vac with Oneida Dust Deputy cyclone be sufficient? Is an air filter needed in addition to the dust extractor?

The workshop is in the basement.


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I use the HF 2 HP Industrial 5 Micron Dust Collector

I have a jointer, table saw, planer, sander, and band saw hooked up to it with a home made cyclone separator. Blast gates are helpful from pulling the long distances. For the money I think this is going to be your biggest bang too.
The price is right…with an HF coupon it would be $160 and just pick up at the store down the hill. However, there are lots of bad reviews mixed in with the good reviews…some really bad. Is 5 micron good enough?

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Is a cartridge better than bag? Grizzly has a 1hp with cartridge for $325. It seems the cartridge alone is half that amount.

Oneida shows Dust Deputies added in parallel with what seems to be shop vacs can increase the airflow; is it enough of table saws?

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Are the big dust collectors too big for handheld tools?


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There are differences between chip collection (jointer, planer,
table saw) and fine dust extraction (sanders). A big dust
collector with a lot of CFM can get the chips (which a smaller
one can too) and the fine dust too. A more modest dust
collector will tend to let you down in fine dust extraction.

For a hobby user, I would get decent chip collection in
place first. You can hook up a shop vac to handheld
power tools and get pretty good extraction.

If there is any way at all you can vent your chip collector
outside the house, consider it.
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i have been at this one myself for a few years now .have two dust depudy's set-up on vacuums .they let some buy when there is a lot of debre coming at it .the one hooked to my mitersaw works excellent .i use them for rotortables and small equipment .a good place to start and it will always have a place in your shop .down side is my vacuums are so very loud . i use tool activated festool vacs for sanding . i now have two bag type dust collectors ,bought them used . the tablesaw tends to need more air flow then a vacuum provides .i bought a cyclone on ebay ,have the small one on my 1 1/2hp collector works super well. . i have been doing this as i go over the years . kind of need to figure how you work ,what you want to spend .love to hear what works for you
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In my opinion the Delta 50-760 Dust Collector is the best bang for the buck in a portable dust collector. It gets high rateings, comes with a 1 micron felt filter bag, and it's design makes it easy to add an onboard separator to it, which saves space. I really like the one that I have, and am proud of the addons that I have designed and built for it.
Do you mean vent outside without a bag or filter? I don't thing so. It would either be going under the deck or into shrubbery, neither sounds like a good idea. Plus the noise to neighbors would be greater.

For reference, this is the $800 delivered Grizzly 1hp with canister, cyclone, and remote control:

The Jet uses some sort of funky cone in a conventional cartridge unit but claims cyclone results.

The HF or single stage Grizzly would probably need a cyclone of some sort. Grizzly has one that goes on a garbage can for $35. An Oneida Super Dust Deputy is around $200 plus you need to add and modify a cannister.

They also have a setup for three regular models with two shop vacs.

The HF has a 4" inlet port, which seems strange given its rated power and airflow. I thought most vertical filter above collection systems used 6" ports. The outlet from the Super Dust Deputy is 6".
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Spend more, get more. If it matters to you a lot, spend
as much as you can afford.
DavidNJ, everytime dust collection threads come up somebody almost always tries to direct you to Bill Pentz. I have read and reread his website and am amazed everytime I do. It's alot to read but he has the best (IMHO) advice on true "dust collection" not just chip collection.
Try to use this as a guide for what you need:
Definatly get the HF 2 hp Dust collector. Tons of people on here love it. Then for $110 add a 1 micron canister filter from wynn. I installed mine last weekend and I cant believe I didnt do it earlier.

Wynn filter:

Harbor freight dc:

For $270 you have a great canister dust collector.
My question may also be stated: can I put 2 or 3 6.5 hp vacuums (
$130 each), rated at 60 in of water/180-195 cfm with 3 or 4 Dust Deputies (
$35 each) connected via a common outlet plenum to the vacuums and a common input or is that just blowing smoke. The canister filter Grizzly is cheaper than the 3 vacs. By the time you add a Super Dust Demon and drum you are closer $650 or so, right on top of the "vortex" Jet and pretty close to the cyclone 2-stage Grizzly with canister filter and remote control.
Don't be taken in by "6.5 horsepower" claims. See the thread topic "What is 3 hp?" There is a big difference between 110 v. universal motors and 220 v. induction motors. 110 v. induction motors fall in the middle, and realistically are rated up to 1.5, maybe 1.75 h.p. Your two 6.5 h.p vacs would not suck as much dust as one 2 hp. dust collector. And would draw more electricity, and would be way noisier.
I just waded through the Bill Pentz sonnyr referenced above. It is also linked by the filter site Cole Tallerman linked above.

Now I understand why I'm confused. All our filters are awful and many more hazardous than our tools. SawStop may protect our fingers, but we are poisoning ourselves with fine dust the size of bacteria. Pentz described home woodworking shops as equivalent to third world operations generating more fine dust in the air in 4 hours than a commercial shop meeting OSHA regulations does in a year.

Loren above suggested venting outdoors. This apparently is de rigueur for commercial shops. What it is doing is dispersing the fine particles outside the workshop. Some building codes might not allow this.

The volume of air that exhausts creates another problem: low inside air pressure. This can cause flues to reverse. It is a problem with the commercial hoods in all restaurants and some homes equipped with commercial range hoods. Only a few US jurisdictions have residential building codes for makeup air. For restaurants there are significant makeup air units available to heat incoming air in cold weather. Usually, the HVAC system is also sized to include a significant part outside air. Raising 800 cfm 50°F (20°F outside) would require an 60k-80k BTU furnace.

One way to handle them may be an electrostatic precipitator. These are sold as upgrades to home HVAC systems as 'electronic filters'. They charge incoming particles and then collect them on negatively charged panels. Commercial precipitators, the size of a building, hammer the plates to clean them. Home systems require a run through the dishwasher every few months. In practice, in most home systems the electrostatic precipitators are inoperable after just a few months. One major residential HVAC vendor puts a full 4" thick fabric filter in front of their precipitator. All the overhead filters sold for woodworking are a fabric filter design (baghouse in commercial filter design).

Pentz also complained our cyclones (and how many home woodworkers have cyclones?) are too small and our filters too small, not fine enough, and and still transmit too much fine dust. They cyclone he seemed to favor was the Woodsucker models, long out of production, big, and expensive.

I'm beginning to form some ideas of a possible solutions. One would be a big indoor cyclone with the output sent outside where the filters and final collection were in a small enclosure. An blower producing the same airflow (but less powerful since it would face less resistance) would bring in an equal amount of outside air from another area far from filters. To the best of my knowledge no one makes that for home use.

The next alternative enclose the filters and with a separate blower push the air through an electrostatic precipiatotor. You could even add a catalytic filter to handle the VOCs that I'm pretty sure some of the woods and processed materials emit. None of the systems seem to have that either.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing…and I'm more confused than ever. And I thought all the fumes from racing gas and the tires was toxic!

Note: Pentz didn't talk about electrostatic precipitators or VOCs, I added that.
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I found this cyclone on e-bay. More interesting are some of the configurations.

In the first a user has it outside, and appears to blow everything that the cyclone doesn't get through a stack of automotive air filters.

In the second it seems to vent out the roof.
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Impeller size is a large factor in real world air flow, measured as CFM. Many of the CFM ratings should be taken lightly, as they're often measured in ways that don't represent a real world load, or are simply heavily over stated. I'd go with something at least as capable as the HF "2hp" unit. Most of the 1hp units with 9" or smaller impellers don't quite make the grade. The HF DC has a 10-3/4" impeller, a motor closer to 1.5hp, and is capable of something closer to 600-800 CFM….it's recommended that you upgrade the bags to a cannister type filter with a smaller micron rating. The step up to something like a Penn, Grizzly, Jet, Delta, or JDS will likely run at least twice as much as the HF, but will have 12" to 13" impellers and will draw close to their stated CFM ratings.

Here's a pic that shows the difference between a 10-3/4" impeller and a 13" impeller:
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Here's an excellent summary of the how's and why of dust collection:
I am still paralyzed on the subject (google the subject and you'll find 10 people expressing 20 opinions…they can't even decide in their own heads). I guess my biggest question right now is ease of emptying. Bags look a little messy.
Nice pictures, knotscott.

Manitario, Bill Pentz has is latest info on his website:

The ClearVue appears to be Pentz's design implemented. Phii Thein complains they stole some of his design. The ClearVue is a bunch of parts connected with MDF. The parts are the plastic cyclone, a 5hp motor, a 15" or 16" impeller, and two tall filters.

They sell the parts separately-motor $375, impeller $225, cyclone $450, filters $300/$400 (either $150 or $200 each)-but the sum is high enough that it pays just to get the completed unit at $1595 or $1695 depending on the filter chosen. There is probably a hefty shipping charge on top of that, but the individual components should be light enough not to require a fork lift for unloading. Additional pieces may run a few hundred more…say $2000 total.

The Clear-Vue probably defines the upper limit of the units we have discussed here.

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This is a YouTube of the ClearVue assembly, giving lots of good shots of the details:

Can an HF based unit come close? With a 20% coupon (in every issue of Circle Track magazine) the dust collector is $160. The filter from Wynn is $150-$170 plus shipping; they shy it fits the HF without issues. You can get a cyclone to fit it for $200-$250 on eBay. Miscellaneous extra parts would probably add another $100 or so for a total of about $675.

The Grizzly 1.5 hp cyclone is about $150 more, but probably doesn't include as good a filter. The Grizzly 2hp canister with the cyclone added the same way has the HF would be about the same, but again the filter probably wouldn't be as good. The cyclones look similar but the aftermarket one looks a bit better (taller cone).

Loren, his tests are interesting but his macro probably wasn't enough to see anything in the range we are talking about. I have a bellows with reversed 20mm lens to get 10x (enough to see the pixels on a TV screen). There are bellows extensions to double that. He had a simple macro lens. 1 micro is VERY small, about 100-200x smaller than those pixels.

He did talk about the air being cleaner with air blowing through a filter. A stop at Home Depot will show the filters come in a variety of strengths. The air filtration boxes that are sold are nothing more than blowing air over a filter. and could probably be constructed inexpensively using furnace filters and a modest fan.

The runtime issue for filtration is an issue. Furnaces run intermittently based on temperature. Commercial systems run to limit CO2 buildup from occupants. That isn't a residential problem because the occupancy density is much lower and the people are often at rest. However, running the house air through the filter is important if air quality is the concern. I'm not sure if any thermostats handle it. a third party does make a cycling device. It may be useful to have if a lot of woodworking is taking place in the house. Or the furnace fan can be left in the on position during woodworking and for a few hours afterwards.


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