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Confused about Dust Collection

79716 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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One week (or even one month) for a $500-to-$2000 purchase that you will live with for 10-to-20 years and can effect your health and the health of everyone who lives in your house is not "paralysis by analysis".

bbc, the wood dust is different from normal environmental issues, and even those are a problem in enclosed spaces. Note that furnace filters are advertised to mitigate them.

teejk, it is health issue. If the dust were harmless and didn't cause illness or coughing we wouldn't care past a 30 micron HF DC out of the box. When designing your system work backwards…starting with the MERV15+ nanofilter. If you could keep that filter clean, you wouldn't need any cyclone or other drop out box. The cyclone or drop out box is the way to keep it clean. The cyclone is preferred because it causes a lower pressure drop (I think crank had some numbers) and is more effective.
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bbc557ci, I do not mind the dust on my tools as much as dust in my lungs.
The dust in my lungs is what really worries me and I am not willing to wear a respirator every time I work in my shop.
Everyone has to decide for themselves how important dust collection will be. I started with a Jet 1.5 hp with a canister and added the vortex gadget. Then, I went big with a large cyclone unit. As I get older dust collection is getting more important.

If I have dust on my tools and things in my shoop, then I am breathing it.
Every shop needs an effective dust collection and a air cleaner.
My air cleaner makes a huge difference.
Every shop needs an effective dust collection and a air cleaner.
My air cleaner makes a huge difference.
- b2rtch
You bet! Thanks to Bert, I now have built two air filtration units, to supplement my HF-DC w/cyclone. Wow, what a difference these things make. I use FPR 2, 5, 7, 10 filters to catch nearly everything. I used to think that the Wynn filter on my HF-DC was enough, but once I started using these air filtration units, my nose could immediately tell the difference.

Publication Wood Font Shelf Bookcase

Wood Ladder Building Engineering Machine

Wood Gas Hardwood Shelf Display case

And after 18 months use, I only replaced the #2, #5, and the #7FPR filters. My 4in. wide FPR10 didn't even look dirty at all:

Wood Rectangle Composite material Automotive exterior Flooring


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My setup is a large shop vac with a rockler cyclone mounted on top to save space. The cyclone catches most debris and then goes to a bag. After the bag is another pleated filter. With my undersized shop I often wheel out my miter saw and table saw outside but still use the shop vac to keep the yard clean. I still get fine dust but I don't think it is what gets passed through the shop vac. It is probably from things like routing and the occasional times I forget to turn it on. I may build a box fan filter for both air movement and to get away from my fan sitting on the floor that stirs up too much dust.
If you think this is all confusing just wait until you try using fittings, blast gates, and PVC tubing, you are in for a treat.
Hi Horizontal Mike, than you for giving me the credit, I appreciate.
On canisters versus bags, I have two three horse, "four bag" collectors. One has after market one micron bags and the other one micron cans. You WILL notice the difference at, for example, the tip of the four inch vacuum wand - the cans allow more air movement.

On units with the pan in the center, like the photo above, if you do not shake the entire unit, after knocking the dust off the upper bag/cartridge, much of it will rest on that pan and be drawn right back up into the filter the next time it's started. It will seem like you did not clean the filters, if you don't shake the unit and knock everything into the lower bag.

One of my units has the Super Dust Deputy. Because of that, I only have to empty the bag on the collection every two hundred years, giver or take a number of years. I like it's performance enough I'll buy another for the other four bag unit.

And additional advantage of the SDD or any cyclone is, only dust moves past the impellers and even that is greatly reduced. As such, the impellers don't take a beating, and tools and glasses that try to commit suicide survive the spin out of the cyclone, where they would not survive the impellers.

I have a Dust Deputy on my shop vac. From that, I'm running a twenty foot hose. My random orbit sawdust makers don't kick out much of anything with it attached.

I replace all bottom bags, which are 30-50 micron dust pumps, with plastic bags and rely only on the upper filters for air transfer.

I replace every stock bag with finer micron filtering after market cans or bags.

I use the foam you put between camper shells and pickup beds to boost the seal between bags and the metal of the collectors.
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lj, you are absolutely correct, all the cyclone does is keep the filter clean. However, that is precisely what is needed. A filter capable of stopping 0.2 micron particles can easily be clogged with bigger ones. A filter solution without automated frequent cleaning becomes clogged and loses its capacity. The key to the cyclone is that is allows that 0.2 micron filter to work.

Another question: why aren t electrostatic precipitators used in woodshops? They should be effective for the dust that leaves a cyclone.

- DavidNJ
I think the large amount of dust that is created would easily overcome any electrostatic precipitator.
I really did not see a list of equipment you have, but for my shop, started with a 2hp cyclone, found it to be lacking and replaced it with a 3hp long cone cyclone. Tried dumping the exhaust outside, and found it to be a huge improvement, but for my wide belt sander, would have been better to have gone with a 5hp clearvue. Sanding dust is the hardest dust to get with your dust collector, planer is easiest. I use rough sawn lumber, so joint and plane all the lumber for my projects. Only plywood is drawer bottoms, and backs.
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