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Hey everyone,

I am planning set up a thien tophat combo with a 2 HP harbor frieght dust collector this weekend. I have a good idea of the actual tophat setup from reading the forums on thien's website. My main questions now center around ductwork and flow of air through the dust collection system as a whole. I have gathered what I believe are the main do's and don'ts. Let me know if these are correct and if you have encountered any more. I will just list them in do form because listing them in don't form would just be the same facts in the opposite form.

DO:
- Make your duct runs as short as possible
- Size the piping appropriately to your fan. Go as big as the fan can handle in order not to choke it down
- Use rigid smooth walled pipe wherever possible, it is much more efficient than flex hose
- Make as few turns as possible
- Make wide turns

Anything else?

Thanks
 

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Be sure your DC can handle the losses of the system. The HF DC will only produce 7" of static at zero flow. The thien top hat will drop 4.5", this doesn't' leave much left for duct work. The HF unit is a great roll around chip collector, but if you plan to install a duct system you need to have a DC with a larger impeller to produce more static pressure.
 

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I have an Onedia Super Gorilla and love it. Most of my ducting is standard HVAC galvanized ducting from the box stores. All of the talk about regular ducting collapsing is simply bunk. It works just fine. I sealed most all of my ducting with duct seal which you can also get from the box stores. It is very aggressive, sticking to most anything and really improves the efficiency of most any system of ducts. Regular duct tape will work but has a limited life span. For longer more effective taping use the aluminum foil peel and stick type. Also, use short sheet metal screws to hold the ducting together. Good luck on your system
 

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I made the mistake of buying a HF dust collector based on its great following here on LJ. I originally thought I'd put a Wynn filter on it and hook it up to a cyclone separator but now I'm thinking that would be a waste. This is one case in which I definitely didn't buy my last tool the first time.

If you bought yours less than 90 days ago you can still return it to HF for a refund.
 

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English may be correct. But….......

What is your longest run? How many turns and corners does it need to make?

FOr instance, my little 1HP HF dust/chip collector only has 3 runs. To the planer, (3'), to the table saw, (16'), and to the band saw, (6').
I connect to the runs via mylar flex lines.
I seldom use more than one tool at a time and use my version of blast gates to shut off flow to the units that aren't being used.
My version you ask? I unplug the units and plug the run with a piece of 4"pvc and a cap.
It has cut my sweeping regimen by 95%

In all fairness, I also use a homemade 'DUST' collector with a 660 cu ft/min output. On good months I will need to change the Filtrete Merv 13 filters at least once a month. Other times they will last 3-6 months.
 

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RogerM might think collapsing the light duct work is a bunch of bunk. What he means to say is he has never collapsed any of his. I have collapsed 2 foot sections of duct in an instant. It was a boom! and flat as a pancake. It CAN collapse. Not sure of the impeller size on that unit but it did a number on that duct. It can be done.
 

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30 gauge duct work, the type sold at the big box stores is rated at below 10" negative static. But what is better is that you can purchase better 26 gauge duct at HVAC wholesale houses cheaper than the 30 gauge at the big box stores, so why take the risk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I went ahead and bought the HF collector and set it up. I think I have decided to just run it in its stock condition until I can get an oneida or a clearvue. My reasoning is that I am currently in a "temporary" shop and probably will be for another three years or so. Once I buy/build the SHOP where I know I will live for at least 5 years, I'll probably invest in a better made system. Until then, I can get by with my 2 hp chip collector and a mask. I figured the cost of making the thien tophat and it just wasn't really feasbile. I could pay $500 to trick out a cheap dust collector or save up and just buy the good one later on. I figure I can resell the HF for $100 on CL whenever or I might just keep it around for miscellaneous stuff once I get a bigger system.
 

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Be sure your DC can handle the losses of the system. The HF DC will only produce 7" of static at zero flow. The thien top hat will drop 4.5", this doesn t leave much left for duct work. The HF unit is a great roll around chip collector, but if you plan to install a duct system you need to have a DC with a larger impeller to produce more static pressure.

- English
Agree. I think there is a misconception that to improve a marginal dc you can add a tophat. When I think of improving my DC it is first more CFM than after that, keeping my filter clean. Cleaning the filter is a messy job but not so messy that I want to give up 40% of my CFM.
 
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