Wood Magazine Cyclone Upgrade

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Forum topic by wjt99 posted 02-17-2019 11:22 PM 561 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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22 posts in 1816 days

02-17-2019 11:22 PM

Wood magazine cyclone dust collector upgrade.

I made this dust collector using the materials and parts listed in a Wood Magazine Special Issue. Including 30 gauge sheet metal and a motor / impeller & filter from Penn State Industries. Not the most powerful system with a rated CFM of 850 but it has worked since its completion in 2005.

I started watching Craigslist for a used Harbor Freight single stage dust collector as these seem to get good reviews. If I found one cheap enough I would replace the original motor / impeller and gain a bit of CFM. A year went by and only one showed up and it was in a city 200 miles distant. I added a separator in front of the planer and it worked better.

As I waited for a Craigslist opportunity I made a list of possible issues with the upgrade. They included -

Would the Harbor Freight motor / impeller fit in the same space – specifically would it fit between the top of the cyclone and the ceiling ?
I measured a demo unit @ Harbor Freight and determined that it would fit with 3/16” to spare. Once the inlet port was set in the opening in the top of the cyclone it would have 2.5” of space between the ceiling and the cyclone – enough for proper cooling of the motor.

Would I have to modify the cyclone ? – answer, yes. I would need to enlarge the opening in the top of the cyclone from 4 1/8” to 5 1/8” I would need to do this ‘in situ’ that is without removing the cyclone from its current location. It is mounted to the wall with a 2×4 French cleat and attached to duct work with foil tape.

Would the existing electrical circuit support the Harbor Freight unit ? – It is advertised as a 2 HP motor but is only wired for 110 Volts @ 20 Amp peak current. I have a 20 Amp circuit which after some discussion with people who know more about electrical requirements than I determined it would probably work. If a motor is truly 2 HP it will only work on 220 Volts.

I use a Long Ranger model LRMSET110 with switches wired to the blast gates. This has worked flawlessly for years with the Penn State unit and is rated for 1.5 HP motors. The worst case scenario would be if it failed I could use a Definite Purpose Contactor to accomplish the same functionality.

The output port on the Harbor Freight impeller is 5” and the input to the filter is 4” – an adapter would be needed to make this connection.

The final filter wall mount has to be lowered so the output port of the impeller and the input of the filter align.

The final concern was whether the 30 gauge sheet metal used in the construction of the cyclone as well as the ducting collapse under the additional CFM. This wouldn’t be known until I turned it on for the first time. I held my breath on this one.

A week after I made the separator to improve the performance of the original Penn State unit with my planer – a percentage of the chips from the planer would get lodged in the flex hose en-route to the collector – a Harbor Freight single stage dust collector popped up on Craigslist for $125.00 I waited my obligatory 3 days which has saved me from making some bad decisions and when the item was still for sale I called. The seller said it was still for sale. At only 20 miles from me I made the trip that day. The unit had seen only a couple hours use so was in excellent condition. I took it apart so it fit in the trunk of my car.

Once home I plugged it into the LRMSET110 to see if it would run without popping a circuit breaker. Lights that are on the same circuit dimmed for a second at start up but the unit ran.

It then sat for two months until relatives with younger, more flexible bodies came to visit. By that time I had gone over the installation steps many times in preparation for the upgrade.

My son-in-law removed the original motor / impeller and we enlarged the hole successfully in the top of the cyclone with a 1/4” template and a pattern bit in my trim router.

My son-in-law lifted the Harbor Freight motor / impeller into position… well, not quite. It was a 1/4” tool tall. So much for my careful measuring.
After a few words of encouragement my brother asked if the fan shroud was removable. Three easily accessible bolts made this a simple task. With the fan shroud removed the motor slid easily into its new home.

Almost. The larger impeller housing was resting on hex bolt heads that protruded above the top of the cyclone. A simple solution was to make a spacer from 1/4” hardboard to set on top of the cyclone. This allowed the new unit to set level on its new home.

In order to ensure proper cooling of the motor the fan shroud needed to be re-installed. Unfortunately it would not fit under the ceiling. The solution came from my brother who suggested cutting the metal shroud in half then reassembling it on the motor with the three bolts. The shroud was a little ‘floppy’ so we tied it together with nylon wire tires. It worked with 2” of clearance between the ceiling and fan shroud.

We temporarily attached the new impeller to the filter and turned it on and held our collective breaths. Nothing collapsed. Whew !!

The wall mount bracket for the final filter was lowered.

The final modification was to make a shop made adapter for the 5” hose from the impeller housing to the 4” input of the filter. This was made of four 3/4” wooden rings with a 4” I.D. and 5” O.D. A sleeve to close any air gaps was made from a pair of Levi’s from a thrift store. I could have used foil tape but if I ever need to take this apart the Levi’s will make it much easier.

To remove the filter for cleaning I disconnect a short section of 5” flex hose from the output port of the impeller.

A relatively simple upgrade which is doing a better job of gathering dust in the shop. Probably not too useful for most people but it has worked out very well in my shop.

Thanks for looking.


4 replies so far

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

705 posts in 689 days

#1 posted 03-13-2019 10:48 AM

Sweet upgrade. Thx for the details on getting it done too.

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View HackFabrication's profile


39 posts in 12 days

#2 posted 03-13-2019 12:08 PM


-- "In the end, it's all Hack..."

View fivecodys's profile


1375 posts in 1936 days

#3 posted 03-13-2019 10:08 PM

Nicely done. I looked real hard at building one of these last year but I chickened out and bought a SDD.
You are right, The blower weighs a ton and I could not find a good way to get it up on mine by myself.
My youngest son (20) helped me muscle it up on the wall while I screwed it into place.

It’s nice to see another fan of Peg-Board. I love the stuff.

-- When you leave your shop for the night, make sure you can always count to 10.

View wjt99's profile


22 posts in 1816 days

#4 posted 03-14-2019 03:45 AM

Attached are a couple pictures of an installation of a single stage dust collector upgrade I did. This one is at a retirement community where I volunteer in their woodshop. The dust collector impeller is 14” and is powered by a 2 HP motor. The photos show the mounting technique using a French cleat system. Once the two halves were installed – one on the wall, the other to the motor it was a two man job to complete the installation. The actual placement of the impeller / motor on the wall took all of 30 seconds.


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