Advice wanted on planned dust collection system

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Forum topic by BusterBrown posted 04-25-2019 04:01 AM 834 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BusterBrown's profile


36 posts in 2594 days

04-25-2019 04:01 AM

I’m in the process of upgrading my shop and am ready to add dust collection. It’s a small (one wall) garage shop. My goals for the dust collection are:

- Reduce the amount of dust in the garage. I share the space with several bicycles and my wife’s car. Less time spent cleaning up dust = more time making dust :)

- Be able to work with the doors closed. I currently do most of my cutting outside or with the doors open. I’d like to be able to work when weather doesn’t allow for that.

- Reduce the amount of dust I’m breathing. I (usually) wear a mask and don’t expect my dust collection system to eliminate the need for that but every bit helps.

The major dust generating tools in my shop are a table saw, miter saw, planer, plunge router, and ROS. My current plan is to use a small 1.5 hp dust collector, specifically the one from Penn State. I like the 1 micron bag and think this is small enough to live under the table saw’s right wing when not in use. The DC would have a flex hose that could be connected directly to the table saw OR to a (grounded) PVC pipe that serves everything else. The pipe would have 3 blast gates: 1 for the miter saw OR planer, 1 for a downdraft table and 1 for small tools (e.g. ROS, plunge router). The last gate would have a reducer for the small tools’ ports. I’ve tried to illustrate the set-up in the attached picture.

Some questions for the experts:

- Is this a sensible set-up? Am I overlooking something obvious or doing something obviously dumb/wrong?
- Should the pipe be 4” or 6”? This article has me leaning toward 6” but the DC only has a 4” inlet so a larger trunk pipe may be superfluous.
- There is a man door to the left of my table saw and I could put the DC outside in good weather. Would I need a separate, longer flex hose for that or could the same (longer) flex hose be used for the ‘short’ inside run and ‘long’ run to the outside? We’re probably talking an extra 3 feet to get it outside.
- What is the best source for wyes, reducers, etc? Do I get what I can at the big box store and the rest from Rockler?
- I’m also planning to add something like this WEN unit AND a gable fan above the man door. The idea is to filter the air when the doors are close and blow dust out when the doors are open. Any thoughts/suggestions on that component are also appreciated.


19 replies so far

View TEK73's profile


289 posts in 486 days

#1 posted 04-25-2019 04:07 AM

I would recommend against the selected fan/bag solution.
The bags fill up really fast and from my experience becomes a very bad source of dust.
Add a cyclon, a dust buckett and preferrable a hepa-filter.
A cheep and very good alternative is if you could place the bag on the outside of the garage

-- It’s good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. - Ursula K. LeGuin

View BusterBrown's profile


36 posts in 2594 days

#2 posted 04-25-2019 04:15 AM

Putting the bag outside is a definite possibility. I’d have to build some sort of enclosure to prevent it from getting wet in the rain. That would allow me to use >1 micron bags, which would open more options for the DC.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6251 posts in 3272 days

#3 posted 04-25-2019 10:43 AM

With the unit you chose, the layout you show (with 6”) would be a very bad idea. DC is about moving air (lots of it) and what you show would not serve you that well (IMHO). If you can locate it elsewhere, consider a larger unit and minimize the flex. If you put it outside and install a separator, you could get by without bags/filter.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1659 posts in 3628 days

#4 posted 04-25-2019 12:25 PM

Buster, In no way an expert but I’ve got a similar set up sorta along one wall, but a larger DC, and pics might help. Forgive the shop, it’s been busy with kitchen remodel. Along this wall I have the DC, two sanding stations, and the miter saw

There is a “Y” off of the DC, each with a gate so that I can have the wall leg, or the take off leg that I use for TS, Jointer, BS, and Planer connected with flex hose that I move from machine to machine. 2 car garage & I have to be able to move everything.

Behind the sanding station I have a “T” and a gate with a 2” reducer so that I can connect a 1” line to the spindle sander, or a 2” hose to the belt sander. Generally it’s either one machine or the other, and it’s easy to switch the hoses, if my use was more frequent, I might consider another gate, but I prefer to keep maximum CFM to the mitre saw, and the 4” flex runs straight to the MS with no gate.

I generally work with the garage door open, but recently ran across one of these for a good price and added it and it has made a difference over the winter for any projects working with the door closed.

Good Luck

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View TEK73's profile


289 posts in 486 days

#5 posted 04-25-2019 01:10 PM

You should ensure that you get enough air-speed through your pipes, that might be a problem with 6» pipes if you do not have a very powerful DC.
I would recommend getting a cyclone anyway, sending all the dust straight into the bag will close the pores very soon.
Ohh, one thing to think about. If you let your bag be outside, what will happend is that your DC will pull in air from the outside (trough whatever opening you have in your shop) and then push the air outside.
Great to get fresh air into your shop, but fresh air into your shop is not nessesarly a good thing if the outside temperature is -20C… maybe not if it is +5 either.
So consider your outside environment before selecting that solution.

-- It’s good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. - Ursula K. LeGuin

View Robert's profile


3751 posts in 2259 days

#6 posted 04-25-2019 01:15 PM

First of all, with a shop that size and the machines you have, I would’nt install ducts. Plus, you will find miter saws are better collected with a shop vac/cyclone system.

So guys will talk about DC specs all they want, but if you want cleaner air, ie safer air, do not rely on a DC system.

It is the very small micron duct that is the safety issue, not the stuff getting clogged your nose hairs!!

To protect your lungs you need an air filtration unit, an exhaust fan and a dust mask.

One advantage you have is keeping healthy air is a lot easy to do in a small shop.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View ibewjon's profile


1659 posts in 3572 days

#7 posted 04-25-2019 04:12 PM

The Jet DC with pleated filter and vortex cone is a great machine. 5” pipe is a good size. There is an article in Wood magazine about 2 years ago that explains it. Also, there is no way to ground PVC pipe. (Wrapping aluminum tape around the PVC does nothing. I have tested the connection between the aluminum tape sealing my steel duct, and it does not work as a ground. ) Just plug in the Jet and run, no mods like the HF machine. I have no cyclone, and it works great. Tapping your main disconnect may not be an option due to needing to change to proper lugs, sticking two wires in one hole is not allowed. Also the panel would need to be close enough to meet the tap rules in the code. This all might cost more than feeding from your home panel. Two circuts on a device also requires handle ties on the breakers. In a garage, all 120v receptacles must be ground fault protected for your safety, and gfi receptacles can not have two circuts. Definitely do not run 15a circuts, a total waste. Go all 12 awg wire, and I would run 10 awg to all 240 receptacles for future. Cheaper than upgrading later. ( I ran 8 or 6 to my 240 receptacles, as the magnetic or manual starters protect the motors, and the larger breakers allow for greater starting current.). Also put a receptacle in the ceiling for an air filter in the future. Kind of long, but I hope this helps.

View fivecodys's profile


1637 posts in 2415 days

#8 posted 04-25-2019 04:20 PM

I have a small system based on a 1.5HP Blower and a SDD Cyclone.
I used 5” ducting (recommended by Oneida).
I do not run my exhaust into a filter or bag, It runs through the cyclone and then directly outside into the flowerbed via a dryer vent. I see no visible dust or buildup outside. (Credit to the SDD Cyclone).
Here is a build link with some photos that might give you some ideas.

-- A bad day woodworking is still better than a good day working.

View Delete's profile


439 posts in 1151 days

#9 posted 04-25-2019 04:37 PM

A couple of points that have all been visited by the tuned in posters on this site.

1. Putting the bag outside will keep your shop at negative pressure when your doors are all closed and reduce the capacity of your suction, a negative pressure damper will help, it will only open when the DC is running and close when you shut it of. You will still get a hit to your heating.

2. With out a cyclone collector in between, your bag is going to be very high maintenance, like every couple of boards on your planer.

3. 2 hp or less for a DC system can do a decent job on 4” fittings but if they lead into 6” fittings and pipe, you will get a large drop in suction press at the transitions and much of your heavier material will drop out in the larger pipe, eventually leading to plug ups, as another poster stated you will need a boost in hp.

View HackFabrication's profile


168 posts in 490 days

#10 posted 04-25-2019 08:03 PM

I’m not a fan of the bags. Either for filtering, or for collecting. Or for both. A cyclone, or Thien, or trashcan lid separator is the way to go to reduce clogging.

As others have posted, you needs lots of air movement to capture/remove dust. And even then, it’s doubtful you will ever capture 100% of it. You are going to have to determine what an acceptable level is. For me, if I can capture up to 90% of the fine dust (and 90+% of the visible dust), I’m good. But working in a basement, I’m also dealing with ‘other sources’ of dust, than from just my machinery.

I run a simple TC separator hooked directly to my DeWalt 735 with a powertec filter bag (the only bag filter I use), and it does a very good job of collecting the chips and keeping the smaller dust under control. The internal blower on the 735 provides enough ‘force’ to get benefit from the lid separator. There is very little fine dust created by a planer, and I haven’t noticed any more/less using the bag filter. Which is why I doubt I’ll ever attach it to my dust collector.

Any fine dust I depend on my ceiling mounted air filtration system to catch.

I recently upgraded the pre-filter to a Merv 8, and it works great.

For the other tools, I hotrodded a HF DC.

I work in my basement, so dust control is a necessity, or I will endure the wrath of the Queen…

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

View ibewjon's profile


1659 posts in 3572 days

#11 posted 04-25-2019 08:57 PM

After watching your HF mods, what was the final investment not counting labor/ time? ( I have an old double bag filter I converted to the Jet pleated filter and later added the vortex cone. I bought that machine in 1990, so it was cheap, and not much to convert. ) The complete Jet w/ 2 HP and 2 micron pleated filter is less than $800. How much did you save? And sorry for part of the above post, I guess I read two questions and answers to the other were included in in this answer.

View cjfarmer's profile


80 posts in 492 days

#12 posted 04-25-2019 10:46 PM

Go overkill on dust collection and personal protection. A cabinet shop owner i know can no longer go in his own shop to cut wood or make any kind of dust and cant spray any kind of finish because hes dying slowly of COPD. It sucks for him it was his whole lifes work and lack of dust collection in his shop not using ppe when spraying finishes has shortened his life. Protect yourself

-- Who is we and where is here? - bullwinkle

View ibewjon's profile


1659 posts in 3572 days

#13 posted 04-25-2019 11:04 PM

PPE us cheap, and remember that GFI receptacles fall under this heading. They are also cheap compared what could happen.

View MikeDilday's profile


285 posts in 1238 days

#14 posted 04-26-2019 01:29 AM

If your DC has a 4” inlet you should run 4” mains. Check the Bill Pentz website and use his spreadsheet calculator to figure your air speed and CFM. Make sure you have sufficient speed ih your vertical drops and mains to move the sawdust. Avoid as much flex as possible as it is your enemy. I would put the table saw on the PVC instead of switching the flex. If it were me I would get last and just cut without moving the flex unless I had it connected with a gate. The only way to see if it will move enough air is to do the calculations. I ran PVC for years with a 3 HP collector in a 2 car garage winter and summer with no static – and it was not grounded.

-- Michael Dilday, Suffolk, Va.

View TungOil's profile


1382 posts in 1274 days

#15 posted 04-26-2019 02:32 AM

Read this:

Design your ductwork around the CFM requirements of your particular machinery and shop space, then select a DC that will do the job.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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