2-Blower dust collection system with shop made fittings: the good and the so-so

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Forum topic by Sark posted 06-23-2021 05:03 PM 243 views 0 times favorited 0 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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06-23-2021 05:03 PM

A few years ago, I bought two 2-HP Grizzly dust collectors for $300 and determined to hook them together to make a cost-effective high-performance 4-HP system with 6” metal ducting feeding into and out of a 6” super-deputy cyclone separator.

Encouraged by some posters on this site, I also decided to make my own duct fittings. To go into detail would require a very long blog, and I don’t have the time for that. But I’d thought I’d share some photos and thoughts about the process.

First some photos of the current system…which now reaches 4 major pieces of equipment: table saw, band saw, chop saw, and 6×48” sander.

Note: my garage has a shed roof that is high at one end. This allows a u-shaped storage-mezzanine where the blowers are mounted. They exhaust directly outside since we live in a semi-rural area.

The ducting in and out of the cyclone separator was hard to figure out, and it was one reason that I decided to make my own fittings. Prior to starting I mocked up the system with 1/8” plywood to get an idea of where the ducts needed to run. Actually making the fittings (wyes, butt joints, angled butt joints, reducers) turned out not to be that hard—-once I figured out how to do it. Putting it all together (blast gates from Blastgates, inc) was a lot of work. The separator seems extremely efficient, and I’ve not noted any dust on the trees by the exhaust vents.

Bought 5’ lengths of 28 gauge 6” ducting through Home Depot mail order. Rather like the shiny sturdy look of the metal. It seems quite strong and was lowest cost metal ducting of that thickness I could find. Shipped in from Canada. Made a shroud for the chop saw, hooked up my old Unisaw through the front access panel, and connected the sander and bandsaw through the provided ducts.

How does it work?

Super suction power, but only ‘pretty good’ dust collection. Why the so-so rating? Effective dust collection depends on the quality of the hoods, shrouds and quality of the machinery’s design for dust collection as much as it does on the size of the blowers. My chop saw’s shop-built hood is pretty good, gets the fine dust but a lot of the coarser dust is left behind. The Unisaw has essentially no dust collection ports, and does not have an overarm blade dust collector. The Laguna bandsaw is pretty good, but could stand improvement. The Jet sander has a port but really poorly designed ducting.

That being said, the dust collector system is vastly superior to no dust collection. It is very quiet, only 70db at the table saw. The TS and dust collector together produce about 72db. For comparison purposes, the air compressor is 80db and the DeWalt planer is an ear splitting 99db.

Custom duct work:

If you’re interesting I can do a separate post on how I made the fittings. Rather than using the typical adjustable elbows I just made the duct unions to fit. One union was 30 degrees and another 8 degrees. It gives a very clean look to the installation. Tools required were an angle grinder (for cutting the profiles), sheet metal snips and a spot welder.

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