Dust Collection Routing

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Forum topic by ofgortens posted 01-05-2012 07:14 PM 2920 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 4637 days

01-05-2012 07:14 PM

So I just purchased my home in the past few months so now I have my own shop. YAY! I recently purchased a 1.5hp 1200CFM Delta Dust Collector and am wanting to hook it up to my router (fixed into outfeed table), table saw, and miter saw.

Here is a picture of the layout of my shop currently. I am trying to figure out what the best way is to route piping for my dust collection. I am tenatively planning on using PVC pipe for the routing and a combination of blast gates and flexible hose when coming up to the tool. I am not sure if I should be running 4” piping everywhere or should I be decreasing the diameter of the pipe as I branch off to further locations such as my router that’s in the corner of my table.

What is the rule of thumb when deciding if I need to decrease the pipe size from 4” to 3” to 2” when using dust collection?

Any help would be appreciated!

-- Austin 'ofgortens' , John Deere

14 replies so far

View JNP's profile


113 posts in 3628 days

#1 posted 01-05-2012 08:36 PM

I have my dust collector in the corner and route it through a 55 gallon drum. I used the lightweight white 4” pipe from HD that fits the regular 4” DC fitings. All of mine are Y fittings to a blast gate then flex hose and they are all 4”. Always better to use the largest diameter possible. When you reduce the flow to 2 1/2 you really reduce the cfm. I really like the extendable hose from Rockler for my table saw as it is on a mobile base. I also use the extendable hose w/a 2 1/2 reduction for the regular shop clean up hose.

-- Jeff

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

426 posts in 4133 days

#2 posted 01-05-2012 09:33 PM

I have a table with 4” PVC pipe routed to various sanding stations with 2.5” fittings. I used 4” by 4” by 2” PVC Y fittings and slipped a 2.5” blast gate inside the 2” port on the “Y”. Then just use 2.5” flex hose to the sanders.

I sanded the inside of the 2” port slightly to get a good fit with the tapered fitting on the blast gate.

-- Steve

View brtech's profile


1116 posts in 3973 days

#3 posted 01-05-2012 09:33 PM

PVC is good. The usual recommendation is “S&D” or Sewer and Drain pipe.

With that DC, I wouldn’t go over 4”, although a 5” main line connection if it wasn’t too long would be good. 5” is tough to find and/or expensive. 4” drops for sure. Go 4” all the way to the machine. Drop to smaller right at the port if you absolutely have to.

No T’s, only 45s with a short straight section, or a wide angle sweep elbow. No T’s, only Wyes. No flex unless you absolutely need it. Blast gates at every tool.

What is the filter rating on your DC? If it’s not .5 micron (or better), upgrade. If it’s not a cartridge filter, upgrade. Put a Thien baffle, either in the ring or in a pre-separator.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7156 posts in 4245 days

#4 posted 01-05-2012 09:53 PM

If you want to get an idea of how to lay out your d.c. system and PVC ductwork, go to my blog entitled” Workshop Pictures #2, and you’ll see how I did it….also take a look at my workshop picutres, and the last picture (the one showing the table saw) shows the piping going into a room where my d.c. is housed…It might give you an idea of what you want to do and how to do it….your d.c, of course, setting in the shop….

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View casual1carpenter's profile


354 posts in 3526 days

#5 posted 01-05-2012 11:04 PM

Some good advice above, might also consider looking at There is actually an information overload there.

View ofgortens's profile


12 posts in 4637 days

#6 posted 01-06-2012 03:13 AM

Thanks for all the advice.

I am seeing articles saying that PVC is NOT recommended after doing some research. In these articles it is saying that the friction / static created in PVC reduces the suction as well as creates a fire hazard. These articles recommend metal ducting for DC. Is this a better solution than using 4” S&D PVC?

-- Austin 'ofgortens' , John Deere

View Paul Mayer's profile

Paul Mayer

1154 posts in 4116 days

#7 posted 01-06-2012 03:34 AM

PVC is great for dust collection ducting. I can’t imagine that the CFM loss is significant relative to metal, and the fire hazard is overblown. I have never heard of an actual fire being started due to static in PVC wood dust collection piping.

I like PVC because in my area it is cheaper and more readily available that metal, and I find it easier to work with. I think metal ducting is great as well if you are willing to spend the money to get the good stuff, and to invest the time to install it properly and seal it well.

-- Paul Mayer,

View brtech's profile


1116 posts in 3973 days

#8 posted 01-06-2012 03:47 AM

Not sure where you are reading this. I’ve been studying the issue for 6 months or so, and when real experts opine, they think PVC is a good choice. The static fire hazard problem has been thoroughly debunked – the folks who think it’s a hazard are guessing, the people with facts say it’s not a problem. That includes several fire fighters who have seen plenty of household fire hazards, but never have had a static discharge explosion or fire from woodshop ducts. Never, not even in cabinet shops.

I’m also surprised at the suggestion that PVC friction is considered an issue. Wall friction is not an issue – PVC is better than all metal pipe you can afford. The only issue is the fittings. PVC has small, but abrupt edges all around the pipe when a fitting is encountered. Metal pipe is generally crimp fitted, and generally is a bit better at the fittings relative to friction. In the reading I’ve done, professional DC guys don’t think there is any significant friction problem with PVC. Spiral pipe is probably better, snap fit HVAC duct is probably worse, but the differences are small, assuming everything else is the same (length, diameter, fitting type and position, CFM, ..)

If you are seeing otherwise, please cite sources. I’ll see if I can dig up the research I did on the subject if you want me to.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7156 posts in 4245 days

#9 posted 01-06-2012 03:48 AM

I’ve used PVC thin wall 4” in my shops for many, many years (about 20+), and never had a a bit of trouble with it… As pmayer said above, it is great for using as duct collection, cheap, and easy to work with…I have a 1200 cfm d.c., hooked to all my major machines, and it works great…Don’t be afarid to use it, and I’ve never read of one fire that was started because of using it….

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

358 posts in 3612 days

#10 posted 01-06-2012 03:49 AM

There is no evidence that the static caused by airflow in PVC ducting causes either reduced suction or fire hazard in home workshop environments, with the low flow systems we use. Yes, in cold weather areas with low humidity, sometimes the static buildup on the outside of the piping can give you a mild shock, but nothing dangerous. Whatever you do, don’t put a ground wire inside the ducting—that will get you clogs like you wouldn’t believe, especially if you are planing fibrous woods— and I know that first hand! If you read Bill Pentz’ information, which is very authoritative, there are no warnings about using PVC ducting. My current system, and all of my previous ones, have all been piped with 6” S&D PVC, without a problem. Most of those “fire hazard” warnings come from or are influenced by the folks who sell metal ducting. True, a metal ducted system is self grounding, so you won’t get any shock working around it, but that comfort is not worth the very high price of a metal ducting system, in my opinon. There is a lot of bad advice floating about on the forums related to dust collection. Read Bill Pentz information for the straight advice. There has never been a documented case of a home workshop fire having been caused by the use of PVC ducting — ever!! That said, you are to be commended for inquiring of the folks here on LJ—there is a lot of experience here!

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

View casual1carpenter's profile


354 posts in 3526 days

#11 posted 01-06-2012 03:53 AM

ofgortens, I am in the process of figuring out my own hobby shop. In looking around I think the bill pentz site has some good reading. this guy has stuff from designs for building cyclones to ducting concerns and considerations. As a mechanical you might be interested in looking there. I might admittedly be I’m a dope, but his site made an good impression on me, I believe he makes some valid points.

View ofgortens's profile


12 posts in 4637 days

#12 posted 01-06-2012 03:31 PM

Thanks for the knowledge! I read through the bill pentz site and it seems to justify the use of S&D PVC which is probably what I will be going with since it is cheap and easy to work with. I am also planning on running 4” to every tool with blast gates since that is what is recommended through bill pentz’ research as well.

For those that are curious, here is the source for the concern that I initially had concerning PVC vs metal ducting: (The last paragraph is what rose my concern)

Dust Collection for the One Man Shop

-- Austin 'ofgortens' , John Deere

View kizerpea's profile


775 posts in 3418 days

#13 posted 01-06-2012 04:41 PM

i worked in the pulp an paper industry an we had super size collectors. im talking 12” inlets that would suck up a yes i have seen fires in those dust collection systems. it was so bad they put a fire supression system in the duct that would put it out. FACT! when i built my cyclone its all metal even the pipe. its posted in my projects. lots of guys use pvc, an most never have any trouble. thats ok with me, i used metal, it takes longer to put up but thats what i wanted.

good luck


View Dark_Lightning's profile


4514 posts in 4160 days

#14 posted 01-07-2012 06:32 AM

The only thing that I want to add to this is, use big pipe. I thought I could get away with 2” ABS to my cyclone separator. Just a small stick from the tools will get cross-wise in the pipe and clog that thing, leading to a snake-job. I actually have a piece of twine left in the pipe for the inevitable clog. Fortunately, it’s only about a 20-foot run, so I can fix it with bigger pipe.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

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