DC Upgrade or New Cyclone System?

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Forum topic by Bob posted 04-04-2012 12:31 PM 4558 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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19 posts in 3273 days

04-04-2012 12:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dc dust collector dust collection wynn oneida cyclone merv hepa

I have finally seen the light and realize I need a better dust collection system. I have a 1 1/2 HP single stage Fox Shop DC. I have determined there are two acceptable options.

1. Upgrade my current DC with a Super Dust Deputy cyclone separator and a Wynn Nano MERV 15 filter
2. Purchase an Oneida V-System 3000 HEPA MERV 16+

(I have no affiliation with Oneida.)

Option one costs approx $400. Option 2 costs approx $1500. I am prepared to spend the money for option 2 if it is not overkill. I am a weekend woodworker with a 2 car garage for a shop. I have only one tool running on DC at a time. The tools that will use the DC are:

3 HP cabinet table saw
12” planer
6” jointer
6” x 89” belt sander
10” benchtop drum sander
14” bandsaw

I am expecting the consensus to be spend the extra money. I just want to make sure I am not going totally overboard.

16 replies so far

View Scot's profile


344 posts in 4402 days

#1 posted 04-04-2012 12:42 PM

What are the problems with the current system? You get a very good cyclone separator on ebay for $200 (new) that will work with your DC and up to a 3 HP DC.

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

View brtech's profile


1099 posts in 3929 days

#2 posted 04-04-2012 01:06 PM

Try to keep the issues of separation, uh, separate (sorry) from filtration, and those separate from efficiency.

Clearly, you need to have all the dust collected (efficient) and no bad stuff ejected into your shop (filtration). Good separation of chips into the bag, and not the filter is a distant third.

So, whatever you do, you need a better filter.

The question becomes, is your efficiency good enough with the 1.5HP shop fox?

What is your plumbing like?

Given your list, if you are running a 10’ length of 4” flex and moving it from machine to machine, I suspect that you could have enough CFM to get all the dust into the DC. However, the bag filter is cutting down some of the airflow.

If you have a maze of pipe, then you might not be getting enough CFM, even with a filter upgrade.

So, I think the 1.5HP is kind of barely enough if your duct is good enough, and you definitely want the Wynn filter.

If you go that route, consider adding a Thien baffle, either inside the ring, or in an outboard trash can separator. Or perhaps that cyclone. Do take some time to read Bill Pentz’ site on DC. Lots of good info there, although he would say that a 6” main line needs something closer to 5 hp with a reasonably good blower to get enough CFM to get all the fines out of the air.

View SWM's profile


94 posts in 4064 days

#3 posted 04-04-2012 01:29 PM

I fought this same battle last year. I had a 2hp grizzly in a 500 ft2 basement shop that was long, but narrow. Ultimately, the deciding factor was $$ money and shop mobility, although maybe opposite of what you’d first think. I decided that I had more money than mobile shop space. My shop is long and narrow and I was tired of tripping over DC lines on the floor and/or trying to maneuver the 2hp DC around the shop. I came pretty close to just adding the super dust deputy/filter upgrade, but then where the heck was I going to put it? I didn’t really think it could pull enough CFM to accomodate the ductwork that would be required to park the unit in a fixed position. And I really wasn’t a fan of cobbled/clumsy look and function of the pre-seperators. But if resources are tight and mobility isn’t an issue, I’d have a hard time justifying the extra $1000s to get from 95% seperation to 99.8% (rough numbers).

Ultimately, I ran across a lightly used Oneida Pro 2000 and saved my pennies for the 26 gauge metal ductwork. Now, almost 14 months later, I’m glad that I spent the extra time and money to run fixed DC lines. Overkill for a basement shop? Absolutely, but I’ll never have to buy another one either…..

-- Working on a retirement hobby, only 30 more years to practice!

View BlankMan's profile


1491 posts in 4359 days

#4 posted 04-04-2012 01:52 PM

I’m curious as to why you’ve realized you need a better dust collection system. What is it not doing, what would you like it to do better? It’s always easy to tell someone to spend more money.

Me, I’d go with the cyclone, and I did quite a while ago. But that was my 4th attempt at getting better dust collection. I did this in the mid 90’s, when options weren’t what they are now. I started out with a shop vac and 2-1/2” plumbing that Craftsman used to sell. Then got a 1HP DC and 4” PVC. Then went to a 1-1/2 HP DC and 4” PVC. Then finally to one of the first Oneida cyclones, the 1-1/2HP with the internal filter and 5” steel ducting. That worked pretty well and used it for a little over 10 years. Then I upgraded the cyclone with a different blower assembly so that I could remove the internal filter and went with a much better and bigger external filter. So I guess that could be called my 5th iteration.

Dust collection is good, ducts are clean, no material drop out, machines are clean, no dust settling in say the table saw cabinet, etc. If I add up the money spent, my route to get were I am cost a lot of money. I’m satisfied with the system, would I like better, of course. Do I need better, not really. But if I had to do it over I’d spend the money up front.

If I were to do it over I would consider the Oneida 2.5HP Super Dust Gorilla, or for $45 more the 3HP. Both would put you over the $1500 you mentioned but knowing what I know now, like I said I’d spend the money up front. I’d also consider the Penn State 3.5HP Tempest, less cost then Oneida but impressive specs, if you can believe their fan curve.

I myself trust Oneida more then other manufacturers, they do one thing and do it well IMO.

You’ll probably get a lot of recommendations for Clear Vue, but I’m not on that bandwagon. Plastic and wood construction instead of metal, and kit form at that. I’m not sold on what it touts, if it was so good IMO everybody would be copying it by now.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View Bob's profile


19 posts in 3273 days

#5 posted 04-04-2012 02:55 PM

The primary reason for upgrading is health. I want to get the best quality filtration I can to keep my lungs as healthy as possible for as long as possible. While MERV 15 is very good, HEPA (MERV 16+) is better. 20 years from now, I don’t want to say I wish I had spent the extra money. The Oneida is the only system I have found that has HEPA rated DC. But I also see the benefits that come with that level of DC. Namely, better efficiency and the ability to support a duct system. While I am ok with moving my 10’ hose from machine to machine, I know I will appreciate and benefit from not having to. So, I guess I already know what I need to do, just wanted to get some feedback.

View ThinHair's profile


3 posts in 3250 days

#6 posted 04-04-2012 02:59 PM

Hello All; I hope everyone is having a great day so far. As a hobby woodworker I was looking (interestingly) at all the comments and as a newbie on this site I would like to say to check out J.PHIL THIEN & what he has built “on the cheap”. There’s quite a few people on the web that believe the commercial dc’s available do not do the job effectively and have suggested some better/less costly ways. I am not saying the above/before mentioned dust collection/cylcones are not effective or reputable, but, Some of the people have had COPD & have lung problems caused by bad air filtration & dust collection, it may be worth looking into by anyone interested in the topic of dust collection & air filtration equipment. But then maybe there are some lottery winners out there… :) :) Just my Opinion

View jmos's profile


918 posts in 3376 days

#7 posted 04-04-2012 03:27 PM

I recently bought the 15 MERV Wynn nano filter for my 1.75hp Powermatic 1300. It does do a better job filtering, no question. You really do have to do something from keeping it from loading up though, either do a wok modification to you DC, or add a primary separation like a cyclone or a Thien. I went with a commercially available Thien type lid and metal trash can. It does do a good job at taking out the dust/chips prior to the DC, as long as the level in the can doesn’t get too high.

However, you do take a hit on suction/air flow. There is a clear reduction in both suction and air flow. My understanding is that the cyclone takes more pressure drop (therefore greater reduction in flow than the trash can type separators) So, with the OEM setup I was getting good flow, but spitting a lot of fine dust back into my shop through the stock filter cartridge (as witnessed by a fine layer of dust on everything), now I’m trapping most/all the fine dust I suck up, but may not be getting it all due to lower flow.

I might get around this by stepping up to a higher HP DC, but maybe not. I’m personally kicking around going to a cyclone. Based on what I’ve seen upgrading a regular DC like you have, if you have the money, I’d go for the cyclone system.

Curt mentioned above that he trusts Oneida as they are specialist in this product; I understand and respect his opinion, but I’m not sure I share it. Bill Pentz’s web site has a lot of information. His stories about hi-jinx around testing make me wonder about how much I can really trust the claims of the big boys. They might be bigger and better, or they might be bigger and protect themselves by threatening lawsuits to those who try to disagree. Hard to tell, but I do think it’s worth your time reading and coming to your own conclusion. At this point, if I buy I think I’m going to overlook what Curt very correctly put “Plastic and wood construction instead of metal, and kit form at that” and go with ClearVue.

-- John

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

424 posts in 4089 days

#8 posted 04-04-2012 05:44 PM

+1 on the ClearVue.

Sure it is a kit, but it goes together very easily. I spent at least twice as much effort installing ducting as it took to assemble the CV. Add even more time to build a sound enclosure.

I use it in a one car garage workshop and don’t consider it to be overkill. I only run one tool at a time. Many stations have a single 6” vent or two 4” vents.

-- Steve

View BlankMan's profile


1491 posts in 4359 days

#9 posted 04-04-2012 05:51 PM

This has now got me seriously thinking about replacing my filter with a HEPA MERV 16+ filter.

Bill Pentz has done a great job of marketing. One of the best I’ve seen. In his Background section he bashes the manufacturer of the expensive impressive looking system – top rated system but fails to identify the make and model. Brilliant. Protects him from defamation and instills in people that all cyclones are junk except his because he doesn’t say whose so it fosters distrust in all. If it were truly as bad as he states the facts should by themselves protect him from defamation suits. And in fact due to his health have a good suit himself.

So I’m just as leery of what he states as I am of manufacturers.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 3510 days

#10 posted 04-04-2012 05:54 PM

ClearVue for sure. I’ve already lost two cats and a small dog. Can’t beat 5hp.

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View jmos's profile


918 posts in 3376 days

#11 posted 04-04-2012 06:11 PM

Curt, I absolutely agree with what you are saying. On the flip side, he’s an individual and claims he has been threatened by lawsuits that he can not afford to fight, and can’t share data he has due to those threats. Even if he is 100% right in all his claim, a company the size of Oneida (or Grizzly, or another vendor) could destroy him long before they ever get in front of a jury.

Both scenarios are possible, and you have to decide what you believe to be true. I’ve exchanged a few emails with Bill, and I’ve come to believe him. My personal decision. He definitely has an ax to grind, but not without justification, if you believe his story. You’re free to decide he’s full of beans.

I would still be very interested to see data on your system. I saw your blog post about making the probes. Please share what you find. That would help to shed light on this for all of us.

-- John

View BlankMan's profile


1491 posts in 4359 days

#12 posted 04-04-2012 07:01 PM

John, a company the size of Oneida (or Grizzly, or another vendor) could destroy him long before they ever get in front of a jury

Yeah well maybe. Based on fact, truths, a good hungry lawyer getting a percentage of the settlement, maybe not. And to keep it out of the public eye, a closed settlement before it gets there if it’s that strong of a case. Those are some of the things that just don’t fit IMO but adds to the marketing.

And I posted in that blog that I’ve pretty much given up, at least for the moment, for reasons mentioned there. Data accuracy just not good enough for the engineer in me.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9812 posts in 3335 days

#13 posted 04-04-2012 07:52 PM

I have a similar size shop, but mine is square and the machines are arranged in a ‘U’ in the middle. I’ve got three runs of 4” flex, ranging from 6 to 12 feet hooked up to the newer 2 HP Grizzly with the spun bound PE filter …. and reviewed it here.

I also have a Jet filter mounted on the ceiling.

And when it’s nice out, I open windows and run fans.

I like Bill Pentz’s site and appreciate him making a lot of good data available to us little guys. I do, however, find some of his logic to be circular…. IIRC he’s revamping the site to update some of the older material and that may help…. But the way his site reads to me, the only “non-industrial” DC in the world, that’s any good at all is the Clear View.

I work for a company that has three industrial woodworking shops. The millwork and pallet recycling shop occupy 9,000 s.f. and the crating dept. occupies 18,000 s.f. We have dumped a LOT of money over the years on DC. The big shop has Torrit filter towers, 25 H.P. blowers and spark detection and fire suppression. However the piping (imo) was never sized correclty and my little Grizzly sucks harder (and quite a bit harder) at my tools than this $100,000 system does.

My point is that the “industrial” operations I’ve seen, both where I work and at some of our competitors are not the “gold standard”. And these are not small or Mickey Mouse operations.

Regardless who you deal with, fear and uncertainty seem to be a huge selling tool for DC systems. And the good little engineer in me says “let the light of accurate measurments dispell the clouds of doubt and shed truth on our decisions”.... So I’m very interested in these atmospheric dust measuring devices that have been posted about recently, which apparently have come down in price to quite reasonable levels.

I’ve read some interesting threads over on SMC, where people are using these devices to take measurments in their hobby shops that have what the purist would call totally inadequate DC setups (i.e. <6>< 3 HP blowers), and are getting very low readings.

I honestly think that I’ll buy one of these meters b4 I upgrade my DC system.

Or better yet…. I’ll talk my boss into buying one and borrow it ;^)

We burn wood to supplement our home heat and have a dog and two cats , so I’m very curious to see what the air quality in our living room is as well.

The bottom line is that life is not a risk free activity…. and all of these type of decisions ulitmately come down to (imo) a cost benefit analyses with an eye to your available resources and competing needs.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View John Little's profile

John Little

32 posts in 3250 days

#14 posted 04-05-2012 12:43 AM

I go with the cyclone upgrade. Last year I added a cyclone I found on Ebay to my 2 hp DC and added a Wynn nano filter and I am very happy. The cyclone takes out the big stuff and the nano filter takes out nearly all the rest. I spent a little over $400 for the upgrade.

-- John Little, ToyMakers of East Lake

View Sarit's profile


552 posts in 4146 days

#15 posted 04-05-2012 01:25 AM

If you’re worried about your lungs, I don’t think that a better DC/cyclone/filter is a substitute for wearing a P100 or N100 mask/respirator when you’re producing dust. Its true that they will keep the microscopic dust that they captured from being released back into your shop air, however its unlikely that all your machines are designed well enough to capture all that fine dust being generated. If you want to breath healthy and mask free, then you may want to invest in a particle counter so you can know which machines are kicking up dust and if your system is providing the level of filtering that you intended.

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