Is it worth it to modify HF Dust Collector?


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Hiya folks!

As I settle into my new shop I am beginning to think about permanent dust collection installation. Currently I have the 2hp harbor freight dust collector and I have been moving it around to any machine I need to use. But I want to go ahead and install ducts and have a more permanent setup. 

While lots of people modify the harbor freight dust collector, what is less clear is if it is worth it. I see people adding canister filters and cyclones, but do you get comparable suction to similarly priced 2 stage production units? I can buy a grizzly cyclone on sale for 750$ right now.  If I add an Oneida super duty cyclone for 150 and canister filter for 200 or there abouts, will my dust collector be up to the callenge of pulling dust from say 6 different drops (only one at a time ) in a shop 20 feet long by 16 feet wide? Or is this so far beyond the capabilities of such a setup that I am just throwing money away to even attempt it?

If it can work, any advice on going about it? Is there anything cheaper then the Oneida super duty?150$ seems like a lot to pay for a plastic funnel. 

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Just an FYI for anyone wanting to upgrade their Harbor Freight dust collector fan. You can now also by a fan from Wen Tools. It's the same specs as the Rikon fan but only costs $35 and shipping is fre

Hey guys, Since the WEN impeller is "new" vs the Rikon impeller that's been popular I thought I would add these pics to the discussion. One note that I'll add about the WEN impeller. I've se

It's probably drawing more like 100A initially on start up. 10X FLA is a pretty common starting current. Most meters will not react fast enough to show that though.

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April's got a video on converting a HF dust collector into a Thien separator.  I was planning to do this before I saw the video.  Really!  I just need to get some circular too-its.  Does anyone know a source?  I'll make the Thien separator when I get a round too-it.

Has anyone ever done a comparison of a Thien separator vs a cyclone?  My guess is"no", since if you've got one why buy/build the other?  I assume that a Thien will be "good enough".

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I'm no DC expert, so take this for what it's worth.  I see the HF unit as a good bang for the buck for a decent basic DC and some minor upgrades like a cannister filter and maybe a Thien separator.  It only has something like a 10" or 10-3/4" diameter fan, so I don't see it as the basis for a larger or much more complex system...it just doesn't have the initial airflow to make it worth going nuts with IMO.   Many of the better 2hp DC systems have 12" to 14" fans, and a true 2hp 220v motor pushing them.  

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I made this Thein/HF combo almost 8 years ago, and it works really well at catching everything but the finest particles. If memory serves, I'm in my second motor,  and I've replaced a bearing or 2 over the years. it won't compete with a multiple HP unit, but considering i only paid ~$100, I've more than got my money out of it.

http://www.dans-hobbies.com/2008/07/12/shop-made-dust-collector/

 

I helped my dad make a Thein for his 2HP jet, and he loves it.

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I apologize for semi-hijacking the thread.  I have an oddly shaped basement shop with a low ceiling and no good way to run ducting around the shop.  I also have a 2HP Jet DC which isn't really powerful enough to pull a multi-tool ducted system.

My plan is, I set up the DC near my table saw with a permanent duct to the saw and a blast gate.  I also run a short (maybe 15 foot) 6" duct along the wall, with a wye and a blast gate every 5 feet.  Each blast gate also has 220 and 110 outlets near it.

Then, I put all of my tools on rolling cabinets or bases, and plumb each tool so that whatever dust collection it has, it ends in a short length of 6" flex duct with a quick connect.

This way, I can always use my table saw, and I can have three other tools set up and ready to go, without a lot of ducting.  To use a different tool, I just unplug the electrical and dust collection, wheel it away, wheel the new tool in place, and hook it up.  The blast gates are all near each other, so closing the other blast gates isn't too annoying. 

To me, this seems like a better solution than rolling the dust collector around to each tool.

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I modified mine to a cyclone using a dust deputy.  My post is here: http://www.woodtalkonline.com/topic/21207-harbor-freight-dc-to-cyclone/?do=findComment&comment=237686.  I have 3 drops, the longest is 37'.  I have a cheapo anemometer that I used to find out how much air flow is lost compared to the intake at the dc.  At the shortest drop the loss is 12%, next is 20% and the longest % is 25%.  Actually using the dc I am very pleased.  If you do modify with a Thein or cyclone, I strongly recommend exhausting out side, I get very little to no visible dust, and the noise reduction is fantastic.  My shop is 30 x 17 and for my set up the HF is probably all I will need.  

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2 hours ago, Just Bob said:

I modified mine to a cyclone using a dust deputy.  My post is here: http://www.woodtalkonline.com/topic/21207-harbor-freight-dc-to-cyclone/?do=findComment&comment=237686.  I have 3 drops, the longest is 37'.  I have a cheapo anemometer that I used to find out how much air flow is lost compared to the intake at the dc.  At the shortest drop the loss is 12%, next is 20% and the longest % is 25%.  Actually using the dc I am very pleased.  If you do modify with a Thein or cyclone, I strongly recommend exhausting out side, I get very little to no visible dust, and the noise reduction is fantastic.  My shop is 30 x 17 and for my set up the HF is probably all I will need.  

The system you created is very similar to what I had in mind only I was going to do more drops and use blast gates as early as possible in the system. If I vent outside it will be directly onto my driveway. On the other side of my shop is the property line with my neighbors being pretty close. They would probably be pretty unhappy with me if I vented directly into their front yard. I don't think I can vent into my driveway where everyone coming and going from my house will be walking through the dust cloud in good conscious either. So that leaves doing it with a filter... or having a really really really long exhaust port to vent it towards my garden instead of my driveway... probably 25 feet of exhaust. 

How does your system handle your tools? Do you have problems with controlling the planer or table saw?

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To bad you can't exhaust outside.  I only needed 3 drops, to handle the larger tools, I use a ducted central vac for all of my other dc needs.  I have 2 blast gates to control each leg of HF DC, in addition to blast gates at each drop. 

10 hours ago, minorhero said:

How does your system handle your tools? Do you have problems with controlling the planer or table saw?

The planer no problem, the table saw on the other hand...it is not a problem with the DC unit, it is a saw design problem.  It is the Grizzly G0690 and for some reason the designers decided that putting the exhaust port 2 1/4" inch above the floor pan was a good idea.  Anyway I am slowly modifying the saw to solve most of the problems.  (I don't think many table saws have well designed DC.)

Have you checked into using a truck filter instead of a DC canister?  I haven't seen any threads on WTO about it but there a number of people over on lumberjocks that seem to like it.  Check this thread:  http://lumberjocks.com/topics/148882, it might be a way to reduce the cost. 

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So this leads me to an interesting thought. With a Cyclone and venting outside. all my downspouts are piped back to the creek. Could i pipe my exhaust into a down spout and by the time it rains it will just was the fines out to the creek?

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For anyone who has done this mod, a question...does the new impeller provide any increase in static pressure for the system? I currently run a Delta 1.5 hp collector, modified to use a thien baffle separator, and vented outside. Collection is quite good, so long as there is adequate area of air flow across the source of dust or chips. However, if the area is reduced, such as when using a zero clearance insert in the tablesaw, or stepping down to a 2" port for my spindle sander, the air flow drops drastically. I wondered if a larger impeller in the same fan housing might increase the pressure and force more flow through the restrictions.

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I don't know about static pressure, but it did double my cfm's (at the tool).  I drill holes in my zero clearance inserts which seems to help with saw dust accumulation at the table saw. (above the blade)  But table saws are so leaky I still get quite a bit of saw dust  in the cabinet.  I don't use the dc for small port machines, I just stick with a vacuum.

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13 hours ago, MattCRNA said:

Just an FYI for anyone wanting to upgrade their Harbor Freight dust collector fan. You can now also by a fan from Wen Tools. It's the same specs as the Rikon fan but only costs $35 and shipping is free. The part number is 3403-22...... just got mine today, installed and runs with no problems.

 

How did you go about ordering that? I don't see it on their 'parts' store online. Did you have to call Wen directly? Thank you.

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Hey guys in regards to the WEN impeller go to www.wenproducts.com and scroll down to the bottom to the “contact us” button. It will take you to a form to fill out with your info and comments/request.

I had to download the manual for the dust collector to get the part number which is 3403-22, this is also where I found the specs for it to see it was the same as the Rikon impeller.

Here’s their number in case you’d rather just call them directly:

(847) 429-9263

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Does adding that impeller cause the motor to draw a bit more current?  I don't want to be in a situation where I have to run a dedicated 120v 20a circuit for the DC.  I'd rather spring for a larger DC and run it on 220v.  I think my HF unit is right at the limit of running on the 15a circuit because of the inrush of current.  Running amps are about 12, I think, but haven't checked in a while.

David

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32 minutes ago, difalkner said:

Does adding that impeller cause the motor to draw a bit more current?  I don't want to be in a situation where I have to run a dedicated 120v 20a circuit for the DC.  I'd rather spring for a larger DC and run it on 220v.  I think my HF unit is right at the limit of running on the 15a circuit because of the inrush of current.  Running amps are about 12, I think, but haven't checked in a while.

David

I tested the startup vs running amps when I changed the impeller.  

Before:  Startup amps, 14.27  Running 10.17

After:  Startup 18.7,  Running 12.7

I have mine on a 20a circuit, a 15a might trip every now and then.

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Pulling 18.7 amps briefly at startup will probably not cause a 15 amp breaker to trip, there is a load / time curve they are designed to follow. Repeated stops & starts in a short time might. Make sure the actual wire is good for whatever load you have.

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