collinb

Considering a dust collector

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My little 1HP isn't cutting it. It can't handle the hamster bedding from the jointer.

Looking at 1HP SuperMax that's discounted to $299 at WoodWerks Supply or a $199 2HP at Harbor Freight.

At least when it comes to appearances, it seems the SuperMax would deal with larger particles better as the exhaust doesn't have to go through an extra length of tubing.

Of course I could build a frame for the HF and mount the motor higher. But there goes the $100 savings ...

Thoughts? Input?

harbor.jpg

supermax.jpg

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I use an old Delta that looks mysteriously similar to the SuperMax for my jointer exclusively.  It did not do the job however until I bought a properly scaled top bag from American Fabric Filter and there goes some more money.  Going cheap on dust collection can be very expensive in the long run in health care costs. 

I was lucky, I only have to take medication daily for the rest of my days. It is unfortunate that one has to hit the point of no return before they start making noise about air quality.  As you can see, I already sound like some zeolite :D.

Back to your question, if a 1HP unit isn't doing the job, I doubt either of these units will be a big step up.  The HF has a 2HP rated motor and a lot of folks that go with it after a shop vac or a Rockler Dust Right setup are impressed.  However, the impeller is small and the 1HP SuperMax may even be superior.  Will it be enough of a difference to warrant the cost is only one question.

Do you vent your exhaust back into your work space?  If so, a standard bag filter is more of a dust spreader than a filter.  If you need to breathe your return air you need to catch much smaller fish.  And so begins the sleigh ride.

If you filter the air adequately, that filter will require maintenance very frequently if you do not have a pre-separator of some sort.  Bolting a separator onto a system that is not designed for one puts a big hit on airflow so your system must be oversized in order to compensate.

Like trying to make a cab saw out of a contractor saw; often after throwing more money at the original than a proper solution would have cost, you are still left with a somewhat suboptimal rig.  All that being said, do the best that you can afford right away when it comes to dust collection.  If you have to Franken-collector the thing over time, so be it.  Using something sub-par (or worse, nothing) is too costly in the long run.

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Thanks for the input, @gee-dub.  From my local conversations with woodworking people, dust collection *and* air filtration (perhaps "protection" might be better language) seem to be ignored necessities. Since it's a garage shop (rather than basement) I'm not yet considering an air filtration system. I try to wear a respirator most of the time, though do forget it on occasion. (For $30ish I can breath much better through it than through medical masks which are really no good for dust anyway.)

 

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Good deal collinb, a respirator is the best defense until if and when you move to something else.  As mentioned before, my efforts were too little too late and I now have to wear a respirator for almost any hand work which is really the pits.  I gladly slap on the respirator in addition to my other collectors when doing really messy stuff but, far rasping a table leg!?!  What a pain.

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8 hours ago, gee-dub said:

 

I was lucky, I only have to take medication daily for the rest of my days. It is unfortunate that one has to hit the point of no return before they start making noise about air quality.  As you can see, I already sound like some zeolite :D.

 

Aside from Bill Pentz, who had a wood allergy, I'm pretty sure you are the first woodworker I've heard from who has ACTUALLY suffered medical problems from dust.  I had no idea.  The community preaches and preaches the importance of dust collection but I have been frustrated at the lack of real evidence of the dangers.  Interesting.

I seriously may get in on the local farmhouse table craze and make a few to sell just to step up to a Clearvue.  I don't think there's any other way I can talk my wife into a $2K+ DC, plus electrical, plus plumbing....ugh.

Collin....these small DC's are like working at McDonalds.  They're stepping stones to get you by until you can do better.  If I were you I'd do the HF, at least it's got a record of success. 

 

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The Harbor Freight is a fine entry-level option, but it probably won't be able to manage all the shavings coming off your planer unless the planer has an active/powered ejector. I use my DC for cleanup after the planer has done its damage, otherwise either the impeller or the cyclone will clog up.

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23 minutes ago, Llama said:

I heard the chiro can clear that up.... :ph34r:

Naw, get yourself some Daffodil Essential Oil and rub it on your big toe, clears that right up.

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The jointer and planer are the 2 tools my HF collector works best on. The dust is somewhat captured on both units and the planer has an impeller so it gets nearly all the chips leaving no mess. Invisible fines are another story. Id say its getting a fair amount of that too but not so much that i dont need a respirator.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk

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14 hours ago, Seth Clayton said:

Can you route the exhaust outside? If I understand correctly, that overcomes a least part of the limitations of the cheaper DC's.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I *could* put a hole in the wall and send dust outside.  But it would be right over my garden. And my rhubarb will under no circumstances be subjected to unnecessary loss. :-) 

***

Even with a more efficient DC I will still wear my respirator because of the fine stuff.  Unless I also put in an air filtration system along with it the respirator stays on.

15 hours ago, Eric. said:

The HF collector will absolutely pull the chips from your jointer and planer...what it WON'T do is clear the air of all the fine particulates, which is the dangerous stuff.

I have a 2HP unit, and it does a great job of cleaning up the mess.  Unless you have a giant DC, which means at least 5HP, and it's properly ducted, AND all your machines are modified so that they're actually capable of capturing the dust at the source...the only way you'll truly be safe is to wear a respirator ALL THE TIME.  Anything less is some level of gamble.

 

Something this clear should be posted in all the woodworking equipment stores. Well-stated.

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15 hours ago, Eric. said:

the only way you'll truly be safe is to wear a respirator ALL THE TIME.  Anything less is some level of gamble.

This is how I work, any time there is dust or fumes, I want that respirator on. I have the HF DC and really like it. The only issue I have had with it was nothing to do with the collector and everything to do with how I had it hooked to my HF lunchbox planer(don't design a system with the last leg going to the planer through a 2.5" pvc set up with leaky gates and tight curves). 

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All good points/advice above.

you left out some information........what do you currently have for a DC? (what brand/model).  Also, how is it connected - do you use a lot of flex pipe or any real pipe?

The the two you mention make for a tough comparison -

- I don't think trading a 1HP for another 1HP will solve your "hamster bedding" issue because although I think the Supermax design is better, I don't believe it will have so  much more power to solve your issue

- The 2HP HF collector has a certain appeal for better airflow, but not with a 5micron filter.  that's just spreading the dangerous dust around.

 

This is always a tough decision point for a lot of woodworkers - cobbling together minor improvments on low-end/low-power dust collectors, or just biting the bullet and investing serious cash in a big system.  I knew I was never going to go with the 5HP sized system like mentioned by Eric, so I upgraded my 1.5HP Delta collector with a better filter, a Super Dust Deputy, smooth wall PVC piping - all to keep the shop clean. I use a respirator to keep my lungs clean.

If I was in your situation, I'd consider getting the HF unit for $199 and also investing the $150 or so for a good quality filter (I use one from Wynn Environmental - but there are other good vendors out there).  The 2HP has fundamentally more power, and a better filter will improve both airflow and filtration.

If that's a budget buster, I'd consider just upgrading your current system with a better filter.  You'll get better airflow and filtration, and I think that's a more cost effective upgrade than the Supermax (which is still only 1HP).  You could still, as you mention, build a frame and direct-mount the blower to eliminate any constriction caused by the flex pipe.

 

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Colin,

 

As Jfitz stated you don't say a lot about what you have or need.  Why would going from brand A 1HP DC be an improvement over brand b 1HP DC? (It could but not likely of any significance).  As Eric stated these smaller DCs are not going to get the fine dust.  It is also worth looking at a comparison of what these machines are capable of doing so see the chart in this old review http://www.portercable.com/uploads/PCD/Documents/News/182DustCollectors.pdf  You will see your current 1HP unit at the bottom of the 4" Port Performance curves (below the minimum performance line).  Just above that and below every other 1.5 & 2HP DC is the HF DC.  You will see it could be used for very short runs.  As others have said if you can port outside it will get even better!

The more you share about your current set up and future needs and expectations the better answers we can provide.

Hope this helps and let us know what you do.

Carl

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