Benefits of dust collectors?!


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new to woodworking and putting a shop together...

ive noticed most of you more experienced guys have dust collection systems...

what are the benefits of getting one over say (what i use now) a shopvac rig

also, considering i have only a 2 car garage for a shop what would be a good, CHEAP, option for me?

ideas?

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Short answer: a dust collector will work with things like jointers and planers that create a lot of chips, shavings, or dust. You can get little 2.0 HP DCs on wheels and roll them to whichever machine you are using. The shorter the connecting duct, the less power you need.

Long answer: (Here's where someone who actually knows something will correct me.) There's static pressure, and there's cubic feet per minute (CFM).

Static pressure is the amount of suck when you are not moving any air. Picture plugging the shopvac hose with a tennis ball - the shopvac could easily pick up the tennis ball, but there's no air moving because the hose is plugged. If you tried it with a bowling ball, I'd bet the bowling ball would drop because the shopvac doesn't have enough static pressure to lift that much weight.

CFM is pretty obvious - how much air can pass through the system under normal circumstances (not plugged up).

A shopvac has really good static pressure, but really bad CFM. Besides vacuuming, it's good for hand held tools like sanders, jig saws, etc.

A dust collector has less static pressure than a shopvac, but much more CFM. It's good for big tools like jointers, planers, and table saws.

An air cleaner has high CFM and almost no static pressure. It's good for getting the dust that slipped past the shopvac or dust collector. Get one with a timer and leave it running when you leave the shop.

A respirator protects your lungs from all of that dust until the air filter can catch it.

If you work with the garage doors open, you can probably just use a fan instead of an air filter to blow dusty air out and clean air in.

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Harbor Freight had a decent 1.5 HP dust collector as recently as this past spring. I haven't gone in lately to check them out, so I don't know if they are still around. I signed up for their email list, so I get coupons at least twice a month for 20% off one item. The fine print on these say the coupon is not good for 1) multiple purchases, and 2) items on sale. But you can use the coupons to get this dust collector for as little as $120 plus tax, if you are patient. This unit takes a 4" hose/duct, if I remember right.

As for research, if you have an engineering mind, I'd recommend checking out Bill Pentz's site here. The information goes far more in depth than I need, but for a two car garage, there should be more than enough for you to get some inspiration and designs from.

You mention a shopvac rig but not what tools you have. Each tool has a different need for CFM, and I do not know what happened to my chart that had this breakdown. If I remember right (it's late, so I might not), the maximum need I had was 1500 CFM. The Harbor Freight model can handle this, but I would have needed to keep the length of hose or duct under 4 feet. Adding in a cyclone separator does reduce the run I should use.

Check out Marc's video on the cyclone separators that are commercially available (in the 5 gallon bucket variety) on the main site. If you have the funds, go to Clearvue, one of the main sponsors, and check out the larger multi stage units. (Since you mention you are just starting out, I'd recommend this for a long-term research and planning visit, not necessarily an initial shopping run.) If you do not want to purchase one, you can make your own, thanks to a variety of plans available. I know several WTO forum members have done this, and have posted photos of their projects' results.

The short summary is that you want to keep the duct runs shorter to keep more of your Dust collection capabilities intact. A fixed duct allows for out of the way functions, but blast gates and planning are absolutely essential. A roll around system means you might trip over a cord or hose periodically, but drastically reduces the cost of any dust collection system by not fixing things permanently. Even a cheap system will add up in the long run.

If you do not open the garage doors, duct tape a clean furnace filter to the intake side of a 20" box fan and make your own air filtration unit. (It's not quite as effective as the one Jet sells, but at 1 percent of the price, I'll take it.)

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  • 1 month later...

A-dust collection=longevity in the shop AND in life. Exotic woods have natural toxins that react with varying levels of violence with lungs. I don't mean 'shop vac collection'...it is better than nothing, but you need a quality DC system to remove chips but it will move more volume of air to help remove actual dust from the air.

B-Craig's list is FULL of nice, used, unhurt dust collection systems for $100-$200. Do your grand kids a favor and invest in this now. And yes....you do have grands....you just may not see them yet....just blink and your hair is gray and someone is calling you Papa. Imagine Marc's naturally black hair now solid white with a white goatee' wearing a shirt that says "Seasoned Woodworkers Rock!" and his son(s?) running the Guild Builds. Oh yeah....blink and watch what happens!! ;)

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Another big difference that hasn't been mentioned yet is the filtration on a DC vs a shopvac. Every shopvac and DC is different, so a blanket statement probably is a bit unfair, but that said, generally a DC has a much better filtration system than a vac. Consider that the filter in your shopvac has to filter every piece of dust (and blows out right next to you). In a DC, there is typically some type of seperator (commonly called a Cyclone) that will trap the large stuff, so that a better filter only has to catch the small stuff, and then exhausts better air, typically not right next to you. Without a seperator, a good HEPA filter would be clogged within the first few hours of use, so vacs typically have poor filtration to avoid that headache.

I certainly can't speak for others, but I found that I actually use the DC much more often than when I just had a vac. Dragging it around, and dealing with the cords and emptying the bin every couple hours was enough of an annoyance that I didn't use it as much as neccesary.

Definatley keep your respirator on! Neither DC or Shopvac eliminate the need for a respirator. That said, I am definatley guilty of forgoing the respirator from time to time, and I hope the DC helps protect some during those laps of stupidity.

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Great points made above. I believe that even though it isn't as much fun a dc should be the first power tool one should buy. Read a bit of info about wood dust and carcinogens and you will see what I mean. When I got into woodworking it was before there was ever any talk about wood dust causing cancer I had bought my dc to keep the shop clean as well as my lungs, but now I know it's much more important than just that.

The one point that you should be aware of is the microns that the bags trap, I think that most are 1 micron now (the largest particle that can escape the bag) but the older ones are 5micron. For this reason I built mine into a closet and ran pipe to each tool. This eliminates the dust problem, makes it nicer to use, and since it does away with most flex pipe-much more efficient. Just a few thoughts.

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I have never been a big dust collector user until recently. Not all my tools have proper dust collection ports that allow me to hook up the vacuum or anything, so I had to modify them a little bit.

I hated cleaning up the mess that my tools produced, and I hated walking around in a haze of dust from sanding. Even though my methods are not perfect, I would be confident to say that I extract 80-90% of the dust and chips that fly from my machines. I look to improve on the eventually, but for now it works.

I have a 13 gallong 5hp shop vac that I roll around from tool to tool. Honestly, it does not bother me at all to do this. Just my opinion. A dedicated dust collection system would be nice, but my basement has absolutely no room for it.

In short, the benefits on my really using this vacuum as much as possible is that I breath less foreign particles (when I eventually take my dust mask off), I am covered in less dust, and I have MUCH less to clean up. Taking the extra 30 seconds to plug in the vacuum, and achieve those three benefits, is absolutely worth it.

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I have never been a big dust collector user until recently. Not all my tools have proper dust collection ports that allow me to hook up the vacuum or anything, so I had to modify them a little bit.

I hated cleaning up the mess that my tools produced, and I hated walking around in a haze of dust from sanding. Even though my methods are not perfect, I would be confident to say that I extract 80-90% of the dust and chips that fly from my machines. I look to improve on the eventually, but for now it works.

I have a 13 gallong 5hp shop vac that I roll around from tool to tool. Honestly, it does not bother me at all to do this. Just my opinion. A dedicated dust collection system would be nice, but my basement has absolutely no room for it.

In short, the benefits on my really using this vacuum as much as possible is that I breath less foreign particles (when I eventually take my dust mask off), I am covered in less dust, and I have MUCH less to clean up. Taking the extra 30 seconds to plug in the vacuum, and achieve those three benefits, is absolutely worth it.

Pghymn, I know we are all on the same page on this subject - keep the dust on the outside. I think though it's easier than we think to do it. I'm not picking on you..I've just used your address to make a point.

3Gc3M63L35Lc5Ie5O2ccb937fa543f5aa1123.jpg

Found it on Craig's list in 5 minutes - it's $100 New in the box

tn_762__image12006_1327079204.jpg

This is what it looks like. Footprint about the same as a shop vac and 2HP air flow through 4" pipe will greatly reduce dust.

Best Part? It's in Milwaukee - 11 minutes from you.

I think all of us get into our routines and think a change like this has to be drastic. Life is not about the ultimate step...it's about the 'next step' and for many of us reading this, it would be a simple and inexpensive step to upgrade out DC system from either a shop vac or for some....from no DC at all. This isn't unique to pghymn...any of us can go to Craigs list anytime and find this no matter where we are in this country. Thanks pghymn for being a good sport...

Tim

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Pghymn, I know we are all on the same page on this subject - keep the dust on the outside. I think though it's easier than we think to do it. I'm not picking on you..I've just used your address to make a point.

3Gc3M63L35Lc5Ie5O2ccb937fa543f5aa1123.jpg

Found it on Craig's list in 5 minutes - it's $100 New in the box

tn_762__image12006_1327079204.jpg

This is what it looks like. Footprint about the same as a shop vac and 2HP air flow through 4" pipe will greatly reduce dust.

Best Part? It's in Milwaukee - 11 minutes from you.

I think all of us get into our routines and think a change like this has to be drastic. Life is not about the ultimate step...it's about the 'next step' and for many of us reading this, it would be a simple and inexpensive step to upgrade out DC system from either a shop vac or for some....from no DC at all. This isn't unique to pghymn...any of us can go to Craigs list anytime and find this no matter where we are in this country. Thanks pghymn for being a good sport...

Tim

the system footprint wouldn't be my issue. The pipes would. I'm 6'0" tall, and my basement ceiling is 6'3" tall in most spots, but others are just a tad over 6'0" (my head skims).
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I hope this is not seen as a highjack - but I looked at Mark's video on the cyclone dust collectors.

If you have one of these, do you also need to power it through a shop vac with a HEPA filter? Or is the cyclone getting all of the little particles as well?

It seemed with the Dust Deputy very little dust made it into the vacum, making me believe that all that device is providing is suction, rather than significant filtration. Thoughts?

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I hope this is not seen as a highjack - but I looked at Mark's video on the cyclone dust collectors.

If you have one of these, do you also need to power it through a shop vac with a HEPA filter? Or is the cyclone getting all of the little particles as well?

The dangerous stuff is invisible - it's so small that it doesn't get coughed up. The cyclone won't get it - I recommend a HEPA filter.

Even without a cyclone, a shopvac with a HEPA filter and a courser filter bag is a good idea.

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You don't need duct work. I use thisstretchy hose and have the dust right system. I just received ports for the rest of my machines... I just connect this single host from machine to machine. I have the floor sweep system as well... very nice... all hook and store on the wall (storage kit required).

That's actually not a bad idea. I connect manually anyway, so it wouldn't be harder. And I can always ad duct work later on when I have my own space.
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