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Thread: Shop vac duct work?

  1. #1
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    Shop vac duct work?

    Iím reading through some threads here on dust collection (again) and have a question. Iím wondering if itís feasible to have a smaller pipe connected to a shop vac or extractor running along the larger DC pipes for the small ports on some of the machines like my router fence or the little port on my 14Ē bandsaw just to name a few.
    How much pipe and fittings would just kill the efficiency of an average shop vac?

  2. #2
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    Most vacs are not going to be happy with long duct runs which might result with this application, even though they thrive on higher static pressure. If you can keep things to a few select tools in a given area of your shop, it would likely be more successful than otherwise. You also have the option to retrofit some tools with larger ports...the router table cabinet can have a connection to the fence so you're handling extraction from both from the same connection to your DC, for example.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
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    I've seen videos and forum posts on several shops where this has been done. The best setups use a central vac because those have enough pressure to work with long runs of duct as small as 1.5". A shop vac works well with 2.5" PVC. It's pressure loss is only about 6" per 100' at 100 CFM. A typical shop vac has around 80" total available so not much loss for that duct size. Electrical conduit is available in that size and has the advantage of very long sweep elbows.

    It can be really useful for things like mitersaws and radial arm saws where you need the high volume of a DC for large area collection as well as high velocity for the small dust ports on the blade shroud. I used that combination for my old table saw. DC to the cabinet and shopvac to the top. I worked very well. I had a run of 30' of 2" up to, across, and down from the ceiling for that.

    Note that loss triples for 2" PVC. While still not terrible compared to 80" it can be a noticeable difference depending on hoods and port sizes.
    Last edited by David L Morse; 07-02-2020 at 1:32 PM.
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    It has been remarked that if one selects his own components, builds his own enclosure, and is convinced he has made a wise choice of design, then his own loudspeaker sounds better to him than does anyone else's loudspeaker. In this case, the frequency response of the loudspeaker seems to play only a minor part in forming a person's opinion.
    L.L. Beranek, Acoustics (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1954), p.208.

  4. #4
    I have one of the wall-mount Shop Vac units connected to a Dust Deputy cyclone in my garage. The vac came with a 25' hose, and it works very well for dust extraction with my track saw. I assume it would work fine for other hand-held tools like sanders and a Domino as well.

  5. #5
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    Thank you guys this is good information. I’m at the point where I need to consider my long term options for effective dust control. Even though I’m only outfitted with a very modest tool collection at the moment, my space is very confined. Because of this confinement, dust and particulates are becoming a major concern. I’m just kinda going through some mental rambling as I’m away from home for a few months. Truth be told, I sometimes have to stop myself from attempting to reinvent the wheel so I appreciate the input

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by David L Morse View Post
    I've seen videos and forum posts on several shops where this has been done. The best setups use a central vac because those have enough pressure to work with long runs of duct as small as 1.5". A shop vac works well with 2.5" PVC. It's pressure loss is only about 6" per 100' at 100 CFM. A typical shop vac has around 80" total available so not much loss for that duct size. Electrical conduit is available in that size and has the advantage of very long sweep elbows.

    It can be really useful for things like mitersaws and radial arm saws where you need the high volume of a DC for large area collection as well as high velocity for the small dust ports on the blade shroud. I used that combination for my old table saw. DC to the cabinet and shopvac to the top. I worked very well. I had a run of 30' of 2" up to, across, and down from the ceiling for that.

    Note that loss triples for 2" PVC. While still not terrible compared to 80" it can be a noticeable difference depending on hoods and port sizes.
    very interesting that the loss seems significantly higher for the 2”. This is the kind of detailed information that makes this site so great. Thanks!

  7. #7
    For my router table, I have a 4 inch connection to my DC and branch it into a 4 inch into the router compartment (pulling from the collet area so I'm not fighting the cooling fan of the router) and a 2.5 inch to the fence. Similarly, my CMS gets a 5 inch inlet behind the saw and a 1.5 inch connection to the saw port, both from the same 5 inch duct gate. The table saw is also branched to have overhead collection.

    But my small tools, sanders, domino and track saw, all are served by a rigid shop vac pulling through a dust deputy and a Bosch 5 meter hose and exhausting through a quasi HEPA filter.

    I do not know how much piping a shop vac can handle but if you want to run some, you might think of central vac piping. It is thin wall 2 inch pvc and pretty inexpensive. Smaller is worse for back pressure but flexible is really bad. For me I only have the one area near my assembly/work/outfeed table to support so one hose works.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Fish View Post
    I’m reading through some threads here on dust collection (again) and have a question. I’m wondering if it’s feasible to have a smaller pipe connected to a shop vac or extractor running along the larger DC pipes for the small ports on some of the machines like my router fence or the little port on my 14” bandsaw just to name a few.
    How much pipe and fittings would just kill the efficiency of an average shop vac?

    I use a shop vac as a central vac. I'm slowly adding central vac tubing across the shop. Having the vac be outdoors, and have a cyclone outdoors, makes it almost silent in the shop. The loss of static pressure from flexible hose and long runs can be offset by having a good cyclone, and a cloth covering over the pleated filter. I use an air hose on the cloth filter once a day. I have found that doing this outdoors works great. I started out with 36' of shop vac hoses, stuck end to end. Even that worked OK. The right pipe has helped a lot.

    The amount of static pressure is enough to work great with a sander, little band saw, power plane, router table, and top suction on a rip saw. Another great use is for cleaning. Getting the dust off the floor fairly often lowers the levels of dust stirred up in the shop.

    I added a remote switch. The only improvement I plan on making is to put a light on the Long Ranger switch box, so that I will remember that the vac is running.

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