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Thread: Dust Collector recommendations

  1. #1

    Dust Collector recommendations

    Oh boy, reading the archives I can see this is not a simple question, which makes me feel good because I am completely lost.

    I have never owned a dust collector mostly due to inability to figure out what I need, and that needs to change. So, let me go over my shop, my needs, and then beg for advise. I think I'll need to budget between $3-5K including duct work, but that's not a hard limit.

    I have a 15x20 dedicated shop and am about to add an 8x20 attached second shop (sigh, property lines limit it to 8 feet).

    The tools I have that need a dust collector and not a shop vac right now are a 220volt SawStop and Laguna 14 inch bandsaw. I am planning on upgrading my router table, which will have the dust collector box. I am also eyeing the Hammer A3-31 to replace my Cutech Jointer/Rigid Planer. Everything else is a 2 inch shop vac hose. I do want that attachment that lets you shovel wood shavings into a slot on the floor to get sucked up. I have other tools that I don't think I attach to a DC (oscillating sander, drill press, miter saw, misc power sanders, lathe, scroll saw, etc).

    I am a pure hobbyist, I do not sell anything I make. I never have more than one tool at a time turned on. I don't like hassles, though, so detaching and reattaching is out. I'd like to vent into the workshop as it's air conditioned and venting outside makes the shop very hot.

    I am absolutely head spinning confused as to what direction I should even take. Big huge monster in the corner with gates? 4 standalone machines dedicated to each device? Tornado?

    Thanks for any help, I know it's a controversial topic.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Wenatchee. Wa
    Posts
    522
    I suggest that your first decision is fixed v mobile. If your machines are not being moved around then piping attached to the walls or ceiling with appropriate drops is convenient and easy. If you Plan to move your DC from machine to machine a good 2hp short cyclone would probably meet your needs well and save $.
    Last edited by Bernie Kopfer; 09-21-2021 at 12:41 PM.

  3. #3
    Hi Michael,

    Welcome to the fun topic of dust collection. The one thing you can spend months and years researching. My advice is to buy a good 220V canister dust collector and start there. I got this over the summer and it's probably one of the best machines out there for under $700. Don't fool around with bags. Buy the canister first and you won't regret it. Keeps your shop clean and the fine particles out of the air. You can hook up to 3 machines at once.

    https://www.grizzly.com/products/gri...series/g0548zp

    I wouldn't overwhelm yourself with entire shop systems, fancy duct work, and expensive cyclones. You can add a separator to a canister system very easily as well. Get started with something good and see where your shop takes you. Especially if you're a hobbyist and don't have all your equipment yet.
    Last edited by Robert London; 09-21-2021 at 1:29 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
    Posts
    1,374
    I started buying my Sawstop PCS 1.75 and a Jet DC1100VX 1.5HP dust collector.

    I soon added a Woodpecker Router table and Laguna 14/12 and a DW735 and a Jet 6" jointer.

    I was in a 2 car bay garage, where my wife parked each night, so everything was mobile.

    I decided to go with Schedule 80 6" sewer pipe and make my DC stationary. This worked well.

    I moved house, retired, and sole my 6" jointer and DW735 and replaced them with a Hammer A3-31.

    I plumbed my new garage with about 50' of 5" steel HVAC ducting (Home Depot) with three drops terminating in a Wye with a 4" and 2.5" blast gate.

    I converted my Jet DC to a two stage with a 55 gallon steel drum ($20 off FB Marketplace).

    I also added a Hammer F3 Shaper and a ShopFox w1812 Moulder.

    So far, my relatively cheap DC setup keeps up with the loads of the tools that generate a lot of shavings and sawdust.

    When using the Moulder or A3-31, I do monitor the Super Dust Deputy XL when it drops the waste into the 55 Gallon first stage, the 6" Dia hose can sometimes clog, maybe a little more CFM would force the chips into the first stage a little better.




    Monitoring the chip collection, from distance.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
    Posts
    1,374
    Same DC when planing a lot of Basswood on my old DW735


    At some point, I'll probably got with a Clearview 1800, but I struggle to justify my need while the Jet seems to be doing its job.

    On a side note, when I was planing that rough cut Basswood and then using my W1812 Moulder to make Plantation Louvers, I filled twelve 55G bags with clippings.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    11,182
    Hello Michael!

    10 people will have 10 suggestions! I personally am very happy I put in a 5hp cyclone (ClearVue) when I built my shop about six years ago. I put it in a 4x8 sound-insulated closet along with a 5hp air compressor to keep the noise down. The suction and the air the thing moves is incredible. The separation with the long cyclone cone is phenomenal - even powder-fine dust goes into the bin instead of the filters.

    Mine is a one-person shop with an occasional woodturning student, don't make things to sell, mostly use the DC at the lathe, bandsaw, tablesaw, and 22-44 drum sander. Have a new 8" jointer I hope to install soon, have a drop ready for it. Ducting with 6" PVC S&D pipe is pretty simple and not a huge expense. Blast gates on everything. Remote control keyfob turns it on and off. As monitored with a Dylos particulate air quality monitor the air stays far cleaner than it did in my last shop, even when doing a lot of drum sanding. My multi-use shop is about 1500 sq ft but the actual woodworking section is less than 500 sq ft. (the rest is DC closet, wood storage, welding shop, machine shop, 3d printing, equipment maintenance, office, farm medicine, feed storage, and peacock hatchery!) I don't consider the big cyclone overkill for this space. The cost was small compared to prepping the site, pouring concrete, building the shop, wiring, HVAC, etc. What are lungs worth?

    JKJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Rutman View Post
    Oh boy, reading the archives I can see this is not a simple question, which makes me feel good because I am completely lost.

    I have never owned a dust collector mostly due to inability to figure out what I need, and that needs to change. So, let me go over my shop, my needs, and then beg for advise. I think I'll need to budget between $3-5K including duct work, but that's not a hard limit.

    I have a 15x20 dedicated shop and am about to add an 8x20 attached second shop (sigh, property lines limit it to 8 feet).

    The tools I have that need a dust collector and not a shop vac right now are a 220volt SawStop and Laguna 14 inch bandsaw. I am planning on upgrading my router table, which will have the dust collector box. I am also eyeing the Hammer A3-31 to replace my Cutech Jointer/Rigid Planer. Everything else is a 2 inch shop vac hose. I do want that attachment that lets you shovel wood shavings into a slot on the floor to get sucked up. I have other tools that I don't think I attach to a DC (oscillating sander, drill press, miter saw, misc power sanders, lathe, scroll saw, etc).

    I am a pure hobbyist, I do not sell anything I make. I never have more than one tool at a time turned on. I don't like hassles, though, so detaching and reattaching is out. I'd like to vent into the workshop as it's air conditioned and venting outside makes the shop very hot.

    I am absolutely head spinning confused as to what direction I should even take. Big huge monster in the corner with gates? 4 standalone machines dedicated to each device? Tornado?

    Thanks for any help, I know it's a controversial topic.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    N. Idaho
    Posts
    1,243
    I have gone through a similar evolution to Chris, though don't have as many machines or the rad built-in clamp rack (yet!). I used a 2 HP system with 4" flex hose switched from machine to machine for a while until I knew where machines would land. I've since piped a SDD cyclone with 5"&4" HVAC and switched blast gates. The new set up works great, but if I decide to tweak the shop set up, it won't be trivial as it once was. The switched gates keep me from leaving more than one gate open, improving collection efficiency (and I can no longer lose the remote switch!).

    I did end up using all the flex pipe for the connections, so nothing lost there. Thus, you might consider getting a short cyclone like the one recommended and just use a flex hose initially. Pipe, fittings and switches will likely be 30-50% the cost of the collector, or more, depending on how much and fancy.

    If you don't have a need to collect every bit of dust (i.e., for health reasons), any solution will go a long way and you will hit diminishing returns quickly.

    Best,
    Chris
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Cashiers NC
    Posts
    561
    I fought with small dust collectors for several years . Then I installed a Clear Vue cyclone. It works and works well. The newer ones are even more powerful. I used 6Ē Sewer and Drain PVC ducting reduced to 4Ē on machines that wonít take a 6Ē. Put your cyclone outside in a seperate closet if you can. All I can hear from inside the shop is the rushing air. If you donít blow outside you can use filters and a return to the shop. In a small shop the space saved is appreciated.
    Last edited by Charlie Jones; 09-21-2021 at 2:12 PM.
    Charlie Jones

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Huntsville, AL
    Posts
    82
    I am a very pleased user of a Clear Vue Cyclones 5HP cyclone dust collector. I had a CV1800 model for several years in my home workshop and I've recently finished installing the CVMAX model in a shared community workshop where I now live. I join John K. Jordan and Charlie Jones in recommending the Clear Vue, for all the reasons John identifies. A complete installation in a shop your size is well within the budget you mentioned, depending on the amount of duct and fittings you need.

    The most important thing you should get clear on in your mind is: are you focused on just collecting the chips so you don't have as much cleanup to do OR are you focused on eliminating the harmful fine microscopic dust that stays floating in the air and can damage your lungs over time. For me, the answer was fine dust collection. And that decision led conclusively to a decision to invest in the Clear Vue Cyclones for my single user shop and now for our multi-user shop.

    If you haven't yet explored the information about dust collection at Bill Pentz's website, I encourage you to take a look at it.
    Last edited by Rush Paul; 09-21-2021 at 3:15 PM.

  10. #10
    One thing I'll add. I once had a much larger shop with a huge full-size 5hp cyclone with twin canister filters and ducting throughout. Then I downsized and ended up with a mobile Grizzly 2hp dust collector that I attach directly to my machines.

    The suction from the 5hp cyclone over 40' of ducting, compared to the 2hp flex-piped right to the machine (probably 5' worth) is about the same.

    My point is, don't get caught up in thinking you *must* get some huge machine to get the best suction. There are many factors, like ducting and so forth. If you want to get a large central unit and duct to every machine, that's fine, but if you want to get a smaller mobile unit and attach it directly to machines, that's fine too.

  11. #11
    Ok, I'll play the other side of the coin here. I like my small collector and don't find it inconvenient at all to move around.

    I've got an Oneida Mini Gorilla that I roll around and I use magnetic ports at every machine. Easy transfer from port to port. It does a pretty good job and didn't require the installation worries (or the cost) of a dedicated fixed machine. I have sub-8 foot ceilings (around 90 inches), so that WAS a factor in my decision making process, but I don't mind this setup at all. This one runs a 5" port, and I only have to reduce it to 4" for the Sawstop and the drum sander. I did this using a very technical process involving multiple wraps of gorilla tape around the 4" port until my 5" mag ports fit. Easy peasy.

    Most of my machines are vintage iron, so they had next to no provision for DC from the factory. I've built a plywood hood for the planer and my shaper fences are all homemade with a mag port on them. The 5" hose size is MUCH better for clearing masses of chips than the 4" hoses I've used before in other settings. By keeping a short length (5 feet) of flex hose on the DC and rolling it around close to each machine, it doesn't lose much suction. I don't recommend hanging fixed duct work for anything less than 3-5 hp, as I've seen several friends with a HF DC on sewer pipe spanning the entire shop that just don't seem to move enough air at the tool. YMMV.

    Caveat: I don't bother using dust collection on my jointer, as it's a 100 year old Crescent that is completely open below the tables. It piles chips in the floor in a neat pile for me, so it's easy to clean up with a dust pan. No harm, no foul. I also still wear a respirator if I'm doing a lot of heavy milling, resawing, or pattern work at the shaper, etc. as those operations can sometimes dump more stuff out than even a commercial collector would pick up due to the limited options for collecting dust at the tool. Don't get me wrong, I've still got the collector running, but if you think a bandsaw is ever going to achieve Sawstop levels of dust collection, you're kidding yourself.

    If you've got space and ceiling height for a full sized Oneida/clearvue, by all means, go that route, but it's not your only option.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    NW Indiana
    Posts
    2,743
    I had a 1.5 hp Jet and it just was not enough. I put in a 5 hp Oneida Gorilla and could not be happier. I am glad I bought it 5 years ago as prices have really gone up.

  13. #13
    Lots of good advice here. If you find you have to stay within your $3-5L budget, you can probably live with a 2hp cyclone collector and duct system for two or three multi-purpose drops. You would plumb in your two or three most used tools but allow for those ports to be shared with lesser used tools. A 2 hp collector is usually adequate for any single tool so long as leaks do not rob the tool of sufficient air. The big leaks are the blastgates, so you need to minimize the number of drops. Most ductwork leaks. Caulk or tape on the seams and fitting helps. After that you have to prioritize tolerable dust level. If you can’t afford the high end dust collection religion, then become a disciple of the dust mask and be religious about wearing it.

    I am glad to hear you a getting down to business to figure out what will work best for you. Your first question is a bit open ended and thus hard to answer succinctly. There is a lot of experience here that can be brought to bear on a specific question.

    Good luck on solving your dust collector problem.

    TW

  14. #14
    First, thank you everyone for information.

    Last year I looked at the Bill Penz stuff, the Oneida vs Clearvue heated discussions, and just threw up my hands.

    The big issue is lungs. I can always sweep, which is what Iíve been doing. However, if Iím going to do get a DC I want a really good one. It sounds like itís hard to go outright wrong with 5 HP no matter the brand.

    My shop is crowded, so moving a DC between machines is not going to happen. I live in Florida, so putting a DC outside the shop is not a good idea unless I want a moldy rusted out DC. With all my other tools backordered 6 months I think Iíll be looking for whatís in stock.

    As long as Iím throwing money into it, is there any next level up DC from the Oneida/Clearvue I should look into?

    Thanks.

  15. #15
    In answer to the Oneida vs ClearVue question, the 5hp Smart Dust Gorilla is variable speed and generates more flow against resistance than a conventional single speed fan like the 5hp ClearVue. If you have tools with 4” ports that can’t be expanded by adding a port or increasing the diameter then the Oneida has a clear advantage. It will get 900-1000 cfm through a 4” port. ClearVue will not. Time will tell whether the variable frequency drive that achieves that flow advantage is reliable over the long haul. I am getting the Oneida. If you want to buy my 2 hp Portable Dust Gorilla from 2013, I will be listing it soon in the Sawmill Creek classifieds.

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