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Dust Collection needs - new shop setup

#261155 by djscruggs » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:47 pm

I am setting up a small woodshop in an unventilated, unfinished area of my basement. Its pretty tiny at 7 x 15 ft. I have a Mark V with scroll saw and bandsaw attachments. I use a jointer, but not a planer (yet). I do intend to turn wood....my top priority.

I'm looking at 3 alternatives for dust collection:

1) Harbor freight: I learn from Woodworking guild that the $200 dust collector at Harbor Freight is a great value. This is probably the SAFE route, but its really big for such a small space https://www.harborfreight.com/70-gallon ... +collector

2) Harbor freight "junior" - HF has a smaller 1 hp 13 gallon unit for $150 that I'm attracted to because of its size and portability. (not that my tiny space requires a lot of portability, but it could be moved out of the way. However, there are a lot of rave reviews, but 25 negative ones that all say its not very powerful and doesn't suck like a shop vac would.

3) Lastly, someone here locally is selling a used dust collection system for $90 called an econoline (here's a link) https://www.zoro.com/econoline-dust-col ... /G2911352/ The specs on this say only 100 CFM which seems surprisingly low compared to other specs. Its available for $90.....the price is the major attraction.

I'm really trying to make a good decision, not a cheap one that I'll regret. But, I'm happy to buy used and cut some costs if possible. Can anyone weigh in on options

Also, are some dust collectors just for dust, not shavings?

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Re: Dust Collection needs - new shop setup

#261162 by jsburger » Tue Jul 16, 2019 4:44 pm

djscruggs wrote:I am setting up a small woodshop in an unventilated, unfinished area of my basement. Its pretty tiny at 7 x 15 ft. I have a Mark V with scroll saw and bandsaw attachments. I use a jointer, but not a planer (yet). I do intend to turn wood....my top priority.

I'm looking at 3 alternatives for dust collection:

1) Harbor freight: I learn from Woodworking guild that the $200 dust collector at Harbor Freight is a great value. This is probably the SAFE route, but its really big for such a small space https://www.harborfreight.com/70-gallon ... +collector

2) Harbor freight "junior" - HF has a smaller 1 hp 13 gallon unit for $150 that I'm attracted to because of its size and portability. (not that my tiny space requires a lot of portability, but it could be moved out of the way. However, there are a lot of rave reviews, but 25 negative ones that all say its not very powerful and doesn't suck like a shop vac would.

3) Lastly, someone here locally is selling a used dust collection system for $90 called an econoline (here's a link) https://www.zoro.com/econoline-dust-col ... /G2911352/ The specs on this say only 100 CFM which seems surprisingly low compared to other specs. Its available for $90.....the price is the major attraction.

I'm really trying to make a good decision, not a cheap one that I'll regret. But, I'm happy to buy used and cut some costs if possible. Can anyone weigh in on options

Also, are some dust collectors just for dust, not shavings?


The thing to remember dust collectors are not vacuums. With dust collection it is all about air movement not suction. You want as much CFM as your budget and space will allow. I would certainly steer clear of the Econoline at 100CFM. You will not be happy with it in a wood working environment.

The thing about the small HF unit is that they don't give the specs on the filter bag. You want at the very minimum 5 micron filtration. The large HF unit has that right out of the box and the filter is upgradeable to 1 micron. Plus the small HF unit does not have a separate bag for the larger chips.

Is it possible to locate the large HF unit outside the shop area and run a hose into the shop? I would definitely go with the large HF unit if possible.

---

John & Mary Burger
Eagle's Lair Woodshop
Hooper, UT

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Re: Dust Collection needs - new shop setup

#261164 by sehast » Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:38 pm

I agree with John. Go for the highest CFM machine you can afford and have room for. I tried to get by with a 650 CFM collector for years. When I upgraded to a 1550 I wondered why I endured with the 650 for so long. In my opinion anything below 330 CFM you would be better off with a good shop vac which is all that I lived with for quite a while as well.

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Re: Dust Collection needs - new shop setup

#261167 by RFGuy » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:08 pm

Some good advice already given above on dust collectors, but just to offer a little different perspective from another Shopsmith owner with a somewhat small shop (210 sq. ft). Your shop is half my size, so space is really a premium for you. First of all, if you can afford, and can fit a large dust collector in your shop, then by all means purchase one! To get a good quality 1.5 to 2HP dust collector (with cyclone), you are looking at spending between $1k and $2k minimum. This isn't a small purchase and when factored in with the size constraints of your shop (unless you can mount it outside and protect it), it may not be worth it. Another factor to keep in consideration is the noise. You have a small shop and any dust collector in this space will be very noisy, on top of the noise of the Shopsmith. A lot of 2HP and up dust collectors are in the 80dBA or higher noise range, which if you plan to run it while turning will be very loud.

Personally, I haven't been able to afford a "nice" dust collector yet for my shop. When I do, I want to mount it outside and protect it from the elements (to keep noise out of the shop and save much needed floor space). I have a Shopsmith DC3300, but it is under powered and only gets down to 1um filtering with the large dust hood, but it still leaks some dust. My interim (bandaid) solution is to use a good quality Shopvac vacuum (6.5 peak HP) connected to a ClearVue CV-06 Mini cyclone instead. At the Shopvac inlet, I get 6000ft/min air speed. The cyclone cuts this down (restrictive), but I still get 4000ft/min at the end of a 12' long 2 1/4" vacuum hose that connects to my Shopsmith. If you read Bill Pentz' dissertation (http://billpentz.com/woodworking/cyclone/index.cfm) on dust collection, you know that 4000ft/min is the range that is expected to carry large shavings and dust from the jointer, planer or table saw down the hose and back to the cyclone (so they don't clog or settle out in the ductwork). To keep exhaust dust to a minimum, I run HEPA bags and HEPA filters on my Shopvac. Using this setup, I record no rise in ambient level dust in my shop using my Dylos (see pic below) air quality meter while jointing or planing (which means it is working well). Table saw does release some dust due to problems with the guard design, but using a ZCI insert it is minimal for me. For most operations in my shop I can keep dust counts under 100-200ppm for <0.5um particle size while working.

I mention my setup, because it might be a good enough (and cheap) solution to get you by for now until you figure out what to do. These are small enough that they can easily fit under a bench, or be stacked to take up minimal floor space. My setup cost only $200 if you count the vacuum and cyclone, less if you already have a Shopvac. As an alternative I have heard good things about the HF DC. You can get it on sale for $160, but you do need to add a Wynn HEPA cartridge filter to it (about $200 I think), but you also need to add a cyclone like a Super Dust Deputy or some other 4" size cyclone. So, even though the HF DC is cheap, to get a good functioning dust collector out of it, you are looking at close to $1k to properly set it up. Without a good quality (<1um filter rating, preferrably <0.3um) filter on the exhaust all you are doing is recirculating dust in the air and making air quality worse for yourself. Another option is bypass the hood/filter and vent the exhaust directly outside (will create a pressure differential in your house and lose any heated/cooled air though).

The downside of my temporary ShopVac setup is that it is not meant for continuous duty. ShopVac motors are tiny and the blower is designed for suction, not airflow. If the ShopVac inlet (or exhaust) gets too restricted or blocked off, or you want to turn and/or sand your woodturning for hours on end, then my setup will burn up (literally). Only a true dust collector is meant for continuous duty use for woodworking. Again, my setup is TEMPORARY, but is saving me lots of money right now so that I can save up for my dream dust collector system that will be mounted outside of my small shop.

Keep in mind large (high CFM) dust collectors exist to move large amounts of air down the ductwork which is lossy. Your shop is probably too small to consider ducting, so directly connecting to each tool is probably good enough (hence lower airflow blower is "ok" with adequate filter). Whether it is a vacuum or a dust collector, as long as you get close to 4000ft/min at each tool, then that is all that matters (provided the exhaust filter doesn't release all the dust back in the air). Bottomline it is hard to justify a large DC in a small shop (in my opinion)...even though I want one.

Since your shop has some connection to your house (door, etc.), I highly recommend spending $200 on a Dylos (DC1100 PRO) air quality monitor so you can see what dust level you have in the shop and what might be getting into the house.

P.S. When I used my Shopsmith DC3300, I always had a rise in ambient dust in my shop even though I sealed all around the motor, etc. inside. That supposed 1um dust hood on it still pumps out a ton of small particle dust that is bad for your lungs. When I started with my ShopVac experiment I didn't know if it would work or not, but sure enough the HEPA bags and filter on it excel compared to the DC3300 and the airflow is nearly twice as much.

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Last edited by RFGuy on Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dust Collection needs - new shop setup

#261200 by djscruggs » Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:50 am

Oh MY GOODNESS!!! What helpful responses from all three of you! So glad I found this forum!

d

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Re: Dust Collection needs - new shop setup

#261202 by djscruggs » Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:55 am

You suggested putting the dust collector outside of the shop. I have a cinderblock wall that separates my workshop area from an unfinished, dirtfloored crawlspace under my living room, which is the front of my house.

I have a 1 foot hole in the wall about 5 feet up from the floor of my workshop that I could run a vent hose through. Would it be adequate to just use that hole 5 feet up as the suction vent? If I run a hose all the way down to the floor, that would make it a 10 - 12 foot distance to travel from floor up to the wall opening and back down to the dust collector on the other side. Since we're talking about dust, not wood chips, would that venting solution, 5 feet up, be adequate?

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Re: Dust Collection needs - new shop setup

#261203 by djscruggs » Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:58 am

wow, thanks for this very helpful and thoughtful response!

d

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Re: Dust Collection needs - new shop setup

#261204 by djscruggs » Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:01 am

many have suggested "just using a shopvac". Mine adequately picks up chips...but to clear the air of dust, do you have to just let it run for a certain period of time during and after using the machines?

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Re: Dust Collection needs - new shop setup

#261205 by RFGuy » Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:41 am

djscruggs wrote:many have suggested "just using a shopvac". Mine adequately picks up chips...but to clear the air of dust, do you have to just let it run for a certain period of time during and after using the machines?

There are no right or wrong answers, per se, when it comes to dust collection for a woodworking shop, other than you must do something for dust collection. However, there are pros and cons depending on which system you buy and how well it fits your particular shop and the type of woodworking you do. Let us know what you decide on and how well it works for you, or if you have any other questions. I have done a significant amount of research on dust collectors and tried to share that info in my post, but I think we are all learning when it comes to dust collection and I am open to feedback on this. The perils of breathing in a high dust environment can be quite severe and the effects are cumulative. When I started woodworking 3 decades ago, I think most of us were in the dark when it comes to dust collection and I certainly did my share of woodworking without dust masks, etc. when sanding in particular (at times it was like working in the Sahara in the middle of a sand storm). Now there is more widespread information out there for all of us. What is really great now is that there are affordable air quality monitors like the Dylos DC1100 so you can directly measure the particle counts in your shop.

Online, I see a lot of people start out in woodworking; they buy the HF unit...some hack it by putting a larger blower fan (impeller) on it, most add a Super Dust Deputy Cyclone in front of it, many swap out the filter bag for a Wynn cartridge (HEPA) filter. Often times after many years of solid use, they will upgrade from the HF unit to a complete commercial DC with integrated cyclone. The challenge for a small shop like mine, or an even smaller shop like yours is getting "good enough" dust collection without copying the DC designs of much larger, or even commercial level, shops (added expense and noise). DC's have to be properly sized to the shop and the ducting for it; similar to how HVAC ducting has to be properly sized and matched to the HVAC equipment. More ductwork adds more static pressure loss to a DC system, as does smaller duct versus larger duct. With smaller shops like ours, if you even do duct work it could be overkill to size over 4" PVC - the higher CFM DC's are only needed to move more air down a larger duct. If you can get away with direct tool connection and no ducting, then a large DC is overkill. Remember it is all about having a fast enough air stream at the tool dust port so that it captures nearly 100% of the dust and the large dust particles and wood chips don't fall out of the air stream and clog the line. Keep in mind that all Shopsmith equipment is designed for a single 2 1/4" dust port hookup, so this limits the airflow significantly. Unless you hack the ports on all the equipment, the min airflow needed is only 136 CFM at the port assuming the minimum 4000ft/min needed and the area of the port (FPM=CFM/duct area). So, purchasing a 1000CFM DC is way overkill for a Shopsmith, UNLESS you have significant ducting in your shop and/or are running multiple tools at once. Of course having more capacity is a good thing and the 2 1/4" port will flow more air up to a point, but I don't know how much more actual airflow you'll get through a 2 1/4" opening with a larger DC. Probably doubtful you'll see the 400-800cfm a lot of people claim is needed at a tablesaw/planer or jointer for instance. This is why all woodworking tools (other than Shopsmith) put 4" or larger dust ports on their tools now. Shopsmith has kept the legacy 2 1/4" ports unfortunately which are very restrictive to airflow.

For me, for now, I can live with a Shopvac, but it requires running a HEPA bag and HEPA filter on it AND a cyclone in front of it so it doesn't quickly clog up, i.e. airflow stays high. Downside to it, is I really can't let it run for say an hour while sanding a woodturning. Shopvacs are made to turn on, for maybe 5 minutes and turn off. They will overheat and thermal limit, whereas a dedicated DC is meant for continuous duty. Some day, when I can afford it, I will get a large cyclone DC and mount it outside my shop. It will be overkill for my Shopsmith and needs, BUT it will be needed somewhat to maintain the required airflow over the length of duct, especially the verticals that I intend to install. It is a "want" and a "nice to have", but I can't afford it at this time. My DC3300 was insufficient for me, but the Shopvac+cyclone has made a world of difference in my shop, but it has limitations.

Sorry for all of that, but just wanted to make sure that I clarified a few points from my previous thread. Now, to answer your new question. Yes, you will need some alternative air cleaner in addition to the DC. In an ideal world if you have good dust capture at every tool and a good dust collector with excellent exhaust filter, then you would NEVER need an air cleaner. We do NOT live in an ideal world. I have a JDS Airtech 2000 hanging from my ceiling. There are lots of other brands out there, Jet, Powermatic, etc., etc. These go for around $300 or more. Basically just a good quality filter(s) with a squirrel cage blower in it to scrub the air. If you can fit one of these great, but if not an alternative and cheap solution is to go buy a $20 box fan from anywhere and get a pleated paper air filter (like you get for HVAC system). Buy a good size to fit the box fan and attach it to the inlet side of the box fan (bungee cords or however you want to attach it). Running this in the background all the time will scrub the air and can quickly get better air quality in your shop. You really can't use the Shopvac for this because it has a small air inlet which means it would take a long time to cycle the air in the shop, but you can't run a Shopvac all the time either or it's teeny tiny motor would burn up. Larger DC's can do a similar function if you leave one port open to suck in shop air to clean it, but it takes them a much longer time to cycle the air than a JDS, Jet, etc. air cleaner. Bottomline is for sanding in the shop (hand or power tool), you really need an air cleaner in addition to a DC. Unless you are running a Festool sander with a Festool vacuum, just about any variation of sanding will introduce significant dust into your shop and you can only capture so much of it with a DC. An air cleaner is a must IMHO, but presents another challenge in trying to fit it into your small shop...can you mount one on your ceiling or is the basement ceiling short?

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Last edited by RFGuy on Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dust Collection needs - new shop setup

#261206 by twistsol » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:50 pm

High CFM is what pulls in the fine particles. High suction allows you to pick up the larger chips etc. Shop vacs are typically high suction, whereas dust collectors are high CFM. If I had to choose between the two, go with the high CFM since you can go back and get the heavy dust later. The fine and ultra fine dust will migrate everywhere and is what gets into your lungs and can cause health issues.

According to the chart in the following Wood Magazine article, nearly all WW machines require at least 350 CFM.

https://www.woodmagazine.com/figure-dus ... he-numbers
Last edited by twistsol on Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

---

Thanks much,

Chris Phelps

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