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As you've already mentioned, there's a big difference (including price) between a shop vac and a dust collector. As your shop grows, you should budget for a DC in the future.

Meanwhile, as previously posted, any dust collection is usually better than none. A shop vac is relatively inexpensive, and you'll always have use for one in your shop, for general clean up, and for use with handheld tools, such as routers and sanders.

Make sure the shop vac has a good filter (preferably HEPA-type), or it will end up blowing a lot of small particle dust back out into your shop (and lungs). BTW, IMO the box fan/furnace filter setup is a mixed blessing. While it does indeed trap a lot of air borne dust, a furnace filter is not fine enough to filter the smallest (and most dangerous) particles, which the fan blows back into the shop air.

From what I can tell, the DW745 dust port is sized for a shop vac hose, so the simplest solution is to connect the shop vac hose directly to the saw. A better solution is to get a Dust Deputy, connected between the vac and the saw. You'd be amazed at how much dust it traps, which will make keeping your shop vac filter clean a lot easier. An alternative to buying a Dust Deputy would be making a Thien separator.

Finally- or first- get a good respirator mask. Wood Whisperer has some good recommendations. Good luck, and keep cutting!
 

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I've been badly in need of finally adding proper dust collection to my router
My advice (free and worth every cent) is to take a step back and go with a shop vac for router dust collection. DC's (like those you mentioned) produce a lot of air flow (cfm), but at a relatively low vacuum (static pressure). They're particularly good when you need to move a lot of air for picking up a lot of material and/or large dust particles, such as when using a planer or jointer. Tools such as that usually have dust collection ports 4" or more.

The problem with routers, ROS, and other handheld tools is that the dust port is much smaller- 1-1/2" or less, in my experience. While the big DC's can move a lot of air, they just can't suck enough through that small opening, because they don't have a hich vacuum.

OTOH, a shop vac has higher vacuum, so it can suck dust through that small port better (but isn't nearly as good for the big tools).

My personal rule of thumb is: If the tool dust port is < 2" (e.g. handheld tools), use a shop vac for DC. If the port is 4" (or more), go with a DC.

I have a couple of stationary tools (Ryobi BT3100 table saw and Ridgid band saw) which have 2-1/4" (shop vac hose size) ports. I go with whichever hose is more convenient at the moment. For those, I'm not sure I can tell any difference between my DC and shop vac for dust removal performance.

That said, in deciding on a shop vac, I'd look at how much vacuum it can produce, and how noisy it is. Personally, the high pitch whine of a shop vac is really irritating, to the point that I built an insulated box to hold my vac, and for long sessions use ear muffs.

Finally, the best dust collection equipment you can get is a good respirator mask, esp. when routing and sanding. Your lungs will thank you.

Just my .02 Good luck and keep cutting! :)
 

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Freehand routing, most of the time - the dust adapter on the router gets the entire air flow, any hose between 1.25" (router) and separator pipe dia. will do.
FWIW, my solutions, such as they are, to router dust collection involve substantial scrounging. For freehand routing, I want the hose which attached directly to the router to be as flexible as possible. I went to Goodwill and for $12 bought an upright vacuum cleaner with a sturdy but flexible hose; tore out the hose, threw the rest away.

But how much flow do I divert to the fence? (And at what point would this combo do better with a big DC?) Is a 2 x 2 x 1.25 Tee or Y sufficient, or do I need to restrict the fence flow more to maximize router adapter flow?
My approach, based on nothing other than gut thinking, is to move up to a DC when the (total) cross sectional area of hoses is the same as a 4" duct or more. I don't know of any formula about what fractions to split flow between the router port and the fence. It depends on a lot of variables, such as bit geometry, how much of the bit is exposed, how big the bit is relative to the base plate opening, bit size relative to fence opening, etc., etc., etc. I'd say try using a Y with the same size hose to the fence and fence, and see how it works with your setup.
Or am I overthinking this?
Perhaps! OTOH, I could very well be under thinking it. :D

it's struck me that a more solid version of this, with suction on a sealed box underneath a porous (so to speak) table might be a good idea for freehand routing even with the dust collection on the router itself going.
Good idea, in fact such a good idea that it's already been pretty well worked out :)
Google "downdraft table", and you'll find a lot of designs. Homemade ones often use perforated hardboard (peg board) as a table top. Since you want a lot of airflow, they work better with DC's than with shop vacs.
 
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