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What dust collector?

4870 Views 13 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Learning Herb
Have been saving up for a dust collector. Was wondering what people had and what to look for.
I found this site:
that talks about the concerns of dust and wood working, and their particular solution, but was wondering what everyone else uses.
I am just a hobby woodworker with your basic garage workshop.

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Most everyone has and benefits from some sort of DC system in their shop. I just recently purchased the Delta from Lowes at their 20% off sale and still in the process of setting up shop. I am hoping it will help both me and the shop stay cleaner and healthier. I too am doing mine for hobby purposes.

I understand that Harbor Freight is a popular model. You might want to check them out before purchasing.
There is a wide selection, with a wide range of $$$$.
I and many others have the Harbor Freight 2 hp, 1250 cfm unit. It is frequently available on sale for $150, or less. Add 0.3 micron bags (most units come with 30 micron bags which just pulverize the dust into smaller particles and spit it back into your lungs) from Grizzly for ~$25 each, and you have a valuable, affordable system.
If you are serious about your health, in addition to a good dust collector, you want to look at an air filter, such as the Jet AFS1000b. These units get all the fine stuff in the air that the piped DC misses. This unit is $250, often on sale on Amazon for less than $200, and makes a huge difference in the fines in the air and on everything in your shop. Remember that you are doing dust collection and air filtering for your health, therefore it is not only for you, it is also for your family.
Merry Christmas, Seasons Greetings.
The Harbour Frieght does look like a good deal. I understand an after market air filter kit can be added. Has anyone done that? Is it worth it?
Best of the season to you too.
I have a grizzly 11/2 hp. and I think it is great and a good price to .It is only $239.95 and it does an fine job. But what ever one you buy it helps you breath a lot better and helps with all the wood chips.
Learning Herb
I read a story one time, they claim its true but I don't know.

It seems that after making some nice woodworking project this person took his new digital camera out to the shop and was going to make some memories. He looked at the shop and thought it looked a little messy. He set the camera down and unhooked the 4" hose to get some of the sawdust vacuumed up. Well you can guess where this is going, yes he sucked up the camera and before he could shut it off the impeller ate it. Some memory.

Having told you that story, what ever type you buy have a separator between the intake and the impeller. And make sure you take care of the static electricity by grounding the system.

Well I was cleaning up one day with a 4" hose and sucked up a 1/2 of a bath towel ,Lucky for me I have a trash can separator before the D.C. but that is where it went rigth in the can , I think it cleaned out all of the hoses on the way. You realy have to watch where you put the end of that hose.
Learning Herb
several owners have installed the Wynn cartridge cannister to the HF dust collector. There are instructions on the wynn web site.
If you are looking for a good deal on a dust collector consider this: The dust collectors most people use are really just collecting the bulk of the chips, IE a shop vac. A couple people have suggested using a seperator to divert the bulk of the solids along with finer filtering media to reduce particle size even more. Both of these are very good ideas. The overhead air filters are a great idea to reduce dust even further. The only problem is that these items start to add up in price quickly. So what is a good low cost option? A 5 gallon shop vac fitted with an aftermarket HEPA filter, attached to a seperator lid on a garbage can will set you back under $100. Less if the shop vac & can are used. Many flea markets have used household HEPA filters for sale cheap, and after all, what you are looking for is fine particle capture, right? With sanding being the single worst offender for small particles, a homemade downdraft sanding box built out of perfboard will attach quick and easy. And of course keep a supply of dust masks on hand and use them EVERY time you sand.
If you build your own dust collection system, a PVC toilet flange is a perfect match for attaching 4" hose to a cabinet.

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Could you guess statistically, what the difference would be in dust collected using your standard shop vacuum with a hepa filter vs. a dust collector with a .3 micron filter? As I have never used a dust collector before, I guess I am trying to figure out if it is worth the money. I don't mind spending it if it is worth it, I just don't want to waste it if my shop vac will do the trick.

Shop vacs and dust collectors are not intended for the same purpose. Go to and

There is a wealth of information on those two forums on dust collection, especially the HF unit.
Dustmaster, Ken is right. Of course the commercial dust collectors do a better job. I was trying to provide an inexpensive solution for people on a tight budget or perhaps just starting out and unsure of how deeply they want to get into woodworking. Only you can answer how much woodworking you will be doing, what your budget allows for. If you are going to build only a few projects a year there is no reason for the expense of a commercial dust collector, but you still need dust collection.

I am runing a grizzlyDC with a 55 gal. seperator.and I made a dust filter with a box fan and a heater filter and hung it on my cealing, with both of them on they work great, The box fan only cost $10.00 bucks,The filters are four for three bucks at wal-mart.
So you can't beat the price.
Learning Herb
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