Down the DC Hole... or DC Project Part II
Funny how you start putting in a DC system and the costs add up quickly... Mostly in the DC connections and fittings. I probably spent more in fittings, connections, ABS pipe, hoses and misc than I needed to... Probably more than on the DC itself... With lots of fitting left over, because after starting, they didn't workout or fit into the plan.
Before, I used a 2" system with a vacuum that originally was a comercial truck-mount type vacuum mounted in a 35 gallon drum, with the hose set up like a cyclone. This did me well for a while. It had plenty of vacuum pressure and throughput. The flow was probably around 750-850cfm... until the motor's bearings in this old unit went... When it was still working, Before it broke down I would just move the barrel to where I was working and hook it up. My planer had both a 2-1/2" & 4" connector, but was fine on the 2-1/2" connector.
Then I got a new saw, it had a 4" DC port that said it required 1050 cfm... I decided I needed to get a bigger more traditional DC and to install static DC lines with drops. I decided to get a traditional Dust Collector rated at 1100 to do that. I decided to put in a separator to collect to shavings.
I got a great deal on a HF 2HP Dust Collector for about $174. It was on sale, then I got anther 20% off. If was a cylone type, but emptied into a plastic bag and flitered through a cloth bag.
Then I needed to connect it to what I needed to. I first bought an economy HF 4" DC starter kit. I got it by hook and crook using another 20% discount... I figured for the price, how could I go wrong, right? Wrong... I got what I paid for- 2 10' 4" hoses, 1 4" Y, various machine connectors for a contractor saw, and 2 that I'll probably use on one of my router fences. I probably should have spent it on a starter kit from Woodcraft or Rockler. It might have been with things I could have used all. The hoses... well, they are usuable, but they are a bit undersized. You really have to work to get it on a DC fitting. I think they were meant to use with tapered fitting as they won't work with standrd 4" DC fittings.
Then I went and bought black ABS sewer pipe and fittings. Why? because I could go from there to white drain pipe (with available adapters). I could also put in a 4-to-2" tee. A short piece of 2' black ABS pipe... which 2-1/2" hose will just slip over. I thought that maybe with drain pipe, I could put the hose on it, But it is just a little too big...
So I cut 2 thin wedges across from each other, about 2-1/2" long... Heated it up with a heat gun, then shaped it too close the cutouts and created tapered fittings... Help it until it cooled (gloves)... Then 1 layer of duct tape.
The I went to a woodworking supply. Was a 3 hour drive each way. I figured I could hit the store before it's DC sale was over. I figured I could pick up a 10' 4 inch hose, a 10' 2-1/2" hose, a 2-1/2" blast gate, a few ABS DWC to DC adapters, a few 4" ends, etc. Even on sale, it adds up fast. I ended up buying a cyclone lid for 4" connectors. It is sort of an odd diameter, but I can make it work.
Not as fast as the person that arrived there at the same time. He had 2 shopping carts. We were picking through the bins together. Seems he was getting them for his shop. 10HP DC with too much suction. All his machinery was hooked up, with everything open and he still had too much suction... so he figured he'd open up another 15 holes for shop cleanup (15 10' 4" hoses) with all the fittings and adapters to be able to vacuum or clean. "Too much vacuum"... "We" should be so lucky!
Another lesson learned- DC fiitings fit into black ABS pipe. I used short pieces of ABS as nipples to fit DC fittings together. ABS fittings were cheaper than CD fittings. I could have used PVC/ABS multi-media adhesive to put it all together... But since just starting out with it, and not sure I wanted to change it around yet to improve it... I instead used screws and duct tape.
By this time, the hoses from Woodcraft were a pleasure to work with. All the fittings That wouldn't work with the HF hoses, worked just just fine with the new clear helical hoses. For the 2-1/2 inch hoses, I had bought fittings with lugs. They twisted right on and sealed. I thought that I should have done more like that. It was a couple more dollars in cost for those fittings- but definitely much less in my labor and frustration.
Last addition was the seperator. I had bought a Cyclone lid from Woodcraft. It was inexpensive and I figured it would be a good start. It's made to fit on something around 20-1/2" outside diameter. (just the size of a 31 gallon steel trash can) I was going to make a conversion for it to fit on a 55 gallon drum... But darn-it, you know- I went looking at my steel and plastic barrels, I found a 31 gallon can that I had been using for my horses grain, that I wasn't using any more, so... Well, I was surprized. I thought I was going to have to add a Thiel-type of baffle to it, but I don't really see anything coming from it to the DC's collection bag. So, it is staying as is for now. I'll use that as is and see what fines are getting by it... Time will tell. I already looked into an A-35 filter kit for my DC, if needed.
After action- If done again, the only DC fittings I would have bought (At a woodworking supply) would have been the hoses, hose ends, and gates. For the hard pipe itself, I might have gone to an irrigation supply and researched schedule 20 4" pipe and fittings. Box store have scedule 40 PVC, but no fittings in stock for them. Schedule 20 PVC might have been cheaper than ABS... But getting ABS from an irrigation would have been cheaper than a box store also. The other fittings I have here now... well, they may just sit here to collect dust (for the what if's) or I'll find a way to return them.
I think my next task is to look for and seal leaks. It's collecting... But is has a lot less suction than I'd expect from a 2HP system. Not really sure whats going on. Maybe my gates are letting too much by them? Thought I would cap off the line past the gates that are not being used and keep them... or seal off all the joints... something. The lid on the separator is foam... maybe replacing with a dense rubber foam seal(?)
If I block the hose, I can see the separator lid compress down on the can... but still, it doesn't seem like it's much. Maybe I was just spoiled by that commercial truck-mount wet-dry vacuum that would collapse a steel barrel if you weren't careful.
"Don't worry, I saw this work in a cartoon once."
"Usually learning skills and tooling involves a progression of logical steps."