I keep reading many of the dust collection threads, wondering if my simple system I have used for the last 20 years is adequate. This latest thread I have been following for the last month is very interesting, but definitely not something I would want to do. I must be a bit claustrophobic, but having a system that looks like a giant octopus about to swallow everything in sight doesn't suit me all that well. It might make sense for a commercial shop that runs 8 hours a day, but not for a hobbiest who spends a few hours a day playing in his shop. This system works for me, but it would be interesting to hear your thoughts.
Years ago my first dust collector was a one-horse-power Grizzly. It was a bad joke when hooked up to my planer. I purchased a two-horse model that did the job. The one-horse was hooked up to a bandsaw that always seemed to be in the middle of a cloud of dust when in operation, and the little dust collector worked just fine to solve that problem. I just wired it into the bandsaw, so when it is turned on the dust collector starts also.
I should mention that my shop has been moved four times over the last 30 years, so having a permanent huge system installed would be a problem if you had to move…
The two-horse collector sets in the middle of the machines that it is hooked up to. All the flexible hoses are fairly short and the machines can be rearranged when the whim strikes. All have excellent suction, and the trashcan separator does a nice job extending the time between bag emptying.
I built my own shop air cleaner 25 years ago, after reading an article in one of the wood magazines. It uses a 1500 CFM furnace filter and a 4" thick filter in front. It really solved the cloud of dust floating in the air when using hand routers and sanders. No shop should be without one of those.
I might add that the shop has several old shop vacs that are used on smaller machines for the rare times they will be used for more than a few moments.
There are many ways to solve a problem, and we all have to work with what suits us and our shop.