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Thread: Dust collection for small shop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Midland, TX
    Posts
    4

    Dust collection for small shop

    My "shop" consists of a small shop that is used primarily for tool storage and my garage, where I move the tools that I'm using at any given time. I've reviewed the excellent comments, particularly those from Bill Pentz, in several threads about dust collection, but most deal with set-ups that are more than I can accommodate. I have tried hooking a 6 hp shop vac to 2.5" ports on the tools that I have. That works OK on a table saw and router table, but quickly clogs with my big Rikon belt sander. The Clearvue mini-cyclone for use with a shop-vac looks like it might be a good choice to solve this problem. I know I'm not going to capture a lot of the fine dust, but I wear a dust mask and much of my work is actually outside the garage. Anyone have any experience with the Clearvue cyclone for a shop vac or a good solution to dust collection in a shop situation like mine. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Just outside of Spring Green, Wisconsin
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    9,442
    Max, first off, welcome to the Creek! Hope you make it a habit. As for your inquiry, you may want to check out this thread: http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=36599

    It gives a little insight to the mini you're looking at. Another option may be one of the larger dust collectors with the cartridge type filter on them, which you could roll around to seperate machines as you work. Let us know which way you decide to go with that!
    Cheers,
    John K. Miliunas

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  3. #3
    While I am no expert by any stretch I too started out with a shop vac as my dust collection system. I also had (and still do) have too little space to do all that I would like in my shop. But adding a "real" dust collector has made a night and day difference for me. for one it is actually able to keep up with my planer and jointer without having to stop and empty it out every couple of passes. Another thing that surprised me is that I actually don't use much more floor space with a dust collector then you do with a shop vac plus whatever cyclone type pre stage you attatch. It stays tucked away in an odd corner of the shop that wasn't of much use for anything else. As for the cost I am using the Harbor Freight dust collector that I ended up getting for just under $130 w/ tax after all of the discounts about 6 months ago. I upgraded the upper bag for $30 and use a plastic bag in a fiber drum on the bottom. An added benefit that I appreciate more and more each day is the fact that a dust collector will be soooo much quieter than a vac. Don't get me wrong though I still use my shop vac to help with dust collection... I simply open up a couple of doors, turn on a couple of fans, switch the hose over too the exhaust port, hit the power and start dust collecting to the great outdoors.

    Hope this hepls,
    Craig

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Midland, TX
    Posts
    4

    Good information.

    Thanks for the thread--it had some good comments about the Clearvue mini-cyclone. As for portable units, I've only looked at the Delta models at the local Lowes and wasn't too impressed--I'm not sure I'd get a lot of performance for the price and they take up a good bit of space that is increasingly at a premium. From what I've read, the Oneida-Air unit would be an excellent portable DC, but at a premium price. The cyclone isn't so expensive that purchasing it now would impair future upgrading. I think I'll probably give it a try and report back.

  5. #5
    Max,

    Craig's reply sure makes good sense. I was giving some thought to the mini to replace my AP400 cheapo, but after thinking about it, I believe I am going to hold off.

    Oh btw.... Welcome to SMC

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Overland Park, Kansas (KC Area)
    Posts
    67
    Max - I have the Oneida version of the mini-cyclone. I used it with my Random Orbital hand sander and it does a very nice job sifting through the majority of the fine dust so that only a small amount of dust makes it to the shop vac filter. That's really the only benefiit I see. I would not suggest that it will help you improve the overall suction of the shop vac though. If you're having clogging problems, you may want to look at a bigger DC system.

    Hope this helps. Regards, Justin

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    5,118
    Max, when you say the sander is clogging the shop vac, do you mean the filter is getting clogged with fine sawdust? If that is the case, I would suggest investigating bags you can put in your shop vac and switching to a HEPA filter.

    I use a 12-gallon Shop-Vac (the actual SV brand), along with their bags, their Cleanstream-made HEPA filter, and a custom cyclone lid on top of a 6-gallon clear garbage can I purchased at Wal-mart. While it is true that this combination won't increase CFM, it sure does the trick for me on all the tools I've got (including an 8" jointer/planer).

    And the real benefit is that the fine dust that this vac gets it keeps, down to .3 micron.

    Now, if you are clogging your hoses, you either have to get a larger hose (2.5" instead of 1.25"), or a bigger dust collector rig.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Midland, TX
    Posts
    4
    Thanks for the comments. I have the largest Sears shop-vac, and the problem is as you described--the OEM filter gets clogged with both fine dust and regular sawdust and I loose suction. Sounds like the cyclone may solve the problem until I decide/have room to move to a DC system of the size I'd like to have. I think the extra filter I purchased is a HEPA--will check to be sure and change out.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
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    5,118
    Just remember that the cyclone passes the fines back to the vac. And the fines clog filters best. So a bag for the vac will help tremendously (Sears sells 'em). And a Goretex HEPA filter helps as they don't clog as badly as the OEM filter.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Max Wright
    My "shop" consists of a small shop that is used primarily for tool storage and my garage, where I move the tools that I'm using at any given time. I've reviewed the excellent comments, particularly those from Bill Pentz, in several threads about dust collection, but most deal with set-ups that are more than I can accommodate. I have tried hooking a 6 hp shop vac to 2.5" ports on the tools that I have. That works OK on a table saw and router table, but quickly clogs with my big Rikon belt sander. The Clear Vue mini-cyclone for use with a shop-vac looks like it might be a good choice to solve this problem. I know I'm not going to capture a lot of the fine dust, but I wear a dust mask and much of my work is actually outside the garage. Anyone have any experience with the Clearvue cyclone for a shop vac or a good solution to dust collection in a shop situation like mine. Thanks!
    Max,

    As the person who designed that Clear Vue cyclone I know a little about this subject. That little cyclone will keep your vacuum filter from plugging and make emptying it easier, but is not going to move enough air to provide you with good dust collection at your larger tools. Which dust collection system is best for you depends upon what level of dust collection you want, the size of your shop, the size and type of your tools, and your budget.

    If you only want good “chip collection” meaning picking up the same sawdust and chips that you would otherwise sweep up with a broom, you need about 350 CFM and pretty much all 4” ducting going right to each machine. Almost any good dust collector sized 1.5 hp or larger, or almost any cyclone sized 2 hp or larger will provide that 350 CFM needed for good “chip collection”. Any of these moves so much air compared to your current vacuum there will be an unbelievable improvement in performance.

    If you want good fine dust protection, then you have a different challenge. The easiest solution is buying a good mask like the 3M 7500 and working outside. Working inside requires also wearing a mask and blowing the shop out regularly with no air shared with your home. Unfortunately with basement shops and shops that share the air with your home then you need a good fine dust collection system. Even buying a good fine dust collection system will not protect you if you don’t use it wisely. After buying the best advertised cyclone and filter available for my garage shop, I landed in the hospital with dust triggered serious health problems. That inspired me to do some serious homework to figure out why and how to make repair.

    I discovered most including me are so happy after getting their first dust collector that it takes a long time to realize there is still a problem. In spite of doing minimal woodworking and having the big cyclone, that fine coat of dust that kept building in my shop pushed my exposure up way too high, plus contaminated my home. Eventually I developed a sensitivity followed by a bad allergic reaction and chronic infections.

    That explained what happened, but figuring out why required getting an air quality evaluation and some test gear. I found my and most other dust collectors and cyclones move too little air to do a good job capturing the fine dust as it is made. Worse, in spite of advertising claims most come with wide open filters that provide a false sense of security because they filter off most of the visible dust while passing the finest unhealthiest dust. This finest dust is made up of particles sized under 10-microns. A 10-micron dust particle is about one tenth the thickness of a human hair and about the smallest we can see without magnification. It takes six months or longer for this dust to dissipate and be broken down by molds, fungi, etc. OSHA testing shows even the cleanest looking shop with an indoor venting dust collector or cyclone tests with dangerously unhealthy dust levels.

    We can make repair if we have a shop that does not share air with our home. Buy a Jet or Delta 1.5 hp dust collector or just about any 2 hp or larger dust collector, always wear a mask while working, and thoroughly blow out our shops with a good leaf blower after making fine dust. Most find this too inconvenient, so end up wanting a good fine dust collection system. It takes more time and money to build a good fine dust collection system. We need to fix our tools, move enough air, and get rid of the fine dust.

    With most tool hoods and ports setup for the roughly 350 CFM needed to collect the same chips and sawdust we would otherwise sweep up with a broom, most tools require remaking or adding better hoods and using larger dust collection ports.

    Over twenty years of air engineering and testing shows to meet the lowest permitted air quality standards we need to move about 800 CFM at our larger tools and either blow the air outside or provide fine filtering. It takes about 1000 CFM to meet the air quality that most medical folks agree upon and which are already the standard adopted in Europe. Because CFM varies depending upon the resistance of your ducting, hoods, tool ports, tools, and filters, a 2 hp dust collector or 3 hp cyclone able to move a maximum of about 1200 CFM will be hard pressed to even move 600 CFM to tools located across a shop when your filter is getting dirty.

    As a result, to ensure moving ample air the math and physics say we need at least 2.5 hp blowers on our dust collectors and at least 3.11 hp blowers on our cyclones to move the 800 CFM to meet minimum government air quality standards. To move the 1000 CFM to meet the higher air quality standards we need at least 3 hp dust collectors and at least 4.25 hp cyclonea. These numbers will let us have good airflow just about anywhere in a two car garage sized shop if we use 6” ducting mains and down drops. If you can locate your high air demand tools right next to your dust collector then a 1.5 unit with minimal 6" diameter ducting will move ample air. Likewise you can get by with a 2 hp cyclone, but in either case give up the ability to have the flexibility to locate your tools where you want in your shop.

    Getting rid of the fine dust requires either blowing the fine dust away outside or filtering. Most commercial shops in all but the most extreme climates blow their finest dust outside and that is what I recommend because fine dust rapidly clogs, wears out, and ruins fine filters. Most dust collectors and standard cyclones put close to 100% of the fine dust into the filters. The better cyclone designs with neutral vanes still put about 60% of the fine dust into the filters. At these dust loads I do not recommend use of fine filters on most dust collectors or cyclones. I instead recommend putting dust collectors outside and exhausting cyclones directly outside. This requires make up air and you should use a carbon monoxide detector if you have any fired appliances or burn anything in your shop. In my case due to legal and local restrictions I have to filter. Some also choose to put wyes on their cyclone output where in mild weather they can blow outside and in harsh weather can filter. Most find their heaters and air condidtioners can keep up with normal hobbyist use while exhausting outside.

    Tired of dust baths every time I had to constantly empty my dust collectors I bought one of the best cyclones. It did not move ample air and constantly plugged the filter. I got rid of that unit upgrading to the best recommended cyclone available. It worked no better and in fact was an exact copy of the first I bought. Frustrated, I put my over thirty years of enegineering experience to work and engineered my own cyclone design then shared my plans about seven years ago. This is the same design you saw in the small Clear Vue vacuum cyclone. There are over 3000 people now using cyclones of my design who are very pleased because it provides much higher fine dust separation to better protect your filters and hopefully your health. I think if you cannot blow the dust outside and want good fine dust collection you should seriously consider making a cyclone from my design on my web pages or buying a unit made from my design. I also recommend you power it with my recommended impeller, blower design, and heavy duty motor. I tried to help by working out discounted prices on the parts from Clear Vue Cyclones, Electric Motor Warehouse, and Wynn Environmental.

    bill

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Griswold Connecticut
    Posts
    4,225
    Max.

    First off. Welcome to Sawmill Creek and pleased to meet ya'.

    Shop Vac's "suck" for dust collection, and they're way too noisy. High D/P low CFM. Get a nice dust collector, budget affording, and place it outside of the shop. Bring the "trunk" in and tap off to the individual machines as necessary. It's not perfect, but it will help quite a bit.

    I have a small shop (low ceilings) and struggle with dust collection also.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cutler
    Max.

    First off. Welcome to Sawmill Creek and pleased to meet ya'.

    Shop Vac's "suck" for dust collection, and they're way too noisy. High D/P low CFM. Get a nice dust collector, budget affording, and place it outside of the shop. Bring the "trunk" in and tap off to the individual machines as necessary. It's not perfect, but it will help quite a bit.

    I have a small shop (low ceilings) and struggle with dust collection also.
    Mike,

    Your low ceiling height problem is not that unusual and there are a few options that most don't know about which will still let you use a good cyclone.

    A couple of months ago Ed with Clear Vue made available his smaller cyclone pictured below that we have been working on for quite a while. This unit provides the same exceptional fine dust separation available from Ed's larger cycone but is only 82" high so will work with a lower ceiling height.

    Another option is you can tilt most cyclones up to about 45 degrees and sill get pretty good separation. There is some loss in fine dust separation as you tilt, but this still works.

    bill

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Midland, TX
    Posts
    4

    Thanks for all of the information

    Bill and everyone who responded to my inquiry,

    Thanks for all of the information--a lot to think about! I've been visiting Sawmill Creek since July, but this was my first post and I've received many good suggestions and ideas in just a short period of time. I appreciate the long post from Bill--a real education on the problems associated with dust collection in a variety of settings.

    Much of my work is either in an open garage or outside (depending, frankly, on the status of the shade and the Texas temperature). I have a 24" industrial shop fan that I position close to where I'm working--I bought it for the breeze but am pleased to find out that it probably helps move the fine dust on out into the great outdoors.

    For the immediate problem I have, which is probably more coarse dust and chip related, I'm leaning towards the Clear-vue cyclone with the shop vac for now with a top quality portable unit such as the Oneida-air being put high on the list of future acquisitions that I'm negotiating with my wife (let's see, does that go ahead of the high-end 18" bandsaw--yeah, probably so). It should keep up with most of the tools I have. The idea of an inexpensive DC that will be quieter than the shop vac and move more air through a 4" hose does, however, have some appeal. Based on the threads I've read on the Harbor Freight DC, the 2hp model might be a good choice. I've printed off all of the posts and just need to review in detail, then make up my mind which way to go.

    Again, thanks to everyone for your posts.

    Max

  14. #14

    small shop DC?

    I'm new to sawmill creek. After reading Bill Pentz articles I'm convinced to do dc right. I don't have nor ever will have a phd in "air engineering". I'd like to start by thanking Bill Pentz for all the info you've posted on the web. It's a bit over my head and i'd like some advice. If i walk into woodworking store the sales man won't show me air flow charts. I know someone has set up like mine that is working. Setting up in a 2 car garage size space. i can begin with a portable system. My ceiling are 9'. planer, jointer, table saw, bandsaw, chop saw will be modified form proper set up to 6" ports. All with in 6-8' from access point if portable. My guess is i'm shooting for a 2hp cyclone with a 6" duct size. Any one running some thing like this? Help? Where'd you get it? Don't want to do metal work.

  15. #15
    Max, it is, indeed, a great honor to have Bill's personal advice. He has done more than anyone alive to aid woodworkers in their quest to improve dust collection. The Clear Vue cyclone, combined with Wynn filters, is truly an excellent device.

    Cameron Reddy

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