Home / How to / Small Shop Dust Collection That Sucks!!!

Small Shop Dust Collection That Sucks!!!

Hey guys hows is it going? Hope everyone out there is doing good and staying safe. On I want to talk a little bit today about dust collection. Every wood shop need some sort of dust collection. This serves a few different purposes. One is to help to keep the shop clean. A clean shop is much easier and much better to work in. I have had a couple of small shops now and the first shop really for the longest time had no form of dust collection and it really did make working in the shop a bit difficult at times. Especially if you use tools like a router table or miter saw a lot. These tools throw a ton of wood chips and dust into the air. Not only is this hard on your lungs but it can also get into your eyes as well it starts to accumulate on your tools and clothes. This all in all can take a lot of the enjoyment out of what ever you are working on on top of being dangerous for your eyes and lungs. So having some sort of dust collection in a must have if at all possible.

After having no dust collection I then had a one horsepower delta dust collection system that did work and was a great improvement on no system or a shop vac. This system however still had its draw backs mainly that the Delta was a bit under powered and also it took up a lot of space. Even though the system was on a mobile base it still was a bit cumbersome and could get into the way. It was now time to upgrade to a bit stronger of a dust collection system and also find a way to keep it from taking away as much room to work with in the shop. I got a system from a friend that had just upgraded to a large system in his shop and had a Central Machinery 2 Hp Dust Collection System he was looking to sell. Not only was this a stronger system that the delta I had been using but it also was a modular system that would allow for remote mounting of the motor and impeller from the Filter and secondary collection bag. I decided to make a set up where the motor and separator would be outside the shop mounted to the exterior of the building and the return filter would be inside. I will go over the reasoning behind this in just bit. First lets get into the install.

I started off with a 31 gal steel garbage can you can get these anywhere really I think I picked this one up at Lowes for around $25. I was going to go with a 55 gallon drum as most people do but was very glad that I did not once I had the install going. Due to the height restrictions on where I could mount the filter and funnel inside the shop a 55 gallon drum would be difficult to fit into place. Though not impossible. I will likely change to one later on with some modification to the drum or system.

I used a piece of plastic that I had here in the shop from a sandpaper package that just happened to have a hole in the lid that was the perfect size for the cut out that would be needed for the cyclone inserts. After marking the circle with a marker I used a ½ Inch drill bit to drill in a pilot hole. Then used the jig saw as and metal blade to cut the circle out of the steel lid.

After the main holes for the cyclone inserts had been cut out I used the top side of the insert to mark the holes for the mounting bolts. One thing to keep in mind is the alignment of the bottom part of the insert. The bottom piece of the insert is designed to be somewhat of an elbow to cause the air flow to circulate inside the can. This only works when you have the two inserts facing 180 degrees oppsite of each other. Place the inserts directly across from each other on the lid with one elbow facing one direction and the other facing the opposite direction. If you do not do this you will not get proper separation of the dust and debris. The inserts can be sealed with silicon, hot glue or what ever you you would like to use to get an air tight seal. I used hot glue with gorilla tape on the outside to ensure there was no leaks. I would be using the same tape to seal the bottom ring of the lid to the can as well. This is to just keep small leaks from forming around the lid.

I could then move on to mounting the frame that would be holding the filter and the secondary collection bag. This is a simple 2×4 frame with a square base that would allow the bag that is attached to the funnel to pass through the funnel and frame. This was a simple install of leveling the frame on the wall and attaching it to the wall with screws. I could then put the filter and center funnel of the dust collector in place.

This allowed me to mark the placement of the hole that would be needed to be able to crate the hole to place the hose through the wall. The placement of this hole was important as the funnel intake needed to be in line with the return outlet that is on the dust collector itself. This would ensure proper airflow. If there are bends or kinks in the hose to the filter this could cause a loss of suction and airflow. The placement of the filter was also determined with a space between the filter and the heater here in the shop to allow a safe distance to have no safety issues between the two. Using a ½ inch drill bit I drilled pilot holes allowing me to then cut out the square cutout with the jig saw. I then followed the same process for the outer wall of the building drilling the holes from the inside to ensure the two wholes line up. Also the hole that was cut out for the through wall fitting was cut to be a bit larger than the hose this would allow and adjustment needed for a perfect fitment.

After the aliment of the filter and cutout for passage through the wall was finished I could mock up the placement of the dust collector motor and frame as well as the separation bin. The frame that the motor is mounted to is the one used by the systems previous owner. It is a simple frame and works perfect to the placement needed for the motor. This is where I noticed a problem with the collection bin. If the bin was placed on the pallets with the frame holding the motor the bin was to tall to allow for proper fitment to the collector motor. To fix this I used the jig saw to cut a relief cut out of the slats in the top pallet to allow the bin to sit lower this also failed. I ended up using the Dewalt Reciprocating saw to cut out a notch in both pallets to allow the collection bin to sit on the ground. This was just what was needed to get the bin to fit properly under the motor for proper connection to the motor. I will look later on at trying to fit in a 55 gal drum but this is something I am not sure that I will be able to do due to the larger size of the drum. This is also why mock fitting is so important as if there are any changes you need to make it is much easier to make those changes while the system is incomplete and not full assembled and in place.

With all of the mock up for mounting of the motor and filter in place. I made a few different braces using some 2x4s and allowing for the motor to braced and secured aginst the building as well as to the pallets. Placing the supports in a few different locations made this mounting very secure there is no movement or vibration of the motor with it running. This will also be replaced later on with a steel frame that will be permanently secured to the exterior of the building. For now though these wood supports will hold the motor in place with no problems at all.

Now that the exterior structure is complete I could then move to cutting the hole out that would be the inlet piping that runs to the tools in the shop. The process for the access hole in the wall was done the same as with the access for the filter. The difference with this access hole is that it would be placed as close to the structural header in the end wall of the shop as I could get it. I did not want to cut into the header as it is a structural piece in the wall. This placement would also bring the piping in behind my heater and would be nice out of the way placement for the piping. Once the hole was in place I started with mocking up and mounting the piping that would connect the drops inside the shop to the dust collector.

This process involves a lot of test fitting and trying to get the perfect alignment on all of the piping. Do not be afraid to test many different layouts and positioning. I wanted as slight of an angle as I could get going into the building. While in the photos it looks as if it is a 90 degree angle at the access point of the wall but it is not it is closer to a 45 degree angle. I wanted to limit the number of sharp angle as much as possible. I know that on dust collection piping sharp angles can severely affect the preformace of the dust collector.

The piping is also positioned to allow for the junction of the piping and the collection bin to be as straight as possible. For this I also routed the piping away from the building to help with the placement of the collection bin. Once the first part of the piping had the proper fitment and not more issues or adjustments were needed I then sealed all of the joint seams with gorilla tape to ensure no leaks and then used steel hanger strap to hold the piping in place.

Moving inside the same process was followed of testing and fitting for the perfect fit and placement. This will be different for you system and each system will be routed differently. This all depends on the layout of your shop and work space as well as your work flow. For my setup I needed the piping to be about 4 inches higher on the wall than the access hole would allow. For this I used a flex hose and a short slightly angled adapter to allow for this higher placement of the piping.

Routing the piping is straight forward as I wanted as much straight piping as possible to allow for maximum air flow. Once the first piece was to length and in place I could use some steel hanger strap to hold it into place loosely and start working on the first drop.

The first drop would be used for the floor sweep and the miter saw station with 3 blast gates on the piping. One blast gate on each of the tools one for the floor sweep and one for the miter saw station. As well as one on the main drop this would allow me to close off the entire drop to use the second drop at full power and suction.

The second drop on the system goes to a Rockler Extendable Hose and Quick Change Handle. This would have a blast gate as well. This Hose is one handy tool as it allows me to reach the entire shop from this one drop for any cleaning needs that I might come across. Also as most of the tools in my shop are mobile. So being able to attach and detach the hose to each of the mobile tools makes the shop stay so much cleaner. This will likely be one of the most used tools in my shop. For every tool from the table saw and router table to cleaning up the CNC and work table.

Once the entire system was installed and the placement of the drops were perfect I then sealed off all of the seams with gorilla tape and then secured the piping with steel hanger strap. I then build a simple lean to structure over the motor to keep the weather out. I did not want to completely seal the motor off as this could cause heating and air flow problems so a simple roof and half walls using materials I had on had did the trick well. The final step was to add patches around the access holes that had been cut into the walls for the piping access and filter. After making and install the patches I also sealed them with the same gorilla tape this would seal off the air as well as make the patches removable if there is ever any need to do so.

I hope this will help you guys out and maybe this has given you some ideas to use for your shop. Dust collection really is very important in your shop. Also this system with the motor outside the building is much quieter that with the motor inside. You can defiantly hear it running but it is nothing like it would be if the motor was inside. Another benefit is the added space that is saved with this style system. The final benefit is with the return inside the building not only do you not lose your heat or air conditioning to the outside air you do not have to worry about air starvation issues that you would have to worry about if you were to mount the entire system outside. This can cause the dust collector to try to pull a vacuum on the building if there is not enough air flow to support the loss of air pressure through the collector. All of these issues are addressed with this half in half out system. Again I hope you found this helpful if you have any question feel free to comment on the youtube video and I will answer them the best that I can. Make sure you SUBSCRIBE and sign up for the newsletter here on Jpayne Woodworking to keep up with all the articles, videos , and news as it happens. For more photos and videos you can also follow @jpaynewoodworking on Instagram. Thank you and I will see you on the next one!!