Looking for advice on dust collection

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  • November 07, 2016 8:40 PM
    Message # 4369482

    i need to purchase a dust collector for my small shop.  I am looking for one that I can move around from machine to machine as needed.  I was considering one from harbor frfreight for about $199 (claims to be 2HP and 110V) with 5 micron bag.  This month's FW has article on dust and suggests you get one with a canister and 1 micron specification.

    I would be using this one machine at a time; not sure if 1HP device is sufficient.

     Anybody have any advice or suggestions.

  • November 08, 2016 6:10 AM
    Reply # 4370192 on 4369482
    Deleted user

    Although I don't have specific experience with the Harbor Freight unit, I have bought tools from them in the past and my experience with them is spotty. The quality consistency is not very good, so I spend only as much money as I am willing to potentially throw away tomorrow. If you are looking to save money, I'd look in Craig's List for a used unit. There are several for sale in the Boston and surrounding communities at the moment.


  • November 08, 2016 8:38 AM
    Reply # 4370385 on 4369482
    Jim Tartaglia (Administrator)

    I have a take on dust collection systems, and other things, that falls outside the mainstream of widely accepted thought on the topic.  In summary it is that most commonly recommended collection systems are overkill.  Give me a call (978 257 6505) if you are interested in hearing more detail than I am willing to type.  

    Regarding Harbor Freight I've bought their stuff if its for light or short term use but the dust collector is used as much as all the other power tools in the shop combined as it is on whenever any other tool is on so it is not an item I would try to save a few bucks on from Harbor Freight.

  • November 08, 2016 9:19 AM
    Reply # 4370428 on 4369482
    Tim Holiner (Administrator)

    I have been using the Harbor Freight unit for 3-4 years. It has performed well, although I doubt that it is really as powerful as a more expensive 2 HP unit. I added a 1 micron filter a year ago and that seems to work well. In addition to filtering finer dust it increases airflow. I do not have it "plumbed" at this time as I expect to upgrade to a larger, more powerful system with extensive ductwork. I move it from machine to machine with a flexible hose and plug it in which is a slight pain in the butt. 

  • November 08, 2016 11:37 AM
    Reply # 4370597 on 4369482
    Deleted user

    Instead of buying new, I'd recommend buying a used unit. I didn't look too long and found a 2hp Grizzly for $150 on Craigslist. I'd found a 1HP previously there as well. It all depends on what sort of system you're shooting for. 

    I've run everything from a shopvac to a 10HP industrial system and they all have their place. My current shop has a 2hp set up with PVC pip fittings and is plenty adequate. I only upgraded from that because I was tired of emptying the smaller unit of planer shavings. 

    There are also plenty of good after market bags out there that you can use instead of buying something that is supposedly 5 micron or 1 micron. 

  • November 08, 2016 12:00 PM
    Reply # 4370641 on 4369482
    Deleted user

    I have the 2 hp Grizzly, to which I added .3 micron bag. I like it, though it's noisy enough that I wish it were in another room. Although it is on a wheeled base plate, it's a bit large to be moving all the time.

    Before this I used a shop vac, but it was not adequate for jointer or planer (either in power or storage volume) or the leaky table saw.

  • November 08, 2016 12:08 PM
    Reply # 4370650 on 4369482
    Deleted user

    One additional comment- Fine Woodworking's Tools & Shop issue (that I literally got 15 minutes ago) has a good looking article on dust collection for small shops. 

  • November 08, 2016 5:46 PM
    Reply # 4371195 on 4369482

    Hi Andrew.  Here are a few thoughts:

    1. You absolutely want 1 micron or less for the bag.  Small dust particles are the most damaging to the respiratory system. 

    2.  Don't believe the published HP claims.  Check the amperage, which is about 12 A per HP.  Many companies, Grizzly among them, use "peak HP" for their claims, which is the power the motor can develop when not under load.  Their systems have 6 to 8 amps per hp with 2/3 the advertised power.   I went from a 2 HP Grizzly to a 2 HP Woodtech and the difference in power amazed me.

    3. These things are very noisy.  With an actual 2 hp setup, I found it possible to locate the vacuum on the other side of the wall in the laundry room and run the hose through the wall, add a remote starter and quick connectors on the equipment so just the hose connection moves from machine to machine.  

  • November 09, 2016 7:43 AM
    Reply # 4372358 on 4369482

     I I have the HF dust collector and my opinion is that it works well as long as you only have a single gate open at a time. My shop is split up and the best thing I did was set up two 3way switches so I can turn it on or off from either end of my shop. A recent retrofit of mine was disconnecting the individual runs to each mobile machine and using the rockler quick connect with a 10' hose which I find much easier to manage than individual hoses overlapping on my mobile machines.


  • November 10, 2016 8:46 AM
    Reply # 4376226 on 4369482
    Tim Holiner (Administrator)

    Just a small correction. One HP is actually 746 watts (from the physics book) and electric motors are quite efficient. That makes 1HP draw around 7 amps at 110 volts. Most 110v circuits are 15 amps and can handle a 2HP motor.

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