Central hose vacuum as dust collector?

Hoping to acquire from a relative an unused 'central va' unit.
Welcome opinion as to whether this unit would be OK (with new ducting to each main tool) for an occasional wood worker's shop dust collector?
Prob. Three units; radial arm, sander, thickness planer. Not likely to be used simultaneously.
Thanks for any comments pro/con. terry
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Don't see why it wouldn't work. You may want to vent the outgoing air to the outside. In my house, it wasn't installed that way. After vacuuming the house, the unfinished basement had an odor from the carpet. I routed it outside and no longer have any odor. In your case, it might keep very fine dust from circulating around the shop
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A friend has installed a used unit in his shop, mainly metalworking so far, and it works just fine. Seems logical to go for it. HTH
Joe
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terry wrote:

Discussed intermittently on rec.woodworking and similar fora.
Not likely to be very successful if at all. Cleaning vacuum systems tend to not have sufficient air velocity/volume. If you keep duct runs short and don't expect much you might help some w/ the sanding dust and some saw dust but doubt if will do much good for planer.
But, if it's near zero cost, can't hurt to try but I'd not invest a lot of effort/money into ductwork, etc., until tried it out w/ just a direct connection to individual tools.
--
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Good points, thank you. Yes had even thought of installing it outside because cleaning out a central vac unit inside the house seems to be very dusty process? Also, maybe the low flow rate of a domestic vac. unit may be only suitable for one (dust making) tool at a time?
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stan wrote: ...

There's no doubt at all of that--see other followup on another issue.
--
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Even the length of unused runs is going to make a difference in its effectiveness. Try to establish some sort of gates as close to the main run so that you can close off what isn't being used. Closing off a gate right at the tool would be easier but the length form the main to the tool is going to have a reduction effect on the system. I believe that it's called static load.
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The tubing diameter is 2 inches and not the same stuff as standard 2 inch water PVC, you can get it from local vacuum suppliers it's a thinwall PVC. As long as your inlet feed lines into the trunk are 2 inches or less you should not have to worry about sucking up a chunk of scrap that will clog the whole system. Also when piping it make sure all elbows enter at the topside of the trunk line and not simply come up from the bottom. This way if something should get caught in the line it wont roll back and be a rattle forever or be a clog that wont pass. I cant draw a picture but when central vac lines are installed the intlet lines always join the trunk by first going above the trunk then elbow back down into the trunk line from the top. So dirt gets sucked up higher than the trunk then gravity is available as it enters the main trunk. Also vent to the outside as others have mentioned, mufflers are available if you think the vent noise will disturb the neighbor..
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RickH wrote:

...
There's another issue w/ the central vac vis a vis dust collection systems/shop vac's -- they're not intended for heavy particles and blowing wood chips as opposed to dust bunnies is likely to drastically shorten life.
I'd repeat recommendation to not sink much money into the experiment until some early experiments at least show promise. I'm not saying for small quantities it might not be of some use; just don't expect a industrial central chip collection system. Even 1.5hp dust collection systems tend to not be satisfactory as central shop systems for planers, jointers, shapers, etc. The amount and size of chips is more than they can handle except, perhaps, dedicated.
--
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dpb wrote:

Actually, I've been using an old Sears central vac for years in my basement shop. I did have to replace the motor/fan once in 35 years and that was probably I picked up a lot of plaster dust, which subsequently killed the bearings. The comment about "not enough air" is true, but for the average home use, it will probably work, for the most part. I have stuck the hose end in the bottom of my table saw to grab fine dust .... it worked ok. I have also connected it to a belt sander with no problem. And big stuff will get separated before going into the fan (assuming it is a bagless unit.
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On Mon, 9 Mar 2009 10:08:47 -0700 (PDT), terry

You can bock the two unused ducts.
I have both a central vac and a shop vac. I use the shop vac for the shop. The central unit cost a lot more and I really don't want to use it for that use.
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On Mon, 9 Mar 2009 10:08:47 -0700 (PDT), terry

To be a good dust collector, you need a lot of air flow. Generally, you need a minimum of 1 HP. You can get better performance with minimal ductwork. A dropbox or pre-cyclone will protect your vac motor fins and reduce clog ups.
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