I don't have a dust collector presently but plan on one in a month or
so. My primary tools are TS, RAS, Band Saw and Spindle Sander. I
mostly build projects with birch ply and I also do large scale RC
airplanes with balsa and basswood. Although I measure carefully, I'm
a "cut and try" guy and "sneak up" on my cut lines until I get a tight
fitting joint. This causes many on/off saw cycles.
So, my question is how do you all use your dust collectors. Do you
leave them on for extended periods, cycle them on and off with each
cut, ...? Is there lag time when the dust collector comes on before a
cut can be made? Will frequent cycles be detrimental to the DC?
Sorry if these questions seem trivial.
I turn it on when I've got the saw set up, turn it off when I'm done
cutting. Meanwhile it circulates air, takes out the fines, and in the
winter adds some heat (well, it does it in the summer too but that's
not so much fun).
If it's a decent dust collector then it should come up to speed as
fast as any other power tool. Shouldn't be an problems with letting
it run except that a big one can chew up the kilowatt-hours pretty
Motors have a duty cycle, or a number or times they should be starter per
hour. Larger motors tend to have lower cycles, such as 6 starts per hour on
a big compressor. Rather that stop and start every couple of minutes, just
let it run between cuts. It puts less train on the motor, won't have that
big electric draw on startup and allows all the dust to get sucked into the
Get an accurate fence and you can eliminate 85% or more of your secondary
Once I fire up the DC, I let it run until I'm done in the shop.
A couple things that might be different for me...
1) the dust collector is in another room, so I don't have as much concern
with the noise.
2) I almost always use ear protection when I have machines going.
Even without those points, I'd still let it run...start up costs for a 2hp
motor are not insignificant.
Thanks to all who replied. Since several posts mentioned running
costs I wondered whether you have your dust collectors on 110 or 220
volts. As far as I know the cost is the same but I think the 220v has
other advantages. Any input?
After a few years on 120v, I converted my (Penn State) DC to 220v. It
was fairly easy to do as the motor has a diagram and the special plug
was inexpensive. I don't really notice much difference other than
smoother starts. I have a wireless remote for easy on/off. I've
read that 220v is more efficient than 110v but I converted mainly to
help extend the life of the motor. So far, so good--the motor is
going on its 17th year of daily use.
My DC is from Harbor Freight and takes a pretty good surge to start/wind up, so
I usually turn it on just before I turn on whatever machine it's hooked up to
and leave it on after I'm done sawing or whatever..
Before I shut it down I stick a 2 1/2" vac hose with adapter into the DC hose,
vacuum the tool and floor and then shut off the DC..
I've always felt that the hardest normal use for most tools is the startup, so I
tend to leave things running until I'm done with them..
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