I was considering that option last night too, but came to the conclusion
that I use the shop vac for a lot of tasks outside the shop. Vacuuming the
cars, cleaning the woodstove, drywall work, spring cleaning the house,
remodeling work at my in-laws, etc.
Considering the costs, I'm wondering about buying a better shop vac and
postponing the dust collector a little longer. My main gripe with this is
the better vacs are usually larger, which means less portability. As it is
my wife complained about lugging my 12 gallon vac out to clean the cars. :)
It would also be harder to transport a larger vac to work at my in-laws.
I'll have to see what I can find locally today, as I don't have the time to
wait for a vac to be shipped.
IMHO, you might consider spending maybe $200 for the harbor "fright" DC and
starter kit and picking up a used vac for the other chores at a garage sale..
If the DC is too loud, I added this to mine and quieted it down a LOT.. YMWV
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Strange.. you have any leaks or vac loss?
I use a reducer at the lathe and the difference that I see (with the $150 HF DC)
is that 4" has lower suction but more volume, where 2 1/2" has more suction and
I've tried both and for sanding on the lathe the 2 1/2" is easier to get close
to the work and will draw the dust further than the 4"..
OTOH, I sealed the little DC connecter on my band saw and put a 4" hole in the
lower clamshell and it works a lot better now..YMWV
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I have the Ridgid WD06250. Was a gift, but probably came from the Borg.
It's OK. It's quieter than the radial arm saw. Just running the
vac, I don't bother with ear defenders. Vac plus radial arm saw, I put
on ear defenders. It's all plastic, with a paper HEPA filter. Hose is
all plastic with a plastic snap lock thingie so I can pull the vac by
the hose. It's been sucking for a year without any trouble.
Based on the many positive reviews I've read, I bought a Ridgid WD1450
shop vac this afternoon for $99 (+tax). I haven't had the opportunity to
really work it yet, but I did get everything assembled and fired it up
for a few tests.
Noise Level - Not bad. It's quieter than my "quiet" Shop Vac, though in
all fairness that has been sounding a lot louder and unhealthy the past
few weeks. I remember being impressed when I bought my old Shop Vac too.
I'm sure the WD1450 isn't as quiet as the Fein or Festool machines, but
it's only one third the price and it was in stock just a few miles from
home. It's certainly quiet enough to use by itself, and I wear ear muffs
when using it with other tools like a sander anyway.
Suction - Seemed strong, and the 2-1/2" hose was easy to clip on and pull
the vac around with. I can't judge it more until I've had a chance to
work with it, but it should be more than adequate for my needs.
Accessories - I liked the "bucket" on the back of the Shop Vac brand
better than the "bag" on the Ridgid WD1450, but I suppose I'll adjust. I
generally don't use any of the accessories anyway, other than a brush
(not included) and a small nozzle for tight spots. I'll probably keep and
use the attachments from my old vac.
The WD1450 has a nice 20' cord, though again, I liked the cord hooks on
my old Shop Vac better. The cord wraps around the handle on the WD1450,
and there doesn't seem to be much to keep it there. Time will tell
whether it actually stays in place.
The WD1450 has four small casters that make it easier to move in any
direction than my old Shop Vac. However, the Shop Vac had big wheels in
back that allowed me to pull it up over extension cords. I probably won't
be able to do that with the WD1450.
I forgot to pick up a fine filter bag when I was at Home Depot today, but
I did see them in stock there. I'll pick one up tomorrow. Naturally, the
extra bag I had for my Shop Vac doesn't fit the WD1450 properly, which
will probably translate into more expensive bags that are harder to find.
I am a little disappointed that I had to go to a 14 gallon vac, to get
the same features I had on my old 12 gallon vac. I would have preferred
something smaller and more portable than my old vac. I'm not sure the
WD1450 will even fit in my trunk anymore, and my wife isn't going to be
happy about dragging it out to vacuum the cars. :) But, if I can get a
dust collector in the near future, my shop vac needs may be less
important and I may be able to downsize. We'll see... I was ready to
spring for the dust collector and make an hour drive one way to go get
it, but they didn't have any in stock. Guess it's best I didn't make an
impulse buy anyway. :)
So, I lost a day I could have been working on the cabinets, but I should
be back up and running tomorrow.
Thanks for everyones input!
Ridgid also makes an inexpensive 'muffler' the plugs on the air exhaust
fitting. It makes things a little quieter -- not so much the absolute
sound level but knocks off some of the higher frequencies. It is a
'noticeable', albeit *not* 'radical' difference.
If you want seriously quiet _on_a_budget_, AND are willing to compromise
down to household-size hose, look for a used 'Filter Queen'. they catch
_everything_ out of the air, are damn-near indestructible -- stainless
construction, and *amazingly* quiet. No provision for wet pick-up capability,
Unlike virtually any other 'home' vacuum, you _don't_ risk damaging it
if it picks up something solid -- hardware, wood scraps, whatever.
They've also got a built-in 'cyclone', so suction doesn't degrade much as
it pulls in dust.
Filter Queens are _grossly_ over-priced on the new market, but can be had
reasonably on the used one.
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