ShopVac as a DC unit


Just a quick follow-up to a recent thread on the same topic...
I was taking advantage of the spring like break in the weather here in western PA (61 outside at 7:00PM) to plane some boards and clean the garage / workshop, before winter returns tonight.
I have a 5hp 12gal Ridgid shopvac attached to a Delta 13" planer, with a dust separator between the two.
I just emptied a nearly full 30 gal trash can of planer shaving, being used with the dust separator.
The shop vac barely had anything in it. There was some pretty fine dust caked around the filter though, but not too much.
My set-up.. I run the shopvac 2.5" hose to an adapter (2.5 -> 4") and attach it to one side of the dust separator lid. I run a 4" hose from the other side of the DS lid to the planer.
Simple but Noisy. Ear protection a must. The shop vac is probably louder than the planer.
But it does work and collects probably 80-90% of the shavings from the planer. Some does blow out the front, especially on thinner (width wise) boards.
A read DC unit will definetly be my next major tool purchase, leaning towards the PSI units although the local Rocklers has just lowered the prices on several Jet models..
HTH,
Ron
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What type of separator do you use? I've been eye-balling some cyclones on eBay, but they seem kinda' pricey.

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Have you looked at Bill Pentz's cyclone webpage? He has a ton of info on cyclones, and basically says that almost all consumer-grade dust collector/cyclone stuff available now is OK for collecting chips, but does nothing to help with fine dust, which is the dangerous part. If you keep working outside, you're probably fine, but it's something to consider. Andy
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What is dangerous about the fine dust?
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Locutus wrote:

According to Bill Pentz's page, it can lead to "chronic skin and eye disease, chronic bronchitis, chronic runny nose and nasal dryness, reduced lung capacity, reduced ability of lung cells to pass oxygen and carbon dioxide, airflow obstructions, strong allergic reactions including asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, plus even polyps and cancer of the skin, eyes, nasal cavity, sinuses, throat and lungs."
The government has mandated dust levels for industrial shops, but there are no rules for hobbyists and single-person shops. Apparently workers in most small shops get more exposure in a few hours than commercial (ie. large scale) woodworkers get in months due to the fact that most of us have poor fine dust collection and keep recirculating the dusty air back into the shop (larger shops generally catch the larger stuff then blow the fine dust outside).
Chris
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Locutus wrote:

To make a long story short, it clogs up your lungs.
--
It's turtles, all the way down

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I use a similar setup for my table saw and Dewalt planer. The dust separator is a galivized trash can (30 gal?) with special "cyclone" lid on top from Rockler.
One minor annoyance is how messy it is to empty the trash can. Then I saw a little tip in AW magazine that works great. Line the trash can with a heavy-duty plastic yard bag, then cut some wire fencing (not chicken wire...not rigid enough) and form into a circle that just fits into the trash barrel. The wire holds the plastic bag into place and prevents it from collapsing. To empty, gently shake the wire form as you lift it out and then lift the dust bag out and tie it up. No more mess. Works great!
Joe T
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I'll second this capability.
A couple weeks ago I was using my ShopVac brand 5 HP (peak) machine on my General International 15" planer. Planing 6-8" wide poplar, 7' boards, I was capturing easily 95-98% in the trashcan separator. Using the Lee Valley/Veritas clear 4" port lid.
I didn't know how well it was going to work at first, so I set it up like this: put the ShopVac on a stool, so its port was at the same height as the top of the trashcan; put the 2.5"/4" converter DIRECTLY onto the ShopVac port, and ran 18" of 4" to the separator; the can was as close as possible to the outfeed of the planer (off to the side), so only had to run 24" of 4" to the planer. With short hoses like that, I could keep them in straight shots to their ends.
Pleased as I was, this is a stopgap measure for now; I have a Grizzly 2HP DC, but only one 220V outlet in the shop :^) (planer). So, until I get an electrician in (other electrical work needed, too), I gotta do it this way.
If you (Ron) were getting fine dust caking your shopvac filter, makes me wonder how sharp your planer blades are; should really be getting just chips.
-Chris
Ron wrote:

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I've been using the full 8' run of sv hose, plus 10' of 4" hose. Maybe I'll try to reduce or eliminate the thinner (2.5") hose also.

I didn't mean to suggest that the dust was that fine. I just meant that it seemed as only the 'finer' dust made it through the dust separator and all the was to the filter. Previusly, with out the separator the filter on the shop vac would clog up with the larger chips pretty quick. Kept having to shake the vac to knock them off.
Ron
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