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
Prob. Three units; radial arm, sander, thickness planer. Not likely to
be used simultaneously.
Thanks for any comments pro/con. terry
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
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.
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?
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
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..
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
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.
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
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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