I was prepared to purchase a Penn State dust collector for my workshop.
I'm looking for a dust collector that can handle ONE machine at a time.
My plan was to set up a small 'network' of vent pipes, sufficiently
duct-taped or whatever to provide a maximum air-tight system (in the
hopes that I get 'most' of the suction where I want it).
Okay ... so I call up the Penn State technical support to ask some
questions, and the guy there insists that I consider buy one of their
cyclone systems. THe system I was looking at is their 1 HP system
(DC1B), which specs at a max of 850 CFM - which of course is under
optimal conditions. The system comes with a nice 1 micron bag.
He told me that the system would only be adequate if I had it hooked up
to a single system withOUT the other ducting. Yikes! $230 for a single
Okay, the cyclone he's pushing - the TempestCS - runs at $600.
Is this guy out of his mind or is he being honest? Do I really need a
$600 DC to get decent suction if I want to have a ducting system to
I'm running a $150 Harbor Freight DC attached to a fifteen foot hose
and it's pulling all the dust from the Griz contractor table saw, the
Griz 8-inch jointer, and the DEE-walt planer.
One at a time, of course. But it does just fine.
"It pulling the dust that you can sweep up with a broom ... not the
fine dust that you can't even see thats getting your lungs. "
I understand some people think so. But I'm of the opinion that the only
reason what you say *might* be true is that I haven't installed an
overarm guard yet. The suction is damn good and everywhere I check, the
air current is moving towards the DC. If you're telling me the fine
unseeable dust is moving against the wind, through the suction that's
capturing the larger particles, I'm a little skeptical.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but it takes a lot of air volume to move
fine dust ... more than a small collector could move. Not to mention 4"
pipe cannot move enough air to do it. The most 4" can move is about 450
CFM and it takes about 800 CFM for the fine dust. And of course, even if
it made it to and through the collector, the bags, and filters, on most
collectors will pass it right through. They become big dust pumps! Even
if they say they are rated to .5 micron, its only their word that they
are ... they are not independently rated by ASFME. You want filters/bags
that are rated.
Check out Bill Pentz's site:
Its an eye opener!
Some systems use the particle size rating with the filter bag dirty.
Meaning, that as the bag collects particles, it will keep packing the
particles together and capturing smaller and smaller particles till it
drops below optimal performance. When the bag is clean it can be
passing a lot of fine dust till it starts to fill up. I am not saying
all companies use this sales tactic, but some of the cheaper vendors do.
Hi Jack (!!)
I bought this model about 7-8 years ago:
I have it hooked up like you want to do- a main duct
with 5 or 6 branches to different machines (each with
a blast gate of course). I have no complaints. I did
put it on it's own (20amp) breaker. I have the "old"
5 micron bag - which is not bad. I also got the "long
ranger" remote at the same time and would highly
recommend you consider it.
BTW, I used 4 inch drainpipe from home depot and
fittings from the a woodworking store. You have to
wrap the fittings a few time with duct tape for a snug
fit, but otherwise it works great (and cheap too).I used
a 4 inch strap clamp at all junctions also.
I ran 22g copper throughout the piping for grounding.
I used a 1 hp Woodteck dust collector for about 4 years. It was on
wheels, and I would move it from one machine to the next. It was
sufficient, but not good. I stepped up to a 3 hp Oneida cyclone in my
new shop (moved from 400 to 860 sq.ft.)
Any runs of over 15 feet, and the pull from a 1 hp motor will drop
considerably. If you get the 1hp motor, put the machine that needs the
most suction nearest the machine, and the one that needs the least
farthest away. Being an old concrete worker I tend to like things over
built. A bigger system will work better.
You do want a cyclone of some sort. The shavings from the planer and
jointer will clog up the impeller in no time. If you use it as a floor
sweep, any chunk of wood that goed through will bend metal impeller
blades, and break the plastic ones.There is the plastic lid on a
garbage can which works ok, but not great.
You should also get a remote starter. If you have gone without, and get
one, you will wonder how you survived without it.
I have the same model. One outlet goes to a line that serves my
contractor saw and my router table. The other side has a quick release
fitting and that gets used on my jointer or planer. You will need one
of those garbage can separator contraptions if you use it with a
I would consider it a minimum setup for this sort of use. When, and
if, I ever have any dicretionary funds I will replace it with a
cyclone. I also use a remote contol device that hangs from a clip on
my apron. I bought it at Lowe's at Christmas a couple of years ago.
It was intended for use on Christmas lights but is heavy duty enough
for my dust collector. It was less than $14.
It just occured to me that the reason I bought
this model was that it got a very high rating
in a Wood magazine comparison test at the time.
I had never heard of Penn State before that.
If I was buying today, I would also buy a more
I am at roughly the same point as you trying to decide which DC to get and
whether a cyclone collector is a practical 'must have' in order to keep the
unit from bashing itself to death.
I can tell you from my research that the ducting that you use could make or
break your collection system, so design it carefully. If you build in too
many tight turns, overly long runs, use too small or too large diameter duct
or use too much rough surfaced ducting (whether flexible or not) you will
not get the air flow that you need. In other words there are a lot of ways
to get it wrong. There are tables of air resistance for each size and type
of duct that you might want to use and for various bend pieces. Do your
duct system design first. Then select the collector after you calculate the
probable duct system and filter losses.
On the other hand, I can say with confidence, you will never be able to
eliminate static electricity build up on insulating duct material by running
a ground wire through it or around it. Think about it. By definition - it
does not conduct. The ONLY point on the surface of the insulating duct that
you keep at ground potential by contacting it with a ground wire is the
exact point of contact. Every other point on the surface is still perfectly
able to hold a static charge. Less anyone think that the wire inside the
duct might prevent the moving air from causing a build up of static charge,
that would also be faulty thinking. That wire inside the duct will however
impede the flow of the air and saw dust and might lead to more clogged
ducts. If you want to eliminate static charge on your duct system, use
conducting ducts and couplings and ground the entire system from the outside
On Thu, 19 Jan 2006 14:28:56 -0700, "mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net"
<"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net"> wrote:
Cyclones can be expensive. With some ductwork, you should consider at
least a 2 HP model with at least 1200 cfm. Consider adding a garbage
can cyclone with a $30 lid--this makes an inexpensive cyclone and
helps protect your DC. You should expect to spend around $300 for
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