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Thread: Hot Rodding a HF Dust Collector

  1. #1
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    Hot Rodding a HF Dust Collector

    As I mentioned in an earlier thread, I recently purchased the Harbor Freight 2HP dust collector. Based on what I’ve read on various forums, this is one of those HF tools that is worth owning, especially with a few modifications. The day after I got the DC, I ordered the filter cartridge kit from Wynn Environmental. I also knew from my research that a neutral vane was recommended, especially when using a filter cartridge, to keep the bigger particles out of the filter itself. I picked up a couple other modification tricks on the Internet as well. Kudos to Brad Olson, among others, for many of the ideas.

    My filter cartridge arrived today, so tonight it was time to ‘hot rod’ the new DC. To do this, I removed the middle ring section of the DC. Here’s what it looked like at the start of the evening. Keep in mind the ring is upside down in these shots:

    Attachment 3442 Attachment 3443

    First order of the evening was to build the neutral vane. This is intended to keep the circulating air from disrupting the incoming airstream. It’s essentially an extension of the inlet tube, with the bottom trimmed a bit to conform to the sloped inner ring of the DC. I played around with a piece of heavy paper stock, and came up with this as a pattern:

    Attachment 3444

    Tweaked a little and transferred onto my brand-new piece of galvanized sheet steel from the ductwork aisle at Lowe’s, and ready to cut out with the jigsaw:

    Attachment 3445

    After a bit of bending, trial, error, and pop rivets, it came out like this: (Unfortunately, I didn’t take any progress pics of this part):

    Attachment 3446 Attachment 3447 Attachment 3461

    As you can see, I’m not real skilled when it comes to sheet metal work, but it’s functional. The final fit was very tight, so the neutral vane is not physically attached to the DC. The friction fit will more than suffice.

    Continued in the next post…
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  2. #2
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    Hot Rodding a HF Dust Collector Part II

    Next up was an inner ‘collar’ (for lack of a better term) in an attempt to keep the big particles in the lower half of the DC. I don’t recall whose website I gleaned this idea from, but whoever he is, he deserves the credit for the basic idea. The collar is nothing more than a sheet metal tube that extends the ‘lip’ of the inner ring down 8” or so into the lower collection bag. Here again, it was a very tight finish, so friction is the only fastener used. The last of these pics shows one of the three holes I drilled into the collar to accept the turnbuckles supplied with the Wynn filter to attach it to the DC ring.

    Attachment 3450 Attachment 3451 Attachment 3452

    The filter cartridge itself attaches with three turnbuckle screws. These turnbuckles have a hook at each end…one to catch the inside lip of the filter, and the other to hook onto the DC ring (or in my case, through the holes I drilled into the collar, then hooked onto the DC ring). I had to hold the camera up inside the DC a bit to get this pic, but here’s a shot of one of the turnbuckles after installing it:

    Attachment 3453

    Last on my laundry list was to remove the ‘crosshairs’ that are built into the inlet of the DC. I’ve already learned that long wet curlies from the lathe will clog this inlet in a heartbeat. I’d read of other folks removing the crosshairs to handle this problem, so while it was all apart and the jigsaw with a metal-cutting blade was handy, I removed it. Here are the before and after shots. (The eagle-eye folks will see that I was almost done cutting it out when I remembered to shoot the ‘before’ pic.)

    Attachment 3454 Attachment 3455

    Finally, I added the lower bag and fired ‘er up. Here’s the finished product:

    Attachment 3456

    Although I didn’t do any real evaluative tests before or after, I can say the end result seems to have worked out very nicely. My only “testing” was to toss in a bunch of 1/4“ square pieces of paper, and the cyclonic action inside the lower bag definitely keeps all the paper bits swirling in the bottom of the collection bag.

    I’ve still got to route the ductwork (I’m going with 4” flex for now), add a collection pan to my tablesaw, and add some 45° wyes and blast gates to the mix. I did hook up the Big Gulp scoop tonight and tried running the DC while sanding a bowl. All I can say is WOW! Even when using the 80 grit gouge heavily, it was nice to see the cloud of sawdust sucked away instantly. Much, much better than my poor overworked Shop Vac. I can honestly say it sucks.

    [Edited later to add...]

    Testing has shown the collar hurts more than it helps. Don't bother adding one. See this thread for more info:

    http://familywoodworking.org/forums/...ead.php?t=1782
    Last edited by Vaughn McMillan; 03-31-2007 at 08:49 PM. Reason: The collar proved to be worthless.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  3. #3
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    Silk purse maker you are!

    Looks good, I guess it will keep your shop a bit cleaner than before...............now, does HF sell a shop auto organizer.......
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Ablett View Post
    Silk purse maker you are!

    Looks good, I guess it will keep your shop a bit cleaner than before...............now, does HF sell a shop auto organizer.......
    Based on the preliminary results, I suspect it'll be a lot cleaner, not just a bit. You might not realize how bad the dust was in my shop before. This won't eliminate it completely, but it'll lessen it significantly. I must say though, that even using it to sweep the floor a few times before adding the filter cartridge, I did see the effects of the 30 micron "dust pump" bags. I suspect the .5 micron cartridge will solve that problem. Plus, I believe the airflow is now improved, but I have no way to measure it.

    Last weekend I did get a fair amount of shop re-org done. I got all the major pieces of machinery and furniture moved into new locations. Now I have to straighten out the two built-in benchtops and the lumber/clamp pile, and it'll be about as organized as it's gonna get. Part of my problem is that I've got ten pounds of stuff in a five pound box.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  5. #5
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    great stuff Vaughn

    Now, I'm thinking about something similar for my Delta 1 1/2hp DC.

    Can you give links to the sites you reviewed to come up with this? BTW, I've already got a Wynn, and like it alot.

    Ken

  6. #6
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    Nice updates Vaughn (and Brad is a pretty helpful guy) ......now to finish hot rodding it out, where you gonna stick this?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Ash View Post
    Nice updates Vaughn (and Brad is a pretty helpful guy) ......now to finish hot rodding it out, where you gonna stick this?

    Steve....you thought Tim the Toolman was a reality show?

    Nicely done Vaughn!

  8. #8
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    Vaughn, a word of warning. I used a Jet 1100 CK (being replaced by a CV) to sweep the floor a few times, especially to clean up piles of shavings from the lathe. If you rough turn blanks with bark you will get some big pieces of bark that can bang around in the blower. I got some dents in the housing from doing that (although it could have been something else on the floor).

  9. #9
    Vaughn,

    Thanks for the tutorial - I need to add the neutral vane and the collar to mine, and this is just the instruction I need! Now to get off my butt and do it.

    Wes

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken werner View Post
    Now, I'm thinking about something similar for my Delta 1 1/2hp DC.

    Can you give links to the sites you reviewed to come up with this? BTW, I've already got a Wynn, and like it alot.

    Ken
    Ken, I didn't keep good track of all the places I looked, but BT3 Central had a lot of stuff regarding the HF DC. I did a search for 'neutral +vane' and got a lot of info there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Ash View Post
    Nice updates Vaughn (and Brad is a pretty helpful guy) ......now to finish hot rodding it out, where you gonna stick this?
    I was actually thinking of painting the ring something outlandish and putting flames on it. Ya know, I don't have any purple tools in the shop...especially purple tools with flames.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Bischel View Post
    Vaughn,

    Thanks for the tutorial - I need to add the neutral vane and the collar to mine, and this is just the instruction I need! Now to get off my butt and do it.

    Wes
    If it's any motivation, the mods only took me all of about an hour. Real easy...even a blonde guy like me can do it.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

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