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Thread: homemade dust collection?

  1. #1

    homemade dust collection?

    hey all, First post here so be gentle I'm a middle school teacher looking at retirement in the next couple of years (and we just had a baby boy 2 months ago)...So, I'm wanting to start supplementing income with some projects and eventually going "fulltime" when I retire. My shop is functional for short projects but the dust is starting to get to me. Does anyone have any advice on a CHEAP homemade dust collection system?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Yorktown, Virginia
    Brock...Welcome aboard. Glad you found us. Do you have a shop vac? If so, you might check out the Thien baffle. I haven't made one, but am thinking about it. I just might go the commercial route and get an Oneida Dust Deputy instead. Anyways, check out the Thein baffle here:

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Hi Brock !!!

    My wife is a middle school english and social studies teacher. I feel very sorry for you too and I also understand your budget

    My dust collector is the Harbor Frieght model

    Tons of guys here and elsewhere use it. It can be beefed up a bit. Maybe Vaughn can find his HF build and post it for you.
    The HF Dc is often on sale for under $160.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thomasville, GA
    Welcome to our Family, Brock.

    I started with a DC similar to Bob and it worked fine. I have a much bigger system now, but you have to start somewhere.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member
    Member of Mensa
    Live every day like it's your last, but don't forget to stop and smell the roses.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Welcome to the clubhouse, Brock. Any DC is generally better than none, but as often happens, the more you spend, the better the setup. Like a lot of guys, I started with a shop vac, but before too long I went with the Harbor Freight "2 hp" model and did a few easy mods to it. Things you can do to beef up the Harbor Freight DC:

    Add a Wynn filter. They have a few models, but one of those and a plastic bag or barrel is much more efficient and effective than the stock fabric bags that come with it.

    Any of these would be good choices. The first three listed are for the HF DC and similar models:

    Add a Thien baffle. Good info in this thread:

    Still, I would prefer to have a cyclone system, and those can also be homemade. Hopefully Stu Ablett will see this and point us to a link to his cyclone build thread. (I couldn't find 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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Welcome Brock. Add you location to your profile so we know where you are. This is not for data gathering, there has been more than one occasion on this forum where folks have given (or sold cheap to folks in their area) items or offered assistance to people near them. You are right to start with whatever you can afford since not having a DC is too expensive for anyone, health-wise. I started with a bag unit and though far from ideal, like 6" jointers, they tend to show up on the used market frequently from folks who have found they need to upgrade.

    Adding a lot of aftermarket stuff to low end unit may seem like tossing good money after bad but, I am still using a bagger (that I added aftermarket stuff to equal to its original cost) after a decade or more. Like adding things to a contractor saw to make it more usable, tricking out a cheaper DC is not a bad way to go. I went with a properly scaled filter bag but, they cost nearly as much as a Wynn filter and take up much more room. I went this way to skip the separator which puts quite a hit on airflow. Over the years I have evolved to that original bagger, a cyclone and a couple of shop vacs with Dust Deputy separators on them. Start with what you can afford and add as you need to ;-)
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Who me?

    I built a Pentz system, and I'm very pleased with it.

    Vaughn the reason you can't find the thread here is because here was not anywhere when I built it

    I built it in 2005 and we started this place in October of 2006.

    Link to the build thread on my website.

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    Welcome Brock,

    Another HF with mods user here. For the money it's quite good, but if you aren't in a hurry so used and you can likely find a used "real 2hp" or even 3hp for close to the same price or maybe chapter if you get lucky. I put the real in wrote because although the HF unit says it's 2hp it doesn't pull near the airflow of something like a jet or grizzly 2hp.

    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    I went this way to skip the separator which puts quite a hit on airflow.
    This is absolutely correct for the pre-separator like I have, the hit was significant. I mitigated it done by making further mods but it's still there.

    However, not to long ago I saw on either Phil's site or maybe smc someone had taken readings with the in ring baffle and the loss was only a couple percent, basically in the noise. I can't really explain it cause I'm not that good at fluid dynamics but the number spoke for themselves. The in ring baffle did almost (but not quite) as good of a job of keeping the filters clean to.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Welcome aboard Brock.

    A HF DC user here too, have done the Thien baffle to it (, then installed the Wynn filter (35A). I've since ran 4" pvc to most of my tools and setup a remote to control it. It works really well without the upgrades, but works exceptionally well with them, just take them a step at a time. Do plan to have a dedicate circuit for it if you do go with one.

    Teds suggestion of a shop vac is an excellent one as well. Probably best to let us know what tools you have or plan to have and we can firm up recommendations.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Independence MO
    HF is a good start, but you may not need that, depending on your tools. If your using more hand tools and getting premilled lumber then a shop vac and Thein or cyclone style bucket, may be right.

    What tools are you working with?

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