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Thread: Dust Collector Upgrade

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Dust Collector Upgrade

    For the past couple years I've had a 2 hp Penn State dust collector, with the canister filter, in my shop.

    I've really been pretty dissatisfied with it overall.

    First, it was LOUD(!) - about 92 dB(A) at 3 feet - much louder than the advertised sound level. Penn State's customer service rep said "Oh, sure. The canister models are much louder than the bag ones." Of course, they don't mention that in their catalog or on their website. This thing was the loudest tool in the shop - even louder than the planer or tablesaw!

    Second, the canister, even with the flapper mechanism inside, kept clogging up. I was having to remove it and take it outside for (messy) cleaning at least once a month.

    So, after much thought, and concern about price, I decided to get a new top bag to replace the filter cartridge. I contacted American Fabric Filter and gave them my DC model, and my space constraints, and they designed a custom bag for me. The new bag is a singed felt, one micron model that funnels out to 32" diameter from the 20" mounting flange, then extends upward for six feet. It has loops on the top of it so that I can suspend it from the ceiling.

    The good news is that:

    First, it dropped the noise level by an almost astonishing 18 dB(A) at 3 feet - down to 74 dB(A). It's now way quieter than the tablesaw or the planer.

    Second, the bag doesn't clog. After about a month of use, and emptying the bottom bag twice, the top bag shows no signs of clogging.

    I'm really happy with this setup now, and the cost wasn't even too bad. The custom bag was about $160.00, including shipping. I think it was a pretty good buy.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DC Bag-resized.jpg  
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  2. #2
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    Dec 2006
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    Herndon VA
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    Jim - The AFF bags are great. I had one on my Jet DC before I upgraded to a cyclone. One thing to note, beat the bag every so often to get the caked stuff knocked off. After a year or two, mine started to turn tan due to the amount of saw dust getting caked in. A good rug beating with a broom would clean things up.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Field, Ontario, Canada
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    What! No before pic??? Shame on you.

    160 bucks for an upgrade is worth every penny if your happy with it.
    Anything that can go wrong will go wrong, so keep your hands away and watch out!

  4. #4
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    Constantine, MI
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    Jim - looks like you made a wise choice!
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yann Arbour View Post
    What! No before pic??? Shame on you.

    160 bucks for an upgrade is worth every penny if your happy with it.
    No, no 'before' pic, but the PS 2hp with canister looks just the same as the Jet, Harbor Freight, etc., except it's red.

    I like the machine itself. It's got plenty of suction - even before the upgrade, although the new upper bag improved that, too.

    Maybe a pic of the old canister sitting next to the garbage can on pickup day?...

    As for the upgrade being worth the price? You bet it was! The noise reduction alone was worth that!. That sucker (pun intended) was LOUD!
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    With a bag that size, I'd think you'd have beaucoup airflow. It's interesting that the noise level dropped so much. My Harbor Freight DC is pretty noisy (it's got the Wynn canister), but the biggest noise is at the mouth of the dust scoop at the lathe. I'd have to get out my audio meter again to get the real numbers, but as I recall it was somewhere in the mid to high 90db range. With my buzz-bomb compressor, the 2" pneumatic sander, and the DC running at the same time, it was over 100db.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    With a bag that size, I'd think you'd have beaucoup airflow. It's interesting that the noise level dropped so much...
    The idea was to have a bag with more surface area than the filter canister, so that airflow was improved, but the air was still filtered to at least one micron. It worked!

    The sound level drop was something I had hoped for, but the results - 18dB(A) drop @ 3 feet - were even more than I'd hoped for.

    Noise at an open hose end is probably higher - due to increased flow - but I've never tried to measure that. I don't generally use the DC with an open hose. All my connections are to tools. One thing that I've always noted though, is that my jointer is much louder with the DC connected than it is without it. I guess the airflow over the spinning blades causes the extra noise - sort of a 'propeller' effect.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  8. #8
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    Floydada, Tx
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    Nice upgrade. My bag was almost twice that cost. The one girl from there told me it will make a good difference in noise as there is less restriction on the air flow.

  9. #9
    Whoa! Good user info there as I was about to "Upgrade" From my 1 mil bag to a canister as I was under the understanding it was an improvement. I got my bag at Rockler during one of their sales for around $35 I had to cut it down a bit to fit my low ceiling but it works fine. Read all the hoopula on this and that and they say the Canister is better. "They Say" is often a problem ... Seems like the fellow who sold you the bill of goods forgot to mantion the noise level.

    Being a stone deaf shop teacher the noise is not a problem as I can't hear much anyway. My grandson gave me an MP3 player for christmas and loaded it with my favorite music (Hawallian Slack key & Steel Guitar) so I while away my time in the shop engrosed in my own little world, but when I turn on the DC, Hawaii looses... You would be surprise how swiftly the time passes when you are plugged into you favorite tunes...

    You saved me a pocket full today, thanks for your post. Always better to get info from someone who has BTDT.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Simpson View Post
    Whoa! Good user info there...You saved me a pocket full today, thanks for your post. Always better to get info from someone who has BTDT.

    Bill,
    Glad I could help.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

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