And couple that with the Thien or Cyclone mods, I can't see how they would clog up very fast to quite honest.
You have a very interesting observation. Here is my experience with adding a Thien Top Hat to my DC. I created a Thien Top Hat in the spring of 2014. Here is my thread: http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f32/p...ormance-59625/
. (You can read the details, if you have some time. It is pretty long.)
After using the Top Hat for the last year, I have only had to clean my Jet DC-1100 canister twice after creating about 1800 gallons of saw dust (45 gallons per barrel X 40 barrel empties). The saw dust bag plus the amount of saw dust in the canister amounted to less than 2 gallons of saw dust that got past the Top Hat (roughly 0.1 percent of the total saw dust. Your "gallon-age" may vary depending on the dimensions of your Top Hat and the unique specifications of your dust collection hoses, pipes, impeller, motor, etc.)
I work with rough lumber that has to be jointed, planed, resawn and planed again. On those days, I sometimes empty my 45 gallon barrel four (4) times, and fill up three (3) 55 gallon garbage bags.
So, your observation is correct that with the correct pre-separator or cyclone, your dust collector shouldn't be putting many "fines" into your shop air. But there will still be some......
That is why I also have:
1. Dylos DC 1100 (http://www.dylosproducts.com/wocrandshair.html
) that monitors the particle count in my shop
2. Two (2) Jet AFS-1000b units that filter out the particles in the shop air
3. And when the Dylos gets too high, I have a 2500 cfm 20" exhaust fan at one end of the shop with a 6' x 8' overhead door at the other end.
To be honest. LOL I am actually a Respiratory Therapist and just a hobbyist wood worker.
As a "Respiratory Therapist and just a hobbyist wood worker", you probably council patients on being overly cautious as being the better choice in the long run......
Woodworkers are very creative people. They can find more ways to save a buck than my grandmother, who lived through the Great Depression saving pennies....So, if you can built a cheaper solution that provides the same or better quality, then please do. Just make sure that you tell us about it, so that we can learn and benefit also.
By the way, have you heard the joke about the Respiratory Therapist and the woodworker? (I haven't either, I just thought that you might have one for us.)