Question about PVC DC piping. - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 10-11-2017, 08:46 AM Thread Starter
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Question about PVC DC piping.

Hi everyone. I'm sure there will be varying opinions regarding this, but I've been doing a lot of reading and research before installing a DC system in my shop and I keep seeing these articles about static electricity fire dangers with sawdust through PVC. I've read pro and con, mostly pro, but I'm just curious whether anyone has grounded their piping, or whether it truly isn't an issue.

I'm in the process of picking up a HF 2HP dust collector. The Shop Vac moved from machine to machine just doesn't cut it anymore, and I'd like to pipe the shop with 4" PVC and the requisite blast gates, etc. and wanted to hear whether anyone has or does ground, or whether dust collection on the scale of a small shop really doesn't bring about a static/dust explosion issue.

Any experiences or information you might share would be greatly appreciated.


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post #2 of 8 Old 10-11-2017, 08:50 AM
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What option do you have. You could get static electricity in metal pipe too. I don't see it as an issue anyway.
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post #3 of 8 Old 10-11-2017, 09:03 AM
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The articles I have seen suggest grounding PVC. From what I've seen they drill screws into the PVC and connect bare wire that is grounded. Check out the WW suppliers who offer DC parts - they usually sell grounding kits.

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post #4 of 8 Old 10-11-2017, 09:04 AM Thread Starter
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From the reading I've done, metal pipe is smoother inside than PVC. PVC, being plastic, has a more course inner surface and the sawdust and chips scraping against those microscopic pores in the PVC create a static electricity that can (not my opinion, from my reading) cause sparks-especially-if you are, for instance, planing and pick up an errant nail or screw head. I'm just looking for actual experience with a PVC system in hopes of debunking the negative aspects of it I've read. I'd much rather run a PVC system, but I want to do this once and be done with it-all while not burning down my garage.
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post #5 of 8 Old 10-11-2017, 09:44 AM
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You don't say what length of pipe you are running but the HF is pretty underpowered out of the box due to the 10" impeller. Just about any 1.5HP DC will outperform the HF. But the HF is inexpensive and is good for a mobile unit connecting a short hose to one machine at a time. Unfortunately people look at the HP rating and ignore the thing that matters and that is the impeller size. You can upgrade the HF with a new 12" impeller (what should already be there) and larger intake, but that is time and money and a voided warranty. Or look on CL for a used 1.5HP unit for about the same money.

PVC really should not be an option since ideally you will want a short 5" metal duct. People typically use 4" PVC because it is cheap but it will continue to strangle your limited airflow. And 6" is too big as the HF can't maintain proper airflow to guarantee horizontal pipe clogs. Do people do all the above. Sure. Will you feel suction? Sure. Just like you do out of a shop vac. If you 'feel' 2x suction out this compared to your shop vac then you have a sub par system (shop vac CFM ~100 vs minimum DC CFM 400 ->600-800 would be better).

As far as the static build up. No one has ever found an instance of a home shop fire due to PVC. I believe there was one commercial situation but there were also other circumstances. Will there be a build up? Sure. It is like riding down a plastic slide vs a metal slide. Most people have realized the PVC issue was over blown and unless you even feel a discharge on any of the pipe there is no need to add all the grounding wires.

Hope this helps. Let us know what you do.

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post #6 of 8 Old 10-12-2017, 08:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your input. I do appreciate it. I've been perusing other options and believe I may have found a reasonably priced Shopsmith dust collector on Craig's List that I'm looking into. It's 2HP according to the posting and I'm sure Shopsmith quality far surpasses HF quality-although I have seen some great reviews on the HF unit.

Stay tuned for film at 11.
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post #7 of 8 Old 10-12-2017, 02:55 PM
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Everyone has an opinion but personally I like PVC. I built my dust collection system with PVC in my shop over 10 years ago & it has never failed me. I used PVC Schedule 80 with the main trunk being 4" with drops to each of my tools reduced to 1-1/4".

I have had no leaks and no issuies with static electricity. Never, not once!
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post #8 of 8 Old 10-12-2017, 08:45 PM
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My system is pvc and I like it. When first fired it up, I had some flexible hose from the end of the pvc pipe and fastened to my plainer. The flexable had a spiral wire going through it to keep it from collapsing. Anyways there was an 1 1/4" static spark (almost continuous) from the spiral wire and the plainer frame. Some might now worry about fire, but I don't want my shop to burn down and I'm not taking a chance. What I did is sucked a string through the piping, then pulled a bare wire through and fastened the wire at each end to a grounded surface. Its not worth taking a chance as far as I'm concerned. just my 2 cents.
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