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So I'm just getting my shop set up with some permanent tools and I'm sick of lugging my shop vac from tool to tool, so I really need to get a DC system. I'm having a hell of a time choosing though.

I've read a ton of stuff on here and other sites about the best systems, but I'm sort of confused about a couple things. A lot of people seem to say that the clearvue are the best. But I don't really understand why that would be. The specs show that the system has 1,935 CFM, with a cost of $1900. But this grizzly DC has 3900 CMF for only $1200.

I understand the clearvue has a cyclone system and a filter, but is that really worth the cost? Is all of that not something you could build/add yourself for less than $700 and still having a better performing system? Or am I missing something?

Also, I wouldn't be opposed to building the entire system from scratch, in fact that might even be my preference. But is there a good resource for finding/buying an appropriate motor/impeller/housing? I'm an electrical engineer, so I'm very familiar with electric motors, but I'm having trouble knowing where to look for how to choose an entire system. I've looked at grainger but I'm overwhelmed with the different categories of blowers and stuff.
 

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There is an awful lot more to it than CFM. (and you can't trust manufacturer's CFM figures anyhow).
The first machine is a cyclone and the second a DC. That's like comparing a table saw and a band saw.

You have to learn quite a bit more before you buy one, and certainly before you build one.

I don't really know why people love Clearvue so much; personally I think my Grizzly is great. Maybe it is a bit of rooting for the little guy.
 

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So I'm just getting my shop set up with some permanent tools and I'm sick of lugging my shop vac from tool to tool, so I really need to get a DC system. I'm having a hell of a time choosing though.

I've read a ton of stuff on here and other sites about the best systems, but I'm sort of confused about a couple things. A lot of people seem to say that the clearvue are the best. But I don't really understand why that would be. The specs show that the system has 1,935 CFM, with a cost of $1900. But this grizzly DC has 3900 CMF for only $1200.

I understand the clearvue has a cyclone system and a filter, but is that really worth the cost? Is all of that not something you could build/add yourself for less than $700 and still having a better performing system? Or am I missing something?

Also, I wouldn't be opposed to building the entire system from scratch, in fact that might even be my preference. But is there a good resource for finding/buying an appropriate motor/impeller/housing? I'm an electrical engineer, so I'm very familiar with electric motors, but I'm having trouble knowing where to look for how to choose an entire system. I've looked at grainger but I'm overwhelmed with the different categories of blowers and stuff.
When I got ready to set up my DC, I read everything I could for months before I began. I posted many questions on this and other sights. When it came down to puting the system in, I had to balance a limited budget against the tools I needed to duct, against my expectations. My early expectations were somewhat unrealistic. I pictured an immaculate shop 100% of the time. What I found is that you learn by experience. I educated myself as well as possible and I drew a plan and implemented it. It was ok initially. I periodically change things to make them better. I have come to believe that dust collection is always a work in progress. Don't get me wrong...my shop stays pretty clean with my system but "no dust" is unrealistic.
 

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Like Toller said, there's a lot more to DC than CFM. Basically what you want is to move huge amounts of air, and then separate the debris from the air stream. But most units have air flow that slows as the debris is separated, that would be the cake build up on the filter media. That's why cyclones exist, they are supposed to separate the dust, and keep the filters clean...so you always have maximum air flow (please don't think I'm bashing single stage units). That's why the CV is the best, it has the all the design criteria that Pentz tested/proved to be needed for maximum separation of the dust; hence keeping the air flow. But that also means you have duct work that supports that air flow, and fan/motor combos on the blower that can deliver the same air flow. I built my first cyclone from the Wood magazine plans, and used it for 4-5 years or so. I then replaced it with a brand many consider the best only to find it's separation is about what I got from my shop built model. That's because building one to Pentz's specs is fairly costly, so most of the companies skip the squared/sloping inlet, the neautral vane, and the air ramp....not to mention the body dimensions. One other thing, the Pentz design is hard on air flow, that's why it requires a huge motor and impeller. (all my opinion, of course). But I'm still dreaming of the day I can upgrade my POS to a CV. Spend some time at the Pentz web site reviewing his info, start at the FAQ section.
 

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i would find the 2012 issue of WOOD magazine that reviewed both cyclone and regular single stage DCs. they rated a PM unit a top tool, along with a cyclone by, i believe, Oneida. very informative issue with good recommendations.
 
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