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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This isn't so much a product review... but a usage review.

I just connected my Craftsman tablesaw to my 6.5 hp shop vac (because I'm getting tired of sweeping). This is working extremely well. I have a zero tolerance insert for most cuts (with a small hole drilled at the front of the slit). I'm getting very little saw dust in the saw or in the shop. And it's a cheap substitute for the dust collector.
My saw is 220 and the vac is 110 so I have to flick 2 switches to start (I'm sure there's a fix somewhere). But it sure beats sweeping the floor.

This is just for those out there who are thinking about it, but haven't done it yet.

I'm gonna attempt to throw in an old (previous) pic of my saw. But I'm not too good with that.
 

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Hi Clarionflyer, read your post and thought I would add my .02 worth! I have a rigid vac hooked up to my TS and router with a small dust separator on top of a 5 gallon bucket between the tools and the vac. It seemed like a good idea at first but it filled up so fast that it became just as much work emptying as with just the vac alone. After a little head scratching :wallbash::wallbash: I decided to take another mud bucket(5 gallon) with a lid attached and cut out the bottom of the two buckets and slid one into the other and sealed the seam with a little duct tape. Now it takes twice as long to fill up and seems to extend time between vac filter cleanings even longer! Usually I smack the vac a few times to knock the dust off the filter to get just a little more run time out of it. If you go to amazon.com and do a search for "dust collection separator" you can check out a few of these which have gotten a lot cheaper since I bought one!
 

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Hi Clarionflyer

I hope that when you said "My 6.5 hp shop vac", you know that it's just an advertisement gimmick and you said it just because it's written on it "6.5 PEAK HP"....I think that it's more close to...a little bit under 1HP (if it's 11A motor).....

If it was real 6.5HP (or even half), I would change the motor on my TS :smile:

Oh, the TS looks "Mother of beauty".....I can see that you have an Outfeed table that - looks to me - is just hooking on the rail. I made the same but also for the Infeed table.

As for dust collection, if the blade is enclosed in a shroud, almost any shop-vac (or home-vac) will be good to move the "not so big quantity" of dust that TS is producing and yes, the Zero Clearance Insert (ZCI) will keep down a lot of dust from coming up to the table top...unless, you are making "dust cut" i.e. you are cutting 1/8" or less from a board.

Goingenoan
I made it a little bit different...my "separator" is catching even the fine dust and only very, very fine dust is getting to the main filter that needs cleaning very seldom.

The pre-filter will get clogged more often but, since I made the "Hammer", I can clean it without opening the vac.

I use an 20 gal barrel and pushed "R2D2" into the barrel after removing its "bottom". :smile:

Product Cylinder Plastic
 

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I am currently working on trying to find a 30 gallon drum locally, not the barrel shape, but a true drum so that I can build a Thien Cyclone Baffle http://www.cgallery.com/jpthien/cy.htm and hook it inline with my 12 gallon Ridgid 6.5 PEAK HP wet / dry vac. And yeah I know PEAK HP blah blah... It still does a good job, just plugs up really fast...

After seeing how fast a 12 gallon shop vac fills up, I would NOT suggest using a 5 gallon bucket based separator, but rather a 20 - 30 gallon vessel of some type. That shop vac will produce enough vacum to collapse a 30 gallon steel trash can once the inlet is blocked. Hence the reason I am looking for a drum...

Depending on your workshop setup, as long as you only run one tool at a time, and seal the joints with electrical tape to make them fit better and provide a good vacum seal, the Shop Vac Sawdust Collection System is a GREAT way to use your shop vac as a central dust collection system. Is it as effective as a true DC? There is a LOT of debate over that, not only here on the WW forums, but also with the auto refinishing crowd, and aviation tinkerers. I have access to a good number of engineers where I live since most of my neighbors are with NASA, the oil industry, or various smaller manufacturers. I am confident with my hobby workshop being a safe environment with my setup, and the cyclone can only improve it.

If you want to go full out with a dust collection system based on your shop vac, I would go with...

#1. Thein Cyclone. You will need to shop build this. A lot of guys are using 1/2" ply, or MDF for it. Either are reported to work well. I think Phil builds his out of 3/4" MDF and rabbets a lip into the top part. Unless you want to spend all your time emptying the cyclone canister, use at least a 20 gallon drum. 30 gallon is better IMHO. 55 gallon is a lot easier to get, but might be too big.
#2. I am assuming you are using a Ridgid, or Craftsman wet / dry vac. Only because I know where to find the link for the item I want to talk about here... http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs...7+787&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053&langId=-1 You will want to add a Gore CleanStream HEPA filter to keep any ultra fines from blowing through the filter and back into the air.
#3. Shop Vac Sawdust Collection System, or Ridgid Clean Shop Dust Collection Network. (The only difference I can see between the two kits, is the Shop Vac setup uses longer pipe segments, and the color of the blast gates). The Shop Vac kit from their website was far less expensive, and used longer pipe segments. I bought two of their kits, with shipping was less than $90.00
#4. Tool reducers for things like miter saw, sanders, etc... I found my particular miter saw needed to simply have a couple of winds of electrical tape to make up the size difference to connect to a hose.
#5. MANY bench top, and a good number of free standing machines have dust ports specifically made for the 2.5" shop vac fitting. If your ancient band saw, or el cheapo jointer don't have a dust collector flange, you will need to add one to each machine you want to connect.
#6. Bulk 2.5" hose, and screw in adapter ends. Peachtree woodworking is where I got mine. The hose comes in 10, 20, and 50 foot lengths. Even with the screw on ends, you will also want GOOD hose clamps, to keep the hose from spreading and walking off the connector.
#7. Drywall anchors to mount your tubing. The kits come with some, not enough. I prefer to use those expanding moly bolts anyway....

Mind you, even a dedicated dust collector isn't going to provide a 100% dust free environment, so you will need to add some sort of air cleaner. You can fab something up using a blower motor of some sort in a shop built box, and suck dirty air through a HEPA type filter, or simply add a 20x20 HEPA or Filtrete type filter to the intake side of a standard 20" box fan with duct tape. (My cheapo solution). Either way works.

There are certain tools that no matter your dust collection system, there is no real good way to collect the dust from the machine operation, these machines in particular are spindle / edge sanders, band saws, miter saws, and radial arm saws. I have probably forgotten some. Keeping an open garage door or window with a breeze coming through, and / or wearing a proper dust mask is certainly well advised.

Good subject, keep on making that sawdust, and keep safe!
 

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They sell a separator top for a standard size trash can (30 gal I think) for around $15.00. They really cut down on the frequency of having to dump the sawdust unless I am using the planer. Then it wouldn't matter if I had three Trash cans I would fill everything in a matter of minutes.
David
 

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Well I guess the country life has it's perks. I have a duel quarrel cage blower mounted on the wall and it takes everything out of my shop and blows it outside. The grass soaks it up and it will be years before you can see a build up in the yard. The blowers push it a good 20ft before it starts to fall. And due to the amout of large oak trees and their leaves, you can't find the dust or the chips.
 

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They sell a separator top for a standard size trash can (30 gal I think) for around $15.00. They really cut down on the frequency of having to dump the sawdust unless I am using the planer. Then it wouldn't matter if I had three Trash cans I would fill everything in a matter of minutes.
David
The only one of those that I have seen that even comes close to making sense is the one from Penn State Industries for $30.00. And even then, it lacks the baffle...

The idea behind Phil's cyclone separator, is to keep the particles moving in a cyclonic fashion on the outside of the can, and cleaned air being pulled up from the middle of the can, so that the debris in the bottom of the can is not picked up and carried through to the filter. If you watch the demo videos, it is pretty obvious that this cyclone design is much more efficient than an unbaffled cyclone lid, or a separator lid that does not provide any cyclonic action.

If you wanted to be lazy about building a Thien cyclone, I guess you could get a PSI lid, and add the baffle to it...

Phil has a decent demo video on his site to show how well it works...
http://www.cgallery.com/jpthien/demo.wmv
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Holy Smokes!
I'm getting pounded here! :laughing:

Sorry, I should have been much more specific.
When I wrote this thread, I was putting out my recent experience of hooking a vac to my saw because I was tired of sweeping. I completely understand (well, not completely) the whole HP rating on shop vacs, but I was merely stating the size of the vac without pushing any names around.

I have a strong feeling that there are a lot of folks out there with a garage/basement shop, lots of equipment, lots of sawdust... and a broom (me, 3 weeks ago). And hooking a high-powered vac to your equipment sure helps - and it can be done for less than $100. I can only assume that a big dust collection system would be wonderful! But, I personally can't afford such a system for the amount of wood I run. I used to call it my "hobby" but, at times, I've found that I cut as much wood as some who make a living at it.

Now... the vac I'm using is a new Craftsman (I'll do my best to include a picture). And I've been very surprised to see how reasonable the "dust dumping" is, compared to the cutting I've done. I'm making end-board maple "cutting boards" for Christmas presents (lot's of sawdust). I just made about 20 boards on Saturday, and barely filled an 1/8th tub.

I expected to dump my little tub once a week (compared to sweeping hourly), but it looks like I'll get much more than that. Dumping the bin (burn pile) and tapping the filter out takes about 5 min. The filter does hold a surprising amount of dust!

I just wanted to express my pleasure at not having to sweep.

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hmmmm.....

For all (especially Niki & dbhost),

I just reread what you were saying. Sorry, I skimmed through too quick. The info you gave was great. As a matter of fact you have me thinking...
My only complaint with the vac is that I have to switch hoses for equipment. My big three are the the TS, miter saw, and table router.

Now, I cut a lot of wood but I don't seem to be running into the dumping problem a lot of others have (I live in the country with a burn pile out back). But I would like to limit my swapping of hose connections. I can certainly rig a "tri-splitter" in my hose connection. But has anyone out there "tri-spit" a shop vac? If so, how'd it work?

Thanks in advance... Dave
 

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shop vac dust sucker?

Just a little history on my experience with your method. Two years ago I had been using my $160 Shop Vac for quite awhile to suck up the stuff from my router table when the motor burned out on the vac. I explained this to my son-inlaw who is an electrician. He said the vacs are not strong enough to be used in that way running for a long period. I learned my lesson and bought a Shop Fox dust collector for $149 minus shipping fron Highland Woodworking. I keep my 16 Gal. Sears Vac for cleaning around my shop.

Gary
 

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For all (especially Niki & dbhost),

I just reread what you were saying. Sorry, I skimmed through too quick. The info you gave was great. As a matter of fact you have me thinking...
My only complaint with the vac is that I have to switch hoses for equipment. My big three are the the TS, miter saw, and table router.

Now, I cut a lot of wood but I don't seem to be running into the dumping problem a lot of others have (I live in the country with a burn pile out back). But I would like to limit my swapping of hose connections. I can certainly rig a "tri-splitter" in my hose connection. But has anyone out there "tri-spit" a shop vac? If so, how'd it work?

Thanks in advance... Dave
I use the Shop Vac Sawdust Collection System, and it works great.
http://www.shopvac.com/detail.asp?id=393
 

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Hey, $17.00 is a steal! I thought the $39.00 per kit price that SV was selling theirs for was cheap.... I think full retail from Ridgid is almost $90.00...
I heard about this from another forum and I checked out 4 different nearby HDs before I found it at one HD: $69 marked down to 17. I am from PA and do not know whether this is going on in your area. I am following your great thread on using a w/d vac for an alternative type of dust control. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sorry Folks,
I haven't found enough time to "tri-split" the vac yet (work and cleaning up 2 monster Willow trees).
But I'm still cutting away with the shop vac, and it's working great.
I have to say, I'm not cutting wood hours on the day. If you're doing that, I figure you're going to burn up your vac motor. I cut quite a bit of wood, but nothing like a professional woodworker.

But, if you're a part-timer... I love it.


My other thought is (if you live in the country)... Why not feed the hose outside (vac or collection)? Right to a bin outside? Maybe into a garden trailer? Drive off and dump it. I may try that, too, now that I'm on a roll.
 
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