For years, the only dust collection I did was with my Shop Vacuum. I hooked the hose up to the dust ports on my sanders. Effective dust collection was nearly impossible with my Shopsmith, so I used a dust mask when sawing, jointing or using the bandsaw or lathe.
I made a foot switch to make it easier to turn my shop vacuum on and off with. The shop vac plugs into the switched half of the outlet. Two push toggle switch wired in parallel (to handle the current) break the hot line. The spring keeps the petal tight against the top of the switches. Notice the area chiseled out on the under side of the petal to allow it to set down squarely on the top of the switches.
My next step up was to hang a Jet Air Filtration unit from the ceiling. This pulled the fine air-borne dust out of the air when I was using tools that made fine dust – chief among them the table saw. I still had to wear a dust mask, but I could take it off after the shop air made its way through the filter – about 20 minutes on the high fan speed.
My next leap forward was to get a Dust Deputy cyclone. The cyclone separated 95+ percent of the sawdust and collects it in a 5 gallon pail. The Shop Vacuum filter stays amazingly clean. I shake it out about twice a year instead of once a week. Almost no dust makes it into the Shop Vac collection canister. I always have plenty of suction.
A few months ago I got a SawStop cabinet saw for Christmas. I now had a table saw I could do effective dust collection with. So I purchased the Harbor Freight 2 HP single stage dust collector. To increase its effectiveness I bought a trash can separator lid from Woodcraft along with a standard 32 gallon metal trash can to turn it into a two stage system. I haven’t had to empty the dust collector’s plastic bag yet. Here you can see it hooked up to the 2 inch floor sweep that that came with my Shop Vacuum. Another big plus of using the trash can separator is that any metal and big chunks of debris that is sucked up stays in the trash can and does not make its way through the impeller on the dust collector.
The biggest challenge I faced was getting all of the dust collection pieces to fit together. My dust collector has a 5 inch inlet. It also came with a Wye with two 4 inch ports. I dedicate one port to the SawStop, and the other to the trash can separator. In order to use standard 4 inch blast gates I found that 4 inch PVC electrical conduit sections worked well as couplers. The little play that existed was made up with a few wraps of duct tape.
I have added a wye connection to my SawStop dust collection port to allow a 2-1/4 inch hose to be run up to the dust collection port on the blade guard. When not in use, a plug is inserted into the small wye inlet.
Even tougher is finding reducers that will fit into the dust ports on particular tools. I found that in many cases using a standard 4 inch to 2-1/4 inch reducer would not work by itself. The OD of 1-1/2 inch thick wall PVC will fit inside the 2-1/2 adapter. I would then build up the outside the PVC with nylon tape coated with epoxy to get the exact size I needed for a particular tool.
Here’s an adapter I made for my Dewalt Orbital sander so I can use it with my standard Shop Vacuum hose. It is held into the sander with two strips of tire inner tube stretched over screw heads.
A standard 2-1/2 to 4 inch reducer allows the dust collector to be attached to the bandsaw. Dust collection is vastly improved when the reduction is done right at the machine.
An adjustable collar to hold a 1-1/4 Shop Vacuum hose provides chip collection on the Drill Press.
The hardest tool to capture sawdust from is my miter saw. I made a dust hood out of 5mm plywood and mounted a mini collection hood on the side. This is a work in progress, as I am currently only capturing about 70% of the dust. I am toying with some ideas to enclose more of the front area while still leaving space for my arm to operate the saw and retain adequate visibility.
Did a bit of work enclosing all the wide open spaces. I made sure that the saw can still be pivoted 45 degrees in either direction. The front enclosures on either side can be removed if need be. The improvement in the amount of sawdust captured is amazing!
I have done a bit of tweaking with various dust collection components. One of the ways I use to gauge a change to my setup is to measure the static pressure using a manometer. Mine is just a piece of plywood with clear tubing held in a “U” with romex staples and filled with food coloring dyed water. A piece of paper with lines spaced 1 inch apart provides a way to read the static pressure at a point in the system. Here I am measuring the static pressure at the input of my trash can separator. Since I know the static pressure at the input of my 5 inch duct on my dust collector, I can determine my static pressure loss due to the trash can separator, hose, blast gate, and Wye.