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Getting Tough on Dust
Choosing a Dust Collector
To choose the right dust collector for your shop, you'll need to
consider the air volume requirements of the tools in your shop and
also the amount of static pressure your dust collector will have to
overcome. Unfortunately, a thorough explanation of dust collection
design - including formulas for calculating air volume, velocity and
static pressure losses - is beyond the scope of this article. For
that, we recommend a dust
collection book, where you'll find the detailed information
you'll need to do the best job of designing your dust collection
There are, however, a few dust collection "rules of thumb"
that are based on the size of your shop and the type of tools in it.
Below well offer our picks for dust collection systems ranging from
a small portable dust collection solution to a central system for a
well equipped two car garage sized shop.
How Dust Collectors are Rated
Dust collectors are designed and rated to produce a sufficient
air moving force to capture and move woodworking debris under
certain conditions. Nearly all manufacturers publish ratings
for individual dust collectors including:
- Air velocity in feet per minute (fpm)
- Air volume in cubic feet per minute (cfm)
- Maximum static pressure (sp)
A large, powerful dust collector will, of course, move more air
with more friction-overcoming force than a small, portable unit, and
therefore can be used to service machinery that produces greater
volumes of debris and have greater cfm requirements. Also,
because of their greater capacity for overcoming static pressure
losses, more powerful dust collectors can be situated farther away
from individual machines, making them more advantageous for central
dust collection systems.
Affordable, Portable Systems
A portable dust collector is a good option if your priorities are
affordability and simplicity. A portable dust collector is moved
from machine to machine, keeping it in close proximity of the tool
it's servicing and limiting the static pressure losses caused by
long runs of ductwork. There's a minimum amount of set-up involved -
the dust collector connects to the dust collection port of the tool
it's servicing with a short length of
flexible hose and a
keyed hose clamp.
Jet DC650 is an excellent
choice for a small woodworking operation where an affordable
solution is the goal. The DC650 is rated to move 650 cfm through
it's 4' port - more than enough for the type of equipment most
often found in a small, hobbyist shop. It's compact - 14' by 22' at
its base - and runs quieter than larger portable units, making it
perfect for tight quarters and home shops where noise is often an
Stepping Up for Better Performance
Best Value and Performance in Portable Dust
Fine Woodworking Magazine tested 10
leading portable Dust Collectors and published the results
in its April 2006 issue. The test, which simulated actual
shop conditions, placed both the
Delta 50-760 and
in the top performance category and named the
Delta 50-760 "Best Value"
of all machines tested.
Jet DC-1100, the Jet
Delta 50-760 and the
Delta 50-850, all rated in the 1100
- 1200 cfm range, are a step up in power. Used as a portable
dust collection system (moved from tool to tool), dust collectors in
this class will produce ample air velocity and volume to handle chip
removal for even the largest home shop tools.
Central Dust Collection Systems
In a central dust collection system, the
dust collector stays in one place in the shop and is connected to
the woodworking tools it services with a system of ductwork. A
central system has a couple of advantages over a portable system.
The central dust collection unit can be placed in an out-of-the-way
location where it doesn't take up the most valuable space in your
shop. Also, a central system is permanently connected to your tools,
meaning that you can move from tool to tool freely, without having
to stop work to transfer the dust collector's connection.
Getting the Right Sized Dust
Runs of ductwork, elbows and wyes required
in a central system mean greater static pressure losses. A dust
collector used for a central system has to be powerful enough to
overcome static pressure losses - with enough air volume and
velocity left over to move material.
Basement and One Car Garage Sized
Jet DC 1100, the
Jet DC-1200, the
Delta 50-760 and the
Delta 50-850 offer an economical
central dust collection solution for small shops. Each of these
machines have air volume ratings in the 1100 - 1200 cfm range
and are rated for a maximum static pressure of 8+ inches of water,
making them powerful enough for a hobbyist's basement or one car
garage sized shop. Good dust collection system design (discussed on
next page) will go along
way in making dust collectors in this class perform well in a
central dust collection system.
Two Car Garage Sized Shops
If your shop occupies a space
approximately the size of a two car garage, or you own tools with
very high cfm requirements, then a moving up to a powerful, 3HP
dust collector is probably your best choice. The
Powermatic Model 75 is rated to pull 1900 cfm - enough to
service tools with the highest cfm requirements, like wide belt
sanders or an industrial class planers. The Powermatic model
75 is rated for a maximum static pressure of 12.8, which is a t the
top of the range for dust collection systems designed for home use.
Next, on page 4, We'll offer a few dust collection design
tips, including advice on setting up and optimizing the system's