A dust collection system can be as simple as a shop vacuum, but the types of systems we are looking at today go much further, in that they are systems designed to capture, convey and collect dust from entire workshops. The idea is to improve breathable air quality. It accomplishes this by removing particles from the air. The most common use for these types of systems has to be the woodshop. Anyone who has worked in a woodshop knows how dust is constantly being created by every tool in the shop. That is why a woodworking dust collection system is so valuable to someone spending extended time in a woodshop.
The first stage of dust collection systems is to capture the dust. This is done at the tool, usually with hoods, or a duct directly attached to a port. Many of your power tools today are equipped with some sort of port for connecting a dust collection system.
The next stage is to convey (or move) the dust. This is done by having ducts from each tool and connected to a manifold to maintain a consistent minimum air velocity. The minimum is determines by the size and type of system. The air needs to keep moving at a minimum rate to keep the air suspended in the air. If the minimum air velocity is not maintained, the dust will fall out of the air, and collect in the ducts before it ever reaches the collector.
The final stage is the collection. This is done at a variety of means. It can be a simple pass-through filter, a cyclonic separator, or an impingement baffle. There are also many complex systems such as an electrostatic precipitator, a multistage bag house, or a chemically treated wet scrubber or stripping tower.
The simplest of systems are employed for smaller shops. They will typically use a single stage vacuum to create the suction AND perform the air filtration. The dust is drawn into an impeller and left in a container such as a bag, barrel, or canister. Air is then passed through a filter to clean out the small particulates. The air can then be vented outside, or recalculated back into the room. This type of system is very common as woodworking dust collection systems in homes.
For larger shop dust collection systems you want a dual-state system. This one will separate the larger particles before drawing the air through the impeller. That is the first stage. The second stage is the same as the one state system described above. The large particles are separated out by simply brining the dust into a canister, which then drops the air velocity below the minimum, which allows the particles to drop out. This is accomplished using a cyclone or baffled canister.
Cyclone Dust Collection Systems
These types of systems are commonly called centrifugal collectors, and are used as the first stage in a dual stage system. Cyclone dust collection systems spin the air, as the name suggests. By spinning the air, the heavier particles (dust) will be thrown towards the wall of the canister. When it strikes the wall, the particles fall to the bottom of the canister. You will find these systems used in woodworking dust collection systems, both for large and small shops. You will find this technology used in wood dust collection systems that will separate large and small dust and collecting them separately. Small dust particles are used in the production of paper, while larger particles may be used in pressboard or paneling.
The most popular woodworking dust collection system found on Amazon.com is the Shop Fox W1685 1.5-Horsepower 1,280 CFM Dust Collector. This small to medium dust collection system sells for $253.33. The canister is powder coated for a long lasting finish that will survive for years. The bag will hold 5.4 cubic feet of particles. The heart of this unit is the extra heavy-duty 12-inch steel impeller and a 1-1/2 HP motor.
Reviews of this product rate it very high, bragging that it very solid and are very pleased that the noise level is much less than a comparable shop vac. After connecting it to multiple shop tools, they find that it has great suction and confidently recommend it for a small woodworking dust collection system.
The second most popular dust collection system is the DELTA 50-760, 1.5HP, 1,200 CFM Vertical Bag Dust Collector. The list price of this system is $724.50, but as a Amazon.com fan, you can enjoy this quality tool for an amazing $389.99!
This system is a single-stage direct filtration system with a 1 micron filtration bag. The bags snap in for quick, easy changes. The powerful TEFC induction motor is long lasting, quiet, smooth performing motor that is shielded to protect it against dust infiltration. This system is mounted on a steel base with four easy-gliding wheels for moving from machine to machine or for storing out of the way. This easy portability is great for people who would like to collect the dust from the tool they are using without running permanent ducts.
The review of this product rates it at 5 out of 5 stars and states that it runs much quieter than initially expected. Even when attached to a permanent ducting system to multiple machines, this machine has plenty of suction.
The final shop dust collection system I want to tell you about is the Shop Fox W1727 1 HP Dust Collector. This inexpensive system is rated at 4.6 out of 5 stars and sells for just $212. This system is designed for portability. Designed as a wood shop dust collection system, it is meant to be moved from one machine to another.
Reviews of this product claim it is really solid and highly recommend it as a small, portable dust collection system. They claim it works much better than a shop vac, and at much less noise. One feature that is repeatedly mentioned is the small footprint of this system, making it perfect for small home shops.
When shopping for a dust collection system, you can find small, portable systems designed to be connected to individual machines at very low cost. If you are looking for a system that is out of the way, and don’t want to have to connect and disconnect it from different machines, you can spend a little more money to purchase a wall-mounted system designed to be connected to a permanent duct system attached to multiple machines. To save the money on replacement filters and bags, you have the option of Cyclone Dust Collection Systems. You better be ready to spend more money up front, but if you are someone doing a lot of woodworking, you will love the power, and appreciate how easy it is to empty and love the fact that your air filter will last much longer.