Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Souped Up Harbor Freight Dust Collector with Cyclone

In an effort to improve the dust in my shop, I decided to get a dust collector. My vacuum cart with a dustdeputy does a great job; however, I needed a larger volume of air moved to remove more dust. I thought about an individual cyclone separators such as one by Grizzly, but it was getting expensive and I think my wife would not be happy.

With that, I started searching the internet and decided to really soup up a Harbor Freight Dust collector. Below is the final picture and a schematic of what I built. In short, it’s a Harbor Freight dust collector, a Wynn Engineering Filter, a salad bowl as an internal baffle, and a Super Dust Deputy cyclone. To top it off, I just made my own remote control switch using some relays and a $10 wireless remote for Christmas tree lights. (Look for that Post Soon)

The System - Dust Collector with Cyclone

To start the process, I used some great resources, which I want to give credit too, such as:

I started with the Harbor Freight Dust collector, which using a super coupon, I was able to get for $150. By itself, I don’t know that I would be the best dust collector, but it sure makes a great starting point for something larger. One reason for my thought is that I do not believe that a 5-micron filter is fine enough as it’s the dust you cannot see (<10 micron) that is dangerous to breathe in. The first improvement to the dust collector was Wynn Engineering’s Nano filter. With that filter, I now have better airflow than the original felt bag and essentially HEPA filtration.

I have the standard Dust Deputy on a vacuum cleaner, which is amazing and I think every woodworker should use it or something similar on a shop vac. With experience with the standard Dust Deputy, I did not even hesitate to get the Super Dust Deputy. I went with the plastic over metal to save some money and I liked how it looked like the plastic one starts the air to flow down and might work better.

While waiting on the filter and cyclone to come in, I did some more reading one what people have done. I decided to put some sort of extra separation within the dust collector itself. I would have loved to have put in the Thein baffle, but because of the filter option I got, I was unable to. Then I saw the articles that try and copy a certain companies cone within a dust collectors. The company will remain nameless; however they make nice white and yellow tools. Great things have been to copy the cones used such as woks (& here), plant stands, dog food bowls, frying pans, and chimney tops. With that, I went down to the local GoodWill store to see what I could find. For $1, I found a nice red plastic salad bowl. After increasing the bowl’s strength with some plywood, I mounted it into the dust collector. The way the filter attaches, the bowl had to be easy to install and remove as it must be removed to adjust the toggle bolts that hold the filter in place.

Using a 5” hose, I then ran the input of the dust collector to the output of the cyclone filter (6” output). I reduced the input of the cyclone (5”) to the standard hose size of (4”). Eventually I would like to get the Rockler DustRight quick connects.

Without the fancy 4” Dust Right connections, I have the hose attached to a 4” plastic part. The plastic part is then connected to the part making the dust, such as my table saw, using a 4” rubber connection, which is used to join pipes. It actually works so well as somewhat of a quick connect, I may never fork over the money for the expensive connections.  The bucket that has the dust deputy on it was lined with a heavy-duty contractor grade trash bag. The lid was cut and a small plastic window as put in to see the dust level. I used some white caulk to seal any seam or connection on the Harbor Freight dust collector, including around the seams near the filter. Lastly, I noticed some dust leaking out around the bag, so I put some thin weather stripping to help seal where bag goes.

How does it work? Well it’s still too new, but I really like it. The big metal drum has a few inches of dust in it, where the plastic bag has a sprinkling in it. When it looks like the drum is full of dust, I will open up everything to see how much dust got on the fine filter. I guess at that point, I will be ready to write a full review. 
Full Picture

$7 "Quick" 4" Dust Connections

Salad Bowl Baffle

Looking up at Baffle
Seams Sealed with Caulk

Weatherstripping on Bag

The HF Dust Collector

Super Dust Deputy on Can with Window

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