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How do I choose a Dust Collector?

There are many types of dust collectors.  This entry addresses a ducted dust collector that would have fixed pick-up points in a woodworking shop.  There are two types of dust collectors used in this application: single-stage and two-stage or cyclone dust collections.

Single-stage dust collectors draw the chip/dust/shavings from the pick-up points and separate all of these particles from the air by using a single filter, usually a sock-type felt, cloth or paper filter.  These collectors are best for very small shops or for a single machine when efficiency and noise are not a consideration.  These units are typically less expensive and less effective than the two-stage cyclones.  You get what you pay for.

A two-stage or cyclonic collector draws the dust/chip/shaving laden air through the collector body where a twisting or cyclone action is imparted on the air.  This feeds into a drum and the larger shavings and chips are separated from the air by centripetal force.  The finer dust is carried with the exhaust air to sock-type felt, cloth or paper filters.  This system is much more effective as the majority of the dust/chips/shavings is collected in the drum and does not build up of the secondary filter.

The collector is part of a complete system that includes pick-up points at the machinery, ducting, gates and the collector.  The collector is the heart of the system, but a system must be correctly designed to provide enough air velocity to pick up and carry the dust to the collector.  Wood dust/chips/shavings require 4500 linear feet per minute (LFM) to be carried to the collector.  Collectors are measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM).  The translation of LFM to CFM requires complete information including:

–          the number of machines to be connected

–          the size of each pick-up (usually in the machinery manuals)

–          the location of each pick-up

–          the type of dust/chips/shavings being picked up

–          the amount of usage for each pick-up (in hours or percentage)

Tools USA can help design the complete system.  Duct manufacturers like NordFab can also perform this task.  Systems that demand over 5000 cfm are required to meet a higher level of codes and often integrate fire detection/suppression.  Tools USA recommends breaking a larger system into smaller systems of less than 5000 cfm in most cases.  There are significant savings in installation, power and maintenance costs by dividing these larger systems.

Please contact Kelly at Tools USA to help select and design your dust collection system.  This will go quicker if you have machine details (duct diameters, cfms recommended) and a general layout drawing of your shop.  Our collectors are designed to be located inside your building for ease for emptying and maintenance.

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