View Full Version : Advice on shop vac .

09-25-2013, 06:33 PM
Just got lectured by my landlord for making saw dust everywhere outside. now got to move build indoors in my bedroom.

can a shopvac ($25-$40) found at my local hardware store be good for dust collection or does it just suck it up and blow it back out the exhaust vent?

its mainly for collectiong the saw dust from sanding or planeing.

thank you in advance.

Gary Gill
09-26-2013, 12:23 AM
My experience with a shop vac to collect saw dust, the filter holds the dust and very little escapes the canister. So much dust on the filter that it reduces the vacuum. I switched to an dust collection unit.

Michael N.
09-26-2013, 02:52 AM
Then you start producing a lot of noise from the vac. Not only that but sanding dust inside a room gets EVERYWHERE. Unfortunately some idiot (years ago) decided that Guitars and Ukes had to be dead flat and look like a bowling ball. They don't but that's the aesthetic now. I do advise that you use a plane and scraper up to it's full potential. You can eliminate probably 90% of the dry sanding.

09-26-2013, 03:04 AM
I found this youtube video earlier whilst looking into dust extraction.

Lots of interesting info about the different sorts.


09-26-2013, 04:27 AM
Use a cyclone dust separator, which will catch most of the dust before it gets to the shop vac. Also consider using a powerful air cleaner to catch any dust that escapes into the air.

09-26-2013, 05:29 AM
Use a cyclone dust separator, which will catch most of the dust before it gets to the shop vac. Also consider using a powerful air cleaner to catch any dust that escapes into the air.
There is a DIY cyclone build here in 3 parts ..if I had a bit more space in the shop I'd have a go at building one myself :)

part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C8Yn0mrnb0

part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyYb1GavW8I

part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waBe3WxwMYY

*Edit** Or I could just buy one of these ;) http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DUST-COMMANDER-Cyclone-filter-element-/121166854664?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item1c361b7a08#ht_1003wt_1170

Kayak Jim
09-26-2013, 06:41 AM
In my experience a shop vac alone works just fine for sanding, sawing, etc. dust generated by small projects. Power dressing rough stock is another matter. Stock filters will allow the finest particles to pass through and these are the ones than penetrate deep into your lungs and cause health problems. Any shop vac should be retrofitted with a HEPA filter. Festool vacs, if you can afford them ($500), are the cat's, um, meow.


09-26-2013, 07:02 AM
you will really appreciate a sander with vacuum assist. Your shop will be cleaner, and much of the dust that otherwise goes all over into every nook and cranny, stirred by any movement back into your lungs, it will be caught at the source. Festool make a great vacuum unit with HEPA filtration. Their sanders are decent too.

09-26-2013, 07:03 AM
I went back and forth on shop-vac vs. dust collector and finally decided on a hybrid of sorts. I built a plywood column, made a cyclone separator out of a heavy cardboard tube, and use the top section of a 6 hp shop vac. There are two chambers, one above the cyclone, one below with a drawer. The upper chamber has a HEPA filter. But, the thing is, if you use a HEPA filter on a shop vac without a cyclone separator, the HEPA filter will clog in 2 minutes flat. The separator takes out 99% of the dust and lets the HEPA filter go for quite some time between cleanings. Then pretty much nothing gets by the HEPA.

I tried to use the Dust Deputy cyclone, but it bogged down my shop vac and didn't have the airflow for good collection. So, the cyclone I built is based on a 6" diameter tube, with a spiral vane inside, 2" inlet and outlet tubes. It's not super easy to make a cyclone, but there are instructions online, and you can make it out of whatever materials you feel comfortable with.

This thing REALLY works. The suction is incredible, the drawer is easy to dump, and the HEPA filters to .5 micron. I've built a number of shop-made tools, sanders, etc. but this is the best thing I have made. My shop is dust free. I wheel it around and have a single 12' hose that I hook up to whatever tool I'm working with. And being a column, it takes up little floor space.

One thing that wasn't available when I was working on this is a new larger Dust Deputy. It's black plastic, and I think the size would work great with a big shop-vac. It's $175

59170 59168 59169

Michael N.
09-26-2013, 12:43 PM
His bedroom is going to look a little odd with a cyclone hanging above the bed!
The obvious and simpler solution is to limit the dust in the first place. Abrasives, power tools are good at producing fine dust. Hand Planes, scrapers tend to produce bigger chips.

09-27-2013, 02:57 PM
thanks for everyones advice. will try to use other methods scraping and planning to limit on saw dust.

I just found that my friend has one of those rainbow vacuums where you put water in it so all the thing fall into the water then filter.
i think that should work alright

09-29-2013, 08:49 PM
Festool. Dust extraction w/o headaches.

10-02-2013, 10:23 AM
One thing that really made a difference to my dust extraction was to vent the exhaust outside. In my case my setup is an old household vac sucking through a triton dust collector bucket. Moving the vacuum cleaner outside the door stopped the exhaust stirring up the dust in the room and brings fresh air in the room and everything is a lot less dusty.

10-02-2013, 10:45 AM
For a couple of years in the 80's I worked as an Inspector in the "Clean Room" at "Foster Wheelers" building Nuclear Submarine engine parts...and all the vacuum drivers filters or "whatever" were situated outside of the building...even small hand operated vac's were out there with extended tubes going into the clean area via holes in the wall...And sometimes It still wasn't good enough, and the whole room had to be evacuated for decontamination.