Modified Harbor Freight Dust Collector
This is going to be a long picture and video filled post. Hopefully a one stop shop for those who want to do the same thing for their woodshop dust collection.
Shop Dust Collection
I didn’t want to spend any more money on a nice can filter for the unit so I decided to vent outside. This creates a negative pressure inside which is not a problem for me. I didn’t want to just dump my trash outside so I decided to change the design up a bit. After asking a few questions on the LumberJocks forum and reading a handy little DIY approach to the same thing, I decided to use the bag ring to make a Thien baffle and mount the motor directly on top. I used two layers of MDF to create the bottom baffle and 2 layers for the motor mount on the top of the ring. Hopefully these pictures can better describe whats going on. Videos at the end.
Here is the bottom baffle being cut. I originally messed up right here. I had the air intake lined up with the two lines below where the slot starts. That was wrong. Where the air intake starts is where the platform should start. The slot cutout should end right before the air intake. Luckily all I had to do was rotate the MDF 90 degrees counter clockwise.I went with two layers of MDF on bottom because I felt that the groove for the can and ring were too close and would result in a very weak piece of MDF. On the bottom layer seen here I removed a large section of the baffle area and left a pie shape to help support the weight on the piece above.
The two bottom pieces are stacked together. In relation to the slot, the air will be coming in from where my left hand is, not my right hand as I originally had it. It was clogging before I made the change. I should have read Thien’s writeup better before the build.
Test fit. I was a little skeptic about leaving the cone shaped inner ring. The author of the writeup I read said he left it. So thats what I did.
Time to cut some more MDF. Boy did I wish I already had this dust collector working when I was making all the MDF dust.
The top has to have 2 layers as well. This is the top-most layer. Where my hand is located is the exhaust for the blower. An elevated mounting platform is needed to clear this rectangular flange. A 5” hole was cut in the center to accept the impeller air intake.
The layer directly above the ring is pretty straight forward. Just a groove to accept the ring and a 5” hole in the center to accept the blower intake. This is a rough assembly. Time to put it in location.
Initial install. I did not have any DC hose so I tested it with some flexible drain hose. This is when I realized the improper position of the air intake relative to the baffle slot. Easy fix like I said, just rotate the bottom two pieces.
I had to think of a way to easily elevate the whole unit and remove the can for emptying. This is what I came up with. Just a scrap wood frame to straddle the can on 3 sides. It is sized so that the height of the rails are slightly shorter than the bottom baffle.
Testing out how easy it is to remove the can. It was a little cumbersome at first but after adding handles it is super easy to remove the can.
Because I purchased the unit with the intentions of building this setup I had a lot of extra parts that I will never use.
This is a budget conscious project. I didn’t want to spend a lot on a relay or remote system so I went with just running a corded switch. I wont get too much into this. I ended up removing the switch I made in video 5 and replaced it with two switches that I will show later.
The original idea. Using 12-2 extension cord to make a corded remote switch. I changed this to 2 dedicated 12-2 hardwire corded remote switches.
With the unit done I started on plumbing the shop. First thing was to come up with some blast gates. I ended up making them with half of a coupling on one side and a piece of pipe on the other. This gave me a male and female end for the blast gate which will allow me to place it into any junction with a connection for running pipe on the other end. The wood is 1/4” ply sized at 6×6 with a 4-1/2” gate. Super simple, super easy, they work great. This picture shows each piece before assembly. I glued the appropriate pipe piece to the center of each piece of ply. Drilled a hole in the middle after the glue cured and used a flush trim bit in my router table to clean up the inside.
This is what it looks like today. I’ll start the piping tour here.
I rotated both the base and ring this time so that the Y fitting is close to the wall. Lets start with the top side of the Y.
I have the pipe running right below the window sill going into the corner. My original plan was to have 2 45 degree fittings to make a gradual turn around the corner. I decided to go with another Y and 45. This allowed me to add a pipe and blast gate going to the floor. The pipe going to the right goes to the new miter saw station.
I am SOOOOO glad I added this. Just sweep the floor into the corner and watch the magic happen :) Here is also a good look at the completed blast gates. They work great. From the corner we come into a 45 fitting, blast gate, and then back to a cardboard enclosure that collects the miter saw dust. It works great as well.Heres a good shot of the miter saw blast gate and where the first wired remote switch is located.
Back at the DC we can follow the bottom side of the initial Y. The hose runs behind the can. I didn’t have a long enough piece of hose for a single run so I used a HF blast gate as a coupling for the two hoses. I can easily remove the first hose and place it on my DW735 planer that is sitting above. After the blast gate it goes behind my workbench to the table saw.
Coming around the work bench and connecting to a 45 to my table saw station.
Here is the lower part of my table saw station. A blast gate for the table saw and one for the future router upgrade. I am thrilled with this setup :)
Here is the second corded remote switch for the DC. They are wired direct, not via a 3 way switch. I left about 4’ of slack with this run of the wire so I will have enough when I pull the saw back for longer cuts.
Back at the DC we can see the added handles as well as the gap between the MDF and base. Simply lift the assembly up about a half inch and slide the pine spacer in to support it. One on each side.
And here is the exhaust hose. I cut a hole in my Plexiglas window filler. Its not perfect. Nothing a little HVAC tape cant handle.