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Questions about using shop vac for dust collection

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Steve Perrone, Dec 4, 2020.

  1. Steve Perrone

    Steve Perrone

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    Oct 3, 2020
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    Location (City & State):
    Andover, MA
    I am new to woodturning and just converted a small room in my house into a shop space. I have a shop vac (wet/dry vac) and no other dust collection system.(I do also have an air cleaner but not a dust collector.) I use the vac for sucking up dust when sanding on the lathe and also just for general cleanup after I'm done turning. My main question is whether or not to use the dust bags in the shop vac or not? I turn mostly green wood because it is available in large quantities for free but i am concerned that because the wood is wet that it may cause mold in my vac over time. Is this something to worry about? I just don't want to end up blowing mold around the shop. If I wasn't using the bags I could just empty the vacuum every day or 2 but the bags are not reusable and can't be emptied so they just sit with the contents inside them until they're full and thrown away. Im concerned over a month or so that mold could develop. I like using them because they collect all the dust and don't blow it back out the exhaust.

    Ive also looked into the cyclone style dust collectors that hook up to the shop vac and would like to get one of these soon. Leaning towards the oneida dust deputy and using it with a bucket. When using this kind of attachment should I be using the dust bags in the vacuum? or is the dust separated already by the cyclone? Until I get one of these though i just have the vac itself so just wondering what the best way to set it up is for using for dust collection as well as general clean up. Thanks!

    -Steve
     
  2. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    If you're turning wood that is actually wet then I would suggest sweeping up the shavings rather than using your shop vac. The main reason is that wet shavings might soften the paper dust bags enough for them to rupture. Additionally, trying to vacuum up long wet shavings is likely to create a clog in the hose where it connects to the shop vac.

    If your home has a central HVAC system then it would be a good idea to turn it off or shut off airflow to that room while you are turning and don't turn it on until you have cleaned up the room
     
  3. Robert D Evans

    Robert D Evans

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2020
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    Location (City & State):
    Hoschton, GA
    The best thing I've found for lathe shavings is a big broom, giant metal dust pan and a 30 gallon garbage bag. I understand snow shovels work pretty good too, but they don't sell those in Georgia.
     
    Bill Boehme likes this.
  4. Kevin Jesequel

    Kevin Jesequel

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    Sep 9, 2020
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    Location (City & State):
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    I recommend a seperator 100%. Hardly anything will make it past it which will allow you to put a HEPA filter in your shop vac. If any mold does develop in the system, it isn't going to make it past that filter into the air you breathe. I use a snow shovel and a 30 gallon can to scoop up the bulk of my shavings, but vac off the lathe and all the little bits that don't get scooped up. I used a shop vac with a home depot dust seperator at first (it worked great), but now just use my dust collector, which I have modified with a dust deputy and a HEPA filter.
     
  5. brian horais

    brian horais

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    Dec 20, 2014
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    Location (City & State):
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    shop vac.jpg
    Steve,
    I'm a big fan of using a shop vac coupled to a vortex generator. The vortex generator can be purchased fairly reasonable and mounts on your typical 5 gallon plastic bucket. I also use bags in my shop vac, but find that the vast majority of sawdust and particles fall into the bucket below the vortex generator. When the bucket is full I empty the contents into a large industrial trash bag and deposit it in the trash. As you can see in the image, I mounted my shop vac and the vortex generator on a cart so I can easlily move the 'rig' from tool to tool. I have hoses mounted on all of my other major tools (bandsaw, belt sander, table saw) and use the shop vac for dust collection there. This system works very well but I still occasionally need to do shop-wide cleanup of some residual dust. Also, I have a dust collector hanging from the ceiling. Hope this comment helps.

    Brian Horais
     
  6. brian horais

    brian horais

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    Steve,
    I forgot to mention that I pick up the majority of my wood turning 'shavings' with a dustpan and broom and deposit them in my large trash bag. The shop vac dust collector is used for picking up sanding particles and for final cleanup after I have picked the majority of debris on the shop floor. I would not recommend using the shop vac to pick up the majority of your turning residue.

    Brian
     
  7. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Location (City & State):
    Cleveland, Tennessee
    Broom and dust pan for me. I have put the SV at the lathe and it doesn't generate enough suction to do any good. I brush off the lathe and table with a hand brush (from harbor Freight) and then sweep. Later, I used the SV on the stand and floor to get the little pieces. BTW, wife saw this on HGTV and suggested it- box fan, bungee cord and a furnace filter. I was surprised as how much dust it takes out of the air. I'll set the timer on my phone for about an hour to check the filter. Filter is taken outside and cleaned with a few blasts with the air hose.
     
  8. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Location (City & State):
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    Your shop vac is most valuable for when you are sanding. Having any kind of hood/funnel/ big gulp cup adds to how much dust it can grab before it gets into the air of your shop. Other than that, a scoop shovel or big dust pan, and thick plastic bags work best for getting stuff outside. The wet shavings, if they have been left for a day or 3 have a lot of fine dust in them because they are drying out. You may want a dedicated dust collector eventually. They move far more volume and capture more at the source, keeping more of the dust out of the air in your shop, and most importantly, out of your lungs.

    robo hippy
     
  9. Forrest Forschmiedt

    Forrest Forschmiedt

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    Location (City & State):
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    I have been using a shop vac with a $50 Home Depot separator for a year or so and I think my next significant shop investment has to be a proper dust collector. I mounted the vac and 5-gal. bucket on a cheap moving dolly. Well, I'm on my 2nd vac after the first one, that I had for a couple years, burned up its motor. I use a high efficiency bag in the vac to catch what gets past the separator. When the bucket is full or the separator gets shavings stuck in it, the vortex is disrupted and significant stuff gets into the vac bag. In fact, I am reminded I need to get more bags, although I think I've only replaced it twice in a year.

    The CFM of the shop vac is rated at 150cfm. Add a separator and less-than-new filter and it goes down from there. Entry level dust collection systems seem to start at about 600cfm. As diligent as I can be using the shop vac system, unless I'm working within a few inches of the inlet, I can see the cloud of dust floating right past the inlet.

    So, my opinion, if on a budget the shop vac with a separator/collector helps a lot and is better than nothing. Getting serious about shop time? Proper dust collector.
     
  10. Steve Perrone

    Steve Perrone

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2020
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    Location (City & State):
    Andover, MA
    Thanks you all for the fast responses. I should have mentioned that I do sweep up the majority of my shavings with a pan and broom but need the vac for whats left which still can add up to a lot sometimes.

    I appreciate the info. Do most of the vortex attachments come with the necessary hoses and adaptors or will I have to purchase these separately? My vac has 2 1/2" ports. And how did you go about cutting the bucket lid?
     
  11. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    Location (City & State):
    Brandon, MS
    Have to Echo what Forrest said shop vac is noisy and will in no way do what a DC will do. The vortex systems do not come with hose as a Dust Collector will not come with hose either. They do not know what your set up is so they allow you to get what hoses and adapter you need. Note in some cases you will not find a correct size. I wanted to take a 5 inch hose to DC from my Dust Deputy with a 6. So I just turned a adapter. You can glue these on ot put screws in to hold to the apparatus you will use.
    Photo Resizer 2020_12_06_09_22_28.jpg
     
  12. brian horais

    brian horais

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    Steve, sorry for the delay in responding. As Gerald mentioned, you have to provide your own hoses. To attach the Vortex to the plastic bucket lid, I drew a centered hole in size that corresponded to the bottom hole of the Vortex and then cut the hole out with a sharp knife. Then I drilled holes in the bucket lid to match the hole pattern in the bottom flange of the Vortex. I added a bead of silicone to seal the interface and mounted the Vortex on the lid with bolts. You can remove the top hose on the Vortex for a quick look at the level of contents and can remove the plastic lid completely to remove the bucket's contents. Hope this helps.
     
    Bill Boehme likes this.
  13. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    Location (City & State):
    Brandon, MS
    Reading Brian's response reminded me I mounted the DD the same as he mounted the Vortex except I used foam to seal between the pieces and the bolts tightened that up. For a see thru I routed a hole in the lid after that pic was made and affixed a piece of clear Lexan to give a look at the inside without removing anything.
     
    Bill Boehme likes this.

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