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Installing a Dust Collection System

How to set up your system.

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Construct a central system

Construct a central system

So you've bought a dust collector. Now, you must hook it up to your shop equipment. Here are some hints and tips to help you accomplish that more smoothly.


A central dust collection system provides the most convenient means for connecting a dust collector to several pieces of equipment. The illustration shows a typical system. Plastic pipe and fittings make installation relatively easy.


Here are some pointers for constructing your system:


  • Use PVC sewer and drain pipe instead of the heavier, more expensive schedule 40 PVC.
  • Fasten joints with screws rather than glue so you can open the system easily to dislodge jams.
  • Run a 5"-6"-diameter line to your heaviest chip-producers -- planer, jointer, etc. -- and locate the collector as close to them as possible. A 4" line will adequately serve saws, sanders, and the like.

For more on central dust collection, see WOOD magazine, Issue 43, June 1991, ppg. 40-45.


Guard against static

Air and wood particles moving through the dust collection system quickly build up static electricity charges in any nonconductive hose or piping (hose or piping not made of metal). When this static buildup discharges, it could lightly shock the operator or even ignite the flammable wood dust particles inside the piping. If the sawdust burns fast enough, you have an explosion.

A static ground for nonconductive ductwork can prevent static-charge buildup and potential disaster. To install one, simply run a wire along or around the pipe, as shown in the illustrations. Insulated or uninsulated 18- or 20-gauge copper wire, either solid or stranded, works fine.


At pipe joints, leave slack in the wire or install bayonet connectors (Radio Shack has them) to facilitate opening the system in case of a clog. Run a ground wire along each branch, and splice each into the main wire.

Connect the ground wire's conductor to the dust collector's metal frame or housing. The other end should extend to the outlet port on the tool, but it doesn't need to connect to anything, except to keep it in place. (Think of the wire as an antenna rather than as a conductor in a circuit.)

The coiled wire core in some flexible plastic tubing allows easy grounding. Simply strip the plastic away from a few inches of the wire core, then connect the wire to your system ground, as shown in the illustration.


Continued on page 2:  Control the flow

 

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Comments (6)
8329995187
rastorey wrote:

To bojinks1 Try heating the duct work slightly and inserting the dust collection fittings into the duct work. This should work if you purchased 4" drain or pvc pipe.

10/11/2013 12:21:47 PM Report Abuse
jupton4151797 wrote:

Recently, there was an article stating static emergencies would be so rare it could be considered near impossible. The statement was made by a woodworking magazine employee who has had a pvc collection system and has never ground it. He consulted an engineer who came to the same conclusion. Both agreed it would be more likely to start a fire by sucking up a piece of metal that causes a spark.

8/9/2013 12:21:25 AM Report Abuse
3-j wrote:

What is the "disaster" mentioned when commenting on grounding? I have never heard or read of any such event. To prevent some static shocks ... ok. A disaster? Please expound.

8/8/2013 10:17:46 AM Report Abuse
sourgrain wrote:

Use a rasp bit that attaches to your cordless drill. just run it around the inside or outside until it fits. Usually its only about 1/32" that I had to remove to get them to fit. Use a tapping block to fit the two pieces together so you dont mar them up.

10/13/2012 07:10:32 AM Report Abuse
user232100 wrote:

use gorilla tape

10/10/2012 04:40:24 AM Report Abuse
bojinks1 wrote:

I purchased the drain and sewer pipe along with fittings to connect the pipe but have a problem getting the fittings to match any of the standard dust collection fittings available through known outlets. for example I can't mount the blast gate to the pipe.

3/10/2012 08:45:27 PM Report Abuse

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