In the beginning, the woodworking world was covered in sawdust.
Slowly we evolved from broom-and-dustpan to shop vacuum, and eventually
to bigger, more capable dust collectors with the suction to carry
away wood chips as well as fine sawdust. These days, with the health
hazards of wood dust making front-page news, you're about as likely
to see a dust collector in a woodworking shop as a tablesaw. In
magazine issue #140, we tested single-stage
collectors best suited to gathering dust from one tool at a
time. This time, we focus on cyclone systems capable of pulling
dust through a whole-shop duct system.
How cyclones differ from single-stage dust collectors
The bag-type dust collectors most of us know and use today are basic,
single-stage units. They suck wood dust and chips through an impeller
that deposits the entire mess in a lower container bag, while the
air--and some dust--exhausts back into the shop through an upper filter
bag. Most units can be wheeled from tool to tool and then connected
directly to whatever power equipment you’re using. Cyclonic-type
collectors are larger, fixed units, generally more powerful, with
most requiring 220-volt service. They suck wood chips and dust into
a funnel-shaped chamber where heavier particles--the chips and the
more substantial grains of sawdust--fall into a separate drum for
Because cyclones separate out virtually all the debris before it
passes through the impeller, engineers can design the impeller for
maximum airflow, not for its ability to withstand the impact of
a stray chunk of wood. Cyclones also can be built with bigger impellers
and motors, which create greater airflow volume (rated in standard
cubic feet per minute, or SCFM), and with larger inlet ports to
allow large-diameter, multi-duct runs. With the proper setup, a cyclone may be able to serve several woodworking machines operating at the same time without sacrificing performance.
Learn the results of our testing of the Bridgewood BW-CDC3, Grizzly
G0525, Oneida Comp-Sys 1.5EXT35, Oneida Comp-Sys 2EXT35, Onieda
2 Commercial, Penn State Tempest, Penn State Tempest 142CX, and
Woodsucker II, when you pick up the December 2003 issue of WOOD magazine
and turn to page 94.
Or, you can download the complete review, including charts and photos, for only $4.95.