Two days ago I installed all my blast gates and hook ups for my major pieces of equipment. Yesterday morning I sent my dust collection system on its maiden voyage. Using wide cherry boards I thickness planed and finish sanded them on my 15” Jet Thickness Planer and my Performax Pro 22-44 Drum Sander respectively.

Black Plastic Blast Gates & Drops For Major Equipment

Much to my pleasure not a micron of dust or a chip of wood escaped the dust collection system. I still have drops to connect, but they are for much less demanding stations. I gave each of these the hand test; I opened the gate, one at a time, and felt the air flow. Admittedly not a scientific test, but I am convinced they work.

Jet 15" Thickness Planer & Wide Cherry Board

The thickness planer is the most demanding machine in my shop. It is approximately at the end of a 35’ 4” PVC run. A 3’ plastic hose connects the machine and the drop. At the other end of the PVC run a 10’ plastic hose connects the PVC to the Powermatic PM1900 3hp Dust Collector. This hose will be shortened, but I intentionally left it long for this experiment.

Performax Pro 22-44 Drum Sander & Wide Cherry Board My second most demanding machine it the Performax Pro 22-44 Drum Sander. The dust generated from this machine is spread over a drum 24” wide and is funneled by way of a plastic housing to a 4” hose 36” long that connect to the drop. It is easy to inspect the board as it come out of the sander for missed dust: none was visible. I ran the board through positioned far left, center and far right. No problem.

The Powermatic PM1900 3hp Dust Collector specifications read:

Air Flow @ 8” Port – 1891 CFM
Velocity @ 8” Port – 5393.7 FPM
Static Pressure – 12.15” of Water

The 8” port is reduced to three 4” ports. At the moment I am using only two ports. One goes only to my Grizzly 8” Jointer through a very short 6’ plastic hose across the floor. The jointer is right next to the dust collector and there is no foot traffic where the hose lies. The unused port is reserved for my table saw, router and upstairs expansion.

Note The 8" Port Reduction To Three 4" Ports & The Dust Collection "Swirl"

The easiest way to check for reasonable air flow is to observe the cyclone “swirl” in the collection bags. This is subjective and you need to be familiar with the system, but I can tell by the healthy “swirl” that the air flow is strong. The picture at left doesn’t capture this as clearly as I would like, but trust me, it is obvious in real life. Also in the picture at left you can see the 8” port reduction to three 4” ports and the short hose to the jointer. In addition you can make out the types of wood I have been using in my projects: cherry, maple and walnut.

Being an engineer I will complete this testing with actual air flow measurements using calibrated equipment. I need to borrow this equipment from my brother who lives two hours away. So it will take me a week or two to complete. I’ll post the results here on my blog.