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.

Leave a Reply

12 Responses to “It Works! At Least Empirically.”

  1. Mark Mazzo says:


    Sounds like the system is working like a champ! Happy dust free woodworking!

    Did you end up just installing the blast gates in the stock arrangement?

    The Craftsman’s Path

  2. Joe says:

    Hi Mark,

    I am not sure what you mean by stock arrangement. I used standard plastic blast gates from Woodcraft. They fit snugly into schedule 40 PVC. To secure them I used 1/2″ #8 sheet metal screws. I am also going to seal around the joint with a silicone sealer just to reduce leakage, though I haven’t done this yet.


  3. Mark Mazzo says:


    I was referring to whether you had modified the plastic blast gates to avoid clogging as we spoke about in your previous post. If you had, I’d be interested in how it works as I may be doing the same.

    The Craftsman’s Path

  4. Joe says:

    Hi Mark,

    No, I haven’t tried that. I am a little concerned about leakage and my experience so far is I haven’t had problems that way. However, if I do begin to experience a problem I will give it a try.


  5. Ray says:

    Wow Joe, looks great. I hope it continues to work as well as tested. Thanks for posting this and I would love to see more from you on the system. I am currently building my first real shop and dust collection is one of my concerns. A look at your system helps a lot.

  6. Joe says:

    Hi Ray,

    I hope to do some airflow test measurements this week. So maybe toward the end of the week or early next week I will have published the results. Stay tuned.


  7. Chris says:

    Hi Joe,

    Was wondering if you have a problem with being shocked by static buildup on the pipes?


  8. Joe says:

    Hi Chris,

    So far I have had no problems including static. I am completely satisfied. I do still have a few air flow measurements I want to make (need to borrow the instruments), but based on practical results is all good.


  9. Paul Andrus says:

    Hello Joe,
    Nice work!I’m currently in the process of setting up my Oneida 3 HP Cyclone (Please check out my shop on Lumberjocks website.My username is HarleySoftailDeuce)
    Is the Scheduce 40 adequate? Does the flex hose interfere with dust collection?
    I’ll write as I put together my system, and thanks for all your posting; it’s a big help for many.


  10. Joe says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the kind words. Let me know where you post your progress. I would like to follow along.

    I am trying to locate your shop on Lumberjocks as we speak and not having much success. Maybe you could give me a link? That would be appreciated.

    Schedule 40 is what I am using and it is more than enough; maybe even overkill. I try to keep the flex hose as short as possible. It does produce a lot of drop due to its rough sidewalls. So bring the PVC as close as possible to you machine.


  11. Greg Andre says:

    I am considering buying the same PM1900 dust collector you have. I am struggling with the size of the pipes to use.

    Most of what I read suggests using a large trunk line, like 8″, and then reducing the size until you reach the machine, like 6″ and then 4″. My shop is smaller than your shop and I’m impressed that the 4″ pipes seem to work well. How did you decide to use 4″ everywhere versus a larger primary and secondary trunk pipes that neck down to 4″ at the machines?

    Thank you!

  12. Joe says:

    Hi Greg,

    My apologies for not answering this long ago. I don’t know how I missed it.

    The simple answer is that I use only one machine at a time. If I planned to use more than one machine at a time I would have started with a 6″ source pipe. I talked to a lot of woodworkers about the 4″ pipe who had similar installations with a maximum run length similar to mine. Based on that and a lot of reading I went with it. The result has been great. No problems.