Dust Extractor or Cyclone?

Article - January 21, 2008

This week’s question comes from Jay. He writes:

I’m having a dust collection dilemma. As with a lot of entry level woodworkers, I’ve blown my tool budget on power tools many times over. (I just bought a new Powermatic PM2000 table saw for Christmas) For the past few years, my only form of dust collection has been a Delta air scrubber and a shop-vac to clean up at the end of a project. I’ve been debating between investing in the Festool system or a cyclone type stationary collector. I see the benefits of both. However, I only have the funds for one of the two right now. Would you recommend trying to collect the fine dust of sanding and routing or the larger dust from stationary tools first?

And here was my reply:
Hey Jason. The first thing I would do is pick up a $35 respirator. That will then take the pressure off of the next purchase. If the dust cant get to your lungs, you are one step ahead of the game. Now, as you said, you definitely need both in the long run. But, you already have a shop vac that can be used as a dust extractor for sanding. It might take some clever fitting, but you should be able to get it to work. If you can put a HEPA filter on the unit and use vacuum bags, you are even better off. So that should do just fine until you have the funds for a high quality system like Festool. So, my suggestion is get the large tools taken care of first. Then build up the system from there. But keep that respirator on anyway just to be safe. It might be overkill, but you do plan on doing this for a long time, don’t you? Good luck Jason. And congrats on that PM2000!

Note** – I have already received several emails asking me which respirator I recommend. The 3M 7500 (pictured above) is my favorite.

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