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  • Central vac as DC?

    My wife absolutely hates our central vac system, so instead we have one portable vac per floor. The central vac was used perhaps 3 or 4 times, and recently I used it for my router table. That worked nearly perfect, with only a few dust particles escaping here and there, depending on the router bit and task.

    The central vac is an 18 year old Electrolux. 110V and 10.8 AMPS, 5 gallons and it's plumbed with 2 inch PVC piping. There appears to be little to no air leakage through the inlets around the house. About the only drawback is that the thing is pretty noisy.

    I am considering changing the skinny factory hose (1 inch and small change) to a 2 or 4" one and using the CV as my DC system. Since the CV uses dust bags (the cost would add up fast), I plan to make a reusable cloth one with a zipper, using fabric appropriate for the application.

    What are the experts' thoughts?
    Last edited by darius; 07-29-2008, 12:34 PM.
    In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion.

  • #2
    Re: Central vac as DC?

    Well, I'm no expert but my concern would be that the central vac wouldn't be able to move enough air to be effective. I would call Electrolux and inquire as to what they feel would be the CFM rating of your unit hooked up to 4" pipe.
    Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

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    • #3
      Re: Central vac as DC?

      not enough air movement, unless you keep it at the small pipe size, so basically you may be able to use it on the miter saw, or similar, but on the planer no, any place were there are chips I do not think you have success.
      Look at the fan on a DC system, it is a big thing lots of air movement,

      will work for a vacuum tho,
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      • #4
        Re: Central vac as DC?

        Oh well, I'll have to make the best out of it and I'll get in touch with Electrolux indeed, to see what they tell me.

        Thank you both.
        In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion.

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        • #5
          Re: Central vac as DC?

          The CV sounds good but I would be conserned with chips clogging in one of the 90 degree elbos that are shurely in the walls. IT MAY BE VERY DIFFCULT TO CLEAR A JAM LIKE THAT.
          Jim

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          • #6
            Re: Central vac as DC?

            The motor-fan assembly used on a central cleaner is designed for use with a single 1-1/4" or 1-1/2" hose. The idea is to go for suction lift so as to create a high velocity of air flow at the tool. With a dust collector you normally have a 4" hose and opening. To get any velocity of air flow as would be needed to such up chips you need a much larger blower fan and normally it's a single stage rather than having 2 or 3 fans in series as would be the case for a power unit for a central vacuum system.

            Now here is something you might try doing. Take the power unit out to your shop and rig it up with a hose directly connected to the inlet. You can use it for normally finer dust cleanup work. As for a cloth filter or bag, try a fine woven denim fabric similar to work shirts. A good fabric store should have it. Wash it several times, then really rinse it well and finally into the dryer. This is before cutting and sewing it. This will wash out what is called "Sizing" that's put in fabrics to make them stiff. Sizing also will restrict air flow too much. I have actually made a replacement bag for an old timer uprite vacuum cleaner out of shirt weight denim. Needless to say it didn't look too good as I'm not a suit taylor or seamstress, but it does work.

            Electrolux may have a pre filter of some kind you can get that would help.

            Vacuum cleaners normally don't have over 100 CFM of air flow and that's with the the inlet totally open. A dust collector with a 4 inch hose needs 500 CFM and really more like 750 or it's pretty worthless. For wood chips you don't need as high a suction lift rating as for picking up small stones and sand.
            Last edited by Woussko; 07-30-2008, 02:11 AM.

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            • #7
              Re: Central vac as DC?

              Originally posted by JJCiesla View Post
              The CV sounds good but I would be conserned with chips clogging in one of the 90 degree elbos that are shurely in the walls. IT MAY BE VERY DIFFCULT TO CLEAR A JAM LIKE THAT.
              I have considered that. The CV is plumbed for 2" piping and only individual terminals have reducers to 1" and small change. The unit is in my garage/workshop so no going through walls is involved as far as the path of dust particles and shavings is concerned. It's all pretty much straight path, except for one, indeed 90 degree, 2" elbow. There isn't much I can do about it, save for re-plumbing it with a set of 45 (or less) degree elbows to achieve a less constricting path.

              I'm also thinking I'll install a cutoff valve between the vac and the rest of the house (except the garage of course). This in my mind might eliminate any possible air leakage through any of the terminals throughout the house.


              Woussko,

              thank you for the step by step info on the sewing process. I was in fact wondering what the best type of fabric would be for this application.


              Again, this is a great forum, and in just a couple of weeks I was able ot learn here a lot!
              In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion.

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              • #8
                Re: Central vac as DC?

                I did some more experimenting and I also had a chance to see a real DC at work where they have a small woodworking shop. Indeed, my central vac is OK for my router table and the table saw (about 80% efficiency in collecting dust). It's not what a DC system should be though.

                The good news is I don't have a thickness planer to worry about, but this is also the bad news since I want one, and that will be my next major tool purchase.

                Thanks for all the comments which woke me up from the false sense of adequacy I had about my CV.
                In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion.

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                • #9
                  Re: Central vac as DC?

                  Put a tube on the planer and let it dump on the floor. Sweep up frequently. Later on you can get a big beast dust collector and set it up. If you can do so, maybe build an elevated mini patio out in your back yard and when it's nice outside setup the planer on it.. Outdoors just let the chips fly. They soon rot into the ground once it rains on them.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Central vac as DC?

                    I got tired of dragging around my noisy Craftsman shop vac in our 30 x 60 shop. So I got on line and bought a new scratch and dent CV unit with warranty and 50' of hose and the attachments. CV was $175 delivered to my door plus $ 30-40 for hose and attachments. CV has a permanent bag that has a ball in it that knocks out dirt when it's shut off. It has a 5 gallon hopper on the bottom. I mounted it in the bathroom which is about in the middle of the 60' against one wall. I can reach all over the building cleaning up after any project now. Makes is much more enjoyable to clean up after myself now. It won't choke down what a shop vac will but I'll trade that for the ease of use and convenience. We actually bought 2 CV and put one in my wife's shop, she sews for a living. She has the same opinion as I do about the use of it versus her shop vac. We bought a muffler for hers and it cut the noise down by 1/2. Both CV are NOT vented outside.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Central vac as DC?

                      They should work well and not having the screaming shop vac next to you has to be very nice. Hint: Use a short piece of PVC pipe on the end of the hose for pickup with a smaller ID than the hose so there's no way to sucking up anything that would plug the hose up. Every now and then connect the hose to the exhaust (with end outside) and blow it clean. Be sure to get crush resistant hose which does not have a wire in it. That way if you step on it you're not kinked. Good commercial vacuum cleaner hose works well and a good repair shop can get it on 50 foot coils and get cuffs for the ends. Depending on the inlet size of your unit try going for 1-1/2" inside diameter rather than 1-1/4" used on domestic vacs. You can then go after real commercial grade attachments some of which are pretty wild for sucking dust off stuff up high where you can't reach without a ladder.

                      This video may give you some ideas. Watch where they can reach with the right wands and attachments. Forget the NILFISK add part of this. You can do most of this with your central vac setup. Rather than paying big $$$ you can make up some wild wands with bends using PVC pipe. Attach a hose cuff so you can use it with your vac tools.

                      For some ready made ideas take a look at these sites showing attachments. Remember this for ideas. What you buy or make up needs to be based on your own needs. These are for use with a hose equipped with a 1-1/2" ID rubber hose cuff. The attachment fits inside the hose cuff. Friction keeps it in place. The reason I prefer the 1-1/2" ID size is that it's pretty much industry standard for commercial vacuum cleaners. There's far more in accessories than shown here.
                      http://shopvac.com/dept.asp?id=43
                      http://shopvac.com/dept.asp?id=42

                      (Real hoses - Neoprene or Wireless would be the way to go) http://www.milwaukeetool.com/webapp/..._192629_192327
                      (Quality wands and attachments) http://www.milwaukeetool.com/webapp/..._192631_192327
                      (Hose and attachment kits) http://www.milwaukeetool.com/webapp/..._192632_192327

                      I really wish Emerson Electric - RIDGID would get their shop vac / industrial vac lineup together and come on big time. Everyone needs a good way to clean up messes. *&^%$ to Home Depot ... Sell the good stuff through serious dealers. SEARS is doing a much better job with Craftsman vacs which if you check them you'll see some models are almost the same being they are made in the same factory.

                      RANTING NOW OFF

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRxzC_3yBBY
                      Last edited by Woussko; 08-14-2008, 01:26 AM.

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