How could we title a dust collector review without an “it sucks” pun? And why would we want to? Dust is a pernicious woodshop nuisance that gets on and in absolutely everything, including your lungs. Luckily, the suction of Rockler’s Dust Right can vastly improve the air quality in your shop and keep those 600 million fleshy air sacs of yours working as Mother Nature intended. And the fact that Dust Right hangs on the wall, out of the way, addresses another “huge” issue – that there’s never enough room, no matter how large your shop. Rockler Woodworking & Hardware provided this golden super sucker for us to try out. Now that we’ve had some quality air time with it, we’re ready to report our findings.
It’s OK – You Can Breathe Easy Now!
The average woodworking shop is even dustier than you’d think. I’ll gladly admit that the hand toolers have a big advantage over guys like me in this realm. We at Home Fixated love our whirling blades, power sanders and other pixie powered dust generators. But we also know that using those tools safely is every bit as important as getting the job done.
Respiratory safety is often overlooked or just plain ignored; especially in the home workshop. The dust from some woods (particularly those with higher oil content, such as cedar and cocobolo) can be rather abusive to the lungs and sinuses and even irritate skin. But all dust is a health hazard when it fills the air you breathe.
A filtering mask helps mitigate the negative effects of airborne particles, but the best measure is to capture dust at the source. Dust Right makes it easy to tame the biggest offenders in the shop: the table saw, band saw, drum sander and router table. It can also be used with sanding downdraft tables, wood lathes, jointers, miter saw dust hoods, smaller power tools and more.
Which Is Right For Me? – Portable Vacuum Or Dust Collector.
When thinking about dust management options, first consider the tools you’ll be using. Portable vacuums like a Shop Vac produce high suction over a small area. They’re great for many smaller tools, like circular saws, benchtop band saws and sanders. If it has a small (2-1/2” and under) dust collection port, a medium-sized vacuum will probably suffice.
Your average shop vac moves around 175 – 180 CFM (cubic feet of air per minute). They can be used on a 4” dust port (with an adapter), but the air current becomes attenuated to the point of barely effective. Most larger tools need a lot more air flow to effectively capture dust.
Proper dust collection is all about moving high volumes of air; Dust Right has a chooch factor of 650 CFM (over 3-1/2 times that of the average portable vacuum). Like springtime pollen, airborne dust goes where the air goes – but all year long. So if you move enough through the collector your lungs don’t have to play surrogate filter. And everything in the shop doesn’t have to look like Pompeii in the wake of Mount Vesuvius.
Rockler Dust Right Makes A Spectacle Of Itself
From Rockler.com, here are the specs:
Decibel Rating: 80-85db
Manufacturer Part Number: TADC-34WN
Weight (lbs): 50.0500
Height: 48″ (including the filter bag)
Capacity: 15 Gallons
Flow Rate: 650 CFM
Filter Type: Bag
HP: 3/4 HP
According to an app on my phone, the Dust Right blower is 6db louder than my Shop Vac (83db vs. 77db). But it doesn’t have that high pitched whine, so it doesn’t “feel” as loud to me. You can talk over it and not feel like you’re yelling.
As you’d expect, the unit is compatible with standard 4” dust collector fittings, hoses, hoods, adapters and accessories.
Dust Right Filtration – Smarticle Particles
The Dust Right wall mount dust collector comes with a 30 micron filter bag capable of holding 15 gallons of dust and wood chips. Or you can step up to the optional 5 micron filter bag.
But for the ultimate upgrade, try the Dust Right pleated canister filter, which can scrub particles as small as a single micron. That’s 30 times better filtration than the stock filter bag! 1 micron is one tiny particle. A human hair is around 75 microns thick; our red blood cells, approx. 5 microns. But let’s try to keep the blood inside our bodies, where it belongs.
And it’s so easy to clean; just crank the canister filter’s handle a few times and a paddle inside knocks dust from the pleats without your having to remove it from the main unit. A very nice feature indeed! When you’re done, re-tuck the folding handle and carry on. Check out how easy it is to unclog the pleats (note that the canister is up-side down to give you a better view):
Nip Dust Right In The Bud – At The Tool
Not only can proper dust collection keep most of the particles out the air, it can pretty much eradicate the piles that grow in and around many of your power tools. It’s amazing just how much of a mess you can create in only a half hour at the table saw, router table or surface planer. And if you have a drum sander, you definitely need good dust collection.
With a table saw – even though the blade cuts in the downward direction – dust is carried by the gullets between the teeth and ejected into the air. Ripping a single 2×4 can fill the shop with dust that may take hours to settle out.
Dust Right – Saw Dust Is Banned At The Bandsaw
Like the table saw, the bandsaw is a tricky place to capture dust. There’s a lot of internal real estate, and the column and top wheel housing aren’t subject to nearly as much vacuum as the lower housing. Then there’s those pesky open areas above and below the table. Some dust will inevitably escape; that’s just how reality works. But even with those hurdles, I noticed a huge difference on my 14” Rikon.
Be Gone With You, Sawdust! – Dust Right Dust Collector
Shop Vacs have always been my main mode of dust collection. It’s better than nothing, but woefully inadequate on bigger tools. It sucks in a bad way; and that’s not good. When I hook up the Dust Right to my bandsaw, I see almost no dust floating into the air. And the internal parts stay much cleaner. It’s leaps and bounds better than what I had going on before.
I gave the saw a good cleaning then connected the 4” hose and resawed 64 lineal feet of 3-1/2” thick stock (16 feet of 2×4’s cut along the wide dimension three times). There was only a little dust on the wheels’ hubs and door, but that’s about it. Without the dust collector there would have been a substantial pile of sawdust at the bottom, and covering every internal organ.
I typically vacuum and brush the innards of my bandsaws after every handful of projects, depending on how much they’re used. My vac just can’t move enough air to prevent fairly rapid buildup. And sometimes it allows dust to build up between the drive belt and pulley. I’ve had belts come off and one shred into ribbons because clumps of sawdust get in there. Adequate dust collection pretty much eliminates those problems altogether. Thank you, Dust Right!
Mount It To The Wall Or Roll It Around
If you want your dust collector out of the way, no problem. Dust right hangs on the wall using the included “Z” bracket. When mounted, the protrusion is only about 16” deep and 20” wide.
You can plumb your shop with 4” duct work and blast gates and have every major tool covered. Or use a flexible hose and quick connect fittings and plug only into the tool you’re using. I bought the hose and quick change handle as a package deal, not realizing that you also need a mating docking port for each tool. They’re inexpensive (about $7.50 each), but don’t forget them – like I did – or you’ll be ordering again.
I’m not sure where all of my big tools will land when I finally make the shop more user friendly. So I decided to purchase the really long blue hose you see.
Putting The Cart Before The Horsepower – Making It Mobile
For portability, you may decide to get some extra Z brackets to mount in other areas of the shop. The Dust Right can be lifted off of the bracket and carried to other work stations as needed. At 50lbs (at least), however, this can become a hassle. Even more so if you are using the Dust Right canister filter.
A popular alternative to lugging this 50 lb. beast around is to use Rockler’s Pack Rack as the frame for a portable dust collector cart. Or do what I did and build one from scratch.
A Breath Of Dust Free Air
There’s only so much you can say about a dust collector. Dust Right moves a lot of air and has great filtration options. It’s wall-mountable and portable, compatible with standard 4” dust collection fittings and Rockler’s Quick Change system and fairly priced. Rockler also carries plenty of accessories to make it even more versatile, including a separator that captures most of dust before it reaches the filter bag, a floor vacuum attachment, swivel connectors and more.
If you’re tired of sucking in lungfuls of dust and having everything in your shop covered in powdered wood, perhaps it’s time to put the heavy duty performance of Rockler’s Dust Right dust collection system to work for you. It sure is working for me.
Dust Right with canister filter for around $470
Dust Right dust collector for around $250
Canister filter alone for around $230
5 micron filter bag for around $35
Expandable, flexible hose starting at around $36
3′ – 21′ expandable hose with quick change handle for around $65
Pack of 2 docking ports to convert standard 4” dust ports to quick change, for around $15
Pack of 2 extra Z brackets for around $10
Rockler Pack Rack for around $180