By Gord Graff
When asked to review the DustFX 2hp cyclone dust collector I immediately jumped at the opportunity for several reasons and once I had the CWI-DCP020H plugged in, it took me all of 2 minutes of use to see why I need to replace my current dust collection system.
The Back Story:
My current 2hp, (1200cfm) single stage dust collector with its 1-micron pleated canister filter works well but it cannot filter out the smaller dust particles that were sneaking through the canister filter and into my workshop. It’s a well known fact that the most dangerous dust particles, the ones that do you the most harm are the very fine particles, and the most difficult to collect. Tiny dust particles hang around in the air for long periods so trapping them and breathing clean air is paramount.
To get a first hand view of these tiny dust particles, take a look at the photo below of my table saw blade storage cabinet located next to my current dust collector. Look closely and you will see a fine layer of dust on this cabinet. It may be true that my current dust collector is efficiently filtering down to 1 micron but it’s the smaller dust particles that I need to trap.
The DustFX 2hp CWI-DCP020H cyclone dust collector boasts an impressive 0.3 micron pleated canister filter and that fact alone interested me. Additionally, this dust collector has an impressive 1500cfm rating which is 300cmf more than my current 1200cfm dust collector is rated at.
The Cyclone Advantage:
Briefly, there are two types of dust collectors, single stage (bag type) and two stage (generally referred to as a cyclone). The single stage dust collector draws sawdust and wood chips through an impeller and deposits all that it collects into the dust collector’s lower bag, while the air and some fine dust particles are exhausted back into the workshop. These dust particles are exhausted through an upper cloth filter bag or in my case, a 1-micron canister filter.
Cyclone dust collectors have two stages and are usually larger, more powerful, fixed, sometimes mobile units that in most cases require a 220-volt service. The first stage is the separation stage. Cyclones draw wood chips and dust into a funnel-shaped chamber where everything but the small dust particles fly around the outside of the cone and spiral down in the dust pail. The second stage occurs when the tiny dust particles are drawn up through the center of the funnel (the eye of the storm) and into the pleaded filter stage where these tiny particles are filtered and drop harmlessly into the plastic bag at the bottom of the pleated filter. When this bag fills with wood powder, it is taken off and emptied. The results are undeniable, cyclone dust collectors are an extremely efficient method of dust collection.
The picture below shows chips collected from the dust collector pail (left) and the wood powder collected from the pleated filter’s plastic bag (right).
The CWI-DCP020H comes very well packed in a single, 208lb box and the assembly is very straight forward due in large part to the easy to follow instructions. I will warn up right up front, unless you have access to a hoist, you’ll need to call on a friend for help installing the main housing (cyclone motor assembly). This part of the unit is heavy; it weighed in on my scale at 85lbs.
When I assemble any type of machinery, I like to take everything out of the box, hardware included and either lay it on the floor or preferably, put it on the workbench. That way I can inventory all the parts and make sure, I have all the necessary hardware.
With all the parts accounted for and the assembly instructions already read, I am ready to assemble the cyclone dust collector. I’ve set aside the main housing (cyclone motor assembly) and assembled the heavy structural steel frame along with the 28 gallon dust drum. Both of these have multi direction casters mounted to their bottoms and they make moving the entire unit around the shop when necessary, very easy.
Before I install the main housing onto the frame, there are a number of nice features on the CWI-DCP020H that are worth mentioning including the dual 4” dust Inlets or one 6” diameter inlet. This makes it easy to adapt the unit to numerous dust piping configurations.
First and foremost is the unit’s motor. The power plant that drives this cyclone dust collector is a beefy, 9 Amp, 220volt, single phase, TEFC (totally enclosed fan cooled) heavy-duty 2hp motor.
This motor easily turns the impeller at 3450rpm for hours at a time without even getting warm. The impeller is 14 1/2″ in diameter, it has been spun balanced for smooth operation and it’s shielded from dust and debris. The CWI-DCP020H draws a very respectable 1500cfm (10.5″ of water lift) all at a comfortable 75db at 10′ from the machine. That is a lot of drawing power with very little noise. Speaking about “noise”, the CWI-DCP020H is quieter than my old dust collector by how much, without a meter it’s impossible to put a number to it but I can tell you this. This unit is quieter and operates at a lower pitch than my old dust collector did. That constant high pitch whine from my old duct collector made it impossible to carry on a conversation in my workshop…now I can. By the way, for those who don’t have access to a 220volt service, DustFX has got it covered with a 110volt cyclone dust collector, The DustFX CWI-DCP015H, it’s a 1.5hp in 110 volt model with 1250 CFM’s.
The well placed switch also has a couple of nice features. The switch is a magnetic safety switch that features a two-position stop button. Depress the stop button and the unit turns off, push the stop button in to its furthest position and it’s locked. In order to start the unit again, you must first turn the stop button to the right and disengage the locking feature. The little black button to the left of the stop button is a circuit breaker reset button.
Looking at the side of the electrical box you will see a yellow and white sticker, to the left of that is a “Reset Button” sticker. The large sticker is the instructions on how to set the included remote control and the smaller sticker indicates the location of the reset button for the remote control. Oh yes, there is a programmable, hand held remote control included with this dust collector and the batteries are included also. It only takes a minute or two, to read and follow the instructions on how to program the remote control and having the instructions mounted on the unit means, you will never lose the instructions.I like that.
The remote control can be set to run for 2, 4, 6, 8 hours, or indefinitely or you can use the remote to turn the unit on and off whenever you choose, it’s easily tailored to your needs.
I have a ceiling mounted hoist in my shop so installing the main housing was a matter of hooking up the hoist to the included eyebolts on top of the unit and carefully setting the main housing down on top of the steel frame. I then installed the required bolts and bolted the main housing securely to the frame. At first I thought this assembly might be a bit unstable but I can assure you it is not, once bolted together, it’s well balanced and secure. Another assembly method would be to assemble the stand, place the main housing unit upside down on a piece of cardboard on the floor and then slide the stand into the main housing and tighten up the bolts. You will still need some help flipping the machine upright but this way you don’t have to lift the heavy, main housing up onto the top of the stand and try to line up the legs at the same time.
The next step is to install the cone and that is simply held in place by the cone clamp, a metal ring that encompasses the flange on the bottom of the main housing and the flange on the cone, tighten up a nut and a bolt and it’s done. There are tabs welded onto each side of the cone that are drilled and tapped to accept the adjustable “quick handles” that facilitate the raising and lowering of the dust drum lid. I need to keep these tabs in the same plane as the uprights of the unit’s frame.
It’s now time to install the canister filter support, the canister filter and the hose, from the main housing to the canister filter, all of which takes only a few minutes and a handful of bolts. At this time, I have also attached the reusable clear plastic bag and the bag clamp on the bottom of the filter.
This canister filter is an extremely efficient filter, it filters out 99.6% of 0.3micron particles and 100% of dust particles, 1 micron and larger. Cleaning the interior of this filter is a simple matter of turning the handle on the side of the canister filter clockwise after use and that in turn rotates the internal flappers or paddles against the interior surface of the pleated filter. This flapper friction against the interior surface of the pleated filter shakes loose any caked on dust particles, which then fall into the reusable clear plastic bag. This is all it takes to maintains filter efficiency.
One of the last steps to do is to install the hose and hose clamps that attach the cone to the drum lid and with that in place; I next installed the adjustable, quick release lid clamps. These clamps work well and compress the drum’s lid foam gasket firmly onto the drum for an air tight seal. The bag frame that sits inside the clear plastic bag in the dust drum is assembled and ready for use. When installed inside the dust drum, this frame keeps the plastic bag from collapsing in the negative pressure environment of the cyclone.
When do you know it’s time to empty the 28 gallon drum, take a look at the large inspection window in the drum, when debris reaches the red line, it’s time to empty it. Disengage the lid clamps and the drum rolls out for easy dumping. By the way, when I needed to move the entire unit, the multi-directional casters on the dust drum and on the frame made that task effortless.
Now that the assembly is complete, it’s time to see how the CWI-DCP020H performs but first let me explain how I tested this cyclone dust collector. My current single stage, 1200cfm dust collection piping was left in place, all I did was unplug my dust collector, roll it out of the way and plug in the CWI-DCP020H. I’m very familiar with my dust collection set up, I know its strengths and weaknesses and if there is any change because of the installation of the CWI-DCP020H , I’ll know it immediately.
My first trip was to the jointer to face joint several pieces of 5 1/2″ soft Maple. I turned on the jointer and the CWI-DCP020H; face jointed the first board and stopped. There was no visible sign of any stray wood chips where there normally would be when using the old dust collector. I experienced the same scenario with all of the Maple I face jointed. Next stop was the thickness planer where I had that Maple and 100 board feet of pine to dress. Once again, I was surprised at how efficiently the CWI-DCP020H move the planer chips from the planer to the collector’s dust drum, fast and efficient. I turned my attention to the router table where I needed to mill several raised panel doors and again, this cyclone totally out performed my old dust collector. Yes, I agree that the CWI-DCP020H has 300cfm more than my old dust collector does but it goes a lot further than that.
I tested the CWI-DCP020H’s ability to handle debris from one machine at a time and it worked admirably but what about two machines simultaneously? What better machines to use for a test like this than two portable thickness planers running simultaneously? I chose two different species of wood for this test, each 3/4″ thick and 4′ in length. A 7″ wide Pine board and a 11″ wide piece of Mahogany and ran them through two planers simultaneously, taking off as deep of a cut as I dared and thickness planed them right down to a 1/4″ thick.
The results were as I expected them to be…the CWI-DCP020H didn’t break a sweat and collected all of the planer chips, even under the maximum depth of cut for both planers at the same time.
After that, I spent the better part of a day cutting sheets of melamine and I was amazed at how this dust collector, when hooked up to my table saw’s overhead blade guard captured all of the sawdust my table saw produced. I continue to work with the CWI-DCP020H and I continue to enjoy a quieter, dust free work environment with no stray jointer, planer chips or sawdust to concern myself with.
The icing on the cake for me was this. Seeing that the CWI-DCP020H is jet black and knowing that any airborne dust or dust leaking from this dust collector will be immediately noticeable, I checked the dust collector repeatedly. The CWI-DCP020H is still as glossy black today as the day I put it together.
The Bottom Line:
Reasonably priced at $1649.95 and backed up with a five-year home use warranty, I’m now seriously considering my dust collecting options.
When assembled, the CWI-DCP020H’s footprint is 27″ wide, 70″ tall (to the top of the motor) and from the front edge of dual 4″ dust ports to the back of the canister filter, it measures 48″ deep. Did I mention that the CWI-DCP020H has an 11′ power cord….nice feature.
For more information on the CWI-DCP020H, click here.