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I have a small workshop with a palm sander and a table saw. Both have dust collection ports and I'd like to take advantage of that. I've only seen short glimpses of dust collection systems on woodworking shows and I see (what I would assume to be) expensive, large, quiet, filtering vacuums. I'm a weekend woodworker at best so I don't need anything very elaborate but I'd like to keep the majority of the dust contained.

Can I just hook a shop-vac to the dust "output" on those devices or could that damage the equipment? Maybe the shop-vac and this?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

Yep. You can use shop vacs for this (albeit you might need some adapter hoses). A neat thing to get is a power switch that can switch on another appliance one the first is turned on. The idea is you plug your saw and your shopvac into it, and when you power on the saw, the shopvac powers on at the same time:


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Yep. There's a whole industry around this. You can even get a cannister to put in-line between the nozzle and the vacuum, so you can empty the cannister instead of the vacuum. – Alex Feinman Jul 10 '12 at 13:18
That surge strip looks pretty slick. I have some X-10 modules that (assuming they can handle the current) would work well for easy multiple device switching. I plan to put the shop-vac in an adjacent storage room, running the hose through the wall to keep noise down. An in-line canister on the workshop side would make cleanup much easier. Great ideas all around :) – Curtis Jul 10 '12 at 14:40
Shop vacs are noisy! If that bothers you, you might consider a dedicated dust collector, which uses a synchronous motor and is much more quiet. I think you can get cheap ones for under $200. – Jan Steinman Jul 11 '12 at 18:01

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