What Kind Of Pipe To Use For Dust Collection?

what kind of pipe to use for dust collection

When it comes to woodworking, creating sawdust is a common thing. If you don’t have a good dust collection setup it can feel like you’re spending more time cleaning up than actually working on projects.

When I was setting up dust collection for the first time I was wondered, What kind of pipe to use for dust collection?

I did some research and here’s what I’ve found:

PVC and metal pipes are used for dust collection. It’s a matter of personal preference. PVC pipes are commonly used for dust collection because it’s light, easy to glue up or tape together, and inexpensive. Metal pipes offer high strength, superior rigidity, and minimize static discharge in dust collection pipe.

But there’s more to know.

In this article, we’ll explore what kind of pipe to use for dust collection and how to build a dust collection system.

Furthermore, we’ll discuss how to hang dust collector pipe, can you use schedule 40 PVC for dust.

I’ll answer some frequently asked questions about what kind of pipe to use for dust collection.

Let’s get started.

Types Of Dust Collection Pipes with Qualities

There are mainly two types of pipe that can use for dust collection.

  • PVC dust collection pipe
  • Metal dust collection pipe

Both PVC and metal pipes have their own qualities, advantages, and disadvantages.

By using a branched pipeline system, you’ll be able to collect sawdust generated in different areas.

Especially when your shop has multiple saws, they could each have their own pipeline-like branches.

The pipe size is also a factor you should consider when selecting a type of pipe for dust collection.

A bigger pipe size is needed for saws that create a high amount of sawdust without any loss in suction.

You need to get the most suitable pipe size for your dust collection according to the sawdust amount.

Because when the pipe size is getting bigger and bigger it’ll eventually slow down the power of the central system.

Therefore, always make sure not to go for the biggest pipe size but the most suitable one which balances suction power and power of the central system.

So, let’s discuss the qualities and properties of different kinds of pipes that differ according to their building material.

PVC Dust Collection Pipes

PVC is the most common pipe type for dust collection. It is lightweight, easy to use, and most importantly it is cost-effective.

Two types of PVC pipes can use for dust collection pipes. They are,

  • 4” PVC pipe
  • 6” PVC pipe

The above pipe types differ in pipe size and you have to select one according to the type of job. Be sure to go with the thinnest pipe which is known as “Sewer and Drain”.

Because when the PVC pipe you’re getting is thinner and lighter, easier to work with.

If your, woodworking area creates a relatively low amount of sawdust, better to go with 4” PVC because it doesn’t reduce the power of the central system as 6” PVC pipe does due to the pipe size difference.

But on the other hand, 4” PVC pipe cuts the airflow than 6” PVC pipe.

 But if the generating saw dust amount is high, better to stick with a 6” PVC pipe for an effective dust collection process with maximum airflow.

Make sure not to go below 4” pipe sizes, because they will significantly cut off the airflow and reduce the suction power of the dust collection system.  

Plus, never use Schedule 40 – Schedule 80 PVC pipes because they are heavy and expensive. When the PVC pipes are heavy, they’re difficult to handle and excess mass is wasted.

They’ll significantly lower the power of the central system due to the extra weight they have. Schedule 40 – Schedule 80 PVC creates low pressure on PVC that reduces the suction power of the dust collection system.

So, I highly advise you to stay away from using Schedule 40 – Schedule 80 PVC for the dust collection system.

Static Discharges of PVC Pipes

PVC is made of plastic. Therefore, the static discharge will occur and cause problems.

Even though PVC pipes are grounded, but still problems will occur.

PVC is an insulator and static discharges don’t travel across the pipe so easily.

Only the surfaces of the pipe that are directly contacted with the wire will be grounded and still buildup static discharges.

If you want to ground the entire PVC pie system effectively, better to cover the entire PVC pipe system with conductive coating and ground the pipe inside components at the end of the pipe.

You need to focus more on effectively grounding the PVC pipe system. Wood dust is highly combustible, and improperly grounded PVC pipe can act as a source of ignition because of its static buildup.

Moving air causes a significant amount of static electricity.

Pros and Cons of PVC Dust Collection Pipes

Here’re the advantages and disadvantages you’ll get by using PVC as dust collection pipes.

ProsCons
LightweightSmall bending corners reduce the suction power
InexpensiveBuildup static electricity
Easy to glue up or tape togetherHigh risk of explosion
Easy to changePlastic tee fittings aren’t suitable for dust removal

Metal Dust Collection Pipes

Metal dust collection pipes are popular in professional woodworking spaces.

Even though metal dust collection pipes are expensive, they won’t develop static discharge as PVC dust collection pipes do.

Corners, elbows, and other fittings are well designed to increase the suction power by providing space for proper airflow.

Wood dust is explosive with static discharge. So, with metal, there will be zero explosions because metal is not a source of ignition.

Solid metal pipes are expensive but totally worth the money you spend because they are easy to route and install due to their flexibility.

Make sure to provide 4,500 feet per minute velocity in the dust collection system to get sufficient suction power and minimize dust explosion.

Metal dust collection pipes come in various sizes.

If your, woodworking projects create a low amount of sawdust, 4” metal pipes will do the job. Because it doesn’t reduce the power of the central system as 6” metal pipes do.

But on the other hand, 4” metal pipe cuts the airflow than 6” metal pipe.

But if the generating saw dust amount is high, better to stick with 6” metal pipes for an effective dust collection process.

Pros and Cons of Metal Dust Collection Pipes

Here’re the advantages and disadvantages you’ll get by using metal pipes as dust collection pipes.

ProsCons
No static discharges buildupsSignificantly Expensive than PVC
No dust explosion happensHeavy
Easy to fitDifficult to handle
Safe 
Professional 

So, those are the different kinds of pipe that can use for dust collection which is the perfect answer for What kind of pipe to use for dust collection?

Let’s answer some frequently asked questions about setting up dust collection pipes.

How To Hang Dust Collector Pipe?

Most people nowadays use brackets to hang dust collector pipes. Those brackets have the radius same as the pipes.

So, they can mount on the wall and all the dust collection will sit there and when you feel to modify the system, all you have to do is pick up the pipe, cut it and move it where you need to.

Therefore, brackets have become the best tool to hang dust collector pipes.

To hang dust collector pipes, you can use both formal hangers or brackets. They are strong, inexpensive, and easy to install.

Hang dust collector pipes using brackets are not really clamped down and secured, but it is not going anywhere because the radius of the brackets extends o the halfway point of the pipe.

So, it will never move at all. But it allows the flexibility to be modified down the road.

Can You Use ABS Pipe for Dust Collection?

Yes, ABS pipes are perfect for dust collection. But you need to make sure the ABS pipe system is properly grounded to avoid creating static discharge because combustion can take place under ideal conditions.

ABS pipes are easy to install and inexpensive. Better to with size 6”.

Plus, avoid 90-degree fittings and use 45-degree fittings to have good suction power throughout the system.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about: What Kind of Pipe to Use for Dust Collection?

From this article, we have answered what kind of pipe to use for dust collection by taking metal and PVC pipes.

We have talked about the pros and cons of each kind of pipe and answered some frequently asked questions as well.

Both PVC and metal pipes are great for dust collection. But you need to have good knowledge about how to set up the entire system because sawdust is explosive and pipes need to be perfectly fitted.

Dust collection pipes are useful especially when you’re working with hand tools.

Now you know what kind of pipe to use for dust collection that matches exactly your purposes.

So, let’s begin to install your new dust collection system with your favorite pipe type. Enjoy woodworking!

Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him!

Leave a Comment