The time had come for me to upgrade my dust collection system. The older dust collection system I had been using for many years had served me well, but was taking up a lot of space in my tiny workshop and I just didn't have the power of newer systems.
Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/CIh32OwEN3E
I have always liked the Oneida dust collection systems because they offer a wide array of solutions. I did briefly look at other systems but kept coming back to Oneida and specifically to the Mini Gorilla system because of the power and space-saving it offered me ... and so that is what I purchased.
The Mini Gorilla Dust Collection Systems comes in 3 boxes that take up a lot of volume, even my truck box with a 6 foot-long bed filled up pretty quickly. The main box is 4.5 feet high by 26 inches square, the next box, the motor, and the impeller is also 26" square by almost 30 inches and finally, the filter which is about 12"x12"x24".
The first thing you notice when you get the boxes into your shop is that they are all labeled and the box with the instruction/assembly manual is identified and is the first one you open. Next, I laid out all the parts including the parts bags, which are also all labeled. I started by installing the wheels onto the legs, Next, I attached the legs, which are power-coated heavy-duty bars that are pre-drilled and easy to attach to the body of the collector.
The rest of the assembly comes pretty easy. I'm not going to outline it all here again but if you follow the instructions and watch my video you should have no issues.
One of the last components to install is the motor and impeller which sits on top. First, you need to install some special bolt attachment hardware clips, and as I said in the video, lay a piece of paper across the top opening inside the collector in case you drop one of the clips which I did, and to get it back you need to stop and take off the bottom dust collection barrel to get that clip ... don't forget to remove the paper before you add the impeller motor in the final step.
Fasten everything down and the dust collector is assembled.
I purchased an inexpensive Anemometer, a device that measures wind strength so that I could make some rudimentary measurements of my old system to the new system just to compare. I used "Miles Per Hour" (MPH) to measure the old dust collection system before I tore it apart. I know miles per hour is a poor way of measuring a dust collection system but for many of us, it is easiest to get some sort of a comparison with that we can identify with. Unfortunately, the Anemometer that I purchased does not have Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) setting as an option, but of course, there is a link on the Internet to convert ... see below.
Here are the measurements I recorded ...
Noise Level - 69 decibels (note: 85 and above is considered excess where hearing protection should be worn)
Wind Speed at end of hose - 40 MPH (this is where the volume and speed of the airflow is most important)
Wins Speed at Impeller - 59 MPH (this measurement shows just how much loss of airflow there is in this older system)
So in my old system, I was losing 20 MPH even before I connected the dust collection hose to a woodworking machine
Noise Level - 76 decibels (slightly higher)
Wind Speed at end of the hose - In Excess of 68 MPH (My Anemometer only goes as high as 68 MPH)
Wind Speed at Impeller - In Excess of 68 MPH (did you see that the Mini Gorilla nearly sucked the meter out of my hand ... wow, that was power)
The Mini Gorilla is rated at 583 CFM at 2"
When I entered the 40 MPH of the old dust collector into the conversion table with the same numbers as the Mini Gorilla specs at 2", I get 307 CFM
Note: When I worked the MPH backward, it turns out the Mini Gorilla has a wind speed of 76 MPH, almost twice the speed of my old system, so all these numbers cross-checked, and yes the new system was almost 2 times as powerful as the old dust collector.
Here is what the filter looks like. It also comes with instructions on how to clean, which I attached TO THE DUST COLLECTOR by means of a clear plastic bag with sticky tape, so that I can quickly refer to it for cleaning. Basically, you attach a 2-inch shop vacuum to the port at the bottom the use a nozzle on your air compressor on the outside of the filter to push the dust off the filter then the dust is drawn into the shop vacuum.
The motor does have an off / on switch, but this is an inconvenient way of turning the unit off and on. The old remote I had for the other collector was too small for this one so I ordered another remote for this collector that is better suited.
The barrel for collection dust has an observation window, which I suspected would get a film of fine dust on it and be hard to see the level of the dust inside, and I was correct it is hard to see, but the manual suggests using a flashlight to check the dust, and yes that does work better.
I decided that the best option for me was to order a digital level indicator that will signal me when the dust in the barrel gets to a level that needs to be cleaned out at. I also ordered one of these when I ordered the new remote off / on switch. I will do a video on this at a future date.
After using the dust collector for a couple of weeks, the only thing that I found a bit frustrating was attaching the dust collection barrel at the bottom. In order for that barrel to fit properly, it needs to mesh with the lip and gasket on the bottom of the cyclone for an air-tight connection. There are 3 easy mount clips to hold the barrel on and it is a bit fiddly to flip the clips and make sure the barrel is fitting properly.
I found that if I attach one clip while holding my other hand on the other side of the barrel and feeling where that "sweet spot" is where the barrel attaches easily ... that is what works for me.
Emptying the dust barrel is not something I need to do a lot of and was my only complaint with an otherwise excellent system, and something I can easily live with considering all the other benefits.
And that's my new dust collection system up and ready to go. I like the fact that I can move it around my shop and despite the fact that I need to plug it into every tool each time I use it, it only takes me a few seconds and for that, I get the maximum dust collection possible ... and over the years I have learned the process of what tool to use first, second and third so switching from tool to tool is not an issue for me and just something that I have come accustomed to.
All in all, I am super happy with this collector, it's very powerful, takes up less than half the space of my older system and it's really easy to move around my shop when I need it. In the next few days, my order for the Remote Switch and Dust Sentry will arrive, I will make a video on those as well.
Copyright Colin Knecht