Harbor Freight Dust Collector Mod

In this tutorial Brent walks through how he upgraded a Harbor Freight Dust Collector with the Super Dust Deputy XL from Oneida Air Systems.

Harbor Freight Dust Collector

Hey! Brent here to share a project I have been working on the past few weeks in the garage. My latest undertaking helped our garage look and function more like a woodworking shop.

There comes a time when you work on enough DIY woodworking projects that a shop vacuum just won’t cut it anymore. I was finding it was inconvenient because I was constantly having to unhook it from my table saw and then wheel it across the room to hook it up to my miter saw and then unhook it from my miter saw and wheel it back across the garage to the table saw.

It was also fairly ineffective because quite often the filter on the shop vacuum got clogged because the bin filled up so fast. Well, that might be on me because I never cleaned it out, but when you are in the middle of a project, who wants to stop the fun part to clean out a vacuum after every few cuts? Obviously not me. So much sawdust would end up on the ground that Courtney joked she could make sawdust angels.

I would procrastinate cleaning the floor until I started a new project which meant if I ran out into the garage to get something, I most likely definitely tracked in a good amount of sawdust on my socks.

Harbor Freight Dust Collector

It became clear to me that I needed to build a dust collector so I finally built one for the Gray House Studio shop by taking a Harbor Freight dust collector and upgrading it to a 2 stage cyclone dust collector. I did this with the Super Dust Deputy XL Cyclone Separator. Oneida Air Systems was kind enough to send us one to use and it made a huge impact.

My goal for my dust collector was to have it service multiple tools at the same time. Since the tools are separated by 10 to 20 feet I needed more power than the Harbor Freight dust collector could provide. It just wasn’t cutting it so I modified it with a larger impeller so that I could use a six inch duct.

Also, the filter bag that came with the Harbor Freight dust collector didn’t filter out the tiniest particles. What I really like about the Super Dust Deputy XL Cyclone Separator is it separates the wood chips and the dust so only air and very fine particles pass through the blower to the filter. This prevents any microscopic particles from entering back into the air in the shop.

Alright, enough talk, here is how I upgraded my Harbor Freight Dust Collector:


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Upgrading a Harbor Freight Dust Collector

Harbor Freight Dust Collector
1. The dust collector build started with a stock 2hp single phase Harbor Freight dust collector. To seamlessly connect to the Super Dust Deputy XL I’m going to upgrade the impeller. The stock blower can’t push enough air to support a 6″ opening. I removed the impeller using a puller tool.

Harbor Freight Dust Collector
2. The stock harbor freight blower has a 10″ impeller so the new 12″ impeller should boost performance significantly. Plus, the stock Harbor Freight impeller as a forward-inclined fans whereas the larger Rikon impeller has a backward inclined. Forward inclines provide more flow but lose power when pressure increases. The backward incline provides more consistent performance as the pressure increases.

Harbor Freight Dust Collector
3. Using a jigsaw and sheet metal blade the intake port was widened from 5″ to 6″. A 6″ duct collor was then attached to the intake faceplate with rivets.

Harbor Freight Dust Collector
4. To hold the blower to the wall we made a mounting bracket with 2x4s anchored to the wall studs.

Harbor Freight Dust Collector
5. After mounting the blower on the 2×4 bracket the outlet port was converted to a 6″ outlet by attaching a duct transition with 1/2″ screws and caulk.

Harbor Freight Dust Collector
6. Before mounting the filter to the blower I used a jigsaw to open the closed side of the filter. Then, cut a donut shaped mounting plate out of sheet metal to mount the 6″ collar and secured the mounting plate to the filter with 1/2″ screws.

Harbor Freight Dust Collector
7. I made a U bracket out of 2x4s to hold the filter in place against the wall. The filter attached to the bracket with screws from the top.

Harbor Freight Dust Collector
8. The Super Dust Deputy XL cyclone is designed to mount directly to the lid of the barrel. The opening at the bottom of the cyclone is roughly 6″, so I cut out another 6″ hole with a jigsaw in the top of the barrel lid. The cyclone comes with hardware to mount the cyclone and a gasket. Since I misplaced the hardware I used construction adhesive and large rivets.

Harbor Freight Dust Collector
9. Once connected to the barrel lid the cyclone was attached to the inlet of the blower with 1/2″ screws.

Harbor Freight Dust Collector
10. To seal the bottom of the filter I attached two latches to the filter allowing me to secure and remove a plywood donut and plastic bag.

Harbor Freight Dust Collector
11. The bag will catch any particles that makes it though the blower to the filter. Once particles accumulate they can be easily cleaned by emptying the bag.

Harbor Freight Dust Collector
12. Before turning on the dust collector I taped all the joints with foil duct tape.

I tested it out and it was nice to have it work just how I wanted and not be near as loud as my old shop vacuum. I am looking forward to the connivence and having a cleaner shop. The Cyclone Separator made a huge difference in taking my dust collector to the next level and making it more powerful and effective.

I can’t wait to work on my first woodworking project with my new upgraded dust collector.


How to upgrade a Harbor Freight Dust Collector with the Super Dust Deputy XL from Oneida Air Systems.

  1. Hey Brent,

    I really like your dust collector build. I’ve been evaluating several mods from other folks but yours is by far the cleanest design yet.

    Where did you find the larger impeller. Searched for it but appears to not being readily available. Did you salvage yours from another unit? Were you able to purchase a new replacement part?


    • Hi Steve, The bag on the bottom of the filter catches any particles that make it past the cyclone separator. The bag can be easily removed and emptied to prevent the filter from being quickly clogged.

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