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Canister type dust collection for small shop

Dear Jewelers and Interested Others,

I am considering the canister filter type of dust collection for the
small shop where my work is done. We presently use old bench top
collector/polishing machines.

In a previous shop, I installed and used the Handler type floor
model collector/polisher and was very pleased with dust collection
and precious metal recovery. The problem with the cloth bag filter
type of collector is simply the filters! The filters do a good job
but need to be cleaned and washed periodically. That cleaning seemed
to never get done beyond vacuuming of the bags, even with two sets
of filter bags.

The canister filter type of collector appears efficient and easily
cleaned with replaceable filters and prefilters. Cubic Feet per
minute of air moved is impressive, overall. Does anyone have
experience with the canister type dust collectors? You can see the
ABRE model on and another called the Vortex at My concern is also sound levels. The Handler type
comes with a “muffler” of sorts and is not a sound problem. I
wonder if the small canister type collectors are noisy beasts? Any
input will be appreciated.


I suspect that the canister filters will clog more frequently than
the filter bags in the Handler boxes. The cloth filters can be
periodically “bumped” to clear them, but I have found that a few
minutes of cleaning and rubbing down the inside with a toilet brush
does a great job. I’ve never replaced the bags on my machine and
have cleaned them only by scrubing with a brush while still in the
machine. (Downside to this is you get very very dirty maybe once
every six months) (Upside is that the gold you recover from the box
will pay for the machine many times over…volume of work considered)

The cost of the canister filters must also be taken into
consideration as well as the amount of money you throw out with each

Just my 2 cents…
Ps I have 2 3hp machines for sale if anyone is interested


Greg Gilman from the tool department at Stuller was telling me about
the canister type units. They don’t sell the Arbe units. Anyway, the
unit is supposed to be very quiet. Another bad thing about the bag
style filter is changing the bags. They are expensive and time
consuming to take out. Greg said that he can change the filter in 30
seconds. If you want, give him a call. He’ll be happy to talk to
you. If I were buying a new one, that’s the style I’d get.

One other thing. You wrote that you swept and washed your filter
bags everynow and then. I also have an Arbe unit. How do you wash

James S. Cantrell


I recently purchased one of the 3 HP VS 1200 Torit/Donaldson
Cartridge style dust collectors with the vibrashake system. I had to
special order it in single phase as I do not have 3 phase power.

This is a serious dust collection system and I love it, plus it is
made right here in Central Kentucky. It is not particularly quiet,
but I cannot imagine anything that really does the job as a dust
collector is going to be quiet.

As I understand it, many systems draw the same CFM when everything
is clean and new, but the real test is how many CFM they pull when
they are actually in use. The aforementioned system even came with a
magnehelic (sp)gauge to monitor the differential between the
prefilter and afterfilter chambers so as to alert you to when the
prefilter needs to be cleaned or the cartridge filter needs to be

My only regret is that I did not purchase this system sooner!

Ken Gastineau - In his nice clean dust free studio.
Gastineau Studio
Berea, Kentucky

Dear James,

Perhaps I should have said “cartridge filter” instead of canister
type dust collector. Well, seems you folks know what I am talking

As to the question on cleaning cloth bags, the bag type collector we
used was a Handler floor model with Baldor motors, one of which was
2 speed. It was a very nice set up =93except for the filter bags=94.

The best way I have been told to wash the cloth bags is with TSP,
trisodium phosphate. Vacuum as well as possible first then wash the
bags=85 by hand. The reason for tedious hand washing is to contain th=
metal waste and not have it go down the drain. A large plastic
garbage can works. Then, the bags are dried and reused.

The washing slop is allowed to settle over time. A drain installed
on the side of the washing container a little off the bottom helps
to drain the liquid when all the stuff is settled. The sludge is
allowed to dry and goes with the sweeps, etc. for refining.

Truthfully, I left that company before I could get any sort of idea
how worthwhile containing the sludge really was. We did get
excellent refining results from the dust and settled stuff directly
from the dust collector. Vacuuming was done with a shop vacuum with
a bag inside.

The notes from you and Ken are just the kind of info I was looking
for. This should help in our decision to upgrade the collection
system in the shop. Thanks very much.

God Bless.

I now use a Vaniman Voyager, a dust collection system made for
Dental Labs. The unit uses a centrifugal collection unit prior to
collecting in an internal bag. I have one hooked up to two polishing
hoods, a second unit resides under my bench, and has a collector with
a small plexi shield that can be hung on a GRS block at the front of
my bench; for grinding and rubber wheeling pieces. 5 speeds, very
quiet, the bags are far cheaper ($10) than the Handler’s collector
bags ($200). The turbine collector does a great job of collecting
the fluff, and if some stone comes loose, it is easy to retrieve it.

Rick Hamilton

I received an email from James Cantrell about washing the cloth bag
type filters used in Handler and similar efficient collection
systems. I include part of my early morning reply below. I
contacted the head jeweler at my former place of employment and
asked how he washed the filters. His reply: We don’t. I shake
them down and vacuum. He did mention two local companies who use
cartridge type collection systems and said the systems work well for
those folks. One is a purchased brand and the other is “home made”,
using both fiberglass prefilters and a cartridge type final filter.
In wood work, I have found the small cartridge filters for shop
vacuums made by Gortex work extremely well and are easily cleaned.
Apparently, the home brew system used prefilters combined with
filters similar to the Gortex but larger and likely not washable.
Cleaning is reported to be easy, if still a bit messy. The advantage
is the prefilters are burnable for refining, easily changed and
inexpensive. The final fiters may be tapped and washed or replaced
at a slightly higher cost.

Here is some of what I said to James, showing some disgust about the
cloth filter bags:

Dear James,

(re:washing cloth filters) "Really, the answer is not a satisfactory
one and there must be a better way! I mentioned hand washing in a
large container, like a plastic garbage can. The idea of the
garbage can is to catch all the sludge for possible refining later,
though after a good vacuuming I seriously doubt any sludge would
come near the cost of a new set of filter bags or even pay for the
time spent washing.

I don’t know a time efficient way to wash these things. If I had
to do it now, I would likely take the bags home, scrub a little and
hose them down in the driveway! The metal insert is removable in
the set we had so at least that helps a little in washing. Still,
it is drudgery. : )" End of email.

So, there it is from me. I am looking to upgrade to cartridge
(canister) type collection if the sound is not oppressive.
Certainly, the effectiveness of the system would be acceptable if
crud on the filter media does not lessen air flow dramatically. I
learned this from wood work dust collection and this vital point was
mentioned by Ken: Does the system keep on keeping on once dust has
collected on the filters.

Does anyone else have any suggestions for an efficient, relatively
easy to clean system with acceptable sound levels’ This is a two
pronged issue: Health and Recovery of Precious Metal.

I must say, the Handler (cloth bag) system I formerly used was paid
by refining recovery within 1 1/2 years. That is not bad considering
the system cost nearly $2000 several years ago.

God Bless.

I don’t understand why you wash the bags. I take the bags once every
year and send them out to the refiner. Yes it is $360 for the new
bags but if you are working with gold the reclaimed metal will pay
for the bags many times over and I am certain new bags work much
better than the washed ones. Also you can greatly extend the life of
your filters by installing a cyclone type separator in the line
before the air gets to the filter bags. There are plastic cyclone
separators available from several of the jewelry tool suppliers they
will make a huge difference in your filter life. Also making sure
you shake the bags with the bag shaker pedal after each use will
help a lot.

Jim Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160

Member of the Better Business Bureau

When looking for a dust system time is something that is important.
The new quarto units are very quiet as well the filter which is
circular is washable and will last 2 to years. The excellent thing
about the quarto units are the prefilters which collect up to
.3microns of dust. After a week or 2 . throw them into a trash bag
and in 6 months the unit as paid for itself as well the shop in dust
free and clean.

Andy " The Tool Guy" Kroungold
Tool Sales / Technical
Stuller Inc
Phone 800-877-7777 ext. 94194
Fax 337-262-7791