DIY Workshop Dust Collector: In Dust We Don’t Trust.

I wasn’t pleased with the commercial options I saw for dust collection. Anything with some modicum of function was too expensive ($300+network piping), or too big (4″ piping + large vacuum motor, prudent enough but take up a lot of space) or both.


I built a bed recently and I was ankle deep in dust. I wear a respirator, but still, it was pretty over the top and I’m still blowing sawdust out of crevices. I want to create a compact, economical dust collection system using as many traditional vacuum/shopvac parts as possible.

This was just the beginning.


A one-car garage with the following devices that I want to have dust collected from:

  • A jobsite (read: portable) table saw with a 2.5″ vacuum output at the foot of the blade (bottom) and a 1.5″ output on the blade guard (top)
  • A miter saw with a 1.75″ vacuum output on the swingarm
  • A full-size drill press (no output)
  • various power tools with 1.5″ outputs
Table saw with the optional top attachment attached to the portable Shopvac.


  • 2.5″ collection system will service all my dust emitters. (4″ is common, and larger than I can imagine needing.)
  • A vacuum system powerful enough that will not put dust back into the air (i.e. a shopvac without a bag/filter.)
  • A cyclonic collection system to reduce the frequent filling and changing of filter bags.
  • Salvage and reuse anything possible to make the system viable.


That’s about a quarter of a 5 gallon Home depot bucket in a full 5 gallon home depot bucket. The vacuum is wall mounted behind it with nearly everything removed.

A few things didn’t seem prudent/possible to salvage, starting with the network piping/hoses:

  • Powertec had the best deal on hose – transparent so you can see if it’s working and if there is a clog: POWERTEC 70144 2-1/2-Inch x 20-Feet Flexible PVC Dust Collection Hose, Clear Color. The table saw gets directly connected to this tubing.
  • And on piping for the network – also transparent – very cool to watch the bits of DIY fly through: POWERTEC 70213 Dust Collection Network, 2-1/2-Inch
  • I was able to get a few 6-foot-ish lengths of 1.5″ hose (very typical vacuum cleaner hose) from the local thrift store for a few bucks to use as hookups for the miter saw.
  • I ended up getting a 2.5″ to 1.5″ adapter from Powertec as well: POWERTEC 70138 2-1/2-Inch to 1-1/2-Inch Reducer
  • And some of their hose clamps – I discovered these are nice, but any clamps will do: POWERTEC 70223 Keyed Right Hand Bridge Hose Clamp (5 Pack), 2-1/2″
  • I had some PVC piping and matching junctions, an old radiator hose, and a few other cylindrical objects and fittings laying around that I used as needed – i.e. the radiator hose happened to be a perfect way to join two 1.5″ plastic nozzles. The PVC junctions (1.5″ I think?) I was able to use as a reducer.
  • I tacked it up all over and put blast gates where I thought it made sense.
The vacuum is located off-camera right and the system ends with one final blast gate off-camera left.

Vacuum Motor:

  • I tried a leaf blower with a vacuum function that was rated at 14 amps, but the performance was not as good as I expected. Some have reported this works well, but this was not my experience. Also I would have had to engineer a way to keep dust from traveling through the catch bag; it was designed with leaves in mind, not fine shop dust particles.
  • I thought about getting a Harbor Freight Shopvac, as some have found them to be of suitable sucking power, but I had one more card up my sleeve before resorting to that.
  • I had an old 12 amp dirt devil vacuum cleaner that had been retired from the household recently due to the rollers having some broken parts preventing them from transitioning to carpet. I also had several bags for it. It seems to make better power than the leaf blower and was designed to keep fine dust in the bag – it’s meant to be used in your house after all. I removed the chassis, the roller motor, pretty much anything I could get the screws out of. I reclaimed the tubing and tools too to absorb into the system. I hung it with a screw in the corner along with the….

Cyclonic Collection Bucket:

The Dust Deputy is way overpriced. Actually, I don’t know if it’s overpriced – that’s a judgment – I know they’re making a big profit given the materials needed. A beautiful, effective, expensive, fancy, bucket is what it is. It’s also very tall. The concept of this is great though, what’s better is J. Phil Thein’s Cyclone Collection Lid design – known as a Thein Baffle (Credit J. Phil.)

  • I adapted the Thein Baffle concept to two 5 gallon Home Depot buckets reclaimed from brewing and put it right in front of the vacuum. It’s doing a great job – and this is what allows us to use a vacuum with such a low capacity (and a low resistance to sharp solid objects entering it’s delicate bag that is designed for pulling dust from your carpet!)

The Drill Press (and other items without a vacuum port:)

  • I built a little stand which the 1.5″ tubing end can be placed into and aimed at your work piece. This can be used with the auxiliary Shopvac too as it is also 1.5″ output in case you want to also run the dust collection system separately.



Success! The Thein baffle bucket is collecting 90% of the matter, keeping the vacuum bag fairly empty. Time will tell if the 12 amp vacuum motor is enough. I think I will get a Harbor Freight Shopvac or something similar if it doesn’t do the job in the long run. The only thing I needed to buy for this project that I didn’t already have was the network piping / hoses.

Total Cost: Approximately $120 with hose/adapters/everything.

More Photos:

To Do:

  • Remote switch for vacuum motor (or a load-based switch to automatically power it on!)
  • More power vacuum? With better fine dust filtering?

Salvaging the the Dell XPS 13 9350 Touchpad

UPDATE: I found my solution lacking in that the right-click tap event from TwoFingerScroll doesn’t always work for all apps (some games – Darkest Dungeon – for example.) See my preferred fix in italics below.


  1. Two-finger scrolling in Google Chrome is nigh-unusable with Dell’s most recently provided driver. Scrolling works fine in Firefox, IE, Explorer, etc. (as of 16-MAR-2017, the driver)
  2. tap-to-click doesn’t work with two finger tap for right-click.


Windows 7 x64 (x86 likely the same)

CAUTION: This is going to install some drivers that are not supported for your platform and modify your registry. You do so at your own risk. Also I suggest you have a USB mouse handy to use in case your trackpad stops working during the driver swapping and your windows keyboard navigation skills are 100%.

My new preferred fix:

Use this driver – Synaptics from Dell.

Configure it how you like. two finger tap-to-click is missing from the configuration utility, however, two it works native on this driver with the following registry changes:

2FingerTapAction 2

Having Trouble?

  • Try searching the registry for other instances of 2FingerTapAction and changing them to 2
  • The entry(ies) for MultiFingerTapFlags may need to be changed to 3 if it isn’t already – mine was already set. (credit Amit Toor)

The Old Fix:

You want either:

the ASUS driver


the Synaptics Generic Driver

And TwoFingerScroll (credit awahlig) – I find the physical buttons on this trackpad unbearable, so I use touch tapping only, and two-finger touch tapping is not in either of the above drivers (but it is in Dell’s – they did that at least)

I prefer the Synaptics Generic because I installed it second and didn’t notice and significant differences and it is a newer driver. You may need to disable driver signing.

This is quick and dirty, so forgive the lack of exhaustive research, but it worked, and I’m very pleased so I want to share it with the world:

  • Download the ASUS driver or the Synaptics Generic Driver (same as above)
  • Uninstall any Dell Touchpad Software and/or Synaptics Software in Add/Remove Programs; restart
  • Unzip the file you downloaded. Setup.exe will not work because it won’t detect your hardware.
  • Go into WinWDF/x64/ and run all the .exe applications there. Some won’t run, some will give you no feedback (yikes) but ultimately I think this is installing the control panel extensions; restart
  • Go to the device manager, and manually install drivers located in WinWDF/x64/ (you’ll need to choose “Let me pick, then ‘have disk’ “)

  • You’ll now have this in your mouse control panel, and two-finger scrolling will be majestic in Chrome again:
  • [BONUS] Add back two-finger tapping for right click with TwoFingerScroll (Oddly enough, we won’t be using the two-finger scroll option, I personally find the latest Synaptics implementation not as configurable, but more responsive.)

[DOUBLE BONUS] you may find these registry keys helpful for speeding up the pointer if its too slow. These ones below are double what I had previously (100 and 40 respectively), much better in my case.


Having Trouble?

  • Try doing both ASUS followed by Synaptics
  • Try running the Synaptics  Setup.exe after following all the steps, it should let you run it now that you’ve forced an install.
  • Try using TwoFingerScroll’s scroll implementation instead of all of this – just note it takes control of all two finger gestures (two finger tap-to-click for example)