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Review of Table Top Dust Collector Model #DC720

 Creative Woodworks and Crafts JUNE 1997


By Dirk Boelman

The DC720 Portable Dust Collector, from Penn State Industries, is designed to collect dust right at its source. You just grab the handle on top of the unit, position it somewhere near whatever is creating dust, switch it on, and it draws the dust into its filter. In my opinion, it's a wonderful unit, and it works great!

The weight and size of the collector makes it very easy to move around. In order to place it in the best possible position for collecting dust, you can set it on a stool, bench, box or any type of makeshift stand (you can even set it on the floor). And since it runs so smoothly, you don't have to worry about it vibrating off of whatever you set it on.

The unit moves a surprisingly large amount of air. For optimum collection, you'd want to place the collector as close as possible to the source of dust. I did some testing to observe dust and smoke being drawn into the collector from around three feet in front of the unit. When working at one and a half to two feet in front of it, you feel plenty of air movement across your hands.

I was really impressed with how well the collector performed. Though I cannot provide you with any specific measurements of the sizes of dust particles captured by the unit, I can report that I was amazed at how much dust I could see collected on the filter. We all know that the more dust we can keep out of our lungs, the better off we are. As a precautionary measure, however, even while using the collector, I still advise wearing a dust mask.

The DC720 Portable Dust Collector is approximately 23-1/2" -wide x 10-1/2" -tall x 8-1/4" deep, and weighs 26 pounds. On the front are three [polycarbonate] doors which adjust to funnel dust into the filter. It uses a pleated-type filter which is easily cleaned by gently tapping our the dust (replacement filters are also available). Air flow is produced by three rotary fans housed in the rear of the collector. The motors are sealed and are maintenance free. They are designed for continuous duty and controlled by a variable speed switch on the side of the unit. There's also a very convenient duplex outlet on the side, as well as a storage compartment for the seven foot long cord.

I tried the DC720 Portable Dust Collector all around my workshop. Naturally, I started out with it right next to my scroll saw. Although I could easily write volumes on this portable dust collector, here are just a few examples of the many uses I observed:

Next to the scroll saw, it draws away a great deal of the dust produced both above and below the saw table. It eliminates much of the very fine dust specks that you might normally inhale, as well as quite a bit of the particles bouncing around on top of the workpiece. Even some of the heavier pieces exiting below the saw table are drawn away. It also helps to reduce that very fine layer of dust that scroll sawing deposits throughout the room.

Placed at the end of a stationary belt/disc sander, the unit entraps virtually every bit of dust coming off the machine. Absolutely amazing!

Next to a table saw, radial arm saw, band saw or chop/miter saw, the collector does a great job of capturing fine airborne dust particles. Much of the dust created by these machines is larger and heavier, however, so it drops to the floor. It is also more difficult to place the collector unit very close to the work is these cases. But, once again, I was surprised at how the layer of dust deposited throughout the room was reduced.

On my workbench, I have a 1" belt sander that I use quite often. Those of you who also have one will relate to this. What's the first thing that happens when you turn the sander on? It "whooshes" out a bunch of dust from inside the housing right into your face! Well, set the collector on the bench next to the sander. The result? ALL of the dust is drawn away!

With the unit setting toward the back of the bench, I tried all of my handheld belt, palm, pad, and detail sanders, as well as my rotary tools, and the collector worked absolute wonders.

Probably one of the most noticeable things you'll find when using this collector is how much dust YOU NO LONGER SEE floating around the room when you look up from your workpiece. You all know that thick, hazy layer of debris hanging in the air from all the dust and smoke generated by cutting and sanding soft woods, or from using dull tools on hard woods. Or maybe you can relate to the look of dust floating around in the rays of sunshine coming in through the windows. With the DC720 Portable Dust Collector, you'll see a big difference! ... Man I love this thing!

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