How To Set Up An Affordable Dust Collection System


We’ve been plugging away for weeks at the most epic garage and workshop renovation ever, and I cannot wait to show you the before and afters. We’ve conquered many awesome projects, from building a sweet new tool bench to hanging pegboard storage! And up this week is how to set up an affordable dust collection system.

Yep, setting up a dust collection system will honestly make a huge HUGE difference in our space. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for awhile, but real talk? I was always kind of intimidated. Turns out, you guys, I really didn’t need to be!

If you’re in the market for keeping your garage and workspace sawdust free, then keep on reading!

dust collection system

How To Set Up An Affordable Dust Collection System

I’m thrilled to work with Rockler Woodworking on this post and super excited to share my honest opinions about how this project turned out. (Hint: I love it.) Rockler makes awesome quality products so when the opportunity to collaborate arose, I was all jazz hands and spirit fingers.

Cause here’s the thing: most of us don’t have a dedicated workshop space. And while I’m lucky that our new home has a workshop nook, it shares a footprint with the rest of our garage.

Yeah, the workshop space opens right up to two cars, a stroller, and a boatload of stuff we reaaaally need to organize. Here are a few photos of the space to show you what I mean:

dust collection system
dust collection system

Now that I’ve been building a lot more in the shop, it’s become super apparent that I need a dust collection system.

Why? Well, let’s just say that blowing off the stroller each morning before baby girl and I go walking loses its appeal quickly. And no one needs sawdust covered cars. Not even hybrids.

So a dust collection system? Definitely on the to do.

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The Great Debate: Choosing Our Dust Collector

Turns out there are lots of kinds of dust collection systems out there! I choose to use Rockler’s Dust Right Separator hand-in-hand with our shop vac.

Why? I wanted something that I knew would be portable, durable, and pretty user-friendly. I get intimidated by gadgets and gizmos and wanted a simple solution.

And, you might be thinking: hey, why couldn’t I just suck up sawdust with a shop vac? (I thought that, too.)

Well, I mean, ya could. But you need to remember that a shop vac uses a filter.

So when you suck up sawdust with a vacuum, most of that dust gets clogged up in the filter. And you’re gonna get pretty sick of buying and buying and buying filters endlessly.

Enter from stage left: a dust separator!

The whole purpose of the Dust Right Separator is to keep all the dust off your floor but out of your vacuum. You connect it up to your vacuum so that the vac can suck everything up. But all that dust stays trapped inside the separator.

So clever, right?

Assembling the Dust Collection System

For the dust collection system, I actually got a new shop vac, this fancy Rigid Shop Vac from Home Depot. (We had one already, but I discovered my husband forgot it in our old house in Baltimore and the vacuum never made the move. UGH. Hope the new owners like it!)

dust collection system

The dust collection system was super simple to assemble. I pushed the casters onto the bottom of the canister so that it can roll around the workshop.

The funnels on the lid of the Dust Right Separator are uniquely positioned to create a cyclonic effect inside the container. That’s how the dust gets trapped inside so it doesn’t clog up the vacuum.

The instructions were super easy to follow and in no time, my vacuum and the Dust Right Separator were up and running.

I connected the main hose on the shop vac to the Dust Right Separator. Then I was in business!

dust collection system

dust collection system

dust collection system

dust collection system

dust collection system

How to Use the Dust Collection System

Okay, so how do you use this system?

It’s actually really easy! If I need to vacuum the shop or suck up sawdust from my bench, I can attach the vacuum attachments to the Dust Right Separator.

Then, I use them as I normally would except all the dust gets trapped where it’s supposed to stay.

And here’s the best part: I can use the universal small port hose kit to attach the Dust Right Separator to most of the hand tools in my shop.

So when I use my sander, for example, I put on the small port hose and all that dust? Sucked right up where it belongs. (Read: not on my baby’s stroller.)

The hoses are long enough that I have plenty of room to maneuver. And I’m able to tuck the shop vac and Dust Right Separator in a little nook between my tool bench and the door so they stay out of the way.

I’m so SO glad I set up this dust collection system.

Honestly, I’ve read on woodworking forums so many people who’ve shared that investing in a dust collection system was the BEST thing they’ve done for their shop or garage. And I agree.

Plus, ya know, it’s nice not getting covered head to toe in sawdust. Particularly when I need to run inside on a moment’s notice if a baby just woke up from a nap. So there’s that, too.

dust collection system
dust collection system
dust collection system
dust collection system

So what do you all think? Have you considered ways to manage the dust and debris in your workshop or garage? Has a dust collection system crossed your mind? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.  And if you want to check out the Dust Right Collector for yourself, just hop over to Rockler.  I hope you love it as much as I do!

Or tag me on Instagram, where I’m always happy to hear from you!

And before you head off, be sure to check out the Home Beautifully resource collection. Yep, there’s a whole lotta free (yes! free!) art prints and DIY goodies just waiting for your home.

As always, lots of love, from my house to yours,