My experience thus far with Harbor Freight dust collector has been a battle here is my story. I have slowly bought more and more tools for my shop and getting it built out to have more of a productive flow. One department I was lacking was with proper dust collection. My Ridgid shop vac dust collection was just not working for me anymore.
The big hassle with it was moving it from machine to machine. I knew something needed to change so I began to explore my options. On evenings that I am not able to make it out in the shop I usually spend it getting ideas for new projects and cruising the web. If you spend any time watching youtube videos you can see that a lot of the online woodworking YouTuber’s have a Harbor Freight dust collector.
So I highly consider purchasing a Harbor Freight dust collector for this reason. I don’t think harbor freight realizes how much free advertisement they get for their dust collector from youtube woodworkers.
The only other dust collector style I was considering was a wall-mounted style but I shot that down quickly. Mostly because of ease portability. I like having the ability to move just about anything in my shop so I can configure the layout for efficiency.
Harbor Freight Dust Collector Take 1
After Christmas, I received the Harbor Freight sale ad in the mail and as well as my email. After browsing through I found that the dust collector was on sale for $199 compared to the $229 that it is normal going for. Plus I went and used the 20% off coupon for the purchase. Bringing my total to 159.99 plus sales tax.
I purchased this on a Friday evening on our way out for dinner party. Then Saturday being New Year’s Eve I didn’t have a chance to get together so Sunday afternoon I was able to make it out the shop.
I opened the box first and began to pull out the parts and started to notice it looked like things were just thrown in the box. There was hardly any packing foam inside. When I went to pull the clamps out for the lower bag and upper filter they were bent and zip tied together. Finally, when I got to the center drum piece it was bent to all you know what.
So I called to over to Harbor Freight to make sure they still had one in stock before I began the 25-mile trek. As I was loading the box back up into the truck I noticed a shipping label posted on the side.It was addressed to some company in town and shipped from Harbor Freight.
My guess is that original purchaser didn’t like the product or the lack of instruction and chunked it back into the box. So I am defiantly glad I went and took it back even tho it seemed to be all there just really beat up.
Harbor Freight Dust Collector Take 2
So after my return trip and began to put this thing together. I have heard that instructions are terrible on this product and let me tell you. They are awful!! So below I am going to show you how I was able to get it together and I am not even sure if it’s right? But it is functional and working and looks right so I guess that it is a step in the right direction. So follow along if you just bought yourself a Harbor Freight dust collector
Let The Harbor Freight dust collector setup guide begin!
1. Install of castors
I first attempted to install the casters using the bolts that are called out the directions. Well, the first problem I had that the bolts were unable to go through the base plate of the cart. Not by much but just enough that the threads would get hung up. So I took a drill bit and made the holes a little bit bigger. So after fighting through that problem, I tightened down one bolt and when you go to spin the castor in a 360 it hits the bolt not letting it sping freely. At this point, a little frustration started to set it and I thought I would just put the bottom base plate on a piece of plywood if needed and use my own hardware.
2. Install of the upright support.
Now since I decided not use the castors I used the #23 bolts to install the uprights. You can see how these uprights are ordinated by the picture provided below.
3. Putting on the drum.
I don’t know the technical term for this piece so I am going to give it the name, drum. There are two holes in each upright and that attach the drum to it. You can see the pictures below for orientation of the drum. Now if you follow the instructions provided you will have to come back and install the upright that holes filter back up to the drum. I think it makes more sense to install the bolts once instead of twice like I had to. So save you’re the self some time and install them now.
4. Attaching the bag filter upright!
Attach the bag upright pole to the front side of the dust collector as shown.
5. Motor Mount Time
Putting the motor on I used the longer hex bolts provided. I think its what the manual is calling #16 bolts. There are four spots that the mount is attached to the base plate.
6. Mounting the motor
Next, I put the motor on using more of the provided hex bolts along with the nuts on the backside. These were as well #16 bolts.
7. Securing the blower motor.
On either side of the fan housing, there are two bolt holes that need to secure with some hex bolts. Please note that I was short one hex bolt at this point and had to dig through my bucket of nuts and bolts to find an appropriate one.
8. Attaching the blower hose.
Now take your hose and attach it the drum make sure to slide both clamps onto the hose before installing. This will make things a little easier.
Take the shroud piece and attach it to the other end of your hose and cinch down both clamps with a 10mm wrench.
9. Shroud and gasket install
At this time we are ready to put the shroud on top of the blower housing along with gasket. I put the flat side of the gasket against the housing on the motor then attached it will the hardware shown in the six locations.
10. Putting the handle
The handle is installed to the backside of the drum with the hardware shown. Should be fairly easy to spot these holes since they seem rather larger to me.
11. Clamping the filter and collection bag.
Putting these bags should be pretty straightforward if you made it this far. The clear bag will go on the bottom where the cloth filter will set on top. On top of the filter, there is a little cloth tab to hold the bag upright with the help of that support upright we put on earlier.
The bottom clear bag will slide right over the bottom drum and can be held in place with the little black tabs sticking out. This will help hold it in place till your ready to put the clamps in place around the drum.
12. Final Step Putting The Inlet On.
Remove the screw already in place on the let of the blower motor then slide the Y-inlet on and reinsert the phillips screw.
13. Bonus step!
Turn that sucker on! Now This is my first dust collector and I was pretty surprised at how quiet it seemed to me.
Did This Help You?
Now putting this thing together was a pain for me due to the terrible instructions and I took pictures along the way as installed this thing. I really hope they help somebody out and are able to put this dust collector to good use. If you found value in this article it would make my year if you shared it on your favorite social channel to help other out install this Harbor Freight dust collector