Installing a Dust Collector Upside-Down

Does a dust-collector fan care whether it is "sight side up"?June 15, 2014

I have a small closet I keep my dust collector in and need to upgrade, but don't have the room to spare. I'm wondering if I can mount the base of a dust collector to the ceiling (re-inforcing both the ceiling and dust collector as needed) and run it upside down. Will this harm a motor or fan on a 3hp double bag Grizzly type dust collector?

Forum Responses
(Dust Collection and Safety Equipment Forum)
From contributor U:
Could you hang the collector, right side up, from the ceiling with support wires or cables?

From the original questioner:
No, the ceiling height in the closet is less than 8'. All my ducts running to the closet are right above the floor or coming out of it. I couldn't efficiently run the duct with it on the ground, or even at all probably because the inlets are close to the ground on the new DC. It's pretty cramped in there with the single bag 1.5HP DC I have now (what the closet was built around); but if I turn it upside down then the inlets are close to the ceiling. I have plenty room for the drops to run down to the ducts. I was hoping all I would have to do is swap the filter and collection bags around so the filter is on the top when it's upside down. I wasn't sure if larger motors are designed with gravity in mind holding anything in place, or if the fan might be negatively affected by the change in position. I guess if no one really knows we'll find out in due time, I'm expecting the new DC delivery today.

From contributor U:
I have a Powermatic, collection on bottom and vent bags on top. Having looked at the impellers and the way it is designed it seems to me you should be able to run it upside down. The only thing may be the spin or rotation of the impeller pushing the dust a certain way, but I'm believing thatís not the case. I bet gravity has more to do with the flow of things versus the other design factors.

From Contributor B:
The electric motor and fan do not care whether they're upside down or not. The motor bearings are sealed and there's no bottom oil pan or anything like that. On the two bag DC, the central metal hopper will not work inverted but just mounting the motor and fan to the ceiling should make no difference.

From contributor F:
I mounted a 2 HP DC to my wall about 8' off the floor and it worked fine for several years in that position. I agree with the previous posts, a dust collector is just a motor and fan and doesn't care how it's mounted, as long as it's mounted securely! You could also re-configure it so your motor is inside the closet with the filter bag outside, allowing you to go to a bigger filter bag which also helps greatly to improve performance.

From the original questioner:
Well it's done and nd it works great compared to my old 1-1/2HP. I can tell by it picking up more chips, but also the ridiculous whistling coming from some of the machines. It was a good deal to - 3HP for a little over $500 shipped. I think the only improvement for the future will be extending the discharge from the fan about 12" lower so the collection bags will sit on the ground and I can fit bigger filter bags in when the time comes.

Click here for higher quality, full size image

From Contributor B:
Band-saw dust (for example) is heavy and I think would pull the bags down off the unit or eventually rip them. Why not put a base with caster wheels back under the bags so you can easily haul them out to the dumpster? I also hope your air compressor has a good filter on it since it's located right in your dust collection closet.

From the original questioner:
The closet was built perfectly sized for the old DC and air compressor. At the time it was built they were seldom used so I build a closet around them to make storage above and keep the noise down when I did use them. The dust and compressor have never been a problem, and if I need to I can just duct the intake to outside the closet.

When I extend the discharge duct the bags will sit on the ground. I've toyed around with the idea of a base or wheels, but if I do something temporary it will probably end up being there way too long so for the in between time I plan on making frequent bag dumps. This will hopefully motivate me to fix it sooner than later. For now I am happy with the results.

From Contributor S:
Nice work. I thought you were crazy but the picture explains it all. I assume you did not just swap the bags, but actually rotated the assembly. My bag flange thing has a funnel on the inside that I assume needs to point down. I really like the idea.