Laguna P|Flux Cyclone Dust Collector

Superb performance from a full-featured dust collector built to last a lifetime.

Laguna P|Flux Cyclone Dust Collector

Laguna P|Flux Cyclone Dust Collector



A dust collector is one of the most important machines in your shop. It works in tandem with your lumber processing machinery – jointer, planer, tablesaw, bandsaw, and the like – to remove the wood chips they produce at source, so these machines operate efficiently.

A dust collector is also the key to an effective dust management system, serving to keep your lungs as dust free as possible – in particular from the very fine dust that is known to produce various respiratory aliments and cancer, which typically occur after years, if not decades, of exposure. It also helps to reduce the accumulation of fine dust throughout your shop – a real boon when it comes to applying a finish to your projects.

Professional woodworkers know that a cyclonic dust collector equipped with a filter cannister is about as good as it gets for managing shop dust. Unlike a conventional single-stage collector, cyclone collectors treat dust in two stages. In the first stage a funnel shaped drum creates cyclonic (centrifugal) action, causing the air to spin around in the funnel. The heavy wood chips fall down the funnel into a waste container. In the second stage the lighter dust particles are drawn up through the impeller into a filter canister. As air is vented out through the filter into the shop, the fine dust particles fall into a waste bin, or are trapped in the pleats of the filter.

However, not all filter canisters are the same. Standard filters – also called ‘high-efficiency’ filters – remove dust down to about 1 micron. 
HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, on the other hand, remove the most insidious dust particles, down to 0.3 micron. 

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I recently had the opportunity of shop testing one of the cyclone HEPA collectors from Laguna's new line of Clean Air shop solutions – referred to as their FLUX line. There are 9 models available, from a conventional 1HP single-stage hobbyist unit suitable for occasional use, all the way to a 10HP industrial unit designed for continuous duty servicing multiple shop machines.

Laguna's HEPA cyclone collectors are part of the P|Flux series, and consist of three models. I reviewed the P|Flux 1, though most, if not all my comments are relevant to all three models.

MODELHPAmps/VoltsShop CFMInlet CFM
P|Flux 11.518.8/1109001,314
P|Flux 2214/2201,1661,740
P|Flux 3322/2201,6242,817

Unlike other manufacturers Laguna lists the CFM that you're likely to get at the end of your dust hose (which they refer to as the 'Shop CFM') as opposed to just listing the Inlet CFM, which is the air volume just as it leaves the collector without a hose or air inlet nozzle attached. Laguna's Shop CFM is based on average readings taken with a 12-1/2 foot dust hose and air inlet sizes from 2" to 8". This is a much more reliable estimate of the true amount of air flow you can expect from these machines. You can get more details on the Laguna clean air microsite.

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Theodore Roosevelt is quoted as saying that 'nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort'. That goes for the P|Flux. Be prepared to spend upwards of 4 to 5 hours unpacking and assembling the collector – longer if you've never assembled a large machine before. Most of the work can be done by a single person, but you'll definitely need a helper to lift the funnel/motor assembly onto the base. There are a lot of parts, so it's best to read through the instruction manual before starting to assemble the P|Flux.

You won't find much in the way of plastic on this machine – it's primarily steel (including the impeller fan) so can easily put up with any errant bumps and knocks. I expect that the only two things I might ever have to replace on this machine are the motor and the control panel switch – after a decade or so of heavy use. Otherwise it looks built to last a lifetime. 

One caveat though – all four wheels on the bottom of the dust collector are free-rolling. I would have liked to see two locking wheels. During assembly locking wheels would have helped to keep the unit from moving around. And, if your shop floor isn't level, as mine is not, it would help stabilize the unit. 

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While the design of the dust collector is obviously important, the motor is crucial. It provides the power necessary to draw dust laden air up into the funnel. The P|Flux has a 1.5 HP motor that draws 18.8 Amps, which you can run off a 15 Amp circuit – as long as there are no other appliances simultaneously using that circuit. While you can rewire the motor to run on 220V you would need to replace the control panel switch (available from Laguna).

This is one of the very few machines I've ever come across that doesn't include the power cord plug. Perhaps this is because of the option of converting to 220V, but whatever the reason it's a nuisance. The plug cost less than $10, but does necessitate a time-wasting trip to the nearest hardware store. Attaching the plug to the power cord takes all of 30 seconds.


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But, at least the convenience of a remote control makes up for the lack of a plug. It takes about 15 seconds to program the remote to work with the 'Smart Sensors' control panel (see page 11 of the instruction manual). Once this is done you can remotely control the dust collector, which I find very handy. If you'll be connecting the P|Flux to several machines in your shop, you can avoid manually opening and closing blast gates by installing automatic blast gates such as the iVAC Pro.

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The cyclone funnel is where the first stage separation of the wood chips from the fine dust takes place. The dust port is 6" and a 4" Y-inlet adapter is supplied for connecting to 4" flexible hose or straight pipe. The motor draws air into the collector at 900 CFM – that's at the end of a typical 12-1/2' dust hose (at the intake it delivers 1,314 CFM of air).

This is more than sufficient for any shop machine that I'll ever use. I work alone, so don't have occasion to run two machines at the same time. However, with the help of a friend I did run the P|Flux using both my 6" jointer and 10" table saw at the same time. It sucked up just about every drop of dust from both machines. 

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The wood chips are deposited into a 32 gallon waste drum, outfitted with a plastic reusable bag – you can purchase single bags from Laguna or in bulk from an industrial supply company like Uline. The drum is on wheels so you can quickly move it out from under the cyclone funnel.  

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It doesn't take a lot of effort to move the articulating handle up to lower the drum away from the suspended lid (so you can roll it out to remove the plastic waste bag), or down, to compress the drum tightly against the lid.
 
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A large rubber gasket at the top of the drum (left side, photo above) provides a very effective dust seal – I haven't noticed any dust escaping around the drum cover at all.

A feature I've not seen on any other dust collector is a vacuum suction tube that runs from the cyclone to the waste drum lid (right side, photo above). When the lid is moved down onto the waste drum the suction tube connects to a square hollow tube at the back of the waste drum.

When the dust collector is turned on, it creates negative pressure in the drum so that the plastic bag doesn't collapse. You can disconnect the suction tube (and remove the square tube from the back of the waste drum), but, because it works so effectively, I can't think of any reason you'd want to do so.

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A great feature on the P|Flux is that there is a sensor on the back of the drum lid (lower photo above). When the drum is full the sensor activates an LED light on the control panel. While you can adjust the level at which the sensor detects a full drum, I found it worked fine as set at the factory. This is very convenient as I don't have to bother checking how full the drum is.

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That takes care of the wood chips. You still have the fine dust to content with. In the second stage, the dust laden air is channeled into the filter cannister. As mentioned earlier, the P|Flux has a HEPA cannister that filters out 99.2% of dust particles to .4 micron – which means a clean shop and a healthy respiratory system.

Once is a blue moon you can empty the contents of the small drum at the bottom of the filter cannister, remembering that it will be filled with very fine dust, so exercise caution when emptying.

You'll notice sound absorbing foam lines the door and inside of the filter cannister housing. It must help as I recorded the sound level at only 60.4 deciles at 10 feet from the collector. That's pretty darn impressive.

Every week or so blow compressed air (at around 60 PSI) across the filter using an air gun to dislodge fine dust from the filter pleats. To avoid damaging the filter keep your air nozzle 10-20” away from the outside of canister.

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There really isn't much not to like about the P|Flux, and a whole lot to love. It has sufficient air draw to keep any shop machine nearly chip-free (depending of course on the length of hose you use), has a very effective waste drum system that makes it quick and easy to dispose of those chips, has a HEPA filter that removes all the fine dust from the air, is super quiet in operation (compared to most other shop machines), and has that lovely remote controller.

If you're looking for a well-built, full-featured, highly efficient dust collector, then check out this Peerless Performer from Laguna.


KEY FEATURES:

  • Motor: 1.5 HP, 115/120V, 18.8 Amps
  • RPM: 3,450
  • Control Panel: Embedded Anodized Aluminum w. Magnetic On/Off
  • CFM: 900 (real), 1,314 (nominal)
  • Max Static Pressure: 10.1"
  • Impeller/Fan: 13.5", steel, radial fin
  • Inlet Diameters: 6" intake, two 4" outlet
  • Drum Capacity: 32 gallons
  • Drum Collection Bag: Plastic (24” x 37 3/8”)
  • Canister Filter Type: HEPA
  • Filtration Efficiency: 0.4micron @ 99.2%
  • MERV Rating: 16+
  • Decibel Reading: 74 dB at 10 feet
  • Weight: 122 kgs/269 lbs
  • Height: 68-1/2"
  • Footprint: 24" x 45-1/2"
  • Includes: Hand held remote, 2 clear dust bags

COMPANY:Laguna
MODEL:P|Flux 1
PRICE:$1,999.00 CDN
MADE IN:Taiwan
SOURCE:Dealer Locator

Author: 
Carl Duguay
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