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I am currently installing PVC pipe to act as duct for my dust collector. There will be a central pipe down the length of my shop, with a few branches coming off for specific tools.

So far, I've hung some pipe and connected it together with PVC fittings. I had planned to get it all loosely fitted together, and then go back through and glue it together with PVC glue and primer. But as I've pushed a few fittings together, I started to question whether I need the glue. It occurs to me there are some advantages to leaving it only loosely connected. If I should ever have clog, it'll be a lot easier to unclog if I don't have to cut the pipe apart. Ditto if I ever want to add branches.

Do I really need to glue the PVC together? Can I get away with taping the joints, either with the aluminum foil tape used on HVAC systems, or the X-Treme Tape for Dust Joints sold by Rockler?

I'm using the thinner DWV pipe / ASTM D2729, if that matters. It's mostly 4" PVC, with one 3" run for some smaller tools.

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    Not a full blown dust collection system, but I have my DW735 thickness planer hooked up to a Thien baffle on a 50 gallon barrel via 4" PVC fittings. Everything is held by friction (mostly without tape) and it holds up fine to the extreme chip blower. I used plain old silver tape in a couple of places and it too is holding fine – Eli Iser Jan 30 '18 at 3:19
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I've had a similar 4" PVC duct system with approx 50' of pipe, a large debris cyclone can, and three gated openings running for years without any glue. The system is run by a 1.5 HP industrial two bag dust collector and it runs fine. In fact when I tried to take a portion apart last year I had trouble getting the dry fitted elbows apart from the pipe. I always intended to glue it together, but the next project kept me from getting around to it!

  • I appreciate this answer. This is exactly the kind of first hand experience I was hoping someone could share. Thanks! – Charlie Kilian Jan 30 '18 at 20:13
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Tape'll do it. We've got a professionally-installed steel ducting system in our large joinery workshop, and we've since added some parts, offshoots etc. just with duct tape and it works just fine. Small losses in any extraction system are expected so you're likely not going to get much benefit or noticeable difference from gluing vs. taping.

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it would seem that the best thing to do is to test your dust collection system without any glue for a few weeks and see how it does. I would venture to guess that the tape would probably be sufficient.

  • That is exactly what I intended to do. I'm glad to be thinking along similar lines as everyone else. – Charlie Kilian Jan 30 '18 at 20:14

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