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  1. #1
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    Replacing Harbor Freight Blower with 12" Rikon

    I just finished my first round of testing of the airflow with switching from the stock 10" HF fan with the 12" Rikon fan. I'm quite pleased with the results.

    *My apologies for the links rather than pictures, the photo upload tool keeps failing.

    Removing the Fan:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/yb9mSJpt9tUKQVoP8
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/oDEvSKCZt3S1VbU3A
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/aGyvdngRih9HywYQ9

    The clearance from the fan to the housing at the narrowest point is a very large 1.75" I suspect this leads to a lot of air just swirling in the housing.

    Comparison:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/e9StZxCREbsF2j2L8

    Note the change in both diameter as well as blade profile. The arbors are the same, which is very handy as it makes this a bolt-in upgrade

    Installing the Rikon:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/KKNMqe8zDwcWHDx88

    It just barely fits. It does go lower than this, I just missed taking a picture. The new fan is also a bit taller than the HF. It only clears the installation plate by about a quarter inch.

    Test Setup:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZuQgLGFDkjwAsb2R6

    For the inlet, I was looking for something with at least 5 diameters to normalized the fan inlet flow. I had this 36" piece around, so 6 diameters it is.
    Testing was done with both a 4" orfice adapter pictured as well as the full 6"
    On the outlet, I have both this open as well as closed off with a bag to better simulate both free airflow as well as some restriction.
    To measure airflow I'm using a handheld Kestrel 4200 anemometer, moving across the inlet.


    Results:
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/z5tgFzWTMQMMtWvWA

    Interpretation:
    First and foremost, you can see why 6" lines are critical for airflow, regardless of what fan you use.
    As you can see, there's about a 15% improvement on the Maximum flow, but a huge ~40% improvement on the average flow.
    I'm speculating, but I think that is an effect of a larger dP pulled by the Rikon making the overall flow more uniform across the inlet. But, that's just an educated guess. Real in-use is probably somewhere between these average and max values.

    Getting 942 cfm average from the closed bag 6" port is a great start, and a big improvement for sure. I'm hoping to get around 800-850 cfm once I add the cyclone and full ducting. We'll see if that's the case once I've got a chance to do that. Probably 2 weeks, as I only get to do this at night for an hour or two and the cyclone isn't arriving until next Friday.

    There's a similar thread from Photostu worth checking out where he has links to where to get the parts and a discussion on the electrical side.
    I personally spent $117 from Rikon for the new blower. I'm running this on a dedicated 20amp circuit with 12 gauge wiring.

    I don't have an ampmeter, so unfortunately I don't know how much extra power I'm asking from the motor. I've heard going from 7 to 9 running amps. I can't swear to either. As the thermal protection hasn't tripped, I expect most of the gains are on fan/housing efficiency. There's a lot on the table here given how poorly HF did on matching the housing to the blower and with blade shape. Before someone tries to pull out the Fan Laws, please don't. I'm perfectly familiar with them, have a copy of the reference material, and they don't apply here. Those are meant to scale geometrically similar fans and installations. We have major deviations on both of those, so the baseline assumption of similar efficiency is out the window.

    Could the method be improved? Sure, of course it could. I could take this to my company's airflow chamber, set up manometers and do a full system match. However,
    1) I don't want to be fired for using company resources for personal use
    2) Probably not very meaningful anyway, as the final installation will significantly impact the total airflow.

    Is it worth it? Depends.
    From scratch, maybe. We'll see if the motor holds up. It's no 5HP system from Clearvue or Oneida, but I din't spend 2K+ either. Certainly better than the stock system. Get the Wynn filter. The stock 5 micron bag isn't protecting you.

    If you already own the HF and don't want to/can't drop the big $'s for those systems, in my opinion yes.
    We'll see once the cyclone and ducting is fully installed how it performs. I'm optimistic.

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  3. #2
    Senior User
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    Re: Replacing Harbor Freight Blower with 12" Rikon

    Looks good, do you have any delta pressure readings?

  4. #3
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    Re: Replacing Harbor Freight Blower with 12" Rikon

    I didn't have any gear to measure pressure this low handy, so unfortunately no. In retrospect I probably could have rigged up a monometer, but it didn't occur to me at the time.

    I'll try to grab some readings once the whole setup is installed. At the minimum I need to set up something to track the filter backpressure for cleaning.

  5. #4
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    Re: Replacing Harbor Freight Blower with 12" Rikon

    Another convert! So far my frankenHF DC is working quite nicely. The only line I have issue with is my "accessory" line where I have a 6" main line going down to 2" for running to tracksaw,sander,accessories, etc.

  6. #5
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    Re: Replacing Harbor Freight Blower with 12" Rikon

    Quote Originally Posted by photostu View Post
    Another convert! So far my frankenHF DC is working quite nicely. The only line I have issue with is my "accessory" line where I have a 6" main line going down to 2" for running to tracksaw,sander,accessories, etc.
    That's great to hear! Your thread was really helpful.

    A transition down to 4" is tough, down to 2" cuts the cross section by 8/9ths, so I'm not surprised it murders your flow. Probably better to run that on a shop vac that has a good pressure capability.

    For handheld sanding I'm planning on eventually making a downdraft table for the DC while running the hand sanders on a shop vac.

  7. #6
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    Re: Replacing Harbor Freight Blower with 12" Rikon

    Thanks for doing measurements. What diameter is the outlet duct?

  8. #7
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    Re: Replacing Harbor Freight Blower with 12" Rikon

    In looking at the comparison pictures for the two wheels, one has the blades cupped in one direction, the larger one is in the other direction. What direction (looking at the wheel as shown) does the motor run in, clockwise or counterclockwise. Seems that the blade direction would make a significant difference.
    Today a pile of wood, tomorrow a pile of sawdust......

  9. #8
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    Re: Replacing Harbor Freight Blower with 12" Rikon

    Quote Originally Posted by JimD View Post
    Thanks for doing measurements. What diameter is the outlet duct?
    At the moment it is a 6" x 4" rectangular duct, transitioning to a 4" dia pipe. I have plans though of changing that once I get some sound measurements to help it breathe easier AND make less noise.

  10. #9
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    Re: Replacing Harbor Freight Blower with 12" Rikon

    Quote Originally Posted by pcooper View Post
    In looking at the comparison pictures for the two wheels, one has the blades cupped in one direction, the larger one is in the other direction. What direction (looking at the wheel as shown) does the motor run in, clockwise or counterclockwise. Seems that the blade direction would make a significant difference.
    As you are looking at the blades, the motor turns clockwise. The shape of the original fan does a better job of "grabbing" the air, but when coupled with that huge gap to the housing doesn't take advantage of the housing side walls. I believe the Rikon blade shape would be less effective if the housing scaled with it, but by tightening it up by a full inch (a massive change at this scale) it can take advantage of the housing's volute shape.

    Granted, that's informed speculation, but the test results seem to bear it out.

  11. #10
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    Re: Replacing Harbor Freight Blower with 12" Rikon

    Look up different fan blades on google.
    You can learn all about forward inclined, backward inclined and a host of other fan styles along with their pros and cons.

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