Oneida Supercell

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I’ve had the Oneida Supercell for coming on two years now. While I have to confess that I’ve never had another ‘bog boy’ dust collector, the Supercell is an amazing piece of kit that it’s absolutely the right system for my small shop.

It’s important to realize what the Supercell is, and what it isn’t. It’s designed around the concept of high pressure dust collection. This is a similar concept to how a shop vac works, in fact you can think of the supercell as being several shop vac motors working together at once,  since that’s basically what it is… The motors sit under the top, black housing. Inside the upper yellow drum is a pleated filter, below the filter is a conical deceleration chamber which leads to a holding drum below.

Being a high pressure dust collector usually means a dramatic decrease in the volume of air moved. That’s what happens with a shop vac. Good suction pressure right at the mouth of the hose, but a couple inches away it drops off dramatically. A high volume dust collector, which is what most wood workers are used to in a ‘big boy’ DC works under a different principle.

High volume means moving a large amount of air, and that’s important so that the draft area (area where you’ll feel the air movement off the end of the hose) is large enough to collect dust and chips from around the functional area of a tool. On something like a cabinet-style table saw, the cabinet forms a fixed volume that the chips fall into. A high volume DC is able to move most all of that air at once, which takes the chips and carries them away. The issue is that high volume requires big hoses. If you neck down the hoses (or dust ports) you dramatically reduce the overall capacity that the DC can move by choking it off. Large volume DCs work well in production shops, or shops with industrial machines, because those machines have larger dust ports (6-8”) that support that movement of larger amounts of air. But, in a small shop, or a shop using sub-industrial tools, the tools usually have dust ports in the 1”-4” range. These small dust ports are one of the major failings of using a high volume DC. The ports choke off the DC and collection is suboptimal.

The Supercell also has another trick up its sleeve. Most high velocity DCs (shop vacs) can only maintain their high pressure in a smaller diameter hose. That’s because the motors don’t have the power and blade size to move a large volume of air at high velocity. You kind of get one or the other…and while both have their place, both together would be much better. While not perfectly, that’s what the Supercell does pretty damn well. Its motors are able to produce high velocity at what’s considered medium-volume…but much higher than a shop vac. That high velocity means Supercell is perfect for dust ports 4” and below….which is what most non-industrial machines have. The medium volume means it has the ability to collect enough air to move chips, and especially dust, from a larger cabinet (or open area) near the working end of the tool.

I won’t post the specs here because you should look them up for yourself, but the Supercell boasts (and delivers!) enough volume to collect dust from sanders a loooong way from the DC and enough velocity to collect chips from a joiner or planer. You can watch videos of super long hose lays from the supercell, but one of the coolest things about the high velocity system is that you don’t need to be nearly so worried about hose/duct length and smoothness. In a low pressure, high volume (traditional) DC, it’s very important to have wide sweeping turns in the duct, and limit any sort of corrugation in the duct or hoses. That’s because any sudden changes of direction or obstructions cause turbulent airflow, and the DC doesn’t have the velocity to overcome that turbulence, so you lose volume quickly. The Supercell really isn’t bothered by changes in direction or corrugation. It works regardless, because of that high pressure it developers. Of course, best practice is always to make ducting as clean and tightly sealed as possible…but it doesn’t have to be perfect with the Supercell.

Since the Supercell is really designed for 4” duct, I used 4” Sewer and Drain pipe for my ducting. It’s easy to find, light, relatively cheap, and (very importantly) the adapters and angles are CHEAP compared to metal duct or long sweeps.



You can argue the use of insulator style duct and dust explosions on your own time. If you find a first hand account of a dust explosion or fire from a static charge in a dust collection duct system, let me know. You won’t be able to, but let me know anyway. Same with grounding wires for duct. Snake oil. You can’t ground an insulator. 

I’ve been over-the -moon with my Supercell. It keeps my shop cleaner than it’s ever been. The system has a reverse-pressure whammy bar to help clean the filter, and mine was easy enough to wire into my GRIT automation system to automate everything. I chose the smallest collection drum (14 gallons) because it was easy to move/use and most of what my DC is used for is collecting tool chips and sanding dust. If you’re doing a lot of planing with a thicknesser, you’ll fill that drum awful damn fast. There are two other, larger drum options for larger shops….a 35 gallon and a 55 gallon. It’s 240v and (I think) wants 20 amps, but it could be a 30 amp breaker called for. I have it on a 30. 

It does produce a little bit of heat, but I haven’t found it to be an issue even during the hot summer months. It’s a little noisy owing to the high pressure motors, but I wear hearing protection anyway, and it’s not really that bad if you’re a couple feet away from it. Dollar for dollar one of the best purchases I think you can make for your shop, assuming your tools have dust ports sized 4” and smaller. If you have larger dust ports, this probably isn’t the right machine for you. The Supercell isn’t cheap, but it does exactly what it says it’ll do. 

Regardless, call the folks and Oneida and just talk to them. Tell them what you do, and talk to them about your needs. They are completely no-pressure in their phone conversations. They’re more than happy to give you info to help you make your own decisions. Never once did I feel any inkling of pressure from them to buy anything, and I’ve heard this echoed from others as well. 👍🏼

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

22 Comments

sure does look bad ass thats for sure. nice review bud,.

working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

Great review.   I think that the Supercell may be the next big purchase for my shop.  

Do you use it as your shop vac or do you still find the shop vac is still better for some things, like cleaning the floor?  

Also, have you had to replace the filter yet?  Just wondering about the filter life and expense since it looks like a proprietary filter.  

--Nathan, TX. Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

I use it for everything. I’ve got a 2” hose coiled up that I use to clean the floors (black, first pic) and I’ve got an 1 1/4” coiled overhead that I use for sanders, the Shaper Origin, etc. (grey, second pic) Both of those are controlled with their own switches.

I use the built in cleaning function pretty much at the end of every day. Haven’t had to replace, or even manually clean, the filter yet. 

They’ve got a newer mode Supercell now that moves even more volume. 👍🏼👍🏼



Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

Ryan - I have one as well.  I think I posted a review elsewhere.  I've tried just about every version of DC and this one checks the all boxes for me.  I really like mine.  I use it for DC and as a shop vac. I have the 30 gal version since I do a fair amount of planing.

BTW - I got an e-mail saying they were sending out out some kind of upgrade which I take to mean they must have found something safety related that needs to be improved.  Did you get notified?
Good write up R'Gi... and appreciate the education in sucking air.

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

I contacted Oneida about the "upgrade for the Supercell.  They are sending out a temperature switch that will shut the unit off if it gets too hot to everyone that registered their unit when they bought it.  I wonder if Oneida will be coming out with an upgrade option to turbocharge the old version.  The 20% extra air flow would come in handy for an overarm table saw dust collector.
I'm green

with envy... You guys have access to all the great toys,

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

I don't know about that  LBD you have some toys that look pretty cool.  

Oneida said they don't make an upgrade kit since the turbo has 4 motors and the old version has 3. I still think they could come up with an upgrade top section so old version owners can replace that  only  since the cyclone and lower section is the same.  the motors are the same so the old motors would be spares and the starter would be a spare too.


 Earl 
.....
I don't know about that  LBD you have some toys that look pretty cool. 

The trouble is that we have to pay often double the original (that's x3) to cover shipping..., and people think that duck hunting is bad... duck gouging is worse.

If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

I didn’t see an update from Oneida come my way. Be interested to see if something shows up. You’d think they’d sell an upgrade kit, like you mentioned. It would be an easy swap out!

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

Ryan, did you register your supercell?  I'd drop them a note and ask about the temperature sensor.  Since it is a safety upgrade I would think they would send one to you.
Agreed Earl. 

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

Ryan, did you purchase your Supercell directly from Oneida or through a retailer? 

Does anyone remember if they ever have any sale promotions?  I think that I am about ready to bite the bullet but if they have a regular promotion coming soon, I might wait a bit longer.  I would sure like to go for the turbo model but I am not sure I can justify the extra cost.  

I am thinking about one of the portable models because wall space may actually be more of a premium than floor space in my shop, especially if I can eliminate the both the DC and shopvac I currently have.   The one wall I have some free space on backs up to our family room and I am worried that the noise conducting through the wall might be a problem.  

 Anyway, if anyone has and tips about where or how to get better pricing, chime in.  

--Nathan, TX. Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

I’m pretty sure I got it directly through Oneida. Honestly, call them and ask if they have a sale coming up. They’re easy to talk to and I bet they’d tell you. I think it’s one of those things that is excluded in most sales for woodcrafts and Rockler and the such, but maybe not. 

It’s probably a good thought about not putting it against the family room, but it’s a really balanced machine without much vibration. The whole thing floats mid-air, but of course is anchored to the wall plate. Guessing it’s a load bearing wall, it might be ok? I’d encourage you to consider the Turbo model. Just that much better…not that I’ve got any problem with mine…but why go small when you can go bigger???

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

Nice review Ryan. For your sized shop with multiple tools I see something like this as the best dust solution going. With a lot more room, I'm still on the fence. My use of several smaller machines (also lower cost) and hardly any ductwork (direct connect) I am getting rid of what I need to, and not spending all of my wood buying $$$$ on DC. 

Plus with my lungs even with a super high end system I still wear a respirator, just to keep ANY of it from getting into me. Or at least as little as I can manage. 

I think the number one thing someone can do with a shop is have natural light coming in, either doors or windows, so you can get a good look at all of the airborne fines. I've been in a number of shops where a guy with thousands in DC equipment, gets done cutting, sanding, whatever, and switches it off. As soon as they turn it off, also off comes the mask. Meanwhile the air around them is still full of floating fines, and there they are standing in the midst of it with nothing on to protect them. 
Thanks Ryan. 

George, I have a couple of air quality meters in my shop to help me know when the airborne dust levels are still high.  The ones that are really-really (2 reallys!)  bad for you are not visible so light is not going to tell you when they still hanging around.  They also take longer to settle out of the air than the ones you can see.  It can take a couple of hours or more. especially if you have a fan or any sort of heating or cooling running.  You can see the meters I use in my Corsi-Rosenthal Filter box write up.  It has been a little over a year and the filter does a great job of clearing the air -- usually within about 15 minutes which allows me to take my dust mask off more quickly.  There is noticeably less fine dust settled around the shop too.  The air filter comes on automatically when it detects motion in the shop so it is pretty much always on while I am out there.  Note that the meters also give VOC and formaldehyde levels.  

--Nathan, TX. Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

Actually George, larger areas is one area where the Supercell shines. Because of the high static pressure, duct lengths can be much longer, and with more bends, and still collect heavy and light dust expertly. It’s the difference between high pressure and low pressure, but also maintaining volume. And of course, one machine reduces overall footprint, but each shop is a little different. 

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

Nathan I really like my supercell.  I would have got the turbo if they had it just to use when I'm ripping boards and want to get the dust under the cabinet and off the side of the blade.  the other major improvement I've been working on is getting a better duct system and sealing things up especially the table saw.  I hung mine on the wall so I don't trip over it.
I would prefer to hang it on the wall but that will take some serious rearranging to open up wall space.  I suppose that I could start with the wall hanging version and just make a cart or stand later, if I decide I do not like it on the wall.  Now I just have to convince myself that I don't neeeed the turbo version.  

--Nathan, TX. Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

Buy once, cry once. Go big!

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".