Hi Paul,welcome aboard!
Okay,dust collection,I have much experience with that subject.
The most bang for the buck are the import dust collectors for woodworking.They are a radial fin type blower capable of high voume and static pressure.
Squirrel cage blowers are high volume low pressure and not sutable for dust.The small blades load up with material and effeciency drops.Not to mention the air over motor problem.
I can recomend the units Grizzly sells,they are well built and durable.For about $150.00+ frieght you can be in a system including filter bags.Depending on the micron size of the particles your are dealing with the bags themselves may be enough of a filter.If not HEPA filter cans are availible.
If you are limited on resources,Lindsay publications has a book by Dave Gingrey on building centrifugal fans,it is easier than you think.
Okay hoses,flex hoses and pvc pipe can be used so long as the piping and hose are grounded to eliminate static.
I just need one more tool,just one!