First off, wow, I can’t believe that I never finished this blog. And, for that, I apologize but I was too excited after I completed it that I never took the time to get back to it. So, here it goes.
Unfortunately, since it is all put together, all I have to provide is the minimal pictures that I took during assembly. Nothing about putting it together was very difficult, but ensuring an air-tight seal makes it run all the better.
The first aspect of construction is to create the frame that will hold the plexi. You don’t have to use plexi, but it’s just so cool to see the dust swirling around inside.
This is where my pictures stopped. I really wasn’t able to take pictures while holding the plexiglass in and attaching everything. Therefore, I present the finished separator mechanism resting nicely on top of my 55G drum.
The hole in the center is 5” diameter to match the inlet of the HF dust collector. Also, I never really explained or showed the reason that I left the 3/4 plywood in the middle but this picture should explain it. It is basically only a support for the 1/8” hardboard that is used as the drop separator plate. You want to keep this plywood support back far enough to not inhibit the air flow, but not too far that the drop separator plate becomes weak and flimsy.
Here is a close-up picture of the inlet where you can see the details on the inlet hose from my machines. I chose to do a taller baffle which increase the separation of the material.When I did this, I then had to take a scrap of the leftover hardboard to finish off the circle to keep the flow going smooth around the separator.
After all of that construction, I now have 2 very large items taking up very large amounts of room in the garage where my wife likes to park her car….crazy idea isn’t it.
But, with this separator reducing the amount of dust going to the bag, I attempted to begin a re-design of the stock system and took to stacking. Since the bag isn’t going to be used for the main dust collection, I reduced the capacity by almost 1/4 or less by simply cutting it off. I then took the bag and rolled it up to shorten the height of the bag as well. Once I had these dimensions, I bolted 2 support legs to the green stock separator and then attached them to the baffle separator I made. One key note, make sure that when the bag hangs down at full extension that it does not block the end of the motor. Then, after I got all of this done, I tried to simulate emptying the can. Well, that was an epic failure. This stuff is SUPER HEAVY! So, I developed the lifting system you see here. I threaded in 4 eye bolts into my baffle separator and attached them to two hinged arms with chain that also have eye-bolts in the ends as well (again, sorry, not pictured). There are also 2 chains with large S hooks hanging from the ceiling that you can’t see in these pictures. So, when you want to empty the bin, simply remove the wing nuts that hold the separator to the 55G barrel and lift on the hinged arms and hook the eye bolts to the S hooks and the entire system is suspended allowing you to easily remove the full barrel.
Now, I have been using this system in my shop for over 2 months running my table saw, panel sander, and thickness planer all to this DC system and I JUST filled it for the first time last week. And, I was amazed at the cleanliness of the bag. There is virtually no dust at all in the bag. I would estimate that the baffle captures 99% or more of the dust that goes into the system.
Almost forgot! How did I connect the motor outlet to the stock separator? I used the factory hose with two 5” ducting elbows. One suggestion I would give is to ensure that you tape all of your seams. I noticed while I was emptying it that there was some leakage around my seams.
I took a test video to see how it would perform before the construction was complete. Wow was I impressed. Even with no bag or filter system, the separator performed perfectly. It is really neat to see the dust go through the cyclone and then fall into the can (and nothing blowing out but clean air). I have seen some guys that talk about blowing the exhaust out of an exterior wall, but then I would just be blowing all of my heated air outside. And, that is not something you want to be wasting on the cold Illinois winter nights where temps can routinely fall below 0* F.
Next phase is to enclose both the air compressor ($100 CL find due to a broken valve. $5 fix and it runs like new) and the DC in a couple walls to reduce the sound even more. I also plan to wire a few 4-way switches around my shop so that I can power on my DC from my mitersaw, planer, sander or table saw without having to go manually flip the switch on the machine.