I recently purchased a Dust Deputy to add to my shop vac so I wouldn’t have to spend as much time emptying and cleaning the filter on my vacuum, I’m very happy with it and was considering purchasing another for my father’s workshop when I started wondering whether I could build something cheaper. The Thien Cyclone Separator Lid was just about what I wanted but I couldn’t help imagine I could make something even cheaper and simpler (willing to sacrifice a little efficiency). What follows is my attempt at a dust separator I could build in about 15 minutes, with parts I had lying around, using only a drill and jigsaw.
Mind you this is a first try, I’m still trying to determine if it is worthwhile to try again.
First I took a piece of plywood larger than the top of my trash can. Set a drywall bucket in the center and traced an outline of the bottom of the bucket. Actually having the pencil parallel to the side may work better because I want this circle just a little larger than the bucket bottom. The center piece will become the lid, wedged into the top of the bucket while the outside piece will hold the bucket on top/inside of the trash can.
Next I drilled a few holes just outside the line in a row so that I could fit my jigsaw in. Cut the circle out. Then I cut a hole in the center of the circle piece large enough to fit a piece of ~12” straight pipe and another hole about 1” from the side to fit the intake pipe. The intake is a 45 deg elbow, a short straight piece to go through the lid, another 45 deg elbow, and then another piece of straight section.
I pushed the bucket through the hole in the large piece and marked a line around the perimeter of the bucket a little below where it comes through. I drew a concentric circle on the bottom about 1-2” inside the edge. I marked the edge of the bottom of the bucket at 12,3,6, and 9 o’clock and intersecting both the line around the side and the one on the bottom. Then made 4 more marks about 1” offset from each of those also down the side to the line around the base.
I took a jigsaw and carefully cut through the thick bottom edge, and then cut out each of the four larger sections.
Next I connected the intake pipe through the off-center hole in the lid and shoved it into the bucket as deep as I could, then pushed the bucket into the center of the larger plywood piece.
I set the plywood on top of my trash can (I’m still trying to come up with an easy way to seal the large piece of plywood to the trash can) and connected it to my vacuum. I was surprised at the amount of suction when I first turned on the vacuum, knowing full well my jigsaw cuts weren’t going to make a very tight seal, the vacuum still sucked the lid another inch into the bucket!
Without any sealant around any of the joints the thing still functioned surprisingly well for about 15 minutes of work and less than $20 of parts. I will probably try to make at least another one or two and was hoping that I might get some ideas from fellow Lumberjocks before I try version 2.