Cyclone – The cyclone itself wasn’t too tough to assemble. I do have to admit I would not have minded if the unit had a little less of the erector set feel to it. Everything was well made and solid. All the parts were there. The direction are good, and available online if you really want more detail. I didn’t take step by step photos as they are already included in the directions. I contacted ClearVue a couple of time during the build and the they were great to work with. Got back to me promptly with good answers. I didn’t have any problems that required parts, so I can’t speak to that, but from what I encountered I would expect them to be very responsive.
The assembly was pretty smooth. I did the entire job myself, but a helper would have been, well, helpful. I mounted the unit as high on the wall as I could just in case I ever have a basement flood.
I used the metal trash can for chip collection.
Piping – After the cyclone was installed it was time to move on to the piping. With the PVC this really went fairly easily. The parts held together well once seated, and the 2729 stuff isn’t very heavy. Once I had parts where I wanted them I took self tapping sheet metal screws and ran them through the double layers of PVC to fix them. Occasionally I used a couple of screws if a part was tending to move more than I wanted. Yes, the screw go into the pipe, and may give chips a place to get stuck, but I didn’t glue any joints, so if it becomes a problem I can disassemble and clean.
I put together all the tool drops first and mounted them on the walls. Since I’m in a basement I took some lengths of pre-slotted angle iron and used concrete anchors to fix it to the wall. I then took long electrical cable ties and used them to strap the pipe to the wall. I added a screw into the piping just above the cable tie to prevent the pipe from sliding over time. It seems to be pretty secure.
Once the tool drops were run I started the overhead piping. I chose to run the piping below any obstructions, so I didn’t have to move lights or go around HVAC ducting. It cost me a little headroom, by my basement has high ceilings so its not too bad. The light weight of the PVC really helps putting it up. Again I did it myself and it wasn’t too bad at all. I used plastic hanging strap from HD to support the pipe.
The worst part of the install was mating the cyclone inlet to the piping. The cyclone comes off at about 10degrees. I heat bent the PVC, which was not a neat process. Heating it up enough to bend it wasn’t too bad. I bought a heat gun for the job, and it took some time, but did the work. However, when I bend it, not unexpectedly, the inside of the bend bent, a lot. Although the angle was good, the bend was significantly distorted inside. I use the heat gun to heat up small parts that were really badly buckled and used a 2×4 to bend them back out. When I was done it was a lot better, but it’s sure not pretty. I suggested to ClearVue they should sell a mating fitting. They said they would consider it, and mentioned folks usually use a short piece of 6” hose to connect. I don’t have any 6” hose, and really didn’t want to by a length just for that.
Some general shots of the piping:
Table Saw – I ran 6” into the table saw, making a new flange from scrap plywood. I ran a 4” to my new Shark Guard so I can get some dust collection when I’m ripping.
Jointer/Planer – I ran 6” to the jointer, again, making a new flange out of scrap plywood. I used a 4” with flex hose to the planner; I figure it should work fine since the planner already has a built in blower to help push the chips. Besides, their really wasn’t any way to increase the size of the dust port on the planner.
Drill Press and Downdraft Table – I installed a 2.5” stay-put flex hose to the drill press; it might not be great, but it should be better than the nothing I had before. This is also the same port I’ll use to attach the hose from the sander. From the same drop I used a 4” flex hose to reach my homemade downdraft table. that, along with dust collection off the sander should work pretty well. Haven’t tried it out so, so time will tell.
Bandsaw/Router Table – For the bandsaw I use a short length of 4” flex to the built in port (again, no way to increase size) and also added a 2.5” stay-put flex hose. This setup does seem to work a lot better than my old system. On my router table I built a box that fits over the motor and lift and gives my dust collection, along with the 2.5” hose connection off the fence.
I can’t give a full evaluation yet, as I’ve only had the system set up for a few weeks. I can tell you that the cyclone really moves a lot of air, it’s quite impressive. I’ll post a final chapter to this in a few months with a better evaluation of performance. It’s also really cool to see the chips spinning around in the cyclone.
If anyone has any question, feel free to contact me.