Dust & Chip Pre-Separator

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Project by KnotCurser posted 05-14-2010 11:42 PM 5595 views 32 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This has GOT to be one of the most useful additions to my shop ever!

Found the plans on WoodCraft’s website ( ) for this easy-to-build dust pre-separator and it screamed out “BUILD ME”!

One of the reasons it screamed so loudly is that I had just picked up the exact same trash can at a flea market the weekend before for five bucks – all it had wrong with it was a small hold in the top center of the lid which I needed to drill out anyway – how convenient!

This project took less than $20.00 worth of stuff from Lowe’s and the Can itself plus 30 minutes of my time.

I modified their plans just a little to force the chips to more easily spiral down the side of the can and I also shortened the 10” of center pipe they called for. I also added a ring of self-stick weather stripping around the top of the can.

This is a HUGE improvement on my dust collector – not only does the bags stay totally empty, but the suction has far improved and stays that way the entire time until most of the trash can is full of chips. Plus it’s WAY easier to empty. WIN. Win. win. ;-)


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

14 comments so far

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 3580 days

#1 posted 05-14-2010 11:53 PM

Neat idea.

View Dave's profile


11 posts in 2843 days

#2 posted 05-14-2010 11:59 PM

Very cool…I think I may have to do the same thing! Thanks for posting pics!!

-- What is now proved was once only imagined. - Aristotle

View Kate's profile


400 posts in 3782 days

#3 posted 05-15-2010 12:31 AM

I tried something like that at one point, but it just reduced the suction. Your experience sounds great. Maybe I’ll try again. Any good hints.

-- Kate,

View KnotCurser's profile


2024 posts in 2976 days

#4 posted 05-15-2010 01:19 AM


The only hints I can give you is make sure everything is as air-tight as possible. I used a LOT of silicone both inside and outside around the pipe inserts. Also when you seat the fittings, press them really tight against the can and each other.

I’m not sure, but I think the weather stripping helps as well – I DO know if I block in hose completely when it’s on, the lid depresses about two inches so it’s pretty sealed. ;-)

Good luck!


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3595 days

#5 posted 05-15-2010 01:35 AM

I had to go back and buy a metal can for mine because the plastic one kept collapsing : ( I also made my own lid. : )
The end results :
I’m glad that yours is working well for you .

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View sweebs's profile


9 posts in 3207 days

#6 posted 05-15-2010 09:36 AM

anyone build a Thien Baffle? I think LJ is where I saw the design,,anyways, mine works wonderfully, and am very happy with the results.

View wdh's profile


55 posts in 3548 days

#7 posted 05-16-2010 02:55 PM

I will need something for dust control when I finish setting up my shop. I’m moving it to the upstairs of my garage where there is less windows and no door for ventilation.Thanks for the tips and pics., and link. I was wondering how well these work so it’s good to hear your experience.

-- Wayne,Saint John,NB

View a1Jim's profile


116906 posts in 3484 days

#8 posted 05-17-2010 04:28 AM

Good job Bob

-- Custom furniture

View WildWillie's profile


12 posts in 2884 days

#9 posted 05-17-2010 12:43 PM

Great Idea… I still need to pick up a good dust colletor..


-- Bill Goff, PA

View dbhost's profile


5686 posts in 3139 days

#10 posted 05-18-2010 05:50 PM

Add a Thien baffle to that and you’l be even happier with it…

-- My workshop blog can be found at, YouTube Channel

View Belg1960's profile


1060 posts in 2972 days

#11 posted 05-26-2017 10:30 AM

Are you still using this setup and have you made any changes to it?

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View KnotCurser's profile


2024 posts in 2976 days

#12 posted 05-26-2017 11:17 AM


I absolutely still use this but I DID add the baffle to it. I’ll have to find pics, etc…. to update this post with. The baffle makes a HUGE improvement.

-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View KnotCurser's profile


2024 posts in 2976 days

#13 posted 05-26-2017 11:39 AM


Here’s the exact plans I used to add the Thein Baffle to my separator – an AWESOME build!

-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View Belg1960's profile


1060 posts in 2972 days

#14 posted 05-27-2017 10:19 AM

Thanks and look forward to the pics.

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

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