Thien Dust Separator

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Project by Ralphie9 posted 05-28-2010 04:23 AM 5201 views 15 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my Thien Dust Separator on a cart made from 3/4” plywood base, a 32 gallon metal garbage can recessed into the base, and my Ridgid shop vac also recessed into the base. I now get virtually no dust in the shop vac filter, and all the shavings stay in the can.

7 comments so far

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 3817 days

#1 posted 05-28-2010 04:41 AM

I’m a believer since this past winter, it’s been a great addition to the shop. Hope you enjoy as much and breath clean air from now on…BC

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3571 days

#2 posted 05-28-2010 05:50 AM

Good job looks like a great set up.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3555 days

#3 posted 05-28-2010 12:55 PM

Looks good.

I have a similar setup, but have a problem with the garbage can sides sucking in if the input hose gets partiallly or totally blocked. It doesn’t adversely affect the function but was wondering if your’s does that and if you have a solution.

-- Joe

View dbhost's profile


5708 posts in 3226 days

#4 posted 05-28-2010 08:08 PM


With the high static pressure of a vac, if you block the intake, or say the line gets plugged, it WILL suck the sides of the trash can in. Vac separators have been known to implode cheap metal trash cans, and the flexible plastic ones are all but unusable… Your best bet is a small rigid plastic barrel, say a 30 gallon or less…

I have 2 Thien separators in production now, and have made no less than 8 of them with friends. The ones I currently have are a 20 gallon steel trash can version set up for a shop vac, and a 55 gallon plastic drum version for my HF DC…


Excellent build. I especially like the way you built the stand. Simple, but effective… Did you use the instructions from Phil’s site? If so were they easy to follow?

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View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3030 days

#5 posted 05-28-2010 10:04 PM

Thanks for raising my awareness to this type of dust extraction. I am planning to build one as I post.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Ralphie9's profile


12 posts in 2919 days

#6 posted 05-28-2010 10:52 PM

I did use Phil Thien’s directions…it was easy to follow and build. The stand is “home grown” =) I had some difficulty attaching the 4” elbow and straight pipe to the bottom (with 2 1/2” Rockler dust ports on top)...I used reducers and epoxy…also I used a commercial toilet flange to attach the EL.

Regarding the collapse of the can, it does not implode, but I do get flexing. I have not experienced a complete “suck down” but I bet it will implode. I was going to do two things:

1. Weld up some concentric rings/supports to stiffen the inside
2. I saw a relief valve set-up that mounts between the DC and the hose…

I will post Part 2 when I get it done.


View bspino's profile


2 posts in 1683 days

#7 posted 10-14-2013 02:20 AM

Just made one this week end.Can not wait to see it work. Thank for the in put on this form

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