Another Shop Project...Homemade trash can cyclone

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Project by Angela posted 01-03-2011 03:44 AM 8934 views 36 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This homemade trash can cyclone is designed from Thien’s plans. A lot of you might have already heard and seen his homemade cyclone idea before. I’m here to say it’s the best dust collection system for the price. I hope some large company doesn’t come along and somehow steal his idea; he deserves all the credit for spending the time coming up with this. I’ve tried a couple of different commercial dust collection trash can lids, and this one blows them away.

I made this several months back and decided to post this here because it seems like the number one item people look at on my website. I also provide a link from my website to a couple of other websites if you would like further information on the Thien separator.

With that said, it’s really not hard to make. I provided step by step instructions on how I made mine. I have a Delta 50-760 collection system and I used a 20 gallon trash can. Now I wish I had used a 30 gallon. I have no ads or commercials on my website.

I have dumped the trash can three times already and I haven’t done anything with the plastic collection bag. One of the photos, the close up on the plastic dust collection bag, shows how much dust the plastic bag has collected so far.

If you don’t have one, I recommend taking the time to make one.

-- - Helping other woodworker's

8 comments so far

View RonPeters's profile


713 posts in 2907 days

#1 posted 01-03-2011 03:53 AM

I made this same unit. 20 gallon is plenty, but I don’t make as much sawdust either.

I used my 6.5 amp shopvac and a 2 1/2” pipe (same as the hose). The problem I have is the can is collapsing in on itself because of the suction. I’ve thought of reinforcing the sides, but it’s stable now. I suppose using a 4” as recommended would work better.

I am amazed at how well it works. All the debris end up in the can. The ‘fines’ tend to end up on the vacuum filter, but really there’s very little there. The suction from the vacuum is not slowed down by the apparatus and 16 feet of 2 1/2” hose.

I recommend anyone considering a DC unit to give this a try. It costs about $20 for the (Ace Hdwr) can and $10 for the ‘parts’.

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View Angela's profile


205 posts in 2922 days

#2 posted 01-03-2011 05:17 AM

Thanks for your comment. I did have one question you said the metal can collapes on you? I’ve only heard of the plastic ones doing that. It’s a 20 gallon can?

The very fine stuff is mainly what’s in the bag but that’s after three very full trash cans of sawdust and chippings. Using a planner is the worst in my shop to fill the can quickly.

I couldn’t get by with just a shop vac. I’ve dumped the 20 gallon three times in 4 months already. I’ve used the Delta for over two years now but only recently made the separator for about 4 months, what a difference. I’m glad I learned about it.

I do have a Fein Shop Vac that I use. I’m planning on building the separator for that too. I originally thought I’d get one of the dust deputy but they’re 100.00 where as I can build this from scrap. I have already purchased the 90 mil bucket, unlike the Home Depot or most buckets that are 70 mil., so I don’t think I’ll have a problem with it collapsing on me.


-- - Helping other woodworker's

View RonPeters's profile


713 posts in 2907 days

#3 posted 01-03-2011 07:54 AM

Yes, 20gal can. There’s a pretty good vacuum on the shop vac especially now that the filter is clean! It’s a Sears 16 gal model – so not exactly the ‘brand’, but it pulls.

I also have a narrower ‘car cleaning’ type hose setup that when on the end of the 2 1/2” vac hose, also tends to suck the can in. It’s not as bad as putting your hand on the end of the hose and stopping the air flow though.

I can also remove the motor unit from the vac and make it into an electric leaf blower using the exhaust.

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3361 days

#4 posted 01-03-2011 03:04 PM

Thanks Angela, I really want to make one of these, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet as I’m not sure I have room for another container.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Ken90712's profile


17563 posts in 3215 days

#5 posted 01-04-2011 12:21 PM

Great post Might have to make it instead of buying one. Thx

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3587 days

#6 posted 01-04-2011 01:01 PM

I too have a 30 gallon metal trash can version that I use with a shop vac. It will suck the can sides in if the hose is blocked or if the crevasse hose attachment is used. It doesn’t seem to affect the performance other than the loud pop when it happens. I doubt that anyone would have that problem when using it with a dust collector because the static pressure would be lower.

-- Joe

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 3086 days

#7 posted 01-05-2011 07:19 AM

Thanks for the tutorial

View dbhost's profile


5726 posts in 3258 days

#8 posted 02-01-2011 08:25 PM

You have just the right Dust Collector to do this to as well. I love the layout of the 50-760!

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