Reply by evenfall

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Posted on Cyclone dust collector - make your own

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5 posts in 3114 days

#1 posted 11-15-2009 01:28 PM

Hi All,

Just signed up because I noticed my website getting traffic from this thread. I am Rob, I have the Evenfall Woodworks website where I have two articles written about Shop Vac Dust control and scaling the Thien Separator to the 5 gallon Bucket size.

You can read both those articles if you like, there is a lot of research testing how to and conclusions in both.

Improving Shop Vac Dust Collection

Building the 5-Gallon Thien Separator

The separator works by decelerating particles along the edge of a container and allowing them to fall through a slot below a baffle. The hose side does need the elbow to direct the airflow coming into the separator to be guided around the circumference of the separator. The intake air to the Vac is collected out of the separator in the middle of the container above the baffle and uses no elbow, so as to avoid interrupting the cyclonic-ish action. It’s just a particle decelerator.

My article shows you how to modify the HF or Woodcraft plastic lid so that this arrangement is possible. If you rather, you could as easily make the lid from MDF.

I use the separator daily making shooting boards as a business, working primarily Baltic Birch and so the shop vac is commonly working DC duties on my Drill Press, CMS Hood, ROS and 1/4 sheet sanders. It also does collection on my router table fence, My 10 inch Band Saw, My Porter Cable Saw Boss, and my DW 621 plunge routers. It is very effective. I have tried it on my Table Saw, but the TS really needs CFM that a Shop Vac can’t supply. I figure it is allowing me to run the Shop Vac about 10 times longer than I could without it, before the filter clogs enough to reduce suction. only the finest dust ever gets to the shop vac, and after a 10 time longer session than what you would get without the 5 gallon separator, I see about 1/2 to 3/4 inches accumulation in the bottom of the shop vac.

Due to the production nature of my shop needs, I have a pair of filters I clean, and alternate. If the separator is full I take the bucket outside and dump it in a bag… If I need, I change the filter, without always cleaning out the shop vac. No biggie. I can fall back when I have time.

To clean filters, I wrap them in a used plastic grocery bag and bang then on the sidewalk. This knockes out most all the clogging dust. It takes about 10 minutes, but I then vacuum the filter with a crevice tool pleat by pleat. It works great. Chalk it up to shop maintenance. Dumping the bucket itself is a cinch. WAY easier than dumping a Shop Vac.

On the up side, I can run an ROS or 1/4 sheet with the Vac hooked up and keep a dust free shop. I have a shop air filter made from a 20 inch box fan that captures the rest. My biggest dust spewer is the lack of an overarm guard on the Table saw.

If you buy from Harbor freight that is cheapest. If you follow the directions in my article it will work for you. If you want to step up and get a 7-gallon Bucket, you won’t be disappointed.

If I can be of any further help, either contact me from my website or I’ll try and look in here as well.

I can just say this, Phil Thien’s design works. Onieda and Clearvue know it, and they know I scaled it to work in a 5 Gallon Bucket. Both companies sharpened their pencils exponentially once they learned that you can make this happen for your self for about $20-30.00 and now offer products for $60 instead of $200.

It’s a great project that will help sharpen your layout and bandsaw skills as well. Enjoy!

-- ~Rob

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