DustRight Vortex(Rockler) vs Trash can lids with curved hose connections vs Thein Baffle

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Forum topic by MyFathersSon posted 09-06-2011 06:50 AM 3624 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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180 posts in 3310 days

09-06-2011 06:50 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Had been looking at the Thein baffle and considering making one—then along came the Dust Right Vortex and my lazy side kicked in—Then while looking at the Vortex—I noticed Rockerl also had a kit with a lid and two hose connections – cheaper than the Vortex – simpler than the Thein.
I will be using a standard size shop vac and my goal is to keep dust from clogging the filter.

Anyone done any ‘real world’ comparison testing?
Is there any difference in effectiveness among these three choices?
Which is best?

-- Those who insist it can't be done - should politely refrain from interrupting those who are doing it.

8 replies so far

View tomd's profile


2155 posts in 3767 days

#1 posted 09-06-2011 07:01 AM

I built the Thein using a plastic 35 gallon barrel and it works very well. I only spent a few dollars to build it, the plans are on his site and it’s not difficult to build. The ones at Rockler do not have the baffel plate which is key to the Thein plan.

-- Tom D

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3048 days

#2 posted 09-06-2011 08:07 AM

I have built 2 of the Thein systems; one for my shop vac,and the other for my dc. I have less than 3 hours in both (don’t forget i’m old and slow), and less than $15 and some scrap in both. After nearly 2 years and considerable (I’m a old, slow hobbyist) use, I have blown out the cartridge filter on the dc once and got about 2 cups of dust. That was after about 120 gallons of sawdust in the collection bags. On the shop vac, I can go 6 to 7 months before cleaning the hepa filter in the vac. I would say the Thein wins hands down: little effort, low cost, great results, and my one lung is happy.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View MrDan's profile


205 posts in 3285 days

#3 posted 09-06-2011 09:26 AM

Wow Steve, that sounds pretty good. I’ve been wanting to build the Thein for over a year now and I think your post just persuaded me to get my a** in gear and do it. Currently I have a garbage can with two 45 degree elbows attached to the lid to create the cyclone effect, but they don’t seem to do much of anything, my bag fills up and the can stays pretty empty. I’d say I failed miserably on that design. :)
Thanks for sharing.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2968 days

#4 posted 09-06-2011 02:38 PM

All the “separator lids” I have seen miss the point. The point is that a cyclone works by forcing the airflow to spin first, then accelerate faster and faster into a vortex where the only exit is against centrifugal force to the center of the vortex. The only add-on device that does that is a true cyclone design; like the “Dust Deputy” by Oneida.

The Thein baffle type systems force the air flow against the outside wall of the container by making it pass through a slot. The size and location of the slot is what creates the accelerating effect similar to the way the tapered cone shape of the cyclone designs do. It’s not as efficient, in terms of pressure loss, but it works.

Most of the trash can lid designs turn the air fllow with an elbow on the inlet that makes the air spin, but then puts the outlet on the opposite side of the lid right in line with the flow so most of what goes in comes right back out. I think these things must have been designed by someone who had no clue how a cyclone works.

I have seen plans for taking a standard lid separator and moving the outlet to the center to increase its ability to actually separate dust and air but the cylindrical shape of the can won’t generate the accelerating effect of a true cyclone. I think this is what someone was trying to correct when they came up with the Thein baffle. Probably someone named Thein. :-O

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3048 days

#5 posted 09-06-2011 10:22 PM


Go to Phil Thein’s site for all the information you need. There’s a lot to read, mostly repetitive. Look especially for posts by D. B. Host.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2968 days

#6 posted 09-06-2011 10:51 PM

I’ve read most of Thein’s site. Some good info on toxic woods and such. I don’t really agree with some of the things he says about dust collection however. Some of it would land you in jail if you were to apply it in an industrial application. I’ve been designing dust control systems for 40 years in a foundry environment and know more about the EPA than you ever want to know. I have designed, had built, and installed dust control systems that you could stand up inside of and walk through the duct work. It’s not a subject I take lightly.

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3883 days

#7 posted 09-06-2011 11:04 PM

I made the Thein and I love it.. I’ve emptied the trash can 4 times and their is less the 6” in the plastic bag which I have never emptyed.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2637 days

#8 posted 09-07-2011 03:14 AM

Be sure and watch the demonstration video. It is the most exciting, action-packed, scientific-method grounded piece of video EVER ! I looped it so I can watch it over and over and over to make sure I didn’t miss a thing.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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