Cyclone Dust Collector?

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Forum topic by jasoncarpentry posted 07-25-2012 12:16 AM 2065 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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142 posts in 2653 days

07-25-2012 12:16 AM

I just bought this cyclone attachment for dust collection:

I also bought a PLASTIC garbage can, since the hardware store was out-of-stock on metal cans. Now I’ve read the fine print on the cyclone, which says to use a metal can for grounding. So now I have some questions:

1. Can I go ahead & use the plastic, as long as it’s connected to some sort of metal post?
2. Has anyone used this type of cyclone lid? If so, should I add a baffle to make it more efficient?
3. I plan to put the can just outside of my shop, and run a pipe thru the wall between it and my DW735 planer. Has anyone done this?

Thanks in advance,


-- Jim in Tennessee

14 replies so far

View Alexandre's profile


1417 posts in 2189 days

#1 posted 07-25-2012 12:32 AM

Oh, You could have built a Thein baffle… Much more efficent than those moulded “Cyclone” lids… And much Cheaper! A baffle will help, but you will need a 45 degree elbow.
Yeah! I’ve never heard anyone getting electrocuted by the plastic, mind that if you live in a dry area, then maybe grounding with copper tape would work…
And, remember, the longer the pipe/hose, there would be less air static pressure due to friction.

-- My terrible signature...

View pierce85's profile


508 posts in 2561 days

#2 posted 07-25-2012 12:40 AM

The explosion risk for home dust collection systems due to insufficient grounding is one of those unfortunate myths that never seems to die. Relax and enjoy your new system.

Here’s one of many links dispelling this silly myth –

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6714 posts in 2197 days

#3 posted 07-25-2012 12:51 AM

That is a bit strange to require a metal can for ‘grounding’.. the thing is plastic! The only thing I can think of is it’s to reduce the chance of static buildup and a spark igniting the chips.. which only makes sense if the instructions say you also need to run a ground wire from the can to a good ground. Just a metal can would not do much, particularly if it’s sitting on a rubber mat or carpet :) Run it with that plastic can and let us know how fast you fill it up when using the planer!


(whoops.. pierce beat me to the punch with the static stuff :)

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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3259 posts in 2674 days

#4 posted 07-25-2012 03:02 AM

Yeah, it is difficult to ground an insulator (plastic is not a conductor). The thing people get into is getting a little tingle from the tools if they are not “bonded” (not the same as grounding). It is like opening a patio door in the winter when the house is dry and you have been walking on carpet. Not normally life threatening but uncomfortable at times. I read that there has never been a fire in a home shop dust collector system caused by static. Now do I need to believe everything I read? I can give you a reference to a link (I think I still have it) on a paper written by someone from MIT. Use that system like you have it and enjoy is what I think. If you get a tingle from the statice bond the machines.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2969 days

#5 posted 07-25-2012 03:17 AM

Wood dust, and other dust as well, will absolutely blow the hell up; under the right conditions.
I have seen it.
I have bought and installed a replacement baghouse dust collector to replace one that blew up.
Don’t stand here and say they can not explode; they can.
Now, is it likely in a hobby shop dust collector? Probably not.
But, I’m not taking any chances and will be grounding anything I can in my system..
You do what you want.

As far as those plastic lids go, you could do exactly the same thing with the lid that comes with the trash can and two hose connectors. No magic there. Just making a drop out box. Not as good as a cyclone or a Thein baffle, but will catch the majority of the chips and heavy dust.

I have heard of plastic cans being crushed by the pressure in 2 hp systems. YMMV.

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2099 posts in 2187 days

#6 posted 07-25-2012 03:51 AM

The relative humidity in my area is pretty high so I don’t bother with the grounding. But I also keep my runs of dust collection hose short which minimized static build up. Static discharge that could theoretically cause an explosion is of course the big fear. I think the risk is minimal to none for hobby shops but I might do diferently if I lived in Death Valley . . .

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View kizerpea's profile


774 posts in 2366 days

#7 posted 07-25-2012 10:33 AM

Yes…dont b fooled dust will go (BOOM) not a myth…had been proven already…


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142 posts in 2653 days

#8 posted 07-25-2012 11:24 AM

Thanks for the input so far. However, I’d still like to hear about HOW to ground my plastic can. I’m also concerned about whether or not the DW735 has enough discharge pressure to force the chips thru a 90 degree bend, a blast gate, and about 4 feet of spiral-wound pipe. I don’t have a Shop Vac on the outlet of the cyclone; I’m relying solely on the DW735’s discharge pressure.

-- Jim in Tennessee

View Alexandre's profile


1417 posts in 2189 days

#9 posted 07-25-2012 11:46 AM

In that case, you should just get this : .

-- My terrible signature...

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Fred Hargis

4986 posts in 2492 days

#10 posted 07-25-2012 12:57 PM

Before the dust could go boom it wold have to be so thick you wouldn’t be able to breathe. The only concern I would have with a plastic can would be if it’s rigid enough to not collapse when the DC is running…on the plus side there are no seams to seal with a plastic can.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2263 days

#11 posted 07-25-2012 04:01 PM

First, sawdust can and will explode. Will it do so in your DC due to discharge? Probably not. It is more likely to ignite from another external source.

Second, (1) if you’re this concerned, why not just go out and buy a metal can? It’s not like it’s hundreds of dollars. The amount of rigging your going to have to do with wire and grounds alone would be enough reason for me to just go out and get a metal can.

(2) That lid will work fine. I’d personally go with a cyclone design (like the Dust Deputy), but that’s just me (plus they usually perform better than that lid type). Not saying what you have is bad by any means, but there’s usually a small bit of performance left to gain.

(3) If you’re shooting chips from the 735, they’re probably not going to ignite. I would say that most planers don’t have enough discharge pressure to shoot down a 4’ pipe and around a 90° bend, but I’ve been on the tailend of the 735’s discharge at roughly 5-10’ away and it felt like I was being sandblasted. If you’re dealing with just the 735, I’d hook up some rigid piping to dump it into a close garbage can (similar to Alexandre’s linked attachment) and call it a day. For all the other tools that produce lots of dust, I’d hook them to the DC.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View pierce85's profile


508 posts in 2561 days

#12 posted 07-25-2012 04:48 PM

As I stated:

The explosion RISK for home dust collection systems due to insufficient grounding is one of those unfortunate myths that never seems to die. Relax and enjoy your new system.

The RISK of explosion in a typical home shop due to static electricity is almost nil. As Fred points out, the amount of dust that you would need to generate before the probability of an explosion became significant is almost impossible to produce in a home shop. The risk of a hot ember being sucked up and igniting the dust is a far more likely event.

Here’s another link that explains in much more detail the explosion risks – the lack thereof – associated with small home shop dust collection systems.

I suggest you ground your DC system in any event. It doesn’t hurt anything and will give you peace of mind.

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Mainiac Matt

8046 posts in 2327 days

#13 posted 07-25-2012 06:34 PM

The pertinent question is not whether or not a DC system can experience an explosion, as it is a well know fact that it can and is evidenced by the $50K spark detection and suppression system we installed to comply with OSHA regs. (we’ve had two or three fires in our DC piping, but they have always been attributed to large quantities of dust settling in the piping and getting ignited by sparks getting sucked up into the system).

Rather, the relavent question is whether the air flow and dust concentrations typical of home/hobby use can be ignited by a static discharge, typical of using plastic pipe and componenets.

The article written by the MIT prof that grandpa referenced addresses this exact issue and concludes there is not record of this ever happening.

That does NOT mean that you can’t have an explosion in a hobby shop DC. But rather means that it is extremely unlikely that a static discharge from using PVC piping could cause that explosion.

There’s also quite the hubabaloo about grounding plastic pipe with wires wrapped on the exterior and threaded through the interior…. and while this may be able to bleed off some static charge, the general principal is that you can not ground an insulator. So only charge that directly contacts the wires can be bled off. This despite several manufacturers of plastic piping intended for DC use, telling you to do so (most likely to cover their assets)


1. the only way you can achieve a static charge proof system, is to use metal piping and to ground it properly.
2. you are far more likely to burn your house down by using the DC to vacuum up the floor and then having some little hard piece of stone or metal spark off of your impellor and shoot into your bag full of chips.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

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Bill White

4930 posts in 3959 days

#14 posted 07-25-2012 06:51 PM

May be stupid, but I put an anti-static dryer sheet (as in laundry) in the vac. No probs (yet).


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