diy separator vs. store bought

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Forum topic by sawedoff posted 11-15-2012 02:51 PM 2258 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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145 posts in 1584 days

11-15-2012 02:51 PM

Now I’m not wanting to take anything away from the Thein Separator (I’ve heard nothing but good things), but was wondering how the store bought one’s compare? I was wondering if they are close. I have a friend who runs one and he loves it. Any feedback would be great

looking at this one

-- still wet behind the ears.....

9 replies so far

View Bieser's profile


176 posts in 1199 days

#1 posted 11-15-2012 02:56 PM

I just recently was looking at the same things you are. I found that the biggest complaint with the lid was once the can got half full it stopped working as a separator. I ultimately decided to go with a cyclone. Good luck… I hope someone chimes in with some more info.

View Bluepine38's profile


3265 posts in 2249 days

#2 posted 11-15-2012 03:01 PM

The store bought separator was lucky if the barrel was half full before it no longer worked. The Thein I built
from scratch cost a little more, but does a better job of separating the dust and chips and works until the
chips are up to the bottom section. The cyclone is the best way to go if you have a big enough system and
can afford the cyclone.

-- As ever, Gus-the 77 yr young apprentice carpenter

View ChuckC's profile


817 posts in 2099 days

#3 posted 11-15-2012 03:07 PM

You really need the baffle in there.
I put together a slightly modified Thein. Instead of having an inlet pipe in the middle I cut a hole big enough for a 5 gallon pail. I cut a 5 gallon pail in half, stuck the top part in the hole, and then propped the DC motor on top of the pail. I got everything to fit on the stock HF DC cart and it works well.

View Don W's profile

Don W

17127 posts in 1732 days

#4 posted 11-15-2012 03:11 PM

I bought one from grizzly similar to the one you show. It seems to work very well and I could never understand why everybody else had such problems with it. I then realized I retrofitted mine to a 55 gal drum. Once it gets about a foot from the top, it will start sucking the stuff through, but that close to the top makes sense.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View TeamTurpin's profile


85 posts in 1225 days

#5 posted 11-15-2012 03:24 PM

I made my own. I used some scrap plywood, but bought the elbow connector pipes. The whole project took a half a day or so. I’ve got two compartments with a four inch hole between them. While not a true cyclone effect, the dust stream has to take quite a path to get out of the box. No big stuff ever gets out of it.


View crank49's profile


3919 posts in 2135 days

#6 posted 11-15-2012 03:36 PM

If you make a DIY version of the purchased lid:
- use 3/4” plywood disk, a little larger than the drum you plan to use, skirt the outside with a 1-1/2” wide strip of masonite to provide a lip. A closed cell foam gasket strip completes the seal.
- put the outlet in the center with a 6” length of 6” pipe sticking into the drum, 4” out through the lid.
- use a 4” 90 degree elbow on the inlet and locate it as close as possible to be tangent to the outside wall of the drum.
This arrangement will work better than the purchased lids and close to the Thein with a lot less work.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View PurpLev's profile


8522 posts in 2813 days

#7 posted 11-15-2012 03:37 PM

TeamTurpin – nice separator! do you find (have you checked) that you are losing suction as compared to not using this separator?

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View TeamTurpin's profile


85 posts in 1225 days

#8 posted 11-15-2012 03:48 PM

I can’t really tell if I’ve lost much suction. When I built the system, I installed a vacuum guage in the line, but I guess it’s not accurate enough to give me a real reading. But, I ran some crude tests when I did the plumbing. If the vacuum dropped when I added in the separator, it didn’t drop much. When building the box, I carefully caulked all the joints and I have rubber weatherstripping on the door. I think it’s pretty efficient.

But, I have a small shop so that may not be typical. The 4” pipe that runs from my vacuum closet to my inside manifold is only about 10 feet. My DC is only 2hp, but I’ve always had strong suction in my small environment.


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Randy Woodworker

54 posts in 1493 days

#9 posted 11-15-2012 04:21 PM

I went with a Dust Deputy, chronicled here

I can’t say enough about how well it works.

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