shop vac thein separator

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Forum topic by Havasumatt posted 12-29-2012 02:46 PM 2767 views 2 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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30 posts in 2315 days

12-29-2012 02:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shop vac dust collection thein separator question dust adaptors shopvac

looking for some help. i have a 6.5 hp shop vac i use for dust collection goin through the thein separator on top of 2 five gallon bucket i put together but the buckets imploded. so i’m about to make one for a metal trash can. since the shop vac is 2 1/2 in. hose, would it be a bad idea to use 4 in. pipe for the elbow and center pipe on the new lid for the separator? i used 2 1/2 in. for the bucket model, but that seems small to use for the trash can model. i’m still gonna use the 2 1/2 in. hose, since i have two sections already and don’t want to spend more than needed for the new model. any help would be greatly appreciated!!!!!

10 replies so far

View History's profile


399 posts in 1945 days

#1 posted 12-29-2012 02:54 PM

Ask the people in the Thien website would probably be best. I’m done designing dust collection for people, it’s not worth my time, or the headaches. A couple of members here have made it very clear that my years of experience isn’t worth anything. Goodluck.

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30 posts in 2315 days

#2 posted 12-29-2012 03:41 PM

hah, nice! wasn’t asking for a design just some quick advice. glad to know there’s people in here that think there knowledge isn’t worth their time to share. thanks sawsuck!

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3048 days

#3 posted 12-29-2012 04:40 PM

The only reasons I can think of for using the 4” fittings would be if they were less expensive, or you were
planning on going to a 4” hose system later. You have the 2-1/2” setup, so the 4” will be an additional cost,
plus you will have to buy adapters from 4” to 2-1/2”. The 2-1/2” do look small in the metal trash can compared
to the 5 gal bucket diameter, but it should not affect the efficiency. I believe Thien suggests using same size
hose and fittings.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View toolie's profile


2120 posts in 2592 days

#4 posted 12-29-2012 04:46 PM

would it be a bad idea to use 4 in. pipe for the elbow and center pipe on the new lid for the separator?

yes, for the reason’s given. and try not to let one bad apple sour you on the bushel here @ LJ. there are plenty of well intentioned WWs here who are only too happy to share their knowledge and experience.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View Lifesaver2000's profile


551 posts in 3075 days

#5 posted 12-29-2012 05:44 PM

I started out with a 10 gallon bucket, about 14 inch diameter with 2-1/2 inch fittings and using a similarly powered shop-vac. When I broke the bucket, I upgraded to a trash can and a top-hat type separator, with a 17 inch diameter. Since I was planning to upgrade to a 4-inch dust collector, I used four inch fittings and sized the entire separator for the larger connections.

The nice thing was, the setup worked much better than my original smaller separator even with the shop-vac, and works great with the four inch dust collector.

So, if you have any expectation of switching to four inch at some point, you can go ahead and build the collector for four inch and should not have any problem using your 2-1/2 inch shop vac with it right now. That said, if you don’t think you will ever switch to four inch, then save money and stick with the smaller fittings start to finish.

View A10GAC's profile


191 posts in 3041 days

#6 posted 12-29-2012 09:04 PM

An inexpensive option that will save your bucket/trash can/motor, etc from imploding or burning out is a central vacuum system relief valve They’re about $12; all you have to do is intall it on the collector lid and it will open automatically and relieve the vacuum overload if the line gets blocked. Super low tech and completely automatic…it gives you time to shut off the machine you’re using, turn off the duct collection and fish out whatever is blocking the line.

A few guys on the Thein site were having problems with metal trash cans imploding and someone over there engineered a rubber & mdf version of this valve. Shortly after reading the post, I was in the garage emptying our central vac and noticed this on the inlet pipe. It was kind of a “slap myself on the forehead” moment…central vac companies have been dealing with this kind of issue long before my homemade dust collector projects.

-- Men have become the tools of their tools. - Henry David Thoreau

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30 posts in 2315 days

#7 posted 12-30-2012 03:04 PM

thanks guys, definitely gonna get that relief valve. you know what size it is? i might just go with 4 inch set up hoping to switch to true dust collection soon besides the shop vac

View A10GAC's profile


191 posts in 3041 days

#8 posted 12-30-2012 07:37 PM

I believe it fits in a 2” hole.

-- Men have become the tools of their tools. - Henry David Thoreau

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30 posts in 2315 days

#9 posted 12-31-2012 03:12 PM

ordered that relief valve and guess goin with the 2 1/2 fittings. waitin on the dust ports to come in for the top to see what the bottom openings size at for the inlet and outlet fittings. don’t have a rockler or woodcraft around here so when i need something i have to wait for a week to play with it. i’m guessing i should have ordered a handfull of fittings for the 2 1/2in shopvac size. haven’t tried the fit on regular pvc from big box. my previous bucket version was stuff i had layin around, along with alot of caulking. not good when theres a clog! probably how it imploded.

View BBrown626's profile


37 posts in 1924 days

#10 posted 02-23-2013 05:17 PM

The plans on Thein’s site use 4” fittings for a shop vac separator.

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