5 Gallon Bucket Dust Separator

February 18, 2015 · Posted in Updates 

I have a Rigid 12 gallon shop vac. The one with the pleated filter.  Typically I plug the vacuum directly into whatever tool I am using.  The pleated filters get clogged up with the wood dust, and constantly require cleaning; which takes time away from what I really enjoy doing.  Not to mention the mess. Saw dust everywhere.  I have spent some time perusing the woodworking online shops for cyclone dust separators, but after seeing the decent ones priced at $100 bucks I decided it was worth a try to make my own.  I have seen quite a few different versions of home made cyclone dust separators online, from the trash can top hat, to the 5 gallon bucket.  I decided that as long as the shopvac is my only vacuum I would only need a 5 gallon bucket.  That can be emptied easy enough as needed.  I will make a trashcan top hat when I have the need of one for a larger dust collection system.

After a trip to Home Depot for some 2 inch pipe and elbows, I decided to set out to make my own bucket separator.  Using the CNC machine I cut out the exact size hole for the pipe to fit through. That took about 10 minutes to program the machine, and do the two cuts.  I then put the pipe through and connected the fittings.  It’s not a perfect solution, some dust still gets into the vacuum, but it is much less than used to, and with a simple shield I should be able to get it down even further.  Here are some photos of the product, and a video from inside the bucket.  I emptied the shopvac onto the shop floor, and used that as a test of the system.  Some of the material did get into the shopvac, however I think it was too much for the bucket to handle without a shield, as the majority of the contents of the shopvac was the type of material which I sucked up after the bucket was about 1/3 full.  It’s hard to tell in the photo, but the 5 gallon bucket has about 6 inches of material in the bottom.  I will cut out a shield the next time I have the chance and try it again.

With the prospect of doing quite a bit more woodworking, now that I have a permanent location for my tools, the need for a proper dust separator, as well as a good vacuum, is that much more important.

I purchased the bucket, lid, pipe, jointsand the hose, about $35 total. The new vacuum hose was $20 by itself.



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