Update to the 5 gallon dust separator

February 19, 2015 · Posted in Engineering, Photography, Project, Tools, Woodwork 

I made a screen for the bucket separator, which in theory should force the dust to go down into the bucket better and keep the turbulent flow up above. Using the CNC machine I cut a piece of scrap wood to fit into the bucket with a gap around most of it to allow the material to fall into the bucket. I think the support posts create too much turbulence within the bucket itself and this causes more of the fine dust to get into the vacuum. Perhaps I need to just have a small screen not much larger than the central portion of the bucket to allow for less turbulence and faster fallout of the larger particles.

This system relies on centripetal acceleration to push the particles to the outside wall of the bucket, as gravity causes them to settle out of the airflow they fall below the screen where the air is much more calm and there they fall out completely. What I found is that the bottom of the screen was coated with the smaller particles, while the smallest particles made it back into the vacuum, clogging up the filter. The large particles were intercepted into the bucket. The whole point of this is to reduce the amount of buildup on the filter. I will try with a smaller screen. At this point I think it worked better with no screen at all, however the true test will be this weekend when I put it into actual service, instead of merely testing with a pile of sawdust dumped onto the floor.

Some images of the bucket lid and screen. I must say I am very pleased with the CNC machine, and would not be able to manufacture my own tools to the tolerances I expect without it. Perhaps I will have to use it to manufacture a larger CNC machine, something with a bed size of 36″ square or 36×48. That will be a major project. Until then I’ll just use it to make other tools and jigs.

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