DIY Cyclone Dust Collector

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Blog entry by SimonSKL posted 07-18-2009 06:40 AM 319701 reads 174 times favorited 51 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Inspired by Jeff’s (Jcoulam) homemade cyclone dust collector, I decided to make one just like his. This blog is written to show how I built it.

At a local home center, I purchased one 8”x24 metal duct, a 5-ft 2” PVC pipe, a 2” PVC elbow, and two 2” couplers for about $18.

The first step is to make the cone. I tried to twist the metal sheet into a cone but just couldn’t make it look right and managed to get a small cut in my hand in the process. Ouch! In trying to think of a better way to make the cone, it dawn on me why not make a paper pattern of the cone first. This is how my wife makes all her clothes, from paper patterns.

To draw the paper pattern, I used a rectangular sheet of paper about 26”x24”, the same size as the metal duct. I drew a center line on the paper. I measured the circumference of a 8” dia circle and transfered the measurement to the top of the paper. Keeping it symmetrical from the center line on the paper. I then measured the circumference of the adapter and transferred that to the bottom of the paper. I drew a line connecting the top measuring mark to the bottom on each side. After cutting out the unwanted parts, the shape of the pattern should look like a fan. After some trial and error, I finally got the curvatures of the top and the bottom right so the cone would be flat on top and bottom. The final paper pattern gave me a cone with about 7 3/4” circle at the top and 3 3/4” at the bottom. I want a larger hole at the bottom to make sure all the chips would fall into the bucket. The bottom of the cone will be inserted into a 4” adapter.

I then traced the pattern onto the sheet metal and cut it out.

This is the final look of the sheet metal

I put a lip of about 1/4” at each edge so they could hook together.

Clamping a metal pipe into a vice bench, I used a hammer to flatten the hooked seam.

I soldered the seam with a propane torch.

With the cone shape and dimension finalized I made and fitted the circular top out of 3/4” plywood. I made two of these circles, the other one to anchor the cone to the bucket. I then used the bandsaw and rough cut the inlet tube following the contour of the cone at the top. Taping a piece of sandpaper to the top of the cone, I sanded the inlet tube to its final contour.

I traced the contour of the inlet tube onto the cone and cut out an opening. the top of the opening was about an inch below the top.

The inlet tube was inserted into the opening and protruded about 1/8” into the cone. This gave some extra surface area for the epoxy glue to grab on.

A 2 3/8” hole was made in the top for the outlet tube. The outlet tube extended about 6 1/2” into the cone and 1 1/2” outside the cone for the 90 degree elbow. 2-part 5 min epoxy was used to attached the outlet tube to the top. 4 screws were used to secure the top to the cone. The fit was so good so I decided not to use any sealant.

To anchor the bottom of the cone to the bucket, I cut a hole in the plywood circle at the same radius as the adapter. A same size hole was also cut into the lid of the bucket. 4 screws were used to attach the wood circle to the lid of the bucket. I then used metallic duct tape to seal the cone to the adapter.

To test my cyclone dust collector, I vacuumed a small amount of saw dust off the floor and they were all collected in the bucket. Suction was very strong and the bucket did not collapse … a successful outcome.

PS: In order to make this whole system truly mobile, this is my upgrade of the mobile dust collection system.

-- Simon, Danville, IL

51 comments so far

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 4571 days

#1 posted 07-18-2009 07:32 AM

Great directions…very good and easy to follow. Thanks for posting it.

-- Don S.E. OK

View Splinterman's profile


23074 posts in 4606 days

#2 posted 07-18-2009 03:41 PM

Hey Simon,
Good instructions and cheap functional job….......well done.

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 5571 days

#3 posted 07-18-2009 04:12 PM

This could come in really handy. thanks for sharing.

View Praki's profile


203 posts in 5242 days

#4 posted 07-19-2009 12:45 AM

Wow! This is very nice! I think now I can start building my version of this dust collector :)

-- Praki, Aspiring Woodworker

View Sandy's profile


249 posts in 5170 days

#5 posted 07-19-2009 10:33 PM

When you mention the 4” adapter, to what type of adapter are you referring? I had been thinking about making a separator based on Phil Thien’s design, but this one seems to be no more difficult, so I’m now rethinking my direction. I currently a large Delta Dust Collector, and a few shop vacs, which I attach to my radial arm saw, or use to clean up around the lathe. They are constantly clogging, so a reasonable separator sounds like a worthwhile project.

View SimonSKL's profile


185 posts in 4484 days

#6 posted 07-19-2009 11:24 PM

May be I should say coupler instead of adapter. I hope this is a better picture of what the coupler (adapter) looks like.

-- Simon, Danville, IL

View cpd011's profile


91 posts in 4483 days

#7 posted 07-24-2009 03:37 AM

Just finish making my version of this cyclone. Thank you so much for the step by step photos. I’ll post a picture as soon as I figure out how to use one of the photo servers. I actually didn’t even use a coupler at the bottom. The fit was tight enough to the two pieces of plywood I used and epoxy did the rest. I also added a brace that runs from the bucket lid/ plywood cover to the plywood at the top of the separator. Tried it out briefly today and it worked like a charm.

View jcoulam's profile


57 posts in 4646 days

#8 posted 09-09-2009 01:20 AM

SimonSKL, I really like the way you setup the vac with the PVC connection, that’s a great improvement. I’m going to do the same to mine!

-- Jeff Coulam, Lakeway Texas

View SimonSKL's profile


185 posts in 4484 days

#9 posted 09-09-2009 02:31 AM

Jeff, Thanks for the comment. My PVC connections are all friction connected meaning no cement was used so I can easily remove them if needed. The fit is tight enough no cement is necessary.

-- Simon, Danville, IL

View Korey99's profile


5 posts in 4282 days

#10 posted 02-01-2010 05:49 AM

Hi Simon – thanks for your excellent write-up. I made one based on your design and it’s AMAZING how well it works. Thanks for sharing!

The only real things I did differently were using a PVC flange for the bottom mounting and routing a groove into the top cap instead of fitting it inside the cone like yours.

View Conehead's profile


4 posts in 4197 days

#11 posted 04-26-2010 11:05 PM

Simon, thank you very much!!! I know it’s been a while but great ideas never die. I also spent some time searching for tools to help layout the cone on flat stock. After combining the results of several, I put together this dimensioned layout (hope it’s clear) that anyone can follow to make a cone 8” dia. at the top, 3” at the bottom, & 24” high.

View Conehead's profile


4 posts in 4197 days

#12 posted 05-02-2010 09:37 PM

Again, thanks Simon & Jeff. I got my version completed & tested today & it works like a charm. I haven’t done much woodworking in a few years but I have a fence, a lot of ogees and a wall of garage shelving to install, so finding this site was very timely for me. I’ll save a fortune in shop vac filters & a lot of sweeping.

View AlmostHandy's profile


1 post in 4025 days

#13 posted 10-16-2010 07:11 AM

Just awesome. I built mine a few weeks ago, and it works wonderfully! Thank you so much for the simple design. I pretty much followed along with a few minor exceptions. I went with a large fiber drum for collecting the chips, and have it connected to my industrial wet-dry vac. Before, I would have to clean out the vac after every use, or I would lose a lot of suction, but since I built it, I haven’t had to clean the vac out once!

Thanks SimonSKL!

View SimonSKL's profile


185 posts in 4484 days

#14 posted 02-13-2011 03:23 PM

Is that a commercial in my blog? If yes, will the mod please remove it. Thanks!

-- Simon, Danville, IL

View JerryBerry's profile


64 posts in 3938 days

#15 posted 03-11-2011 10:48 PM

I’m gonna be on this one like ugly on a ape! :)

-- - Tell me what you want done, OR how to do it. Never both!!!! Jerry, New Bloomfield, PA

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