Dust Collector Upgrade - Chip Separator

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Project by HankLP posted 03-01-2017 09:52 PM 1973 views 2 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Needed a stage 1 separator including a Thein baffle to go with the new canister filter on the dust collector. This extends the filter life, facilitates emptying the sawdust, and reduces maintenance. The circle cutting jig on the bandsaw (see previous project) was used to cut the top and bottom pieces; even narrowed up the radius to cut the relief around 2/3 of the bottom circle. The router table was used with a rabbeting trim bit to relieve the top so it sets firmly in the 20 gallon can. The first test was dusting out the cabinet saw. This left approximately 2 gallons of sawdust in the 20 gallon can, and maybe a cup in the filter bag. A shed is now under construction on the side of the shop to house the dust collector. This will reduce noise as well as free up some shop space. It will also pump warm air out of the garage in the winter at a rate of 1500 CFM… oh well.

5 comments so far

View EarlS's profile


3311 posts in 2910 days

#1 posted 03-02-2017 06:13 PM

I just added a thein baffle to my dust collector and it really helps. However, I noticed that the suction pressure at the table saw isn’t as good as it was so I have more dust coming out of the saw. Might be time for a bigger, more powerful DC.

What make/model is the dust collector? What has been your experience with it?

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View HankLP's profile


110 posts in 1064 days

#2 posted 03-03-2017 02:34 AM

This is the Harbor Freight machine. It’s rated at 2 hp and 1500 CFM. I’ve used it for three or four years now and it is still working well. The main duct is about 40 feet of 4” PVC pipe, and has machines connected through four blast gates. The table saw has a 4” connection, but I put a screen over it so it wouldn’t suck up the long pieces that fall through the table insert and clog up the lines. Saw dust will still collect at the screen and I will have to clean it out manually by taking out the big pieces and pushing all the dust into the outlet. There was only one time things clogged up when I ran some plywood through the planner. I know they say not to do that, but I just had to find out why.

View Jeremy's profile


24 posts in 3452 days

#3 posted 03-09-2017 03:27 AM

Thanks for the Idea HankLP. I just got the same Harbor Freight 2 hp dust collector and the first time I picked up something big I stopped using it. But thanks to your pictures I built something like it. I made a few changes though.

View bushmaster's profile


3730 posts in 2845 days

#4 posted 03-15-2017 06:26 PM

Been looking at your dust collection posts. Don’t really understand the second one. I like the idea of putting the dust collector out side. Then use it without the filter. With a filter your cfm is terrible in a short time. The filter you are using does not look like it has a cleaning system. some have a flapper device. With out the filter you have real suction all the time. I have a box structure that can collect dust etc. You do not loose all your heat in the winter. I use mine all year and live in the north. This year it was minus 20 F. for awhile. I do have a wood heater. You only suck air in a reduced amount for the size of collector you have at any given machine. Use it only when you need it. I use an electron is remote switch. Most of the time in the shop it is not on. I do not know where you live but try it without the filter, you will never go back.
Also I have basically the same unit and converted it to a complete single stage with a thein filter. Simple to do. I got the idea from a posting on Lumberjocks. I did make a post of how I did that. the link is.
I had considered and positioned it so I could bring the air back to the shop in winter but have never found that necessary. Any way just giving you something to consider. Would answer any questions.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View HankLP's profile


110 posts in 1064 days

#5 posted 03-16-2017 12:18 AM

Bushmaster, First off,t he jack stand is a great idea. Wanted to note that I also considered dropping the filter. We are on a 1 acre wooded lot, and notwithstanding my wife’s objections, it could easily be done. However, the maintenance on this system will be much lower with the improvements, and there is no reason to eject any amount of resins or other non-cellulose substance into the environment. Besides, we are only three miles from Puget’s Sound and there is a seasonal creek in our ravine. And yes… I also have a remote for the DC attached to my shop apron.

The first separator – the 20 gallon can – picks up probably 90% or more of the chips and dust. The advantages of the stage 1 separator are two-fold. First, The 20 gallon barrel is very easy to empty and secondly, it will take out any metal or other objects that could cause damage the impellor. Secondly, I noted that a fair portion of the shavings from my jointer wound up in the Wynn filter because of all the turbulence in the bag. The second Thein filter was installed in the green collector just to calm the air flow through the bag, and it works very well. All the dust that settles in the bag just sets there now.

The longest run on the duct system is over 40 feet of 4” PVC pipe, and also has four 90 degree elbows. The dust collector has no difficulty handling this. The Wynn filter also improves the air flow greatly. The pleated filter has 370 square feet of surface area – compared to 35 SF on the bag filter – and is cleaned using compressed air from the outside. I will be happier when the outside installation is complete, but this will greatly improve long term maintenance.

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