FESTOPPER - An inexpensive cyclone that mounts on Festool Dust Extactor

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Project by Sandy posted 01-18-2019 08:08 AM 8391 views 6 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

While it is clear that the addition of a preseparator can significantly extend the life of the vacuum bags, the existing options all had problems that I believe I have now solved. While I have, and like, Dust Deputy cyclones, the ones that I have in my shop are unwieldy as are the ones that I have seen mounted to the tops of Festool Dust Extractors. This is particularly true of those that are mounted on top of the Festool Dust Extractor. The Oneida design, which is adapted to be mounted on top of the Festool Dust Extractor is extremely tall, as are the DIY versions that I have seen. Further, at $299 each, Oneida’s Ultimate Dust Deputy Kit ( ) is by no means inexpensive.

Since its introduction, I have noted a great deal of interest in the newly introduced Festool CT Cyclone CT-VA-20 ( ). However, there is no question that $375 is a bit more than most hobbyists, and even many professionals, are eager to spend on a preseparator, even one that carries the Festool name.

I recently became aware of a relatively new product called a Dustopper ( ). The Dustopper is a “Thein-type” baffle that is sold at Home Depot and is ready, out-of-the-box, to be mounted on a Home Depot “Homer” 5-gallon bucket. The Dustopper carries a list price of only $39.97 ( ). Problems that have been reported by users include the unit’s failure to adequately seal to “standard” 5-gallon buckets, although Home Depot’s response has been that their Homer buckets are made to much higher tolerances than typically available 5-gallon buckets, whereby the sealing issue is not present when an actual Homer bucket is used. Another problem that has been reported is that the clips that attach it to the bucket are prone to break if the Dustopper is repeatedly attached to, and removed from, the Homer bucket.

It occurred to me that I could build a plywood box that has a bottom configured to fit the top of my CT 22 E and CT 26 E Festool Dust Extractors so that it would lock onto the top of the Extractor, just like the Oneida and Festool designs do. However, when I initially attempted to modify a Homer bucket to be fitted to such a box I learned that the diameter of the bucket (about 285 mm) is extremely close to the width (295 mm) needed to fit the top of the box, whereby once the circular opening was cut into the top it would provide no support for the bucket. Nevertheless, after several design iterations, I discovered a way to modify a Homer bucket to fit and connect to the top of the dust collection box, to make the device airtight, and to have the collection box’s top removable to empty the collected sawdust, whereby it would not be necessary to remove the Dustopper from the top of the collection box in order to empty the sawdust, thereby eliminating the clip breakage issue.

In making the various modifications, I also discovered that I could modify the Homer bucket in two different ways. In the first, I retained the portion of the bucket that includes the handle. While this results in a somewhat taller unit, it does provide the user with a convenient handle to move the Extractor with the Festopper attached. In the second version I eliminated the handle portion of the bucket, resulting in a lower overall height, which could be a benefit to those wishing to be able to place their Extractor under their MFT/3 table. In either case, the overall height of the collection box can be modified so as to minimize the height of the Festopper or, alternatively, to increase the capacity of its collection box. The cost of the Festopper, including the purchase of the Dustopper, the Homer bucket, and various other items was about $60.

If there is interest in the design, and the various “tricks” needed to connect the modified Homer bucket to the collection box, I would consider making a set of plans and instructions available.

12 comments so far

View Redoak49's profile


5470 posts in 3325 days

#1 posted 01-18-2019 11:31 AM

That is very interesting and I would be interested in plans.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9349 posts in 1919 days

#2 posted 01-18-2019 12:39 PM

Nice portable unit. Good idea!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View KelleyCrafts's profile


4804 posts in 2076 days

#3 posted 01-18-2019 02:02 PM

I would be interested as well.

-- Dave - - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View Dutchy's profile


4293 posts in 3505 days

#4 posted 01-18-2019 05:49 PM

View ScottKaye's profile


802 posts in 3290 days

#5 posted 01-18-2019 09:44 PM

very nice.. ditto on the plans :)

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View BenDupre's profile


813 posts in 1825 days

#6 posted 01-19-2019 02:59 AM

Wow. I have to ask: if you spend that much on a festool vacuum why do you need a separate cyclone? Serriously I thought those vacs were super good. Just wondering. Thanks for sharing

-- The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred. – George Bernard Shaw

View planecurious's profile


17 posts in 1200 days

#7 posted 01-19-2019 04:06 AM

I’m very interested as well (had been thinking on attempting something similar but not got to it just yet)

View oldnovice's profile


7769 posts in 4705 days

#8 posted 01-19-2019 04:59 AM

I like this solution!
Do you have any efficiency nombers or photos?

-- "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley

View WhattheChuck's profile


467 posts in 4897 days

#9 posted 01-19-2019 07:55 PM

BenDupre—the bags are expensive, and they’re really not a shop-vac. They’re a HEPA particle collection system for sanders. I have one—it’s an unbelievable machine from what it does to your sanding practice. But it’s just not a Shop Vac, with the coarse-to-fine collection (and noise, and small particle escape).

I’d like to see a plan—super job, Sandy! The lettering is awesome!

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View Sandy's profile


249 posts in 5261 days

#10 posted 01-30-2019 08:44 AM

If anyone is interested in plans for building a FESTOPPER please send an email to me at [email protected] with your email address and the subject “FESTOPPER”. Please do not private message me on Lumberjocks for plans.


View Sandy's profile


249 posts in 5261 days

#11 posted 02-23-2019 03:39 AM

View guitarchitect's profile


49 posts in 3739 days

#12 posted 08-13-2019 01:28 PM

Wow, what amazing timing. My dad was in the US so I had him pick me up one, as I had it in mind to do exactly this! And here you have already done it!

My plan is more or less the same, except I don’t need the mobility so I’m going to build a larger box to live under a bench. Then I can just use the one vac for picking up everything in the shop, rather than having a separate shop vac. I will probably set it up to collect in a bag, and put in a viewing window as the cyclone is much less effective when the box/bucket is half full… Which is true of the DD, Thien separators, etc.

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