Dust Separator

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Project by Drifter posted 07-23-2012 06:21 PM 15194 views 14 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After seeing the many posts and watching some of the videos that demonstrate the use and advantages of having a dust separator I decided to make one for myself. I already had the shopvac and the bucket – 5 gallon for now – so I stopped by the local tool store the other day and picked up some dust collector parts and swung by the plumbing supply store as well.

Here is the completed project – As you can see from the pics, typically your filter will get quite clogged. Now, with the separator the can and filter stay relatively clean – based upon the size and quantity of debris you suck up at any given time.

I am quite happy with the results and eventually I will likely build a larger version.

I wrote a blog that shows a little more here here.

-- - It's not worth doing if your not willing to do your best.

13 comments so far

View KnotCurser's profile


2040 posts in 4306 days

#1 posted 07-23-2012 06:33 PM

Looks great! If you can, you should tighten up the gap between the two pieces of wood. I am guessing you did this distance because of the angled piece of tubing, but see if you can get a fitting with a tighter bend and replace your existing one. You will get increased collection as well as a lot more space for dust/shavings to accumulate before dumping each time.

Great work – I agree that this is a Must-Have for any dust collector/shop vac!


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: [email protected] /

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


22346 posts in 4914 days

#2 posted 07-23-2012 08:08 PM

Looks like it really works well! I’d better move this from my “bucket list” to the “emergency” list ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View AKSteve's profile


475 posts in 3541 days

#3 posted 07-23-2012 08:31 PM

ah bummer I wanted to read your blog on it but the url is not correct. looks really easy and cheap to put together, I definitely need to do that.!

-- Steve - Wasilla, Alaska

View Steve's profile


177 posts in 3434 days

#4 posted 07-23-2012 08:40 PM

I’ve got to make one of these soon. Thanks for posting. It looks like the bottom disk has a curved notch out of it – is that any certain size or just trial and error? Also, does the sawdust enter the bucket through the center hose or the one on the side?

-- Steve in Lawrenceville, GA -

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 3426 days

#5 posted 07-23-2012 08:47 PM

I am wondering how effective that lower disk is. It doesn’t look like there is a lot of space for the chips to fall down as the cutout you’ve made is a fairly small area. In my experience with the Lee Valley cyclone lid,which is a very similar set-up, just having the inlet like you have and the outlet in the center would do a lot. Might even be better than having the lower disk (?) because the heavier chips would drop down faster . . .

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View KnotCurser's profile


2040 posts in 4306 days

#6 posted 07-23-2012 09:02 PM

Hey all, I’m gonna do Drifter a favor and post a different link to this project (hope you don’t mind Drifter).

This is a REALLY good page that describes this. The bottom does indeed make a HUGE difference – follow the instructions carefully (they are pretty simple) and you will get fantastic results!


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: [email protected] /

View Drifter's profile


35 posts in 3401 days

#7 posted 07-23-2012 09:57 PM


You are correct. I went with the spacing allowed by the piece of PVC. I thought about the possibility of increasing the force of the cyclone effect by closing up the gap between the plates, but honestly this just started out as an experiment to see how well the idea really work in the first place.

Thanks for posting the link!


Sorry about the link – first time I have tried it. You can try pasting this one or you can follow Bobs link which will show the idea in much greater detail than my build.


Follow the link Bob posted for details on the cutout and its size. The air enters through the tube on the side. I was really disappointed the first time I fired it up – that was until I realized that in my excitement to try it out I had the hoses backwards!!


As an experiment it seems to work just fine. If I was to hazard a guess, I would say in this instance that because of the small air space in a 5 gallon bucket – the bottom place reduces the turbulence in the upper portion – keeping the particles from “climbing” back up into the outflow tube – purely speculation though.

-- - It's not worth doing if your not willing to do your best.

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 3426 days

#8 posted 07-24-2012 02:36 AM

Looking at Bob’s link I think I see now why the bottom piece is there. My experience is only with the LV lid on a 50 gallon barrel. It seems to create a pretty good cyclone effect with the big barrel below it. They (LV) took some care in designing their lid compared to some of the cheaper versions where the inlet port is just vertically oriented and is not going to create a cyclone effect.

Thanks to both you and Bob for posting. The quest for dust control needs a lot of foot soldiers !

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Johnnyblot's profile


319 posts in 3514 days

#9 posted 07-24-2012 09:43 AM

It’s high time I made one of these- before I do anything else. Thanks for sharing.


-- Gossamer shavings just floating around the back yard….-Bandit

View don1960's profile


227 posts in 3925 days

#10 posted 07-24-2012 04:07 PM

I made one of these also by converting the Rockler Dust Right Separator into this kind of separator. It is amazing how well this works.

Just got to make a larger version for the HF dust collector soon. I hate cleaning out the bag.

-- -- Don from PA

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26774 posts in 4343 days

#11 posted 07-29-2012 02:36 AM

That is neat. It must create a vortex like the Dust deputy. I’ll bet is keeps the dust out of your shop vac!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Andrew Pritchard's profile

Andrew Pritchard

9 posts in 3085 days

#12 posted 05-05-2013 04:02 PM

I built one of these out of a garbage bin with an almost identical arrangement of wood for the lid. I also used some weather stripping round the top half of the lid to try and seal the leaks. I have no idea how effective that was though!

I need to do some work on it though. The suction from my vac is so strong the walls of the bin crumple when I turn the vac on. I’m also thinking I might replace the weather stripping with some silicone caulking spread round the rim to try and create a better seal.

Never the less, it works incredibly well as the vast majority of the dust and all the chips end up in the bin, which will save me a lot on vac filters.

I made the mistake one time of pulling on the hose a little too hard. The bin caught on the floor and toppled over, spilling all the dust and chips out. Lesson learned and I now have a bungee cord wrapped over the top of the lid to help keep the lid on.

View Drifter's profile


35 posts in 3401 days

#13 posted 06-12-2013 01:50 PM


I have been thinking about expanding the capacity of my collector and building a rolling cart that has both the shop-vac and the collector together for greater mobility and reach. I have seen similar arrangements in other user projects as well as on other sites – like Mathias Wandel’s site

Thanks for sharing your experience – makes the rest of of pause and consider – “What if….”

-- - It's not worth doing if your not willing to do your best.

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