Homemade cyclone dust collector

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Project by skeemer posted 09-13-2012 09:53 PM 5877 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After buying my surface planer back in the spring I knew I needed a dust collection system to handle the enormous chip output. With limited funds, I opted to make my own inspired by a number that I’ve seen on this site. Just as most others have done, I used sheet metal duct, a 5 gallon bucket, tons of caulk, and PVC to build this. It works very well, but still has room for improvement!

As you can see in the 3rd and 4th pictures, it collects most of (but not all) of the heavy dust in the bucket. These pictures were taken after planing an 8’ rough sawn 4/4 maple board down to 3/4” thickness.

The one issue I’m finding that I have not solved yet is that as the bucket fills up with chips, the vacuum draw on the hose declines and the planer begins to spit chips back out. I’m not sure if this is due to the pressure in the system changing as the bucket fills, or if my shop vac (Ridgid 6 gallon) just isn’t powerful enough to pull. The vac uses a 1 7/8” hose which then becomes a 2 1/4” hose going to the planer (which has a 4” outlet), so I’m wondering if the pressure drop from that diameter change is too much for this little shop vac to overcome. Nevertheless, it is an improvement over the chips all over the place.

Thanks for looking!

5 comments so far

View Firewood20's profile


43 posts in 3802 days

#1 posted 09-13-2012 10:33 PM

That’s a good question… I’d like to find that out before I build one of these myself. I have a 5HP Rigid shop vac that I just finished using today connected directly to my DeWalt thickness planer and I had a lot of chips/curly that did not go through the dust chute.

-- Dustin, Central Coast California

View SuburbanDon's profile


487 posts in 4108 days

#2 posted 09-13-2012 11:30 PM

I’m no expert but my suspicion is that your hose and vacuum just aren’t enough. I have a Craftsman 5 gal vac and the hose is about 3”. It’s barely enough. When I save some pennies I’m going to get something more substantial. And I want to make one of the collectors also.

-- --- Measure twice, mis-cut, start over, repeat ---

View robscastle's profile


7947 posts in 3318 days

#3 posted 09-14-2012 01:55 AM

Your collector looks good, I build one similar, and it works fine however like yours when using a Jointer or Planner Thicknesser its working overtime trying to cope with the chips. I found that mine just filled up and extracted the waste into the collection bags without losing any performance.

My jointer spits chips out every now and then I think its partly to low CFM of the extractor coupled by the fact I find manufacturers do not really seal the gaps around the dust chute area effectively.

You may find some EPE packed into the gaps improve the extraction process, I know it did with my Shaper, I thought of doing a post but thought most woodworker would have done something similar anyway.

-- Regards Rob

View hasbeen's profile


91 posts in 3800 days

#4 posted 09-14-2012 02:39 AM

Greetings from the socialist capital of America – California.
There is more than one reason they call it the ’left coast’

Designs I have seen say the tube/hose that goes out the top must also extend about 1 – 2 inches below the tube/hose coming in from the side to get good chip separation. Can’t add any other tips.

Moreno Valley’s local has-been.
Servant of The Living God.

-- I may not have a lot of good ideas, but some of them are just incredible.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4229 days

#5 posted 09-14-2012 06:44 PM

I have never build one nor do I plan to do so since I don´have powertools
that said
from the picture of your cone compared to other that is homemade and or
from factory´s
you cone seems to me rather small in the diameter at the top
my gess is that your dust/chips havn´t enoff room for making the tonardo motion
around the sides before its desturbed by the tube from the vacumecleaner
that tube intake has to be under the intake to the cone but not solong that it comes
in tuch with the dustswirvl that rounding around on the side


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