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I hate dust. My shop is also my garage and dust gets on everything. I started out using a shop vac but it was really noisy and not that effective so I gave up on that. A 2hp dust collector seemed too expensive for me as a hobby woodworker on a budget and it would also take up valuable floor space as well (we still try to park one car in the garage), so for a while I hadn't been using any dust collection aside from a broom and leaf blower.

A little while ago I picked up a Harbor Freight 1 hp portable dust collector on Craigslist for $30 but it clogged up easily when I used it with my planer and the filter was a 30 micron bag that let a bunch of fine dust back out when I used it with my table saw. It definitely needed some work, specifically a better filter and some type of separator. My goal was to keep it cheap with a small footprint, but effective and I wasn't sure how, so I just stuck with my broom and blower.

I finally got around to working on it recently and am pretty happy with the result. I made a cyclone/baffle out of an Arrowhead 5 gallon water bottle that someone threw out. I cut off the top of the bottle and flipped it around and secured it in the bottom part of the bottle (see picture) and attached a 4" angled dust port on the side. Then I cut a hole on top so I could rest the dust collector on top and then cut a hole in the lid of the Home Depot bucket and put it all on top of that. I bought a 3 micron filter bag on Amazon (I couldn't find a lower micron bag that would fit the portable dust collector). Then I made a stand out of scrap MDF and plywood and put it on casters and put a piece of granite on the bottom so the cart wouldn't tip over as easily since the dust collector motor was pretty high in the setup.

The dust collector works great, doesn't get clogged with planer shavings, has a pretty small footprint, also functions as a work surface, is much quieter than a shop vac, and cost me about $70 for everything. I am really happy with how it all turned out and I wish I had finished this earlier.

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Pretty cool…...Great job with the engineering and build!
 

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You did a very novel design on this one…. You may be the trend setter for a new type of separator.

How did you float the baffle piece inside the water bottle?
 

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That's friggin ingenious! I think I have an old 5 gal. water container somewhere, I'll have to give that a try.

Thanks for posting,
 

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Mainiac Matt - I am really happy with how it turned out. Most of the setups I've seen have a bucket next to the dust collector and that makes the foot print a lot bigger than this one, since it stacks. To get the baffle piece to "float" inside the water bottle, I cut it in the shape of a light bulb and I screwed the part that stuck out to the side of the bottle so the rest would "float". Hope that makes sense, if not, I can take an extra picture or something.
 
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