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Most likely you have air leaks on your larger can. If air can get in it will create uplift that will prevent the chips from falling. You can't test the unit with the hose off, it will create a path of least resistance and the unit will pull air in from that location. To test you can use smoke around the lid of the can while everything is supposedly sealed up. Or if you want to get fancy a vac gauge.

It might also work better if your cyclone was attached directly to the lid of the larger can and the hose was between the top of the cyclone and the impeller.

I bought a 55 gallon drum with a cam lock removable lid. The lid seals really well and it is a more solid platform to attach the cyclone. You can find those drums for about $20 from junk dealers. They are often used for food grade shipping.
 
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