Cyclone accident

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Forum topic by Sarit posted 04-10-2017 12:15 AM 1350 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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551 posts in 3678 days

04-10-2017 12:15 AM

So I bought an old Clearvue Cyclone used on CL not too long ago. Its one of the older models in unpainted MDF. After spending quite some time setting it up, doing the electrical, it was time to test the baby. The unit I bought came with a Grizzly wireless starter that I mounted right next to and below the cyclone. I ran the unit twice for about a second or two each to make sure everything was all right and everything did seem okay. On the third run I let it run a little longer but I’m not sure the order of what exactly happened next, it all happened so fast. I believe that I tried to turn off the unit using the remote and it didn’t seem to turn off. Something didn’t sound right so I rushed to the control unit to manually shut off the power and while doing so I could hear the impeller housing disintegrating while I covered my head with my arms. Then the impeller seems to have burst through the housing, and instead of continuing on its forward trajectory, must have dived back towards me, scraping up my arm and my back.

There are bloody scratched on my back too. I was very lucky that the only injuries were scratches and nothing hit my head.

PETG and mdf doesn’t stand a chance against a welded steel impeller at 3600 rpm. The PETG is in fragments on my shop floor and as you can see the threaded rods just get ripped out of the mdf. It probably didn’t help that the prev owner kept the housing in his attic where it may have gotten pretty hot. Maybe that made it more brittle?

Notice one of the fins is slightly more bent. After re-reading the installation guide I noticed that I didn’t tighten the set screw that presses against the shaft key however I did tighten the three socket cap screws that compresses the arbor to the motor shaft. Each screw was tightened multiple times until I went around twice and couldn’t tighten them any more. I wasn’t able to adapt my torque wrench to those socket cap screws so I could only estimate that I was close to the 5 ft-lbs desired. I had taken off and replaced the impeller twice before in the process of mounting the motor to the wall and each time it seemed like I had gotten a good connection.

I would say that Clearvue really needs to design their housings better to contain a possible impeller falling off the shaft. I’m a pretty safety conscience guy (that’s part of the reason why I’m installing a clearvue in the first place) so the fact that this happened to me should mean quite a lot.

If I can’t find a suitable steel replacement housing I might just make my own out of laminated sheets of plywood to create a housing with solid 3 in thick walls.

12 replies so far

View jonnybrophy's profile


160 posts in 1150 days

#1 posted 04-10-2017 12:21 AM

Oh my gosh dude, I am glad you’re ok
Thank you for sharing, ill be sure to look out for this issue
do you have a welder? maybe you could fabricate some sheet metal housing yourself if comes down to it

-- "If she dont find ya handsome, she better find ya handy"

View Redoak49's profile


4237 posts in 2527 days

#2 posted 04-10-2017 12:29 AM

Sorry that this happened to you. I think that you are very lucky to be alive as the impeller could have seriously injured you or killed..

I am certain that I would not use the impeller as you said it had a bent fin and it is likely no longer balanced. I would be careful with it.

Does ClearVue needs to do a new design or you should have read the instructions better and tightened the key?

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3040 posts in 3976 days

#3 posted 04-10-2017 12:47 AM

Maybe why commercial dust collectors have an appropriate thickness steel housing? If I had one made of mdf I’d have a thick wood or metal cage around the outside of it to catch anything breaking through.

Glad you actually got lucky on this one even though you did get banged up.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Sarit's profile


551 posts in 3678 days

#4 posted 04-10-2017 01:31 AM

Redoak49, I would say that its definitely worth designing a new housing. When suspending a heavy impeller like that there’s no room for error. The impeller simply must be contained. What customer wants to risk their life to save their lungs?

Looks like the shaft key did fall out. I thought I still saw it on the shaft but that must have been a shadow. So I think what happened is the key fell out, the torque on the motor is so great that without the key the arbor will spin on the shaft loosening up until it eventually falls off.

View r33tc0w's profile


174 posts in 1022 days

#5 posted 04-10-2017 02:14 AM

Ouch. ⊙_⊙

-- Matthew 13:53-58

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5801 posts in 3032 days

#6 posted 04-10-2017 10:45 AM

This will be (over) analyzed a lot, so I’ll just say I’m glad it wasn’t worse!

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View hotbyte's profile


1000 posts in 3514 days

#7 posted 04-10-2017 11:36 AM

Wow…glad injuries weren’t worse! I didn’t realize the housing on Clearvue was MDF.

View JayCee123's profile


200 posts in 1303 days

#8 posted 04-10-2017 11:45 AM

MDF housing no match for spinning metal impeller. Your a lucky Dude !!

View Bobsboxes's profile


1370 posts in 3202 days

#9 posted 04-10-2017 01:25 PM

Very lucky, could have been fatal. Glad you didn’t get hurt worse.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View Redoak49's profile


4237 posts in 2527 days

#10 posted 04-10-2017 01:44 PM

I think that both the ClearVue and Oneida both use some type of plastic for the fan housing. My guess is that it is very difficult to get the right housing shape with steel and more expensive than the PETG.

The plastic is much stronger than the MDF material in the older one referenced by the Poster.

This is the only accident that I have read where the impeller has come loose and flown thru the air.

Sorry this happened and a warning to others who take the impeller off the motor that you need to be very care reattaching it and follow the instructions to the letter. I am not surprised that if the key fell out that the impeller would spin and come off the shaft.

View GR8HUNTER's profile


6564 posts in 1251 days

#11 posted 04-10-2017 02:12 PM

WOW …..good to see its only a few scratches :<))
goes to show shops are dangerous places

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View Sarit's profile


551 posts in 3678 days

#12 posted 04-10-2017 11:27 PM

Redoak49, the new ClearVue housing does not appear to be any different from mine other than the blue paint. The website still says “Product includes MDF top, motor plate and bottom, PETG side, and 8 clips.”
So if you do have any cleavue housings regardless of new or old, I would suggest some reinforcement and to check that all the screws (including the set screw on the shaft key are tight).

I wouldn’t try to make the housing itself bulletproof but rather add a steel cage/net around it to contain the impeller in the event of a drop. I was thinking about possibly wrapping the housing in a snow chain, that might prove to be a cheap easy and effective option.

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