Chip Separator not collecting Chips! & Harbor Freight Hotrod

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Forum topic by David705 posted 06-18-2014 03:34 PM 6454 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 2448 days

06-18-2014 03:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: harbor freight dust collector chip separator super dust deputy

After lurking on this site for a while I had to sign up today because I am baffled by a problem I am having and I was hoping someone on this site could help.

I have seen many people who have done a harbor freight DC hotrod and I essentially did the same thing here. I am using the HF dust collector as a low buck central dust collector and I placed the Oneida Super Dust deputy in line as a chip separator before the final bag and filter. It was working pretty well before I “improved” it, and now I am experiencing a problem that I am baffled by.

The chip separator is getting no chips or dust falling into it, none and instead it is all going straight through the cyclone and right into the final bag / filter! I have a feeling this is something really simple and stupid, but I have no idea why! Ignore the lack of a plastic collector bag as I had removed it while checking the dust collector and did not reattach it before taking the picture.

When I first set the system up I was using a plastic 5 gallon bucket for the chip collector and the existing HF filter. The 5 gallon bucket was to small and filled up quickly so I upgraded to a larger plastic trash can and put the Wynn filter on top to improve airflow. I changed nothing else. After doing some jointing for the first time with the new setup I noticed the bag had really filled up with chips and I assumed that the barrel had gotten full. When I pulled the lid off the inside of the plastic trash can was completely clean, not even small dust or large chips was in there, nothing! It had all gone into the final plastic bag collector! This wasn’t happening before I swapped out the small plastic bucket and the filter.

Any guesses about what is going on here? The plastic bucket is not as rigid as it needs to be and is collapsing slightly under vacuum, but it is not collapsing completely, just buckling on one side and indenting about 4 inches. An obvious answer would be that I have some how reversed the intake and outlet on the dust deputy but you can see by the pictures that isn’t going on. Any advise?

13 replies so far

View David705's profile


8 posts in 2448 days

#1 posted 06-18-2014 04:06 PM

So… I realize that I am responding to my own post here, but I contacted Oneida and they gave me some information that I thought might help. Apparently what I thought was a “good enough” seal on the dust bin is not good enough at all. The cyclone system depends upon having as a air tight a seal as possible to effectively separate the chips and keep them from simply swirling around and going out the other end.

So, how about the next question. What are y’all doing to seal up your chip collector.

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

490 posts in 2690 days

#2 posted 06-18-2014 04:24 PM

I use a steel trash can with one of those lid separators and a little weather stripping around the inside lip works great and is pretty cheap. If you have holes elsewhere like where the pieces meet together that metal foil tape (not duct tape) seems to work well.

I don’t know if the flex of the plastic will cause issues or not and the tighter you make that seal the greater the vacuum is going to be in the can so you might end up collapsing the trash can sides. You can still find metal trash cans sometimes at the big box stores and likely at your local coop farm supply store if not.

View TheDane's profile


5940 posts in 4673 days

#3 posted 06-18-2014 04:25 PM

I think you may be looking for something like this …

For more info, see:

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View MrRon's profile


5994 posts in 4253 days

#4 posted 06-18-2014 06:31 PM

It sounds to me like a restriction in the intake line to the DD. If the plastic container is collapsing, that is an indication air is being sucked from the container than from the line. The seal on the DD to the chip collection container is not sealing well and leaks.

View David705's profile


8 posts in 2448 days

#5 posted 06-18-2014 06:46 PM

Thanks for the input guys, after doing some more research online I am convinced that the problem is air leaks in the collection bin. This being my first shot at a chip collector I didn’t really understand how important a tight seal was on the bin. I am interested in upgrading to a fiber barrel, but $100 for what is essentially a trash can is pretty darn steep in my opinion.

I will attempt some upgrades tonight and post how it goes in the morning.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4241 days

#6 posted 06-18-2014 06:51 PM

I use a 30 gallon plastic drum with removable lid. I have a Thien separator inside the drum. I don’t have a recent pic but the bag filter has been replaced with a cartridge filter from Wynn Env.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View David705's profile


8 posts in 2448 days

#7 posted 06-18-2014 06:53 PM

Where did you get the drum from Mike? I live in the Houston area as well and have had 0 luck finding a cheap drum that someone is willing to sell for a reasonable price or give away.

View English's profile


690 posts in 2487 days

#8 posted 06-18-2014 07:42 PM

I used a 55 gallon drum with lid and seal ring, then I silicone caulked the flange to the cyclone. You have to have a good seal or the dust will not fall.

Edit, I have a new 35 gallon fiber barrel free for the taking. Suffolk VA It came with my DC.

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

View nicksmurf111's profile


377 posts in 2460 days

#9 posted 06-18-2014 08:26 PM

Check Craigslist if you haven’t done so yet. I keep meaning to stock up on them, but already have too much stuff taking up room in my garage.

-- Nicholas

View Sceresoli's profile


5 posts in 2077 days

#10 posted 07-14-2015 03:49 PM

one other thing for David705

I would do a little reworking to the pvc you have mounted on the wall to reduce System Effect. Especially the straight pipe dropping down into a hard 90 bend right before entering the separator, because this is hurting your CFMs. Though the true definition of “system effect” includes CFM loss from having a bend right before the impeller, it still causes loss before a separator. I would modify the infeed to come down on the wall more behind the canister, allowing for a good length of straight pipe to be in between the bend and the separator.

This made a world of difference in my system

-- S

View MrRon's profile


5994 posts in 4253 days

#11 posted 07-14-2015 06:13 PM

The system was working before you added the Wynn filter. It seems that addition of the filter caused an increase in suction. Remove the filter and see if it now works.

View Robert's profile


4447 posts in 2490 days

#12 posted 07-14-2015 06:29 PM

I was going to say that!!

I used a Brute heavy duty trash can and the seal is a bicycle inner tube stapled to the rim of the can.
I made up a larger plywood flange to attach the cyclone to the lid.

A cyclone degrades the CFM’s so beware you may not have enough blower there.

I have a 1 1/2HP Jet rated at 1100 CFM’s and even though I’ve got pretty fair collection, I’m not getting any fine dust out the exhaust its all going in the bin. I think its because I don’t have the CFM’s.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 2434 days

#13 posted 07-14-2015 09:07 PM

Not sure the HF unit has the power to run a Thein Cyclone and the Dust Deputy. Here is mine for ideas. The Thein is in the metal trash can to prevent collapse. As you can see, I hate to waste space.

-- Brad, Texas,

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