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The Cyclone Dust Separator

These pages give loads of information about specifying and making your own cyclone dust separators. The transparent cyclonic filtration units in our example are part of a much bigger dust extraction project: ‘The Dust Sniper’, which is a quiet, multi hose, flexible usage extractor system.

These cyclonic filters are carefully dimensioned to be extremely efficient with all kinds of fine wood dust, but they certainly work well with larger wood shavings too. They can be used with regular shop vacs, or even household vacuum cleaners. The two cyclones of the ‘Dust Sniper’ are made to overcome two related problems with using inexpensive household vacuums as workshop dust extractors:

  • First, dust, especially fine wood dust like you get from a bandsaw, either flies straight through or blocks regular, and even ‘lifetime hepa’ filters almost immediately.  In fact almost all vacuum cleaners come with the stipulation that thou shall not suck dust born of wood, brick, or cement.  Doing so will invalidate your warranty, and bring to your house the mockery and scorn of the hoover god.
  • Second, household vacuums do not have the capacity to store much sawdust, before filling a bag and needing a replacement (or requiring extremely regular emptying if of the bagless variety).

On to the Dusty Overview

Responses to The Cyclone Dust Separator

  1. Daren

    Hallo folks,
    I have read with much interest your articles on cyclone air seperators/ cleaners.

    I run a carpet cleaning machine which has a Roots blower fitted, which is used to suck up the dirty water from the cleaned carpet. There is a fine mesh filter built in prior to the water going through the blower to help protect it. The problem is that as well as sucking up the water there is a fair amount of ‘carpet fluff’ and other fluffy debris that also gets sucked up along with the water.

    This fluff very quickly covers the filter, which in turn reduces the ‘suck’ of the roots blower.

    Would it be a feasable idea to build a cyclone to cath this wet fluff before it gets to the filter?

    Hope to here from you soon,

    regards, Daren

  2. Bongo

    I see no reason why a cyclone would not work for this. Remember that the cyclone itself will reduce the suction slightly, say by about 15%, but it will greatly reduce your filter blocking problems.

  3. Drew

    Thanks for putting this cyclone together it has given me the boost to get my own
    Hoover/Vacuum Cyclone started.

  4. Imerio

    Thank you, for this project, this was very helpful for me and it is working on wood chips from a planer very good.
    I try to send some photos very soon.

    Ciao from Italy

  5. Bongo

    Hay Imerio! That’s great, look forward to the pics!

  6. Ivor

    Found your site most useful, informative and fun! I’m looking into setting up a Cyclone separator and after drawing up a few ideas thought… How about using a upturned traffic cone? Will this work?

  7. Bongo

    Hi Ivor,
    I actually toyed with this idea before making my own. The only reason I didn’t try it was that I never came across a ‘spare’ traffic cone.
    I am not sure quite how the geometry of it would work out, but I am certain it would work to a degree. Probably not as well as the carefully calculated and well proven dimensions you use if your making one from scratch, but still… If you have a cone, try it I say! If you are interested, the ratio to know is the diameter of the of the cone to the length. It wants to be as close to 1.64 or 3 as possible (both those ratios are known to work very well).
    Let us know how it goes.

  8. JonellCanada

    This is one really amazingly useful article. I followed the steps carefully and now I am the proud owner of my home-made cyclone dust separator.

  9. Bongo

    Hay, that’s great, would really love to see a photo of it.

  10. Kevin

    Daren, unfortunately the cyclone will not work for wet applications. Cyclones only “spin” dirt and debris out of air. Think of it as a difference between a Tornado and a Hurricane. Have you built one already? If so let us know. I would be interested in hearing how it went.

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