phil thien cyclone separator lid

j. phil thien's projects

Join my mailing list and I will notify you when I update these pages... Table of contents (of sorts) 11/23/2018 The Doweling Jig V2 is here and available for order! It is hard to believe it has been a year and a half since I introduced my first doweling jig for sale here. Even more difficult to believe how much better it has gotten. 5/17/2017 Template doweling jig You don't need to spend $200 on an accurate doweling jig. My template doweling jig is precision machined from cast acrylic (accurate to within thousandths of an inch). And at only $40 (including shipping), everyone can afford to have one of these in their tool chest! 10/6/2014 Drill press column-mounted fence This fence attaches to the column of my drill press and maintains registration to the chuck when the table is adjusted. Very helpful when drilling into the edges of rectangular workpieces that need to be rotated, or any other time when you may need to adjust the table, but don't want to lose fence registration. 7/3/2012 Ball bearing hinge Two ball bearings with some set-screws allowed me to create a durable and very smooth-moving hinge for a small box. 3/29/2012 Planer sled The plain easiest/dumbest/most foolproof planer sled technique you've ever seen in your life. 4/20/2011 Mortising jig This little jig works with a Dewalt palm-router with plunge base to provide almost Domino-like mortise slots. 12/13/2009 Audible tension gauge When I wrote this, my current bandsaw (a little Delta 10" BS150LS) had no tension scale. Instead, the manual instructed the user to twist the tension knob a different number of times depending on the size of the blade. Of course, the manual only went to 3/8" wide blades, and the blade I wanted to use was 1/2" wide. Not only that, but we've all read the stories of the hopelessly inaccurate scales on many saws. So I decided to tackle the problem from another direction. 3/7/2008 Sliding doweling jig Dowels can be a great (albeit kinda slow) way to join wood. I have used several different kinds during my life. I finally just made my own. 12/30/2007 Router table circle jig If you're going to build one of my separator lids, you may find one of my router table circle jigs helpful. 11/24/2007 Cyclone separator lid w/ cyclone separator baffle By far the most popular project I've posted here. Since originally posting (11/24/2007), the page has accumulated well over 100,000 hits. My best estimate is that there are now over one-thousand woodworkers around the world that have built their own from information on my page, and the discussion forum. 9/9/2006 BT3000 table saw As I update this site, I simply cannot believe I originally created this page nearly five years ago [I'm updating again and now it has been nine years!). This is still my only table saw, and while I know this is the table saw that woodworkers love to hate, I have had a love affair with mine. Discussion forum I've added an icon/link to the top of each of my pages, that will take you to the forum. But for people still looking for it here, well, here you go. --Phil [email protected] This page has been viewed times. This site is sponsored by Milwaukee's computer repair specialists.

Table of contents (of sorts) 11/23/2018 The Doweling Jig V2 is here and available for order! It is hard to believe it has been a year and a half since I introduced my first doweling jig for sale here. Even more difficult to believe how much better it has gotten. 5/17/2017 Template doweling jig You don't need to spend $200 on an accurate doweling jig. My template doweling jig is precision machined from cast acrylic (accurate to within thousandths of an inch). And at only $40 (including shipping), everyone can afford to have one of these in their tool chest! 10/6/2014 Drill press column-mounted fence This fence attaches to the column of my drill press and maintains registration to the chuck when the table is adjusted. Very helpful when drilling into the edges of rectangular workpieces that need to be rotated, or any other time when you may need to adjust the table, but don't want to lose fence registration. 7/3/2012 Ball bearing hinge Two ball bearings with some set-screws allowed me to create a durable and very smooth-moving hinge for a small box. 3/29/2012 Planer sled The plain easiest/dumbest/most foolproof planer sled technique you've ever seen in your life. 4/20/2011 Mortising jig This little jig works with a Dewalt palm-router with plunge base to provide almost Domino-like mortise slots. 12/13/2009 Audible tension gauge When I wrote this, my current bandsaw (a little Delta 10" BS150LS) had no tension scale. Instead, the manual instructed the user to twist the tension knob a different number of times depending on the size of the blade. Of course, the manual only went to 3/8" wide blades, and the blade I wanted to use was 1/2" wide. Not only that, but we've all read the stories of the hopelessly inaccurate scales on many saws. So I decided to tackle the problem from another direction. 3/7/2008 Sliding doweling jig Dowels can be a great (albeit kinda slow) way to join wood. I have used several different kinds during my life. I finally just made my own. 12/30/2007 Router table circle jig If you're going to build one of my separator lids, you may find one of my router table circle jigs helpful. 11/24/2007 Cyclone separator lid w/ cyclone separator baffle By far the most popular project I've posted here. Since originally posting (11/24/2007), the page has accumulated well over 100,000 hits. My best estimate is that there are now over one-thousand woodworkers around the world that have built their own from information on my page, and the discussion forum. 9/9/2006 BT3000 table saw As I update this site, I simply cannot believe I originally created this page nearly five years ago [I'm updating again and now it has been nine years!). This is still my only table saw, and while I know this is the table saw that woodworkers love to hate, I have had a love affair with mine.

The Doweling Jig V2 is here and available for order! It is hard to believe it has been a year and a half since I introduced my first doweling jig for sale here. Even more difficult to believe how much better it has gotten.

Template doweling jig You don't need to spend $200 on an accurate doweling jig. My template doweling jig is precision machined from cast acrylic (accurate to within thousandths of an inch). And at only $40 (including shipping), everyone can afford to have one of these in their tool chest!

Drill press column-mounted fence This fence attaches to the column of my drill press and maintains registration to the chuck when the table is adjusted. Very helpful when drilling into the edges of rectangular workpieces that need to be rotated, or any other time when you may need to adjust the table, but don't want to lose fence registration.

Audible tension gauge When I wrote this, my current bandsaw (a little Delta 10" BS150LS) had no tension scale. Instead, the manual instructed the user to twist the tension knob a different number of times depending on the size of the blade. Of course, the manual only went to 3/8" wide blades, and the blade I wanted to use was 1/2" wide. Not only that, but we've all read the stories of the hopelessly inaccurate scales on many saws. So I decided to tackle the problem from another direction.

Sliding doweling jig Dowels can be a great (albeit kinda slow) way to join wood. I have used several different kinds during my life. I finally just made my own.

Cyclone separator lid w/ cyclone separator baffle By far the most popular project I've posted here. Since originally posting (11/24/2007), the page has accumulated well over 100,000 hits. My best estimate is that there are now over one-thousand woodworkers around the world that have built their own from information on my page, and the discussion forum.

BT3000 table saw As I update this site, I simply cannot believe I originally created this page nearly five years ago [I'm updating again and now it has been nine years!). This is still my only table saw, and while I know this is the table saw that woodworkers love to hate, I have had a love affair with mine.

Discussion forum I've added an icon/link to the top of each of my pages, that will take you to the forum. But for people still looking for it here, well, here you go.

j. phil thien's cyclone separator lid w/ the thien cyclone separator baffle

Join my mailing list and I will notify you when I update these pages... The Doweling Jig V2 is here and available for order! It is hard to believe it has been a year and a half since I introduced my first doweling jig for sale here. Even more difficult to believe how much better it has gotten. The Thien Cyclone Separator Lid w/ the Thien Cyclone Separator Baffle After seeing one sexy cyclone after another (at the various woodworking forums), and with the understanding that cyclone lids aren't true cyclones and don't offer a full cyclone experience, I decided to try them nonetheless. My shop is small, and I use a shop vac for "dust collection." Without starting a debate over what constitutes dust vs. chip collection, I'm just going to say that my tools really were designed for extraction with a shop vac instead of a dust collector. I have a tiny Inca bandsaw w/ a 1.25" port, a table saw w/ a 2.5" port, and my router table's down-draft box works better with the larger static lift of the shop vac than it would with the higher air volume of a "true" dust collector. So for the time being, I decided to stick w/ models of cyclone lids intended for use with shop vacs. I started by rearranging my shop and installing some 2.5" flexible hose as a dust collection network. I used some Y's and blast gates and discovered that, because my shop was quite small and the flexible pipe runs very short (a total length of 9' from one end to the other), the flexible hose worked great. Next, I tried three different commercially-available cyclone lids. I was disappointed with the amount of debris that still made it back to my shop vac. Big chips, not just fines! Worse yet, even when I was no longer cutting (or planing or jointing), running the shop vac resulted in a constant scrubbing (an exodus of material from the "cyclone" bin back to the shop vac. This just wouldn't do! So I spent approx. the last two years developing and perfecting my own design. I've gone through nearly fifty designs/variations. Now I find myself with a cyclone lid that approaches true cyclones in separation efficiency, and which isn't susceptible to the scrubbing that all the commercial offerings I tested suffered from. The trick of my design is the baffle I've added. This specially shaped baffle creates a separate cyclonic chamber at the top of the unit. The baffle reduces the amount of turbulence that hits the already settled debris in the bottom of the bin. Furthermore, the baffle guarantees that any debris that HAS been reactivated by turbulence will have to re-enter the cyclonic motion before getting a chance to exit the output tube (and debris that was heavy enough to settle once will likely settle again). Finally, the baffle allows you to fill the unit to within 3" of the top of the can (the bottom of the baffle) without any penalty in terms of separation or scrubbing. In fact, I've actually slightly overfilled my unit on a number of occasions with little consequence. All three commercial units I tested had performances that were inversely proportional to volume utilized (getting progressively worse past 1/4 full). I've uploaded a brief demonstration movie of my cyclone lid in action (yes, YES, I need to edit it down--that will get done soon). Furthermore, I've included some pictures here that show the top, bottom, and side views of the cyclone. I'm working at documenting the design further and will get that stuff posted as quickly as possible for those that may be interesting in building their own. If there is enough interest in this design I will add some time-lapse video that demonstrates the superior resistance to scrubbing and backup my capacity claims. BTW, while my demo model is only intended for use with a shop vac, this design does scale well. I have made units for use with dust collectors and am currently constructing a model with twin 4" inputs and a single 6" output that will be quite awesome. I have also modded single-stage dust collectors with my baffle (this allows units with cartridge filters on top to stay cleaner, longer). I will post some pictures and details as soon as I have the time (EOY is always especially busy for me). I have created a discussion forum where I will happily answer questions and where (hopefully) any answers can benefit others, as well. Links Demonstration video (requires Microsoft Media Player compatible player) Discussion Forum Top of lid showing the two 2.5" dust ports I bought at either Rockler or Woodcraft. The exit port is top dead-center. The input port is positioned so the elbow is approx. .75" from the edge of the can. The bottom view of the baffle. The baffle is cut such that its large diameter is the same as the inner diameter of the can measured at approx. 3" down from the rim. 120-degrees of the baffle is left at this larger diameter, while 240-degrees of the baffle is reduced in diameter by 2.25" (forming a 1.125" "drop slot." The guts of the lid. The elbow was slightly modified so it can sit flush to the top of the lid and so it can hug the side of the can a little. Those spacers are made from 1/2" ABS that I cut to length and tapped for a 1/4" machine screw. The output port tube is a PVC coupler. The PVC fittings are simply hot melt glued to the plywood top. Another view of the guts showing the relationship of the elbow to the baffle's expanded (120-degree) section. Testing indicated that this design minimized turbulence. --Phil [email protected] This page has been viewed times. This site is sponsored by Milwaukee's computer repair specialists.

The Doweling Jig V2 is here and available for order! It is hard to believe it has been a year and a half since I introduced my first doweling jig for sale here. Even more difficult to believe how much better it has gotten.

The Doweling Jig V2 is here and available for order! It is hard to believe it has been a year and a half since I introduced my first doweling jig for sale here. Even more difficult to believe how much better it has gotten.

The Thien Cyclone Separator Lid w/ the Thien Cyclone Separator Baffle After seeing one sexy cyclone after another (at the various woodworking forums), and with the understanding that cyclone lids aren't true cyclones and don't offer a full cyclone experience, I decided to try them nonetheless.

My shop is small, and I use a shop vac for "dust collection." Without starting a debate over what constitutes dust vs. chip collection, I'm just going to say that my tools really were designed for extraction with a shop vac instead of a dust collector. I have a tiny Inca bandsaw w/ a 1.25" port, a table saw w/ a 2.5" port, and my router table's down-draft box works better with the larger static lift of the shop vac than it would with the higher air volume of a "true" dust collector. So for the time being, I decided to stick w/ models of cyclone lids intended for use with shop vacs.

I started by rearranging my shop and installing some 2.5" flexible hose as a dust collection network. I used some Y's and blast gates and discovered that, because my shop was quite small and the flexible pipe runs very short (a total length of 9' from one end to the other), the flexible hose worked great.

Next, I tried three different commercially-available cyclone lids. I was disappointed with the amount of debris that still made it back to my shop vac. Big chips, not just fines! Worse yet, even when I was no longer cutting (or planing or jointing), running the shop vac resulted in a constant scrubbing (an exodus of material from the "cyclone" bin back to the shop vac. This just wouldn't do!

So I spent approx. the last two years developing and perfecting my own design. I've gone through nearly fifty designs/variations. Now I find myself with a cyclone lid that approaches true cyclones in separation efficiency, and which isn't susceptible to the scrubbing that all the commercial offerings I tested suffered from.

The trick of my design is the baffle I've added. This specially shaped baffle creates a separate cyclonic chamber at the top of the unit. The baffle reduces the amount of turbulence that hits the already settled debris in the bottom of the bin. Furthermore, the baffle guarantees that any debris that HAS been reactivated by turbulence will have to re-enter the cyclonic motion before getting a chance to exit the output tube (and debris that was heavy enough to settle once will likely settle again).

Finally, the baffle allows you to fill the unit to within 3" of the top of the can (the bottom of the baffle) without any penalty in terms of separation or scrubbing. In fact, I've actually slightly overfilled my unit on a number of occasions with little consequence. All three commercial units I tested had performances that were inversely proportional to volume utilized (getting progressively worse past 1/4 full).

I've uploaded a brief demonstration movie of my cyclone lid in action (yes, YES, I need to edit it down--that will get done soon). Furthermore, I've included some pictures here that show the top, bottom, and side views of the cyclone. I'm working at documenting the design further and will get that stuff posted as quickly as possible for those that may be interesting in building their own. If there is enough interest in this design I will add some time-lapse video that demonstrates the superior resistance to scrubbing and backup my capacity claims.

BTW, while my demo model is only intended for use with a shop vac, this design does scale well. I have made units for use with dust collectors and am currently constructing a model with twin 4" inputs and a single 6" output that will be quite awesome. I have also modded single-stage dust collectors with my baffle (this allows units with cartridge filters on top to stay cleaner, longer). I will post some pictures and details as soon as I have the time (EOY is always especially busy for me).

Top of lid showing the two 2.5" dust ports I bought at either Rockler or Woodcraft. The exit port is top dead-center. The input port is positioned so the elbow is approx. .75" from the edge of the can. The bottom view of the baffle. The baffle is cut such that its large diameter is the same as the inner diameter of the can measured at approx. 3" down from the rim. 120-degrees of the baffle is left at this larger diameter, while 240-degrees of the baffle is reduced in diameter by 2.25" (forming a 1.125" "drop slot." The guts of the lid. The elbow was slightly modified so it can sit flush to the top of the lid and so it can hug the side of the can a little. Those spacers are made from 1/2" ABS that I cut to length and tapped for a 1/4" machine screw. The output port tube is a PVC coupler. The PVC fittings are simply hot melt glued to the plywood top. Another view of the guts showing the relationship of the elbow to the baffle's expanded (120-degree) section. Testing indicated that this design minimized turbulence.

Top of lid showing the two 2.5" dust ports I bought at either Rockler or Woodcraft. The exit port is top dead-center. The input port is positioned so the elbow is approx. .75" from the edge of the can.

The bottom view of the baffle. The baffle is cut such that its large diameter is the same as the inner diameter of the can measured at approx. 3" down from the rim. 120-degrees of the baffle is left at this larger diameter, while 240-degrees of the baffle is reduced in diameter by 2.25" (forming a 1.125" "drop slot."

The guts of the lid. The elbow was slightly modified so it can sit flush to the top of the lid and so it can hug the side of the can a little. Those spacers are made from 1/2" ABS that I cut to length and tapped for a 1/4" machine screw. The output port tube is a PVC coupler. The PVC fittings are simply hot melt glued to the plywood top.

Another view of the guts showing the relationship of the elbow to the baffle's expanded (120-degree) section. Testing indicated that this design minimized turbulence.

building a diy dust separator (thien cyclone) - did it myself

If you use a shop vac for dust collection, you probably realize that if you just run it bagless, you eventually spit fine particulates out the back. If you have an enclosed shop, this isnt particularly great for your health. You can put a finer filter or a filter bag from the home store on your shop vac, and these work great at catching this dust.

Then, you have a second problem: the course dust plugs up these finer filters and fills the bags really quickly. This is where a dust separator comes in. The idea is to have a chamber that is in-line between your tool and the dust extraction youre using. The chamber is intentionally shaped to circulate the incoming dust in a cyclone, allowing the heavy sawdust and other chunks to fall into a bucket. This is similar to how bagless vacuum cleaners work.

If you put together something like this, you can catch a lot of the big stuff before it ever hits your shop vac filter. It will fall to the bottom of a bucket, which you can easily pour in the trash, and save your filter for the really fine stuff.

There are products like the Dust Deputy that you can purchase to do this job. However, as of this writing, theyre $50 + parts or $99 for a complete kit on Amazon. Honestly, thats more expensive than Im willing to pay. Phil Thien made a DIY dust separator design. A lot of guys have put this together, and it gets great reviews.

I planned to have the separator sit on top of my shop vac, so I can roll them both around. Im also too cheap to buy proper shop vac hoses, etc, so I wanted to improvise with as much cheap PVC pipe as possible.

I got out my handy dandy digital caliper and simply measured the shop vac opening and hoses. The only keys are that I could find some PVC to hook into the shop vac opening, and that I could find a fitting the hose could connect to on the separator. I ended up going with a length of 2 straight PVC, four 90-degree 2 elbows, and a flexible 2 coupling. Bringing the caliper to the store, though, made it easy to figure out the fittings that would work.

The cyclone itself will require three wood circles; I used some scrap plywood. The first should be as wide as the bucket, to hold the whole thing on top of the bucket. The second should be just as big as the inside diameter of the bucket, to glue under the first. The last should be a bit smaller still, to fit down in the bucket and form the bottom of the cyclone.

So, the first step is to size and cut the topmost circle. You can really use any bucket or trash can you want for this project. I used a 5-gallon bucket I got for free from Napa when I bought some oil. Step 1 here is to simply put the bucket on the plywood, and trace it.

You then rough cut the circle. Accuracy isnt critical here as long as you stay outside the line I finish the circle on a router table. The goal here is to simply remove the majority of the wood around the circle. If no bandsaw is available, a jigsaw could do the same task.

The next step is to find the center of the circle, to drill a hole in it. Youll have a small amount of room for error on this, since the router circle jig will make a perfect circle regardless of where the hole is, as long as theres sufficient material around it. Still, its easy enough to find the center.

To find the center of a circle, the trick is to simply draw 3 straight lines from edge to edge of the circle. These lines should be an even number of inches, though the last picture has two sets of lines because I just randomly drew them, and then had to try to bisect lines that are 9 3/16 across, etc. Anyway, if you draw 3 edge-edge lines, and then draw 3 lines perpendicular at the exact center of each of those edge to edge lines, the 3 perpendicular lines will meet at the exact center of the circle. (SCIENCE!)

At this point, you need to make a circle jig if you dont have one. Theyre expensive, so I did this instead. I simply grabbed a piece of scrap and put a small nail in it. I drilled a hole the same diameter as the nail into the center of the circle I marked earlier.

At this point, it was a simple matter of putting the circles hole on the nail, and then clamping the whole thing down where it just barely met the router. Turn the router on (WITHOUT the wood touching it yet turn it to a shallower place to start). You can at this point spin the wood, feeding it into the router. When you make it all the way around, you can turn the router off, adjust the jig to cut deeper, and keep going until youve got your circle.

Now we need a circle to glue to the top lid that fits just inside the bucket. This helps stabilize and hold everything in place. The procedure is largely the same: I traced the top lid on some plywood, rough cut it with a bandsaw, and used the router circle jig.

At some point, youll have a circle the same size as the top lid. I simply kept making the circle smaller past this point, and test-fitting it against the bucket. Once it fit right inside the top of the bucket snug but not tight, mission accomplished.

As Phil Thien says in his design, the baffle is a critical piece of the separator. This allows dust whipping around the inside of the separator to drop into the bucket and not get picked back up. I started by making a slightly smaller circle than the last one. This needs to be able to drop about 4-6 inches down into the bucket. The procedure is identical to the last one.

Part B here is to cut the baffle, which is basically a semicircular cutout that goes around approximately 2/3 of the circle. Obviously just use a compass if you have one, but I do not, so I just drew a bunch of dots 1 from the edge and guessed at a semi-circle. The good news is that accuracy is not at all critical here: like before, I used the circle jig to finish this up and make it perfectly circular.

Next, I cut 3 scrap pieces of 12 (size isnt important) to the same length to use as supports between the bottom baffle and the top lid. The goal was to eyeball how everything would fit prior to cutting the baffle, in case I needed to make changes. I also had the 2 PVC elbow I was using to test fitment, along with some 2 straight pipe that would later be cut to size. Thiens design showed the elbow sort of pointing in the area with no cutout, so I went ahead and did something similar, mostly just eyeballing.

At this point, the procedure is the same as before. I simply used the circle jig on the router table to incrementally cut the baffle until it was a nice, perfect circle. As you can see, my improvised semicircle as drawn was not quite a semicircle, but it didnt matter it was really there as a bandsaw guide, and the circle jig took care of the rest.

The next step is to get the supports attached to the bottom baffle. Based on the positioning done earlier, I had marked out where the supports were supposed to go. I drilled pilot holes through roughly the center of the markings and into the supports themselves. Then, I just glued and screwed them in place.

The top lid first needs to be glued into one piece, exactly straight. This is easy to accomplish by slightly enlarging the nail hole used for the circle jig earlier, and putting a drill bit or similar through both pieces. I then allowed this to dry before going on to the next step.

Connecting the top lid to the baffle now becomes a simple matter of using the long drill bit from earlier through the center of all 3 pieces to make sure everything is straight. Then, simply apply glue to all 3 supports, drill pilot holes, and screw the top lid into the supports.

Now you can use a hole saw bit to make two holes for the inlet and outlet ports. The ideal solution here would be to simply get a hole saw bit as big as the PVC you intend to put through the opening. This is what you should absolutely do. What youll do instead if youre as cheap as I am, is use the one bit you happen to have in the shop, and then enlarge the hole on the router. Do not do this, it was stupid.

As you can see, after using my too-small hole bit, I traced a small section of PVC. I was able to take this to the router table and enlarge the whole freehand. Unless youre really good at routing, again, do not do this. It turned out OK, but I would have gotten a much nicer hole if I had simply bought a bigger bit.

Do that twice, though, and youre mostly done. I was able to fit a 90 elbow + 2 flexible coupler and a piece of straight pipe on. I put a screw in the straight pipe to hold it a couple of inches away from the baffle. I also put a screw through the elbow piece to hold it at a constant angle and keep it from moving around.

At this point, youve got a basic cylone separator together. You could sit this in your bucket, hook up the pipes, and call it good. As I stated, though, I wanted to have it sit on top of the shop vac so I could roll it all around as one unit. That meant

I wanted to have it be removable as well, of course. I ended up discovering that putting a huge rabbet on some scrap 24 let me just slip the wood into the holes near the shop vac handles. With one of these on each side, I could just screw some more 24 to it, and have myself a handy removable base for the separator.

I ended up just screwing another couple of 2x4s to these supports, and then putting one screw through the bottom of the bucket into the support. When I want to remove the bucket to empty it, this support structure comes with it, but so far it has worked pretty well. It also took two seconds to throw together. Its worth noting that I intentionally built it so that the bucket is set back to where it is supported by the shop vac, but doesnt cover the fan.

Now it was time to plumb it. I ended up having to shave down one of the elbows just slightly to get it to fit into the shop vac. This was quick to do with a router bit in the table, but a sander might have worked too. Alternatively, I could have looked for a better fitting to use, but I didnt. Oh well.

The rest was a simple matter of cutting and connecting some PVC, which should be easy peasy if you ever had legos. The center hole in the separator connects to the shop vac, the elbow outer hole connects to the hose. When I take the shop vac out, i just pull the pipe out of the separator and turn it to the side, then lift the bucket. I could probably find a better system, but it works well enough so far.

The real test was seeing if it actually picks up dust. As you can see, it does a great job. After less use than youd think, I had an inch or two of sawdust that made it into the bucket rather than my expensive shop vac filter bag or my lungs.