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Making a DIY Cyclone Dust Separator for Your Shop

It turns out that making a cyclone dust separator is a fairly simple process, and the DIY version seems to work as well as a commercial separator. Small scale (shop size) cyclone dust separators typically attach to an intermediate tank (like a trash can or 5-gallon bucked) and separate the dust and large chunks of debris from the air being sucked into the vacuum system. This helps keep your vacuum system clean and can help prevent damage caused by large pieces of debris hitting impellers on larger dust collector systems.

DIY Cyclone Dust Separator by Dan Clark

Dan Clark walks us through the process he used for making his own cyclone dust separator using a bit of sheet metal, some tubing, and a Shop-Vac. Here’s an excerpt from Dan’s step-by-step walkthrough of the project (which is free for download and linked below in PDF format).

“I do a lot of cutting and CNC routing in MDF which creates a powdery dust that quickly plugs up my shop vacuum filter. I was always having to take the vacuum apart and clean the filter, especially during long CNC routing operations. I started searching on Youtube for ways to keep the filter from clogging so quickly and found several different types of separation systems others have made. After reviewing many different concepts I decided on the cyclone style separator and began designing my own system. My system is running now and is performing far better than I had hoped.

Before you begin building you should know there is a separator called Dust Deputy made of a plastic material available for only $39.00 that could save you a lot of time.”

If you’re still interested in making your own, download the free PDF plans below.

If you’d rather purchase a commercial dust separator, many inexpensive solutions can be found on Amazon. Here are just a few examples (click images to view price on Amazon):

Or a more robust, larger capacity (1o gallon) solution:

Buy or DIY, either way a cyclone separator can really help keep your dust collection system running clean and trouble free.

If you would like to share your experiences (preferred brand, size considerations, etc) with the rest of us, please leave a comment via the forum (see link below).

Thanks for sharing your project with us Dan!


  Cyclone_dust_separator.pdf (1.1 MiB, 979 downloads)
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About Tyler

Tyler is a hobby machinist and 3D printing aficionado. He teaches computer programming and web development at Highline College near Seattle. Tyler founded Projects In Metal in 2008 because he was frustrated by the lack of free plans available for hobby machinists.

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