DIY Plywood Dust Separator Project (Old)

A vacuum is an essential tool for keeping your shop clean, but when you’re doing work in the shop you’re very often generating large volumes of dust that will quickly overwhelm most consumer-grade vacuums. The solution is to use a “two stage” system that captures the majority of dust and particulates in the intermediate stage.

Now there are plenty of off-the-shelf systems that will give you this capability, the most common one being the Oneida Dust Deputy. While this is an excellent option, it is also pretty expensive for what basically looks like an industrial lemonade pitcher. So being that I had some free time available, and needed some practice designing for CNC, I decided to make my own.

The design I came up with isn’t perfect, It’s scaled for higher airflow. The “core” design could have been optimized to generate a stronger vortex. But even without refining the design any further, the dust separator is greater than 90% effective, which saves me from having to empty the canister on my vacuum constantly.

If you want to recreate, or modify this project, you’ll need:

    2 x Home Depot (or other) 5-gallon bucket.
    Small clamps or two stuck-together lids to hold the bucket halves together.
    5mm (or whatever’s just thinner than 0.25″) plywood
    1/4″ bolts, nuts, and washers
    1/16″ end mill able to cut through the entire thickness of your plywood.
    Vacuum hose adapter


Build Notes:

    – Not included: Method of attaching vacuum hose from the top. Everyone’s hoses are different diameters, make an adapter for your size.
    – Hex holes for nuts (or bolt heads, of you want them to stick through like studs) on sheet 3 should be pockets, not full-depth cuts. ~2mm should do it.
    – It can be difficult to secure the “vortex core” to the top of the bucket. Instead of trying to reach around it, into the bucket, to hold a nut in place while you turn the bolt from the outside, try hot-glueing the nuts (or bolts) into the recesses carved on the bucket-core-interface-panel-thingy (sheet 3).
    – I would recommend not cutting out the rectangular openings that go around the core (Sheet one, item all the way to the right. You’ll need 8 of these, by the way. Copy-paste as needed.) This will (hopefully) buy time to strengthen the vorticity of the airflow.
    – You will need to tweak the size of the “vacuum hose inlet” panels. Or do a lot of sanding…

Project Files:
Note that these are Inkscape SVGs, so PPI scaling should be set to 90 if using MakerCAM.



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