Adding a Dust Deputy Cyclone to my workshop has been one of the easiest and most impactful projects I’ve done.
A cyclonic dust separator has two main advantages. The first is that it keeps 99% of sawdust and debris from reaching your vacuum, which means your filters stay cleaner for longer, and you don’t have to change bags as often. Secondly, it ensures a more uniform suction capacity, regardless of how full the bin is.
My new Dust Deputy cyclone has definitely improved my ability to control dust collection and cleanup in my workshop. It’s a highly recommended addition, and can be built for as little as ~$100. (Accessorizing a cyclonic separator with casters or other add-ons will add to the overall cost.)
Picking a Bin
When going the DIY route, the key decision you need to make is in choosing a collection bin to you mount your cyclone to. You can find plenty of different approaches, from a Home Depot 5-gallon bucket, to 50-gallon drums.
It is really important to ensure the bin, drum, or other collection device is strong enough to handle the suction of your shop vacuum or dust extractor. If you search around, you’ll find photos of bins and buckets that have collapsed or became structurally compromised after succumbing to vacuum pressure.
I wanted something reasonably large that I didn’t have to empty too often, and I settled on an Eagle 20-gallon salvage drum on Amazon. I clearly wasn’t the only one with this idea because most of the reviews are by people doing similar builds.
Stuart’s Note: They make different shapes of bins – here’s a tall and narrow 14 gallon drum.
Creating a Top
As I did my research, I noticed that most people put a hard top on their collection bins. This helps add rigidity to the bin and gives you a strong mounting point for the cyclone. Bolting the cyclone directly on to a plastic lid usually will not result in a particularly strong installation.
I cut a top from a piece of MDF using my M.Power CRB7 Router Jig. This was the first time I’ve cut a circle, and it was way easier than I expected, not to mention very satisfying!
I then used a hole saw to cut a 3″ hole in the middle. For good measure I finished the top with some laminate.
Finally I grabbed some rubber gasket material and cut it into a circle so I could improve the seal between the Dusty Deputy and my top. I also put a piece between my MDF top and the top of the bin, though I don’t think this was really necessary.
Bolting it All Together
With the top made, you just need to drill the appropriate holes and bolt everything together. This is a bit fiddly because the plastic top isn’t completely flat, making it was hard to get everything lined up.
The Dust Deputy does come with bolts but I had to source my own 1-1/4″ bolts to get through the top and the lid.
Connecting the Hoses
The cyclone has two connection points. At the top, that’s where you connect a hose to your shop vacuum. I currently use a Dewalt DWV012, which uses their proprietary Universal Quick Connector. To get around this, I purchased one of their adapters and then glued it onto the top port of the Dust Deputy.
For the side port you need the female connection to a hose that plugs into your tools. I purchased a Dewalt DWV9000 Universal Connector and jerry-rigged a connection to the Dust Deputy using a plumbing part I found at Home Depot.
Adding Some Feet
My first attempt to add wheels was a bit of a disaster. I added casters to the bottom of the bin, but no matter how carefully I tried to move it, it would tip over. So I switched to side mounted casters, which solved the problem by created a wider base. I used Easytech workbench casters from Amazon.
The Finished Setup
That’s it, a fairly straightforward build for something I now use every single time I am in my workshop!