A few months ago we briefly discussed a great tutorial on how to make a 5 gallon fine particle dust separator. The tutorial has since been taken down from the now-defunct ShopNGarage forum, but luckily Goodfellow was able to post it up at the new Garage Gazette forum.
The great thing about this simple design is that it can be adapted for use on sawdust and other types of debris, not just blasting media. Without a layer of water at the bottom, the trap will separate out larger debris before it takes up space in the shop vacuum.
This separator probably won’t function as well for sawdust applications as a cyclone separator, but it should hold its own against other conventional separator designs.
Fine Particle Dust Collection Separator via the Garage Gazette
Photo Credit: Goodfellow
Update: Forum link is dead.
A NOTE FOR BUILDERS: Some people have voiced concerns about their bucket collapsing. To be clear, the reason the bucket collapsed is that the intake tube was below the water lever. In fact the water level should NEVER be higher than the intake tube. This is NOT a “DUST BONG” —
The water simply catches the incoming debris and holds it in suspension. Hence, the water should merely cover the bottom of the bucket, and not rise above the inlet tube. If the water level rises above the inlet tube, the resulting vacuum WILL make the bucket collapse.
Hey Goodfellow, could you tell me what you used for connecting the HF blast cabinet to the vac hose? The size of the port on the cabinet is a weird size and I’m having a hard time finding something to fit on mine.
Thanks in advance!
Mine is setup as a “dust bong”, and works WAY better than just a water trap. All I did differently was put a dimmer switch on the shop vac to reduce the suction somewhat. You then have control over how much negative pressure you want to maintain in the blasting cabinet. A foam block at the cabinet outlet keeps the large particles inside the cabinet too…
Thank you very much for adding that additional tip!
I made one of these about 5 months ago and it works very nicely. On mine, the tube from the vac itself is centered on the lid. I don’t use any water at all in the unit and it separates perfectly. This is essentially a cyclone even though it functions in a cylinder and not in a cone. It is the air circulation that traps the debris. Water may help trap some debris in the bottom, yes, but it’s also a slurry to clean up at each emptying. I use this for wood only, have not cleaned my shop vac filter even once for 5 months, and have emptied the bucket of sawdust many times. The bucket unit is top heavy and falls over when you are moving around vacuuming, pulling on the hose. My remedy for this is to keep a brick in the bottom of the bucket. It still tips on occasion but helps greatly. Here’s a picture of mine for downloading if it’s any add’l help to your project: https://files.me.com/skone/0yib3n
Can you send a diagram and or picture (teds idea january 5 .2011) 5 gallon bucket fine dust collector. The picture posted expired. We have a fair sized woodshop making beds and furniture for the needy with a dust in the air problem.
How many professional blasting cabinets come with water filters? None.
Our high-end Empire blasting rig doesn’t have one, our cheapo TP tools one doesn’t have one, even our automated shot blaster doesn’t have one. Too much reusable media would be put into the water and made useless by the fact that it is now wet. Not only that, but for very fine medias, you now have a source of humidity ducted right into your cabinet. Proper blast cabinet reclaimer kits aren’t much money, I’m pretty sure HF has one for a little over $100.
Do it right… Blasting Media + Water = Stupid
I don’t think it is a blast media re-claimer as much as it is a dust collector/separator. Not really sure if I would even reuse that little blast media it does collect. I primarily use 60 to 90 grit aluminum oxide at 60 to 80 psi in my cabinet. I will give this design a try minus the water and report back with the results.
I have a small diy sand blast cabinet.
I use glassbeads to clean my r/c car bodies.i used a vacuum cleaner but have burned it out now.i have too much dust when i blast.is there not a way that i can make a filter to get all the dust out while blasting.
Any help would be gratefull.
I use a shop vac with my blast cabinet, it has the foam and paper filters, but I also use the shop vac bags, I use the Craftsman Fine dust/drywall vac dust bags. With this set up it allows me to recycle any media that was sucked up.
As far as the blast cabinet outlet goes, I used a 1 1/2″ PVC elbow. I glued the female end into the 2″ opening and regular vacuum hose inside the Male end. When I want to use my blast cabinet I insert the vacuum hose inside the shop vac hose use a bit of tape to hold in place add my dust bag, and blast away.
All my best