Previously, I laid out my plan for a DIY dust collector. I promised I’d be back for phase 1 after I went shopping for parts. Well, I’ve got the parts, and I built phase 1.
So far, I’m happy with my progress. The dust collector works – that’s always a good start. I found in my first tests that it is definitely a dust collector, not a shavings collector. It didn’t do a very good job with the ribbons I got from my hand plane, but did very well with sawdust.
Here’s how it went together:
- 2 5-gallon buckets, one to work as the Thein baffle, one to collect the dust
- 1 lid for a 5-gallon bucket
- 2 1-1/2 inch 45-degree PVC elbows
- 2 1-1/2 inch straight PVC unions
- 10 inches of 1-1/2 inch PVC pipe
- PVC cement
- 1 2-inch to 1-1/2 inch PVC flex union (rubber with pipe clamps)
- 1 2-inch PVC PVC flex union
- 12 wood screws (deck screws or drywall screws would be fine)
- 3 pieces of scrap 2×3 (if you have 2×4’s that will work, too)
- Drill with hole saws
- Caulk gun
- Utility knife
- Tape measure
- Screwdriver (impact wrench)
- Combination square
- Hack saw
- Using a 1-1/2 inch hole saw, cut a hole dead-center in the lid. To avoid tearing up the plastic, run the hole saw backward.
- Using the same hole saw, cut a hole the diameter of the 12-inch length of PVC just inside the ridge near the edge of the lid.
- Cut 4 pieces of the 1-1/2 inch PVC at 2-1/4 inches long.
- Cement one of the short lengths of PVC into each elbow or union.
- Insert one of the unions with the PVC through the center hole in the lid from the bottom. Cement the other union to it, creating the vacuum connection.
- Insert one of the 45-degree elbows through the other hole in the lid from the bottom. Cement the other elbow to it in a “Z” shape.
- Twist the “Z” until the bottom part would be touching the bucket if the lid were attached. Caulk it in place to both hold it and create the air-tight seal
- Caulk the vacuum connection to create its air-tight seal. Set the lid aside while working on the bucket.
- Cut the bottom off one 5-gallon bucket. Save it – you’ll need it again.
- Put the lid on the bottomless bucket and hold one of the 45-degree elbows up against it. Where the bottom edge reaches inside the bucket is the shortest you can cut the bucket off. Add 1/2 inch to that and cut the bucket as squarely as you can.
- Remove the lid, then measure the diameter of the bottom of the bucket ring. This is important – they’re tapered, so the bottom is narrower than the top. Divide by 2 and subtract 1 inch. This will give you the radius to cut the baffle from the saved bottom piece. Mine ended up a 4-inch radius.
- Cut the 2×3 or 2×4 to the same length measured in step 10. For me, this was 4-1/2 inches. Arrange them evenly-spaced around the vacuum connection on the bottom of the lid and screw them each in place. Cover each of the screws with a little caulk to seal them.
- Lay the disk cut in step 11 on the 2×3 standoffs and screw it in place. Caulk is not needed here.
- Insert into the catch-bucket and connect the vacuum hose and the clean-up hose using the flex connectors. Once the caulk sets, it’s ready to test!
I had some challenges cutting the disk from the bucket bottom. Finally, I was able to use my saber saw (a scroll saw would work, too) with a circle-cutting jig.
The utility knife turned out to be pretty hard to use when trying to cut the bucket. I ended up using my hacksaw to do a lot of the cutting.
I got impatient and didn’t wait for the caulk to set before I tested. I had to re-caulk the connections before I could finish testing.
Since it seems to work well so far, I think I’m ready for phase 2 – moving to a larger catch bucket. For me, that’ll be a garbage can, probably one of the 33-gallon ones. Between now and then, I may try extending the inside of the vacuum tube all the way to the baffle.