Litres of dust

Picked up the cyclone separator from Hare & Forbes as Phil suggested (thanks again for letting me know about it!)

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It is quite reasonable quality – I’m happy with it. Has a window to sight when the bag is full, and it can take a plastic bag as well.  You would normally expect the bag would be sucked up into the cyclone, but there is a secondary hose to the base of the collection bin, so some of the suction pulls a vacuum under the bag and holds it in place, until the weight of dust can take over.  This doesn’t cause any loss in power – once the bag is sucked down no further air will leak past so this doesn’t sacrifice any performance.

So working from the dust extractor out.

The extractor inlet is 8″.  This is pretty phenomenal, and at full power can really suck your hand against the grate.

I have sourced an 8″ to 2x 6″ Y piece, but not from your normal expected suppliers.  I couldn’t find anything 8″ from the normal woodworking suppliers, but found a hydroponics supplier in NSW that had exactly what I wanted, and at a really good price.  For $30 (+$12 delivery), I got a galv metal Y piece.

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The equivalent from one of the woodworking suppliers has a 200mm (8″) to 2x 5″, for $110.

Y

 

The outlet for the cyclone is 180mm, so close enough to 8″.  It comes with a reducer to 6″.  I haven’t been able to find any 8″ hose, so am contemplating running dual 6″ from the cyclone to the extractor.  Either that, or I have a spare 6″ inlet for the extractor going to waste.

Until I get the 6″ pipe, I am currently running dual 4″ from the cyclone to the extractor, via a Y piece at either end.

The inlet to the cyclone is 6″, and it comes with a 6″ to 2x 4″ Y piece.  I have currently connected it to my 4″ pipe run, so performance is down at every transition.  (Effectively I have reduced the 8″ inlet for the extractor all the way down to 1x 4″, so not ideal!)

Fired it up, and fine dust does manage to get through to the filter bags, but I don’t have a problem with that – the cyclone is there for bulk material separation in this case.  The smaller cyclones I use separate everything, and even fine dust doesn’t get through, but this is not a cyclone for that purpose.

In saying that, I sucked up about 100L of sawdust, primarily MDF, and about 500ml managed to find its way into the collection bags of the dust extractor.  It is much easier to empty the bin of the cyclone than remove the bags from the extractor, so this will make a lot of difference.

I am still contemplating where the extractor and cyclone will sit – it might need another small (and tall) external enclosure – will give that more thought.

Compare the cost of this setup though, to a dedicated cyclone extractor.  That has 2200cfm through 3x 4″ inlets, and costs $3300.  I don’t know what flowrate I am getting through the cyclone, how much it is reduced from the 2900cfm of the extractor, but total cost: $1285.

I still want to boost the overall performance, and either 8″ to the cyclone or 2x 6″ will help, but no matter what, you can only suck so much through a 4″ pipe that connects to the machine.

Double Dolly

Dropped into Carbatec on my way home, intending to pick up the extra magnetic rail that I needed to finish the turning chisel storage. (Oh, and yes, I did get a couple)

While having a look around, (including a peek in the yet-to-be-released latest catalogue), I saw the Dust Deputy is now also available as just the cyclone on its own, for those who don’t feel a need to get the bucket and hoses (which is fair enough!) and would be quite a cost saving I imagine (I didn’t check the price).

Alongside the stack of these new boxed cyclones were some unlabeled ones, and being ever curious I wanted to know what they were. Turns out, they are Dust Deputy Double Dollys (here-after referred to as DD DD, or simply Double Ds 😉 )

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They are currently available as a web special, marked down from $109 to $39. They allow you to mount your vac on one side, and the cyclone on the other so they can wheel around together.

I had to grab one (there are now 3 left in Melbourne!), as it sure beats how I was doing it up until now. That is, balancing the unit on the side of the vac (tied in place), with a number of lead dive weights in the bottom of the vac so it doesn’t over balance. Sure makes it heavy to pick up to relocate it!

So now I have a Double D. Happy days 😉

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Yasi

If Queensland hadn’t already been hammered by massive flooding, this is what is sitting off their doorstep tonight.  This will not be news for Australians, and I assume other countries are reporting it as well, but if not, the ABC is a worthwhile source.

(You can just see the east coast of Australia around 1/5 of the way in on the left)

Yasi

Larry and Tracy were category 4.  This, like Katrina is a category 5.

Wishing our mates in the north all the best, and hope everyone comes out of the other side of this safely.

Dust Suck

Cyclones rule.  I keep finding myself challenging it and seeing it cope, again and again.  I keep checking the dust bag in the vac as well – at this rate I’ll need a new one soon….in about 10 years or so soon that is.  Pretty much nothing is carrying across to the dust bag.

Cyclones rule!

Cyclone Power

I’ve also been playing with the Festool vac, and have changed the bag to the long-life variety.  (Not yet christened)

Festool Longlife Bag

The primary difference between the Longlife variety and the ‘garden variety’ Self-clean disposable bag is just that: the Self-clean is designed to be thrown away once full, and the long-life designed to be emptied and reused.  The rear of the Longlife bag has a clip that is removed so the bag can be emptied easily.

Bag Clamp

At the other end of the bag is the connection for the vac.  Unlike disposable bags, this is more substantial and has a cap to cover the inlet when transporting the bag for emptying.

It doesn’t look to have the same capacity as the self-cleaning bags, but that is definitely mitigated by the capability to be emptied and reused.

Bag Nozzle

Oneida 1, Stu’s Shed 0

Gave a real crack at sorting out the Systainer version of the Dust Deputy, making up a strong box to go inside the Systainer, all Dominoed together (used the Domino with the Cleantex for the first time……nice!) and slots cut to match the inside of the Systainer using the router table in its new configuration which also worked very nicely.

Tried it out again, and with all the additions, still very little dust was collected, the majority passing through to the vacuum bag.

Inner Skin

So with such an unexpected failure of the concept, I wondered if it was just the Festool Cleantex that was too powerful for the size of the cyclone.  I then tried the unit using the Shopvac, which has been very successful in the past, and although the collection was improved, still no decent result.  I can only suspect now that the shape of the collection container plays more of a part than I first suspected.  I may play again another day, but at this stage I couldn’t be bothered wasting any more time on the development.

So I reverted the cyclone to its original (commercial) orientation and tried the Cleantex again.

Big dust pile test

The Cleantex certainly has a fair suck on it – the problem I have highlighted in the past about the original lid of the Dust Deputy bin not being strong enough was significantly exaggerated – the lid getting badly sucked in (but still maintaining a seal)

At the end of a dust mountain (about 1/2 the dust drum), I checked the Cyclone bin, as well as the Cleantex dust bag.

Cyclone bin – nicely full, Cleantex bag – nicely empty.

Suck results - full bin, empty bag

So reverted everything back to pre-mod orientation – the Cooltainer back to being a Cooltainer, the Cyclone back to original, and the other Systainer put back together.  It still has a hole in the lid, and I still like the idea of a cyclone that fits on top of the Cleantex.

So I took the second dust bin of the Dust Deputy, and screwed it straight to the top of the spare (and somewhat aerated) Systainer.  Now I do need a longer initial hose, but the concept is there, just not as elegant as I intended. (Bugger).

A version of my vision

Cyclonic Festool

With Safety Week drawing to a close, thought a couple of practical articles would be good to offset all the theory during the rest of the week!

With the arrival of the Festool Cleantex Dust Collection CT36 and coincidentally the Dust Deputy, it seemed ideal to couple the two together, and especially given that Systainers can be locked solidly to the top of the Cleantex, transforming one into a dust bin seemed perfect.

Step one involved removing the lid from the systainer, and that was easily achieved with the lid open, and a screwdriver inserted into the pin/hinge and a gentle rap with a rubber mallet. Rinse and repeat for the other side and the top came straight off.

Next, I took the Dust Deputy cyclone off its original lid, and used that lid as a template to mark out where the holes need to be.

I needed to offset the cyclone so it didn’t impact on the handle, and especially the forms on the inside of the lid.

Marking out the holes

I originally thought that I’d use this Systainer on top of a second, with the base of one cut away, and the top of the next cut away so I could detach the top Systainer completely so the lower one could be emptied.  However, I couldn’t justify sacrificing two Systainers to the experiment, so thought I’d experiment with just the one (at least initially).  I decided to swap this lid with one on a larger Systainer (and if you notice that the lid that got marked out is different to the one that is cut, you’d be right – I initially marked the wrong lid!)

Holes cut, including bolt holes

Underneath there is some reinforcing ribbing, and some of that had to be cut away.  It doesn’t weaken the top, because I am replacing a few light ribs with a chunk of solid steel!

Cutting away underside ribbing

Next it was easy to bolt the cyclone on top of the lid.

Attaching the cyclone

The lid, ready to go – so far a very easy modification, and other than one damaged lid, easily reversed.  I got the Systainer cheaply (second hand), so the mod so far cost $10.

Systainer Lid with Dust Deputy Cyclone

Fitting the whole unit on top of the CT36 is also a no brainer, and the hose that comes with the cyclone is a perfect size for the Festool Cleantex.

CT36 with Cyclone Collector

Nothing left to do, but give it a test, so made a pile of dust…..

Test pile of sawdust

And sucked it up.

Progress

Now at this stage the system is working, but I need to make some immediate additions – the Systainer is not able to resist the strength of the vacuum, and that causes some significant leaks around the lid (and the rear wall of the Systainer gets pulled in).  These leaks mean the separator didn’t work well at all (yet) because the influx of air from the collection bin means the dust was able to progress from the inlet tube to the outlet rather than fall into the Systainer.

I can solve two problems with one solution – I will make a thin-walled box (MDF) to fit inside the Systainer.  This will fully support the walls of the Systainer, as well as collect the dust and it can be lifted out to empty, rather than removing the Systainer from the Cleantex.  Secondly, some of that rubber that goes around windows and doors as a draught stop should significantly help the sealing, resulting in effective use of the cyclone.

As a quick initial modification (30 minutes), I am very happy with how it is looking already, and with a few extra improvements should become a perfect addition to the new shop vac.

Episode 57 Surfacing, Sanding, Cyclones and Workgear

Episode 57 Surfacing, Sanding, Cyclones and Workgear

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