In Tricks of the Trade

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I often use my shop vacuum for dust collection on hand-held power tools. Two things annoy me about most vacs, though. First, they’re really noisy. Second, when the vac gets full—and that can happen before you know it—the filter clogs up and airflow drops.

I solved both problems at once. I put my vac in a cabinet, connected it to a small cyclone separator (the Dust Deputy D.I.Y.), and ran PVC pipe from the separator to a flexible drop over my bench. Essentially, I’ve built a mini central dust-collection system.

The cabinet, lined with 1″ thick foam, muffles the noise quite well. The separator collects the bulk of the dust and chips. The vac now takes much longer to fill, since it only collects the finest of dust particles. I’ll empty the separator’s bucket many times before I have to check the vac.

I used rigid pipe for the runs, but you could use flex hose, too. I put a couple of loose 2x4s under the separator’s bucket so I can lower the bucket in order to remove and empty it.  Alan Schaffter

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