DIY Cyclone Dust Separator

With the plans to turn an area of my basement into a workshop, I wanted to have some type of dust collection system in place. Here’s the video of what I built and then I’ll go into some details.

Originally I had some grand ideas, but I did more searching and came across a neat mobile dust station. It seemed like a good solution for me since the area I’ll be using isn’t very large and there is a pole in the middle of the room. I’ll probably have most of the larger tools and work table on wheels, so I scrapped the initial idea to have dust collection feeds going to several different places around the room.

I ordered a knock-off cyclone unit for about $25 on Amazon. I noticed it was going to take several weeks to be back in stock, so I wondered if I could make my own. Sure enough there are countless examples of people building their own. I cancelled the order and had my next project. Most of the builds shared online are based on the Thien Baffle Cyclone Separator, which is one guy’s improved version of the Cyclone. I found a video where someone used polycarbonate to create a clear cylinder, which I thought looked really cool when dust was whipping around inside. I ended up using many of his methods to construct my own cylinder.

Here are some sketches I did before and through the build process.


The final build ended up pretty close to this sketch.


Dimensions of my baffle and the other parts at the bottom of the cylinder.


Pieces to support the seam of the cylinder and house the infeed hose.

Cutting the outer hole, an inside circle, and forming the cylinder were easily the most difficult parts of this build. I used straps to help keep the polycarbonate shape, because it wants to go right back to being a flat sheet. If I were to do this again, I’d use a wider sheet than 24″ or find some thinner than the 0.093″ I got from Home Depot in the hopes it would be easier to form the cylinder.

Once formed and screwed in, the 2 screws at each end of the sheet pulled right out of the top circle after a few minutes. It needed some support down the seam, so I learned how to cut a cove with a table saw that would allow a piece of wood to fit up nicely against the curve of the cylinder. Don’t get me started on how many circles and curves there were during this build.

I didn’t take any pictures during the frame/stand build but there isn’t anything exciting to say there. To get the rainbow effect on the LEDs I’m using a cheap Arduino Nano clone with some pretty simple code, which is available at my rgb-led-rainbow repo on GitHub.

I’m happy with how the project turned out, but it took much longer than I expected. I probably should have started out my shop with something easier to get more comfortable with woodworking. I did learn a lot and used so many different tools throughout the process.

If you have any specific questions about my build, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer. I decided not to do a detailed description or video because there are a lot of examples out there, including the two YouTube videos and the Thien baffle design I linked to above. I took most of my ideas from others and gave things my own twist.

8 thoughts on “DIY Cyclone Dust Separator

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