One of the best tips I can share with you from years of working in my garage is to clean as you go. But with some materials, that’s not always convenient.
Whenever I did a woodworking project, my routine was this: measure, cut or saw, then connect the pieces together. So satisfying to see everything come together in the end!
But once I celebrated my latest home project, I had to face the confetti of wood shavings all around me. Sure, it smells nice, but should I really be inhaling that stuff while I’m working?
I knew it was time for a change because I was tired of cleaning up the sawdust mess, and I wanted to protect my lungs.
I searched around for an inexpensive solution, and I saw a video by Chris Notap on how he made a simple cyclone dust collector. I loved this idea, but instead of 5-gallon buckets, I wanted to use a garbage can I already had on hand.
This tutorial below is inspired by Chris’ tutorial, linked above.
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DIY cyclone dust collector for your shop vacuum
- (3) – 1.5” pipe cut to 1 3/8” long
- (3) – 1.5” straight connectors
- (1) – 1.5” 90-degree elbow
- (1) – 1.5” 45-degree elbow
- (2) – 2” rubber pipe caps
- Foam window seal tape (this is optional)
- One plastic garbage can with a lid (or whichever size works for you)
- scrap board
- Flat metal screws
- Shop vacuum
- Tin snips
Step 1: Trace the pipe onto the lid
With the 1.5” pipe connector, trace the inside edge of the connector onto the lid of the garbage can in two places:
- Along the outside edge
- The center of the lid
Step 2: Cut out the holes in the lid
With a ½” bit, drill a starter hole inside the traced circles.
Next, use tin snips to cut out the circles.
Test the fit of the 1.5” pipe and adjust if needed.
SIDE NOTE: For the second hole, I decided to trace the 1.5” pipe (not the connector) and then cut the hole. I found that tracing the outside of the pipe required no adjusting after cutting.
Step 3: Attach the pipes together
Take one 1.5” pipe and push it onto one pipe connector.
Push the other 1.5” pipe onto another pipe connector as well.
Then, insert the pipes into the center and outside holes of the lid.
From the inside of the lid, attach the last pipe connector onto the center pipe.
Next, take both the 45-degree and 90-degree elbow and hold them up to each other. You will notice little marks on the sides. You want to move the marks a ¼” away from each other, and that’s where these fittings will be pushed together.
This angle will direct the sawdust downwards into the garbage can.
Then, place the 90-degree fittings onto the pipe on the lid.
You will later rotate the fittings until they hit the sides of the garbage can. This will allow the sawdust to cycle around the garbage can and eventually settle to the bottom.
Step 4: Apply the seal tape
This step is optional, and it does make the lid difficult to put on, but it will give you a good seal on your lid.
Wipe the lid to remove any dust, then add the window seal tape along the outside edge of the lid.
Step 5: Cut the rubber caps
Now it’s time to customize the rubber caps to fit the hoses of the vacuum and the hose that will connect to the power tool.
To cut the holes, trace the size of the hose onto the rubber caps.
Then, drill a starter hole into each cap.
Use the tin snips to cut out the circle from the cap.
Test the fit and adjust if needed.
Step 6: Install the rubber caps
Place the rubber caps over the pipe connectors and use a screwdriver to tighten the metal hose clamp.
Step 7: Secure the pipe fittings
After testing the collector, I realized I needed to place a board to keep the pipe fitting from moving around.
I used two scrap boards: one was 4”x8.5” and the other was 1-1/2”x4”
I attached the smaller board to the larger board by predrilling two holes and then securing it in place with two 1-1/4” screws
Next, I placed the lid onto the garbage can and positioned the pipe fitting against the side of the garbage.
Then, I turned the lid over, measured the distance from the lid edge to the fitting, and then positioned the boards to keep the pipe fitting in one location, being careful not to move the fitting.
I then clamped the board into place.
I checked that the fitting was still the same distance from the lid’s edge and adjusted as needed. I ended up adjusting one clamp to secure the board to the lid.
Finally, I flipped the lid over and secured the board to the lid with four ¾” screws.
And this is how it looked after, all ready to test out again.
FULL PROJECT VIDEO:
Are you someone that does better with visuals? Check out the full project video below and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube so you don’t miss out on future projects!
Does it work?
You’re probably wondering whether this DIY cyclone dust collector actually works.
Well, it does.
I did remove the seal tape because it was making the garbage can collapse inwards (it had a very good seal).
I plan on upgrading the sawdust collector by adding a pressure release valve, so stay tuned for that!