I have been struggling for the past few years with ShopVacs in my workshop as the filters become clogged so quickly that I really could not use them for extended periods of time without continually cleaning the filter. My previous ShopVac’s motor burned out after the filter became clogging while I was planing some boards. After doing some research it looked like some kind of 1st stage filter option would solve the problem so I went ahead and purchased the dust deputy. The DIY dust deputy kit comes only with the plastic cyclone. When you look at the full kit which comes with hoses and the lid it may be more cost effective to purchase that but I was on a budget and thought I could get by with just the cyclone.
I already had a 5 gallon bucket but I had to come up with an option for the lid. The cyclone came with a little manual that described how to connect everything and provides a few examples but I turned to issue 109 of ShopNotes magazine which details how to build a good looking cart and since I already had a Lowes branded ShopVac figured this would be my best solution.
You will need approximately 2/3’s of a sheet of plywood. I made the lid for the bucket out of plywood as well. I used a scrap circular piece I had left over from a previous project. I trimmed it to size by using a router circle cutting jig and routed a 1/4” inside slot to mount it to the bucket. It was a fraction out of alignment so I heated the top of the bucket with a heat gun until it became soft and I could mold it into the slot. I mounted the dust deputy to the lid with some silicone sealer as suggested in the dust deputy manual and secured it with 1/4” bolts. Because I did not have any hoses to make the connections to the dust deputy I used my existing ShopVac hoses and just cut and joined them to make the connections. Being short of hoses to connect the vacuum to the dust deputy and having to make the lid is where you need to figure out whether it is worth the extra effort for the savings.
After testing the system I found it to work extremely well with virtually no dust reaching the vacuum. However, after using it for a while I had to make a few changes.
1. The first change I made was to change the inlet to the dust deputy. I noticed that the vacuum was so strong now that the pipe was collapsing on the bend. I replaced this section with PVC piping. I used standard 2” diameter PVC pipe and a heat gun heat to mold it so that all fittings were air tight.
2. The second change I made was to replace the 2” casters I had used with 3” casters. The plan actually calls for 3” casters and these work a lot better.
[threecol_two]3. I also added an electrical fitting to the cart. This is just an extension cord connected to an electrical outlet which I added to one side of the upright center section. I used one of the outlets to plug the ShopVac in for normal operation and then I added an i-Socket Autoswitch to the other outlet so that I can use the ShopVac with a power tool and have it switch on automatically when I use the power tool. This is particularly useful for sanding and when using my Festool track saw. Finally I made a cord wrap on the other side to keep the cord tidy when not in use.[/threecol_two][threecol_one_last][/threecol_one_last]
Ron Walters has an excellent video on his youtube channel which shows how you can make you own cylone, but, with so many projects on the go in my workshop already, I did not want to have to build one and just needed something now to help my shopvac along. Check out his writeup and videos on the woodgears.ca website http://woodgears.ca/reader/walters/cyclone.html