cyclonic dust extraction for the workshop

Bag Filter vs Cyclone Separator

Woodworking Cyclones Shopvacs

Working with woodworking machines nearly always require dust control. Machines like the planer or thicknesser produce large quantities of dangerous wood chips and fine dust and not just sanders. The process of sucking up a fine dust of the floor etc will put some of that dust in the air. Using the right system can help reduce cleanup and inhalation of airborne dust. As it stands the Cyclone separator is my preferred system that is currently available.

Types of Dust collection systems

  • Bag Filter 
  • Cyclone separator

Bag filter dust extractor

The most common type of dust filtration and often the main filter on low-cost dust extractors. These bag filters are often 5 microns efficiency when new. As they age they become blocked and efficient letting much dust past the filter.  The concept is widely used in vacuum cleaners other than Dyson who uses cyclone technology. 

bag collection system

These bag filters are made from polyester, nylon and polypropylene and deteriorate with use. 

II have a bag system and the amount of dust that escapes is considerable compared to a cyclone separator. Luckily I am now installing a Cyclone separator.

How does the Cyclone work?

If you are confused about how the cyclone works watch this video

What is a Cyclone Separator?

The Cyclonic theory is old technology from 1885 but today we think of James Dyson as the innovator. James Dyson just used the concept to make vacuum cleaners that suck well but then break! 

The cyclone separator dust collection system works by creating centrifugal rotation powered by a high volume of forced air. The vacuum machine provides the air force to the widest point which is also the top of the upside-down cyclonic cone. The side of the cone has a dirty air input at the widest point where you attach your vac house or machine. The narrow end of the cone feeds a sealed container that collects the dust particles down to at least 1 micron. 

Basically, the suction machine causes the cone and container to create a negative pressure which breaths from the dirty air input. The airflow is whizzed into a cyclone or mini tempest but now the clever bit starts to happen. As the dust or wood chips rotate they are forced to the narrow section of the cone. Too far from the suction source and travelling at high speed, the inertia just forces the debris into the container. The concept evolved from nature!

cyclonic action

In this video, you can actually see the cyclonic action at 14:12

I have placed a light behind the cyclone so you can how the dust is forced into the container.

How big is a Cyclone separator?

The cyclone can be small, large or multi-cyclone. The size of the cyclone is directly representative of the size of the input hose. 

  • A shop-vac needs a small single cyclone of around 12”/300mm high. Cyclone shop vac systems such as the Oneida Cyclone can be purchased from Amazon
  • A workshop 6” piped dust extraction system will need a cyclone unit of around 3ft3” / 1m tall  to be efficient collecting dust down to 1 micro

The exhaust of these larger machines goes through a pleated canister filter making them ideal for mounting inside the workshop.

Dust Deputy Deluxe Cyclone Separator Kit

Upgrade any make and model shop vacuum into a two-stage dust control system with our patented cyclone separator. Removes over 99% of dust and debris from the airstream, containing it in an easy-to-empty 5-gallon, 100 mils heavy-duty bucket before it ever reaches the vacuum – virtually eliminating filter clogging and suction loss! Kit includes everything you need to connect to the vacuum including 3′ vacuum connection hose, elbow adapters, caster wheels, and a dual “sidecar” bucket for mounting to the vacuum directly.

You can buy shop vac cyclones on Amazon such as:

  1. Dust deputy cyclone system
  2. Dust Deputy Cyclone
  3. Super Dust Deputy Cyclone

Jet JCDC-3 3 hp Cyclone Dust Collector Kit

Cyclone two-stage separation provides more working CFM than comparable horsepower single-stage units. Heavy debris is pulled down to collection drum before debris stream reaches the filter, providing constant suction. Fine dust particles are filtered through pleated material that captures even the smallest particles down to 1 micron and below

Large particles fall into the 66-gallon drum with quick-release levers and independent casters for quick emptying. 

This unit has a remote control system included. Swivel casters make it easy to move the unit around the shop

Available for a low price on Amazon

  1. Jet JCDC 1.5
  2. Jet JCDC2
  3. Jet JCDC3

We receive a small commission from Amazon from the affiliate links in this blog. 

dust in lungs sillouette

Why is workshop dust dangerous?

Dust from wood is not just dust! Wood contains VOC(Volatile Organic compounds) which are toxic such as Formaldehyde. It is very important to protect our selves from these toxins and so we must do what we can do to lower the levels in our workshops. Conditions such as emphysema is a serious condition that can be caused by prolonged inhalation of fine dust. Dust is a medley of organic, artificial and chemical compounds.

List of Cyclone Dust Separators Makers

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