Super Easy Cyclone!




Introduction: Super Easy Cyclone!

This is the simplest cyclone I could come up with.

Step 1: You Will Need

To complete this project, you will need a car cleaning nozzle and hose from your shop vac. A large bucket with a tight fitting cover. A straight coupling to attach your shop vac hose.

Step 2: Mark Placement

Mark the placement for your nozzle by tracing the nozzle. Mine measured about 3 1/2" long and was the same width as the nozzle.

Step 3: Cut Out the Spot for the Nozzle

Using a vibrating saw, cut out 3 sides.

Step 4: Glue in the Nozzle

Put the nozzle in it's place. Using a hot glue gun, glue the nozzle from the inside. Then, still using the hot glue gun, go around all the seams from the outside to insure an air tight fit.

Step 5: Install Top Coupling

Lastly, drill a hole in the cover. Be sure to make the hole the same size as the shop vac coupling. Placed the coupling in the hole. Using a hot glue gun, glue the coupling in place.



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    58 Discussions

    It says to place the coupling in the hole in the top. But it does not have a picture from the inside. What I need to know is how far into the bucket does the top coupling go down?

    Is it only just enough?

    If it is lower than the inlet pipe is that better?

    very nicely done, this is the simplest one i have ever seen

    thanks godbless

    If you don't know by the name of it before opening the instructable you don't need it and have no need for it. No need to hate the author for your not knowing. Great simple little separator.

    i don't fully understand what it does and how it does it.

    Nice job!

    I made a similar one a year or two ago for my radial arm saw by stacking two spackle buckets. It does help keep bigger stuff like tiny wood chips out of the shopVac but not dust. After intermittent use over months, when I check the shopVac filter it contains dust like talcum powder, stuff that floats in still air. I stretched panty hose over the filter and that gets a caked on coating of slightly larger dust than the filter catches.

    I considered pulling the cycloned air through water like a water pipe, but I don't need it that clean. I have also considered removing the filter and venting the cycloned air outside.

    The best practical thing would be to make something that bangs the filter a few minutes after shutting down the shopVac. That way dust caught by the filter would fall away and have a chance to settle in the shopVac before the next use.

    Now you have me thinking ...

    2 replies

    Commercial systems use a blast of compressed air blasted into the filter (from the inside - i.e. reverse normal flow) - this shakes the dust off the outside. Have a look here:

    Interesting. I'll probably start with an old baseball bat next to the shopVac to give it a few taps after it winds down.

    It's a nice idea, but is it really worth all the trouble ?

    Try this link to a cheap professional one

    1 reply

    It does not look like it would have the capacity to hold much refuse. I have mine hooked up to a 2 1/2 inch hose and its appropriately sized shopVac. If this had larger hose ports one could cut out its bottom and mount it on the top of a larger container. It would be nice to see if it has cyclone guts. Ash can be so fine I wonder how well it works.

    OK, here is a thought for you. The line going to the vacuum should be attached to the angled car attachment, not the other way around. When you have it the way you do, the vacuum is pulling the air straight up canceling out any cyclone effect you would get. If you hook the vacuum up the the angled car piece, it will create a cyclone & not be canceled out, and the air coming from the hose coming from the dust will be pulled into the cyclone effect.


    1 reply


    I've seen many of these projects and am thinking to make one myself. The air entering the drum through the horizontal nozzle is already going around the outside of the drum, therefore making a cyclone. Maybe the central pipe should be extended down a few centimeters to prevent a "short circuit". Don't forget that the air has "inertia", and will tend to keep going in the same direction...

    I've gotten in trouble before for saying this about another instructable, but I clicked on this instructable to find out what a Cyclone separator is? There is some context to the video and it seems that this is an ad hoc shop vac. Some of the comments gave me a clue as to what it is, but there wasn't complete agreement and I'm still kinda curious why you want/need this and all the things it can do and was made to do in your workshop. I encourage all who post instructables to take a moment before publishing and make sure they explain what the thing they are posting is for and what it does. Not everyone reading will know what the thing they are looking at is and does. Thanks.

    4 replies

    Sorry about that, i'm new in instructables....

    The separator is mainly used when using the shop vac for dust collection in a wood working shop. When sucking a lot of dust like what you see in the video, this will plug up the filter quite quickly. the separator just acts like a second stage to give longer life to your filter.

    No problem. I'm very interested in hacks and making stuff so I often go to instructables that I don't know what the thing being made it is or what it really does so I appreciate those explanations in any instructable. If I had a shop I'm sure I would have experienced problems with dust and it would have been a more intuitive understanding. Thanks:)

    It was a pretty quick reference at the beginning of the video, but the maker states that the sawdust from his CNC router clogs the filters very quickly. This seems to be the common lament for people who purchase or build vortex/cyclone separators for shop use.

    Another use for such a device is to enable one to use a vacuum to move material without having it end up inside the shop vac.

    I see that the pail is a pool chlorine container. Did you have to buy it full, or can you get one at a pool supply store empty? Really simple inovative idea.

    I'll be trying this one with a slight modification, I'll use a leaf blower instead of a shop vac. All my dust collectors in the shop are $45 leaf blower/ vacuums and they work better than a $300 Grizzly.

    I have one made of a 55 gal. drum that I built about 25 years ago. It's kinda crude, but works well as I used a heavy duty vacuum motor to power the thing.

    ok, ok, ok, wait, and then I am thinking, "where is the Thein baffle"