Putting together the dust collector

I previously built this blower and my two bucket cyclone to build a dust collector. Now it's time to put the pieces together.

Aside from the blower and cyclone, the dust collector will also need some filters, which will fit inside this box. Here, showing the approximate arrangement of parts that I'm aiming for.

What I still need is a manifold to connect the blower to the filters in the box.

The manifold will consist of another box behind the filter box, connecting the filters to the blower inlet.

There is a bit of a space constraint on the right side of the manifold. It has to connect to the blower inlet without interfering with the cyclone bucket that will be on the right side of the inlet.

Gluing the box together. I used a lot of clamps. It was tempting to just brad nail it together, but I would still have to glue it all together to make it airtight.

If you want to build one and don't have that many clamps, you may have to glue it up in stages.

While waiting for the glue to dry, I'm attaching the mounts for the filter to what will become the back of the filter box.

The filter connectors are conical, cut out by making a beveled cut along a circle on the bandsaw.

I tap the screws in the ring to mark where the pilot holes need to go, then drill these out and screw on the ring. Gluing it on would be better, but if I change my mind on what style of filter to use later, I want to still be able to remove them.

With the back panel temporarily clamped to the filter box, checking the fit of the filters.

The filters have a hole in the end. I made a piece of wood to fit in the holes and also support the filters vertically.

Air from the cyclone comes in through an ABS elbow from the top.

With any cyclone, if it fills with sawdust because the collection bucket is full, dust ends up passing straight through.

This can get the filters all clogged up with shavings. To prevent that from happening, I made a screen to go just above them. That way, if the cyclone gets full of shavings, this area will get filled and blocked without getting the filters full of shavings.

With the previous glue-up of the manifold box done, preparing to glue on the cover. This cover will also form the back of the filter box.

I also added two small spacer blocks to the inside of the box to help support the relatively thin plywood against the suction.

Cover glued and clamped, waiting for the glue to dry again.

Now gluing the main filter box onto the manifold.

Note that the filter box extends beyond the box that forms the manifold (left side of the picture). The plywood that is the top of the manifold box extends a bit past the manifold for this purpose.

I added a strip of felt around the outlet hole on the manifold to make for a better seal to the blower.

Screwing the manifold to the blower.

Because the front of the blower is not very thick (just 1 cm), I'm using a lot of short screws so I don't get protrusions into the blower housing.

I laid out and drilled the locations of these screws before gluing the manifold box together. I also drilled pilot holes in the blower housing. I transferred the hole locations to the blower by laying the back of the manifold onto the blower housing (before assembling the manifold), placing screws in the screw holes and tapping them with a mallet.

Some of the screws are only accessible through the inside of the filter housing, through the holes for the filter mounts.

For extra hold, I also added some screws to the corners. I had to drill holes through the back layer of the blower housing to be able to get at these with a screwdriver.

I made the connection from the cyclone to the blower out of 3" ABS pipe.

The pipe connects to the flange for the top of the filter box with three screws from the inside.

I found I could get a fairly square cut in the ABS by laying it on a drill press vise and sliding that along the bandsaw, using my right hand to guide the edge of the vise so it stays flush with the table edge.

Here, placing the collection bucket against the blower and filter box and checking where the flange needs to end up, then screwing it on.

Now installing the filters again, and the filter holder.

I don't yet have a way to attach the cover for the filter box yet, but with the blower turned on, it's held on by vacuum.

And testing it. Works quite nicely.

Now I still need to attach the cyclone to it, make a wheeled base for it, paint it, add a switch, and other minor details.

More on that next week.

Next: Finishing up the dust collector

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