I have long needed to upgrade the dust collection system in my workshop. My prior system consisted of pulling my workshop vacuum over to the tool I was using and plugging it in. This works just fine for many of the operations I do, but the filter in the vacuum kept clogging up quickly, resulting in reduced suction power.
Not wanting to spend a lot of money, I came up with the solution you see here. It allowed me to make a two-stage dust extraction system using mostly items I already had in my workshop, plus a few inexpensive pieces of PVC.
How it works. Since the two elbows inside the bucket face in opposite directions, a vortex is created when the workshop vacuum is attached and turned on. This vortex deposits most of the wood chips and dust into the bucket. This, in turn, keeps the filter in my workshop vacuum clean for much longer, which prevents a loss of suction power.
Big bucket. At the heart of my new dust collector is a 20-litre bucket that acts as the first stage of the system. I sandwiched the lid between two plywood discs and secured the assembly with screws. The discs act as an anchor point for two short sections of PVC pipe and elbows. I chamfered both edges of the lower disc for a better fit inside the bottom of the lid. I also chamfered the top of the upper disc to remove the sharp edge.
Add PVC. Each PVC assembly consists of a coupler, a pipe and a 45° elbow. The coupler size I used is a slip fit with the hose on my workshop vacuum. I drilled the holes in the discs and lid using a hole saw and held the PVC in place using some epoxy. The coupler and elbow should slide over the pipe and rest flush against the discs on either side.
Mobile base. To give my dust collector some mobility, I cut another disc, chamfered both edges, and added four castors. A thin plywood insert glued to the mobile base surface keeps the bucket from sliding off the base.