Traditionally cyclone dust collectors were the domain of big manufacturers. We have all seen them driving through industrial estates, huge cones of steel hanging off the side of even huger factories – these extractors were strictly for the big boys.
These days however, new compact cyclone dust extractors are finding their way increasingly into smaller spaces including the workshops of enthusiast woodworkers. The average woodworker can now also tap into this vastly more efficient and effective dust collection technology.
How do they work?
Cyclone dust collectors are designed to efficiently capture the dust and debris created by machining operations such as planing, jointing and sawing. They are often referred to as two-stage dust collectors as cyclones feature two separate collection points.
The primary collection point is for heavy chips and shavings flying directly off the machine which are captured and moved to the waste bin. The second collection point is for finer dust particles which is captured usually by some sort of filter or storage bag.
Cyclone dust collectors utilise centrifugal force as the primary method of separating the waste particles. As the airflow carrying the waste transitions on a downward spiral down through the cyclone, the centrifugal action forces the larger particles from the airstream into the first collection point, while the finer particles continue on with the airflow on to the second stage filter element to be captured.
Why are cyclones so good?
Cyclones have a number of distinct advantages over your standard old dusty. To start with, because the two types of waste both bulky and fine have been separated, this makes emptying the cyclone dust collector a much simpler and cleaner task.
We all like to leave the task of emptying the dusty to the last possible moment, as a result a huge cloud of dust emerges on opening meaning you have to wear a mask and have spare clothes handy to change afterwards. And it gets worse, once you have emptied the bag, opened the door to let the dust haze out and had a cup of tea to psyche-up, you then have to get intimate with the dust bag as you attempt to reattach it to the dust collector. Forget that - since the cyclone’s primary collection point only contains heavier chips and very little dust, emptying the primary collection bin is a lot simpler, cleaner and safer.
Further to this, because the cyclonic action significantly diminishes the amount of particles contacting the secondary filter, the frequency of cleaning and/or replacing an expensive filter is drastically reduced. I know some woodworkers who have installed a cyclone product such as a Dust Deputy into their dust collection system, and now only have to empty their actual dust collector once a year.
An additional advantage of cyclones, in particular the Dust Deputy cyclones, is that they allow you to locate your main dust collector machine outside of your workshop.
Why is that good? Most dust collectors available today for the woodworking market will remove dust particles 2 microns or larger, so there is still a certain amount of very fine and dangerous airborne particles being released into the workshop environment.
Solution - place the dust collector outside so these fine particles are totally removed, leaving only the bulk first stage collector inside, that produces very little fine dust and is conveniently located for emptying. This ensures a healthy workshop environment that can be further cleaned by using an ambient overhead air cleaner.
Timbecon stocks a full range of Dust Deputy Cyclones, Dust Collectors and accessories. Timbecon are also Australia’s exclusive retailer of the iVAC automated dust collection equipment.
Visit the website and check out Timbecon’s series of FREE Dust Collection Workshops, enter the “Share Your Setup” competition to win a Sherwood overhead air cleaner or $400 store credit.