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How well dose a shop vac with a seperator work for dust collecting

 Any opinions welcome.

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Works good for larger chips, catches some of the dust, but some still gets through. The cyclone type, like the Dust Deputy sold at Rockler, works better than the ones that just have a holes at the top, the Woodstock Dust separator sold at Amazon. Have both, either helps save emptying the shop vac and cleaning the filter.

I like mine and it is almost a must when using planner

I have a shop vac hooked up to mini cyclone which I use for handheld power tools like the sander, router and it works well, I wouldn't use it for my bigger machines like the jointer or thicknesser which have much larger wood chips/shavings.

Al, I see this is a very old post but I am wondering about your mini cyclone setup.  We just ordered the New Mini Cyclone(guess there is a redesign) and are looking into a shop vac with 6.5HP and 16 gallon reservoir.  Do you like your mini and would you use it on a panel saw or table saw?

I am in the process of revamping my shop, so I did not want to get to much new equipment yet. I saw a video on Utube by "The Wood Whisperer" comparing the mini-cyclones and I bought a "Dust Deputy". This thing is amazing! I have it hooked up to my old Craftsman shop-vac style vacuum and It works far better than the old Delta dust collector that I had. I got rid of the table saw and use a tracksaw now so dust collection is much better and it freed up a lot of space in the shop.


Thanks Otto, we ended with a 12 Gallon 5.0 HP, CFM is only 190.  I'm not sure I will be happy with that but the cord is 18' long which is a plus for sure.  Our problem is the size of the shop vacs because our garage is a small 1 car size which cannot accommodate such a large shop vac as the 16 gallon ones.  We have a panel saw taking up one wall which we just built and the other wall has a stationary workbench with a planned workbench on wheels which will have to live on the rest of the wall.  Combining all this with the other tools we have makes it a tight fit in our garage for sure.

I think that with proper management you will be happy with your new vacuum. It is somewhat larger than the one I am using now and I am able to pick up most of the fine dust. Because this vacuum is an older model the after market filters are very good (HEPA) and expensive (+/- 70$). That is why I bought the Dust Deputy, to reduce the number of filters that I go through.

Since I have it i have reduce the number of filters from 10 a year to 4. It paid for itself the first year 5 times over and has reduced the fine dust to almost nothing in the filter. The fine dust is what you are worried about as that is what you breathe in and even in the large systems they tend to loose a lot of the fines into the air.

Look to improve your filter and make a few adapters and you will be just fine with your vacuum in a small shop.



Thanks Otto, what kind of filter do you think I should get?  

I was also thinking about venting outside but I'm not sure I can with a mini cyclone.  How do you work out venting?  Our garage doesn't have any  vents built into it at the bottom of the wall like most do.  We don't have gas installed in the house either so I think it must be the reason.  We do have a vent in the laundry room although we have electric but it is not in the garage.  It is located between the garage and the house with a two doors to access it.

I have an Oneida cyclone dust collector system hooked up to my shop vac.

The shop vac is a 3hp 10gal cap, that has an integral filter.

The setup works great, and the wood particles settle into a 5gal bucket.

When the bucket gets about 3/4 full, I just empty it.

The cyclone intake collects the sawdust and chips, swirls it around inside the cone and the particles then drop into the 5gal collector bucket.

The collector bucket needs to be of a nonconductive material, so that static electricity won't cause the dust particle to adhere to the walls of the cyclone and the bucket.

(I'd suggest the Oneida buckets, which is most suitable for this purpose).

During operation, a "grounding strap", needs to be used.

A ground strap can be something as light duty linked chain.

The links need to be free moving, so it's not like a stiff piece of wire or a bike chain.

A link type that can be twisted open and attach one end under the screw head and the opp end to a hole in a heavy weight washer. 

A small hole can be drilled in the washer, so as to connect the link.

One end of the chain to be secured under the bolt head on the ring of the cyclone, and the opp end resting on the ground/earth/concrete.

The end touching the ground needs to be heavy enough, to make good ground contact.

A large heavy washed will suffice---heavy enough so it remains flat on the ground, with the chain attached.

Thank you Otto, the link below is to the mini cyclone we purchased.  Everything needed is there except the shop vac.  I guess my question was, "what kind of extra heavy duty filter should I get?"  Now I am thinking what you meant to say was about using a good filter was about getting a Cyclone type with a good shop vac.

This is what we ordered.

Sorry I couldn't get back sooner.

That mini-cyclone you have is excellent, a very good choice. You will be very happy with it.

As far as filters are concerned I get mine from Lea Valley:,42401&.... I am assuming that you are in the US so you can look around for them and most likely get them at a better price. I have included the link so you will know what to look for. You want them to be "HEPA" certified and washable. I would also suggest that you use a face mask type filter when you are cutting sheet goods (plywood, MFD, &c.),, again this is for reference ( the prices indicated are for a box of 10, not for each filter). The dust from these materials can be very fine and get into the air easily. When the weather is nice I put a fan in the window and air out the shop once in awhile. As I use solid wood for most of my work I installed a humidity control system and thus I Can only open the windows on days when the humidity is somewhat low, not very often In Montreal in the summer.


Thanks for the information and LOL, yep, I'm in South Texas and that heat and humidity is a bear for sure.  We have already purchased the 3M 7500 half mask with good filters for use while we are cutting wood.  We have tried to figure out how we can put the shop vac and cyclone outside when we cut but I am not sure we can use a hose that's at least 18' long to collect everything.  Do you think it would take away the suction capacity from the saw to the vacuum if it is that far away?

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