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Thread: Airtight seal for DC bin

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Berwick, PA
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    43

    Airtight seal for DC bin

    So I'm working on maybe the 5th incarnation of my home-rolled cyclone dust collection setup, and I'll be using a 55 gallon plastic drum to catch the chips. I had to cut the lid out of it, but the rim is intact. The new lid will lock down with toggle clamps and will likely be 1/2" mdf (tried a piece of plexiglass I had, but it's not rigid enough, unfortunately ... but a clear top would have been nice!).

    I'm looking for the best ideas for getting a good seal between the mdf lid and the drum. I had some pipe insulation that I tried, just putting it around the rim of the barrel, but the results were not optimal. Radiator hose split lengthwise? More creative ideas?

    I await the collective wisdom of the group.

    Thanks,

    Jim

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    48,786
    In lieu of the MDF lid, will it take a standard 55 gallon metal barrel lid designed to be used with the rim and clamp? That would be easier to engineer. My Oneida bin is setup that way, although it's a fiber barrel, rather than plastic.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    McKinney, TX
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    1,613
    I used 3/4 mdf and routed a 3/8 deep groove then put one layer of closed cell weather stripping in the groove. Works fine
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    8,001
    Quote Originally Posted by James Brown View Post
    (tried a piece of plexiglass I had, but it's not rigid enough, unfortunately ... but a clear top would have been nice!).
    If you really want a clear top you can buy plastic sheet 1/2" thick, 1", etc. 1/2" is about $50 for 24"x24", 1" about twice that. We used to use large laboratory vacuum chambers with thick polycarbonate panels for visibility, prob 1" thick.

    If you want an inspection window to peer into the drum some people make a smaller plastic window for the lid or the side of the drum. I have no idea how well it works - I wondered if static charge might hold fine particles against the window and make it hard to see anything. I just pull up the top on mine to look - it's a 30 gal metal trash can with a strip of closed-cell weatherstripping inside the lid. The vacuum inside pulls the lid tight so I don't need clamps.

    But yikes, I'd hate to be the one emptying a 55-gal drum. It's hard enough for me to get my 30-gal drum outside to where I empty it!

    JKJ

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Berwick, PA
    Posts
    43
    Well, the next step is going to be how to keep a big drum liner in there ... so I can just take the bag out, toss it in the truck and drive down to the neighbor's house, since he uses the sawdust for his livestock. The drum will be on wheels in any case, and maybe I'll empty it before it gets too heavy to wrangle?

    Or will I instead procrastinate? Easy answer to that question.

    An observation port would be nice, but I think you're right about the dust sticking to it. I used the plexiglass mainly because I had it on hand and it was the only thing I could cut a 24" circle out of. I guess I could reinforce it to keep it from flexing, but that seems like chasing a bad idea.

    A clamping lid (per Jim above) would be great if it will work. I might scrounge around a bit to see what I can find. In the meantime, I'll probably experiment with the weatherstripping per your and Steve's suggestions.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    E TN, near Knoxville
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    8,001
    Quote Originally Posted by James Brown View Post
    Well, the next step is going to be how to keep a big drum liner in there ... so I can just take the bag out, toss it in the truck and drive down to the neighbor's house, since he uses the sawdust for his livestock. The drum will be on wheels in any case, and maybe I'll empty it before it gets too heavy to wrangle?
    Some people put a steel frame inside the bag to hold it open and keep it from being sucked up into the cyclone cone by the vacuum. Some people put in a weight. Someone said recently they used a small vacuum pump to pull out the air between the drum and the bag. I remember a report some time back from a guy who discovered the sawdust was packed so tightly in the bag in his drum that he couldn't even pull it out until he carried and emptied the drum. Let everyone know when you find out what works for you.

    You probably know this, but any walnut in the bin is reported to be toxic to horses when used as bedding. I don't have personal experience with this - my horses don't get bedding. Looking at what comes from my cyclone bin, though, makes me wonder if it would be too fine for any kind of livestock bedding. I'm sure planer and jointer chips would be good, but mine is mostly fine sawdust, a lot extremely fine from a drum and disk sander. I guess it depends on what kinds of things you do in your shop.

    JKJ

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Huntington, Vermont
    Posts
    883
    My cyclone drops into a 30 gallon plastic barrel through a Corian disc with self-adhesive 1" thick closed cell weatherstripping making the seal to the top of the bin.

    new DC.jpg

    The flex hose is long enough that it exerts some downward pressure on the bin lid and no clasps are necessary. When the collector is on I can lift the full bin by the lid.

    The 30 gallon size is limiting, but I have horsed 50 gallon bags in the past and don't care to repeat it. Getting a full bag out of a 50 gallon drum will require eating your Wheaties prior.

    I use a cylinder made of bending ply inside the bag.

    My clear flex hose is long enough to use as a sight gauge. I had a previous setup with a plastic window in a drum, but it was hard to see through the static buildup.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Berwick, PA
    Posts
    43
    John,

    A fair amount of my waste is fairly fluffy jointer / planer shavings, and the helical heads make them lighter and fluffier than those from the straight knives in my experience. Most of my sander waste goes into a vac. But we shall see. If the bin's too big, it certainly won't be my first regret! And the price was right.

    Thanks for the reminder about walnut. I do keep track of what goes in there for that reason. My wife does intarsia, so exotics wind up in there sometimes too. None of that goes to the animals.

    Kevin, my cyclone is ceiling mounted as well, with the motor and impeller in the attic. I have a clear hose too, so the clear lid would really be overkill. Even it gets hard to see through sometimes. Nice thing about the hose is, even if the chips go partway up the hose, there's still room in the bin if you shake them on down.

    I prefer a cylinder of some kind in the bin to a weight, since I think it would be easier to retrieve.

    Pictures if/when I ever make any decisions ...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
    Posts
    261
    I know you already have your bin and are reworking the lid, but here's my setup.

    The blue 55 gallon bin came from Amazon, about $70 delivered. The lid clamps on tight. It has a 2" screw in plug in the lid that I can undo in about 15 seconds to eyeball how full the bin is. I've thought about cutting a view port in the lid, but haven't really found need to do it yet.

    I use Home Depot large contractor bags to collect the dust and shavings.

    The only negative is that the bin tapers slightly at the top so if I really stuff it full, it can be hard to get the bags out when full. I usually tie a knot in the bag and lay the bin on its side and slowly work the full plastic bag out, takes about 30 seconds.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Berwick, PA
    Posts
    43
    Thanks! I think the challenge for me will be either getting a tight enough seal that the bag stays put or finding a way to keep the bag in. I'm planning to go with MDF and weatherstripping. Hopefully I'll get this all settled this weekend, but my wife has embarked on a paver project next to the deck, so we shall see ...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    670
    My Oneida Dust Cobra has a 1/4" line from the suction side of the fan to the side of the barrel. This sucks out the air between the bag and the barrel. This works because the filter is between the fan and the cyclone so it has higher suction.

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