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Thread: Cyclones – What am I missing?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Cyclones – What am I missing?

    I see that many people upgrade their single stage dust collector to a two-stage by adding a cyclone to the system. After reading many posts and watching You Tube videos the two benefits that I see are that it is easier to dump the chips and cleaner filters, but these improvements are traded against the loss of CFM. I also see that most people think that the ability to collect dust is limited by the CFM of the system.

    I have thought of upgrading my 13 amp, 230v canister & bag system but I only see the single benefit of a cleaner filter. My bag is easy to dump, and is clear, so I don’t have to worry about overfilling or making a sensor to notify me when it is full. It doesn’t make sense to me to trade-off having to keep my filter clean vs losing CFM.

    What am I missing?

  2. #2
    I think what you are missing is that a dirty filter reduces CFM. I don't have a cyclone but I have Thien baffles on both my shop vac and dust collector. I notice it more on the shop vac but I'm sure it happens on the DC also. Before the Thien baffle my shop vac filter would plug in a few weeks and CFM would be reduced and at least once to the point where the motor would overheat and die. With the baffle, the only time I notice reduced CFM is if the container under the baffle overfills and plugs the baffle and the filter gets dirty.

  3. #3
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    The bag needs to have enough surface area and the ability to surface load so the dust cake doesn't cling or clog. If you have large enough bags and the chips and dust easily drop off, their is little benefit to the cyclone. The cyclone allows for smaller filters and the use of cartridge filters that tend to be difficult to clean. A cyclone is also a benefit when direct venting to keep the crap contained rather than blow it to your neighbors. Adding a cyclone to a small system is counter productive as they do reduce cfm. The better they filter, the higher the cfm loss. Dave

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Garson View Post
    I think what you are missing is that a dirty filter reduces CFM. I don't have a cyclone but I have Thien baffles on both my shop vac and dust collector. I notice it more on the shop vac but I'm sure it happens on the DC also. Before the Thien baffle my shop vac filter would plug in a few weeks and CFM would be reduced and at least once to the point where the motor would overheat and die. With the baffle, the only time I notice reduced CFM is if the container under the baffle overfills and plugs the baffle and the filter gets dirty.
    I noted that in my original post. I fully understand that I have to keep my filter clean to keep optimum CFM but cleaning my filter is relatively easy. I set my compressor to 65 pounds and spray inward. The bag catches the dust.

    It will be interesting to hear from others. Maybe I only think that I am cleaning the filter and really just moving dust around.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    A cyclone will drastically reduce filter cleaning requirements. The Thien baffle works well, but in quantifiable testing (unlike most you tube tests), carefully weighting the results shows that a cyclone is superior, especially with the finest dust. And that's the stuff that clogs filters the worst and is hardest to clean from them.

    Your blower must be 3 HP, which should move plenty of air.

  6. #6
    The cyclone makes sense for a DC that's running all day long and moving a lot of dust - it keep the filters cleaner, longer. If you're only running the DC a few hours a week and blowing the filter clean isn't an inconvenience to you, then there's little point.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    The main point of a cyclone is consistent performance. The single stage collector might move X CFM on day one, and within an hour of use might only move 80% of X. Without a separator, your filters take an unnecessary beating as well, which is why most of them come equipped with low quality bag filters. My $$$ cannister filter from Wynn doesnt get bombarded with jointer and planer chips constantly. It only ever sees small amounts of fine powder that is blown out once or twice a year. In that same year, I maybe go through 900 gallons of sawdust. In short, the cyclone prevents your filters from quickly loading and thus reducing CFM. Because of this point, you save time by not cleaning filters, and it allows you to use a better quality filter. You also have a lot more consistent DC performance. I cant imagine what a single stage collector's performance would look like while running a sander. You would be cleaning the collector's filter every 10-15 mins.

  8. #8
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    Exclamation Exactly!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Friedrichs View Post
    The cyclone makes sense for a DC that's running all day long and moving a lot of dust - it keep the filters cleaner, longer. If you're only running the DC a few hours a week and blowing the filter clean isn't an inconvenience to you, then there's little point.
    That would be my point also... and my practice.
    All the best.

    Osvaldo.

  9. #9
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    Single stage collectors are what are generally used with a widebelt. Bags with a built in shaker or outside to inside cartridges with a pulse jet blowing inside to out are effective with fine dust. Inside to outside cartridges benefit from a cyclone but cyclones are not designed primarily for fine dust so they still won't be an answer for sanding. I run a cyclone with four Wynn cartridges for all but the large widebelt which uses a Coral four bagger with 8' singed poly bags. No way I'm running heavy amounts of fine dust into those hard to clean cartridge filters. Dave

  10. #10
    If you don't mind cleaning the bags and have good ones that get the fine dust then I think you are fine. I hate cleaning the filters so I use a cyclone and discharge outside - no filters to clean. You might be different but most people loose more CFM from dirty filters than they would with a Cyclone.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    Sacramento, CA
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    I also use a cyclone and discharge outside without filters. If your dust collector is inside your shop and it is using filters it is pumping fine dust through the filter back into the air that you are breathing.
    Discharging outside completely eliminates that (and there aren't any filters to clog or clean). There is absolutely no visible dust being discharged so its not bothering the neighbors.

  12. #12
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    One issue not mentioned is the performance of a good nano or HEPA rated filter vs a 1 micron bag. But they are way better than the earlier 10 micron bags. Also calculate the filter area of a bag vs a pleated filter.
    NOW you tell me...

  13. #13
    I use a cyclone, and exhaust outside. Do have a filter for really cold days, and really hot days. The filter reduces the suction at least by half.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Andrew View Post
    I use a cyclone, and exhaust outside. Do have a filter for really cold days, and really hot days. The filter reduces the suction at least by half.
    Wow... that is much higher than I expected.

    Which cyclone/filter are you using?
    I thought these often came with pleated filters with very high surface area to minimize resistance.

    Which tools does this make an appreciable difference on?

    Matt

  15. #15
    L'm surprised no one mentioned all the chunks that beat against your fan blade without some kind of separator in front of it.

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