As far a "full" indicator probably a clear window or a microswitch with a light indicator. I've had it overflow and that's not pretty. The whole point was to collect the dust, not spill it all over the shop floor.
Even a drum that's 2/3 full is pretty heavy. Handles might be a good idea for carrying it outside. They could also serve as a place for the bungee cord hooks to grab onto.
Dust collection is an ongoing challenge.
I built my barrel and put a clear plastic window in it for checking the sawdust level. (see my post at http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f32/p...ormance-59625/
- The barrel was pretty easy to build and quite fun, once I figured out a good process. The barrel has 16 sides. Each slat has the side cut at 11.25 degrees. Cut the length to match the finished barrel height.
Cut the top and bottom on the table saw with the aid of a couple of jigs. (See the attached PDF files)
Cut one of the slats to hold the fill indicator window. I used a rabbet bit on the router to recess the clear plexiglass into the slat.
- The easiest way to assemble it was to lay all 16 slats flat on a bench with the outside up. Then run about six strips of masking tape (the heavy duty kind, like the blue painters tape) across the slats. Flip the slats over (that got a little tricky by myself) and then put glue on one side of each slat. Roll the slats together and put a band clamp every twelve (12) inches around the barrel. Make sure that you have the top and bottoms already cut, because you will need to put them in immediately after the band clamps. DON'T GLUE the top and bottom in. The top and bottom will keep the openings correctly aligned while the glue dries.
- After the glue has dried, you can remove the top and bottom. I used another piece of 3/4" plywood and attached two fixed and two locking swivel casters to it. Then I attached that assembly to the 16 sided bottom. I attached them to the bottom of the barrel with screws for easy removal later. Make sure that the bottom fits snugly without any air leaks.
- I cut a round top to attach to the 16 sided top. The diameter needs to be larger than the cross-section of your barrel at two opposite points. This keeps the assembled top on the barrel top. Cut whatever size holes that you need for your connectors and hook it up.
- I added a handle that I cut on the bandsaw. It helps pulling the barrel around.
- Emptying the barrel can be a challenge. I have a two foot drop off outside my shop that I can just tip the barrel over and lift up the bottom to dump the sawdust into the garbage bag that I attached to the open top of the barrel with a band clamp. Just make sure that you leave an opening in the plastic bag to let some air in as you tip the barrel.