Woodworking Talk banner

1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Mauling Maple Since 1998
Joined
·
327 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I finally got my Thein Separator built. First, a big thank you to everyone that has posted pics of their Thein; I'm a visual person and need to see what something looks like before I can attempt to build or take it apart. Instructions are nice, but there's nothing like pictures. :thumbsup: I built mine using a combination of the original Phil Thein instructions found here http://www.jpthien.com/smf/index.php?topic=137.0
pictures of Phil's original build here http://www.jpthien.com/cy.htm and of course, all the pics found on this and other woodworking sites. The fittings are 4" dust collector fittings from Harbor Freight. I wanted to use these vs. regular PVC fittings to ensure my standard 4" dust hoses would fit. Plus, these fittings have a "shoulder" in the middle, so you cut the hole in lid so it's a snug fit, squish the fitting in up to the shoulder and you're good. Fittings are held in with hot melt glue...that sets really fast. :censored: I used 1/2" threaded rod that came in 13" precut pieces (from Lowes). I don't own a tap/die set (one of the few tools I don't have) so I didn't want to mess with cutting a big piece of all-thread with a hacksaw and mangling the threads. 8" or longer hex bolts have a 2" area at the top with no thread, so they wouldn't work. 6" bolts were too short; I tried those. The container is a 20 gallon metal garbage can. I ordered it through Amazon. My local big box stores only carry the 30 gallon metal cans and that's too big for my shop. This can size is perfect for my use.

I can tell you that I was a bit intimidated by this thing. Everyone seems to have made theirs a different size, with different size ports which requires a bigger drop slot, etc, etc. I was worried I'd do all this work for nothing. But I stared at pics for hours, measured many times before cutting and am 99% happy with what I wound up with. That missing 1% is due to hot melt glue, which dries too quickly, but more on that in a minute. No pictures, no Thein, so here we go!

The money shot. Here's what the whole assembly looks like. I wish the picture was a bit brighter, but that's cell phone pics for you. It may appear that one of the threaded rods is in the airpath, but I assure you it is not. I was very careful to locate the 3 threaded rods "inboard" of the airpath. The threaded rods are located 2.5" from the edge of the center hole, on 120-degree centers. BTW, one thing I obsessed over was which way the elbow "points" right or left? Phil's original instructions don't mention this and I couldn't find reference to it in the 2,000 threads I must've read (maybe I missed it?) But Phil's pictures show the elbow pointing right, so that's how I made mine.



The underside. The slot is "the regulation" 1.25" wide, 240 degrees around.


Center port


Elbow. There's approximately 1.5" b/t the bottom of the elbow and the bottom baffle. The elbow was SUPPOSED to be about 1" further up, into the lid, but my glue gun ran out of glue while I was gluing the elbow in. By the time I got another glue stick in there, the glue I had put in the hole in the lid was almost dry. I was lucky to ram the elbow in this far. There's about 1" of pipe sticking up through the lid, which is just enough to get the hose clamp on there. See pic after this one.



Fittings glued into lid. As I said above, the elbow (on the left in this pic) was SUPPOSED to stick up another inch. Darn hot melt glue! /shakes fist The stuff DOES stick like gorilla snot though.



Lid underside. Getting the channel around the edge correct was a PITA. I used a scrap piece of 1/4" plywood to do my test cutting/fitting on the garbage can. I'm proud of the way it turned out.



Closer pic of the lid/channel. I wanted more meat on the outisde of the channel. I.E. I wanted the lid to be larger in diameter, but my Jasper circle jig only cuts up to a 17.75" disc. THe channel is 1/4" deep, FYI.


Lid fit. It's nice and snug. As far as I can tell, it's airtight. The groove/channel I cut in the lid works REALLY well.


These metal cans are not welded together. The seams are pinched together. So I sealed all the seams (side and bottom) as well as where the handles are with normal household silicone. Really helps with airtightness, IMO.


Lid/hoses. You can see the hot melt glue squish-out. There are no air leaks here.


Just enough of the elbow sticking up to get the hose on there (left hose)



Shot with my 2HP Harbor Freight DC in the background. I will be getting a Wynn filter to replace the lousy bag. But in the meantime, this separator will help tremendously, as you'll see a couple of pics from now.


Cont'd below.
 

·
Mauling Maple Since 1998
Joined
·
327 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Continued from above (too many images)

Size comparison. That's a 14 Gallon shop vac.


With a ruler.


Now the real money shot. From what I've read, the Thein's that most folks construct to a fine job with bigger shavings, but not so well with fine dust, which is what the bane of the woodworker really is. What's the finest dust out there? MDF dust for sure. My lid and baffle are 3/4" MDF (I hate MDF but had it laying around). Routing the channels, cutting the discs, drilling the MDF made SO MUCH dust. I blew a lot of it out of the garage with my compressor earlier in the day, but still had a ton of it to vacuum up. I vacuumed it up with the shop vac, then used the HF DC and my separator to not only suck up what was in the shop vac, but to CLEAN THE FILTER! You KNOW MDF dust will clog a shop vac filter in a heartbeat. Well, I can tell you the filter is clean and check out what was in the Thein can.



Kind of hard to see in the pic, but the pile towards the top of the can is about 2" thick and the sides of the can were coated. I did not do a scientific test and weigh the before and after dust, nor did I empty the bag on the DC first...too much trouble. But logic tells me that if the Thein collected this much MDF DUST, it should have ZERO problem with larger shavings. How well the hose will stay on the elbow remains to be seen but so far, it's on there pretty good. VERY HAPPY with how this project turned out!
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
7,222 Posts
Happy to see another good Thien baffle build. Well done. :thumbsup:

With a small shop vac, the separator should really help to avoid cleaning out the shop vac.

I put one inside my dust collector. Like yours, mine is working well.
 

·
Mauling Maple Since 1998
Joined
·
327 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, Dave. I also bought a 4" to 2.5" reducer so I could use the separator with my shop vac, spindle sander and in the future, a router table. The stock bag on the HF DC is not that great. A lot of fine dust gets out. B/T the Thein and the Wynn filter I will buy in the near future, I should be covered for dust collection. I'm just a home hobbyist, so my DC needs are pretty meager. Plus, we store "stuff" in the garage. SWMBO gets pissed when everything is covered in sawdust. :(
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
7,222 Posts
Plus, we store "stuff" in the garage. SWMBO gets pissed when everything is covered in sawdust. :(
I also share my "shop" aka garage with the tractor, snow blower, portable generator, etc. and so I know all too well how the small dust layer builds up. I wipe down the tractor seat before I use it, but try to get nature to clean off the rest during use. :laughing:

I thought I made a lot of sawdust/wood chips, until I got a lathe, and then found out the volume difference between a piece of wood, and the chips/dust made during turning. Wow. I can be ankle deep in no time. :laughing:
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,838 Posts
Nice job!

However I will make one suggestion. You have serious bends going in and out of the separator which will slow the air. I would do what you have to to get any tight radius bends out of the system. :thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,967 Posts
Great job and nice pics.
You can heat the hot melt glue with a heat gun and it wll soften up letting you readjust that fitting.
 

·
Mauling Maple Since 1998
Joined
·
327 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the compliments. I'm very pleased with how it turned out; I should've built one sooner. The amount of dust/chips that wind up in the Thein vs. how much actually makes it to the DC is just ridiculous.

Under normal usage, connected to the TS or BS I'd say the Thein grabs 99% of everything the hose sucks up. Only when I use the hose connected to the Thein for shop/workbench cleanup (plunging the hose into a foot-deep pile of dust) does some slip past and wind up in the DC.

It's good to know that I can use a heat gun to loosen the glue. The outer edge of the lid is very thin..about 1/8". Being that's it's made of MDF, it cracked a little bit. There is no air leakage as the lid has a channel that clamps over the edge of the can and fits tightly. But someday the crack will get bigger and I'll have to make a new lid. I don't remove the lid very often so it should be "awhile" before I have to make a new lid. I'd rather reuse the fittings I own than buy new ones.

I know that 20' feet of flexible hose for the inlet/outlet is not optimal. But my shop is 3/4's of my 2-car garage and everything has to be mobile. As much as I'd love a hard-piped DC system I just can't right now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
489 Posts
How far below the bottom of the cover should the top of the elbo be, or does it matter? Getting ready to build another Thein seperator and would like to know.
In other words What should the clearance be between the elbo and the top and between the elbo and the slot baffle?
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
7,222 Posts
How far below the bottom of the cover should the top of the elbo be, or does it matter? Getting ready to build another Thein seperator and would like to know.
In other words What should the clearance be between the elbo and the top and between the elbo and the slot baffle?
I do not think Phil has a specific clearance. It looks like it is as close as the elbow can be attached.

Look at Phil's site for his examples.

http://www.jpthien.com/cy.htm
 

·
Super Supreme Member
Joined
·
24 Posts
If you refrain from sticking the DC hose into a foot of saw dust, and instead slowly feed the DC from the same pile you will not lose the efficiency of the separator. You put so much debris into the flow it kills the cyclone action, and allows the intake to suck up more than it normally would. Slow and steady wins the race. And like another poster said above, reheat the hot glue and shove that fitting down to where you wanted it to be. Instead of a heat gun which throws a lot of heat at a large area, I use the glue gun itself. Just drag the hot tip slowly through the dried glue to re-energize it and off you go. Hope that helps.

talk to your projects. when they talk back, it's time for a break.
 

·
Super Supreme Member
Joined
·
24 Posts
Oh, for the cracked lid you can cut a piece of hardwood ply to match your lid, cut out for the two feed tubes, and glue that sucker on there. I used 3/4 MDF for my lid. It's what I had, and considering the lid needs to be taken off periodically to empty the can, wanted stronger, beefier components.

talk to your projects. when they talk back, it's time for a break.
 

·
Super Supreme Member
Joined
·
24 Posts
Bay Area. Sola no county. U?

talk to your projects. when they talk back, it's time for a break.
 

·
Hobbyist wood-butcher
Joined
·
1,585 Posts
Mike, Someone on another forum recommended a "felted filter bag from Highland Woodworking. He said it's a lot less expensive than a pleated filter, and still provides the 1 micron filtering. He just shakes it out periodically. His only caution is "don't wash it". http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/shakerfeltpolyestermicronfilterbag20x32.aspx
That filter may be effective to 1 micron, but the amount of filter area is drastically reduced. According to the Wynn's website, the square footage of filter area on a normal bag filter is 35 square feet, and depending on which cartridge filter you get, it could have either 100 or 274 square feet of filter area.

I might have been tempted to get that bag when I was looking to "upgrade", but I am EXTREMELY happy with my cartridge filter.

Just some info to keep you informed.

Hope this helps.
 

·
Super Supreme Member
Joined
·
24 Posts
The 1 micron bag would greatly reduce airflow due to being so much more dense right? And reduced airflow can only mean reduced suction which is already at a premium. From what I understand, the Wynn filter actually INCREASES airflow rates to that of ose who vent directly outside. (After being cycled through a separator first of course). I just wish there was an alternative to the Wynn price wise. That filter is almost what I paid for my 2hp HF DC to begin with.

talk to your projects. when they talk back, it's time for a break.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top