Buy another Oneida Dust Deputy Deluxe or go east?
Background - ONEIDA
Dust cyclones are used in many workshops as a means of saving your vacuum/extractor’s filters by removing all but the finest particles using a cyclone of air.
Last year I invested in the entry level Oneida “Dust Deputy Deluxe Cyclone Separator Kit” system, which comes with 2 buckets, the cyclone separator itself, a short length of hose, a couple of 90 degree hose connectors, jubilee clips and some other bits and bobs. It works well and was easy enough to integrate but at the premium of being a well known brand and with the additional cost that buying a system from the USA always incurs when purchasing in Ireland.
E.g. in the USA at the time of writing this article in August 2019, the system above costs $99.95 purchased directly from Oneida’s online store. The same system from the cheapest online store I can find available to me in Ireland (which is a UK tool retailer) costs 153.95 euro for the same package, which is $173.19 at the current exchange rate. This is a staggering markup and means that a system that is great value for money across the pond in the USA is not economic over here unless you have the financial capacity to absorb the massive delta in cost. So while I would happily have another Dust Deputy, when the time came to add another cyclone I looked for cheaper options.
oops - RTFM!!
*I ended up buying another cyclone a few weeks afterward because I was so satisfied with the quality of the first one. On whim I decided to buy a blue one instead of a white one at the last second but forgot to review the dimensions. I laughed loudly when I opened the box upon its arrival
I quickly found multiple sellers on Banggood.com offering cyclones in varying sizes for significantly less cost. I chose one about the same size as the Dust Deputy for $18.99 and bought 2m of narrow gauge hose for $10.11 to use for bench tool (e.g. tracksaw and random orbit sander). When the cyclone arrived, I found it just as robust as the Dust Deputy and the size is spot on.
I didn’t need additional hose of the right diameter for the cyclone itself or castors but I could have sourced both of these for under 30 euro. I ordered three lidded bucket locally for 11 euro each even though I only needed one. Remaining paraphernalia are some jubilee clips for 7.99 from Lidl (for a box of clips, not just two!), and four bolts, washers and threaded inserts from my general stock. The financial savings for someone in my situation are clear.
*Side note: I once had to contact Banggood.com’s support when a bulk order arrived without one of the items. They asked for further information and then sent me a replacement without quibble. They were polite and efficient all the way and I have zero reason to be concerned about customer support.
The negatives of not buying an off-the-shelf system are equally clear:
long shipping time from the far east
insecurity about ordering *exactly the right thing
needing to research, to source and then match the various components to put together a viable and robust system that will last over time
timezone, distance and language potentially become issues if there is a *problem with delivery or the product.
I found some difficulty sourcing lidded buckets in Ireland that are both robust enough to withstand the vacuum pressure and to mount the cyclone on. Here I had to compromise and I ordered sealable food safe buckets knowing that I might need to reenforce them. This meant a mini-project to get this stuff working with the same level of effectiveness as my existing Oneida system.
Cyclone and Lid
I decided to bolt the cyclone to a piece of plywood with the plastic bucket lid sandwiched between the two as a means of providing support.
I measured the internal diameter of the non-moulded portion of the lid and cut a square (almost) from a scrap of 12mm plywood with same approximate side length as that diameter. I drew a circle on the plywood using my UJK Bandsaw Buddy as a compass. I cut it out using a quickly knocked together circle jig on my bandsaw. They’ve got to be one of the easiest jigs to make, comprised of a piece of nasty looking piece of scrap 6mm plywood and a nail, clamped to the table of the bandsaw. The actual cut takes seconds with this kind of jig. Here’s an example from Mike Waldt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afGNbVrBiFE.
I fitted the cyclone for a test and asked our resident philospher Gibson, for his opinion. He opened one eye and regarded it with apathy. He’s a bit of a dick if truth be told.
I marked up the base of the cyclone onto the plywood. I drilled holes for the four bolts to pass through and then discovered that my tiny Parkside drill press does not have sufficient reach to drill the central hole that will allow dust to drop through to the bucket!
I shrugged, switched to a hand drill and used a 68mm hole saw to cut the hole in the plywood. Then I used kitchen fitting spacers to centre the plywood circle onto the lid, and with it in position, I marked and drilled holes for threaded inserts in the lid. These will take the bolts passing through the cyclone flange and lid to join all the components.
I used the same hole saw to cut a matching aperture in the lid. Lastly I fitted the threaded inserts by tapping them into position with a mallet. I put it all together ready to test!
When I fired up the vacuum I was really pleased with the level of suction compared with the Triton DCA300 dust separator that it is replacing. There’s a simple reason for that. The Triton passes through a fine filter so it’s a cleaner device in isolation but the filter clogs incredibly fast and requires constant cleaning. I use a one micron air scrubber for that purpose so it’s a reduction in filtering that I’m willing to take in the overall context of aiming for a healthier working environment. The Triton will be re-purposed for any mobile sanding I need to do around our ramshackle, on-going project of a home!
As expected the soft plastic of the bucket couldn’t cope and crumpled under the air pressure around it, so the body needed extra support, which is easily done with a ring of plywood held by friction within the bucket.
I cut another piece of plywood the same size as the first but this time drew two concentric circles, the outer one matching the diameter of the bucket about half way up its height and the inner forms a ring about 30mm wide. I cut both circles on the bandsaw using the same jig I made earlier. Using a bandsaw for this means that you have to cut through the final plywood ring in order to reach the inner circle but also gives a cleaner result than drilling a hole and using a handheld jigsaw and it’s damn fast - seconds. I glued and brad-nailed to fix the cut in the ring and it was ready to press into the bucket.
A quick test showed that it’s working well and it is straight into service for the bandsaw and belt sander. As it happens, I was already using the new cyclone as the bandsaw dust extractor while cutting the plywood ring because the bandsaw isn’t well sealed enough to cause the bucket to crumple when unsupported but with the ring in place, it is now more sturdy and is crumple free.
This approach saved a little money versus buying another Oneida kit at Ireland/UK prices and was probably two hours work for me, making it worthwhile in my book. I expect I’ll halve that time when I next do it because I won’t need to stop to experiment at various points.
Getting this done leaves me with no excuses left to avoid rebuilding the Record Power twin motor dust extractor that I melted - yes melted - last year and has been eyeballing me every time I walk into the workshop.