A Vortex (or Cyclone) Separator Appears

After each of the test cut runs on our project CNC, I’ve used the shop vacuum to clean up the mess afterwards. However, this does not help with the mess during cutting, the most important part of which are our machine’s ways and drive screws which are vulnerable from debris. What we really need is some kind of collection system that we can run while the machine is cutting.

One problem with this requirement is the fact that vacuum filters quickly clog up when used in this manner. The standard solution is to separate bulk of debris from the airflow before it flows into the filter, thereby extending life of the filter by reducing the amount of debris it has to catch out of the air. Since this is a standard solution, many products are available for purchase. But being makers, our first thought was how we might make one for less money, and 3D printing seemed like a way to go. Since the device is mainly a hollow shell, in theory we could print one for less money in plastic filament than buying one.

However, the problem is that none of my 3D printers are well suited to printing a tall cylindrical object exceeding my printer volume. And if I should split it across several pieces, I risk introducing a gap that can compromise the vacuum and also disrupt the debris extraction airflow. This type of project is ideally suited for a tall delta-style 3D printer, so I started asking around fellow makers of SGVHAK if anyone had one of those printers.

One member did have such a printer, and asked what I wanted to print. When I described the project, he suggested that we skip the printing. Some time ago he purchased a vortex separator (*) for another project, and it is now available for this project CNC. I agree taking a manufactured unit is much easier than printing one! It is even a perfect fit with the nature of our project, which is mostly built from parts salvaged or recycled from earlier projects.

But the vortex separator is only a single core component, we’ll have to build the rest of the dust collection system.

(*) Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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