(Please see an updated full review here – 5/9/2012)
After mounting the vise, I got interested a bit more in dust collection. At this point I was still rocking the nasty carpet, but I knew that I might go through filters prematurely. I don’t have room for a full-fledged dust collector in the shop, so I have to resort to a Shop-Vac. For my situation, it works well. But I still needed a way to help protect the filter.
I had done a little research into cyclones and dust separators that people had made in a DIY approach. I liked that idea, but then noticed that Rockler made a lid for a 5-gal bucket that did the same thing for a very reasonable price. I decided to take the plunge, as the lid was only a buck or two more than buying a new filter, and it wouldn’t wear down.
The device sits on top of the bucket and has two ports – an inlet and an outlet. Thus far, I’ve seen no signs that it makes a difference how you hook it up. You simply insert your hose from your vacuum into one side, and another hose into the other to your dust/dirt source. The combined setup has the effect of generating enough suction to pull items through the first hose into the bucket, but not enough to suck it back up into the hose to the vacuum. I’ve seen no loss of suction at all, and very, very little going into the shop vacuum itself. It’s a huge improvement, and I simply take the top off the bucket and empty it once in awhile. I’ve checked the Shop-Vac a few times and it’s not even worth emptying, there’s so little in there.
For those interested, I am using a 3.0HP 6-gallon Shop-Vac that I picked up from Lowe’s for over half of what is retail. It’s a fine machine, and I didn’t pass up the opportunity to pick up a spare at the same price as a hose itself. I think it will last me quite a long time, but it’s always nice to have spare parts.
One thing I would like to do in the future is get some more hose and mount to the wall where I will need it the most, for quick access and cleanliness. I can use the setup on the router table, with the router in hand-held mode, my table saw, and my miter saw.