Inspired by a video I saw a while I have set about trying to build a cyclone separator.
A cyclone separator is essentially what inspired James Dyson to make the cyclone vacuum cleaner. It works using the simple principal of centrifugal force. Air contaminated with particulate matter is sucked into a conical or cylindrical shaped chamber, the air enters at the top of the chamber parallel with the wall. The air is forced to flow around the curve of the wall, forming a vortex. Through centrifugal force the vortex pushes the particulate matter out to the sides and against the wall of the chamber where it slows down and falls out the bottom of the chamber. The remaining air is sucked out the top by a motor fitted with a fan to create suction.
I built my cyclone separator using an upright vacuum cleaner someone gave me that had been converted for use in a wood workshop, it no longer had a brush bar at the bottom, handle or any tools, just a motor, dust bin, filters and a pipe coming out with a good amount of suction.
The end result was a rather bodged but working cyclone separator, which with a mesh filter would probably be quite effective! I did some testing with polystyrene balls but it happily picked up all the other light pieces on my desk, and wasn’t even that well sealed!
In the process of building this I did a bunch of research and found some other projects that were interesting:
This was the series of videos that inspired this experiment by Matthias Wandel:
I will post the results soon, but it’s good news!