Illustrator makes me suicidal. That said, I am expert-level with Illustrator. I just hate it for this task.
Made some concrete progress today.
Basically, my dust extractor is out of commission. This is because the filter bag is completely clogged with ultra-fine dust, chips, etc. I took the filter bag to a friend's house today - someone who had a giant air compressor. I did my best to blow it out, but it's still basically screwed. I have a wynn environmental nano-spun cartridge on the way to replace it, hopefully arriving midweek next week.
In the meantime, I needed to do something about the sheer volume of material going through the dust collection system. The basic problem is that a half-micron filter simply can't handle all the larger chips and dust, it is quickly destroyed. In a perfect world, I'd have a giant cyclone separator that would remove most of the dust and stuff before it gets to the filter, leaving only the ultra-fine dust (the stuff that grows tumors in your lungs). But the next best thing to a cyclone filter is a "Thien separator" designed by Phil Thien. I read about eleventy thousand badly written project blogs on building them, and finally just designed my own. Unfortunately it's a patent-applied-for design, so I can't make my files Open Hardware. But regardless, here is a picture of the device I built today:
I have to wait for the glue/sealant to dry before testing, so I probably won't know how well it works until tomorrow morning. But I'm pretty excited to install it under my Delta 50-760 dust collector and see it collect chips.
Dust collection turns out to be a rabbit-hole of info and mis-info. I don't recommend reading too much. You'll just get bogged down.