Dowel gauge tells when dust bin gets full
Though I initially wanted to install a window in my cyclone dust collector's dust bin to see the level of chips without taking the lid off, I figured out an easier alternative: a dowel depth gauge. To install one, simply drill a hole in the separator's lid to accommodate a rubber grommet that fits around a 1⁄2 " dowel. Then, drill a centered 1⁄2 " hole 1⁄2 " deep in a 4" length of 2×4, and epoxy in a dowel slightly longer than your bin is tall. Slide the dowel through the lid, as shown. Then, with the bin empty, mark the level on the dowel gauge.
After you resume using your dust collector, periodically lift the gauge up through the dust and place it back down to check the level. When the bin fills to capacity, mark the level on the dowel for later reference.
—Bob Ryan, Coronado, Calif.