As with most of my other equipment, (recirculating sluice, wind turbine, solar panel, telescopes, jet engine, etc., etc.), I decided to try building one myself, rather than just buying one. The tinkering is half the fun after all. Also, you will get a much greater sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when you know it is YOUR home-built equipment that is doing such a good job, and not some store-bought thing. You can find more information on my various projects at http://www.mdpub.com
Step 1: Find a Cheap Wet-dry Vac
Step 2: Replace the Electric Motor With a Gas Leaf Blower
I removed the nozzle extension and the intake diffuser from the leaf blower. This turns it into quite a compact unit that will sit comfortably on top of the tank of the wet-dry vac. The pieces just snap right back on when I need to do lawn work.
Step 3: Make a Top Plate for the Vacuum
Then I cut holes in the disk to accommodate the leaf blower. I not only needed a hole for the leaf blower's air intake, but also holes for various protruding pieces that would otherwise be in the way and not allow the leaf blower to sit all the way down flat on the disk.
The third photo shows the leaf blower test fit on the top of the vac. It looks good, but there are a lot of air leaks that prevent the vacuum from developing good suction. I needed to add weather stripping.
Step 4: Seal With Weather Stripping and Screw Down the Blower
Then I used long wood screws and washers to hold the blower down on the wood disk. My model of leaf blower has convenient tabs on the edges to run the screws through. It only takes a couple of minutes and a screwdriver to free it up when I have to use it for yard work.
Step 5: Finished!
Note: If you build one of these, I highly recommend you use ear protection while running it. It is very loud and the hose isn't long enough to allow you to get too far away from it. Also, a dust mask would be a good idea. This unit has no filter, and so blows a lot of fine dust out when vacuuming up dry material.
More information on my projects can be found at http://www.mdpub.com