Introduction: Cyclone Vacuum Add on for Shopvac Updated

Picture of Cyclone Vacuum Add on for Shopvac Updated

Update: I am working on using three cones to see if I can use a bigger motor.

I should have done this sooner... been thinking about it for years. You can purchase all different kinds of attachments for all kinds of vacuums... but I wanted one for my shopvac. Being able to keep my vacuum sucking at it's best by keeping the filter clean... it's a no brainer.

So I needed a cone. I was driving around and trying to figure out how I was going to roll a piece of plastic and seal it off when I saw... a street cone. I know everyone describes these by saying... it's like using your vacuum attached to a street cone. Well I did it.

Street Cone (Big) $2 at Re-store
Various bits of wood $0
Drywall screws
Liquid nails or some other sticky gluey stuff (Silicone will work)
Shop vac
Shop vac hose
Shop vac extension tubes

First I needed some way to set the cone upright on my bucket, so I made this kinda box around it *(I was going to use milk crates because they are just cool... but didn't)

1. Cut two pieces of plywood the same size as the base of the cone
2. Cut Shop vac tube into one 11" piece and one 8" piece *(Approximate) The end of the tube with the flared end, the one that hooks to the hose went in the side.
3. Cut football shaped hole toward bottom of cone just big enough to shove tube in and have it not fall out. End of tube on inside needs to be close to the wall so the junk will slide around and then down.
4. Cut hole in the center of plywood pieces 2.5" for tube (top) and a 3.5" one for the bottom (outlet for junk into bucket)
5. On some cones there are little feet that keep it off the ground an inch or two. I cut these off.
6. Put a ring of liquid nails or something like it around the base of the cone and then screw it to the wood base with the 2.5" hole.
7. The other end of cone poked through the other plywood bit and I cut slits in the end, more liquid nails, then screwed it. (See image)
8. Made the outside wood supports and then went a little nuts with the miter saw.
9. Glue the longer bit of tube in the hole on the top... this tube has to go down farther than the side tube... it's a math thing.

Hook tube from vacuum to top tube and then another hose to the one on the side... Wallah

Overall this project was really easy and could be upscaled or downscaled for your needs. I will make some cart for the vac and the cone and I am done. Tested this and works really well *(See pic) I can use any bucket that is less than 14" across. I am wondering why vacuum companies don't do this with all their vacuums? Especially shop vacs that need the suction and keep the filter pretty clean.

Update: 4/2016
Still using and it works great. I am working on making it more powerful with more street cones and a bigger motor... maybe. Might just leave good things alone.


hokemon (author)2016-09-06

Thank you for this inspiration! I knocked one together in an evening with nothing more than rivets and duct tape, and it works incredibly well

dimmaz88 (author)2012-11-27

May sound like a daft question, but which hole is for the hose to the power tool? Great thinking using a traffic cone, I have wondered how to make the cone too :)

Power tool (vacuum moter) is sucking from inside of cone and the intake for the vacuum hose is the one in the side.

the hose that is in the side of the cone is for sucking up the stuff. The motor on top pulls everything in.

Vacuum > cyclone cone > then vacuum tube to suck stuff up. The Vacuum connects to the top of the (actually the bottom) of the cone. The tube to suck up stuff attaches to the side of the cone and the cone sits on a bucket.

Hi, thanks. However I've already built one :)

AngusRex (author)2015-07-22

Hi, i'm just wondering, does your cone collapes on itself when the vac in working? Because I implemented a similar design but my trafic cone (which is a heavy duty one) just keeps collapsing due to the vacuum. Thanks

Yes. That's why I did the wood frame, it holds thing apart by pulling on each end of the cone. I also found that the intake and output holes need to be the same.

Hi, ok thank you, and is it possible to know also:

-dept at which the central tube goes?

-did you put any filter at the end of the central tube?

thank you again

The Depth is about 1/4 the way down.

No filter on end of tube. That's the point of the cone part... although it would't be a bad idea. I have sucked up cloth ans stuff.

MichaelU4 (author)2015-09-10

fantastic! iv been looking at all of these thinking.... why not a traffic cone? and viola! uv saved me a lot of headache trying to come up with this by myself!

Glad you like it. It works really well... still!

temper (author)2012-10-15

Ha! I have always wanted to try this well done! But hey? you bought the cone? ;-)

I could have snagged on off the freeway but ... this was easier.

bellinghammakerspace (author)2013-03-18

I have seen this guy. He has amazing videos. I didn't want to work that hard on mine.

rspellicer (author)2012-11-22

Love this... Was almost going to try to make a cone out of 'glass... How long does the top tube extend inside?

Just below the side tube... that make scene? The side tube is about 2" from the top... so the inside tube is about 6" long. Let me know if this doesn't make scene.

cajunfid (author)2013-02-12

Would it be possible to show a picture of how you secured the return to the side of the cone? I've looked at a few different plans regarding that and no pictures are really visible showing how it is secured on the inside of the cone.

Sorry this took so long. I just cut an oval and glued it in with liquid nails... that's it. It's up against the wood frame so it doesn't move.

Curtis Simmons (author)2013-03-13

I have looked at a lot of plans for a cyclone vac add on and yours is the winner. I am going to attempt to construct mine today. I do have a question though, are those screws or pop rivets used to attach the small flared end of the cone to the bottom of the platform? I do not have a pop rivet gun but I'm told I have plenty loose screws:) I have a piece of medium gauge sheet metal that I plan to make a ring out of to stop the split edges of the cone from curling as seen in your pic. Over kill, maybe, but from all my reading on the subject the smoother the surface the air passes through the less power you loose. I am new to Instructables and not great with computers but I will try and post my results, good or bad, and if I find a "new and improved" technique I will pass that along as well.

bertus52x11 (author)2012-10-19

Very smart!

andrew.spencer.2 (author)2012-10-17

Music for shop vaccing to!

dreiseratops (author)2012-10-16

I get the feeling it doesnt need to be cone shaped at all.
If you arrange the ports this way in a large cylinder it would just gather stuff at the bottom...
Im going to go hook my vac up to a big plastic garbage can right now because you have inspired me.

Of course you need a cone... otherwise... oh ya. I guess you don't. Now that you mention it... why do they have the cone?

The larger heavier particles move to the outside of the cone and progressively lighter particles spin somewhere between the outer wall and the centre of the cone depending on their mass. So at the top (big diameter) the heavier particles impact the side causing them to drop towards the bottom. If you only had a cylinder you would only catch the larger heavier particles. By reducing the diameter (a cone) you catch progressively smaller and smaller particles.

dreiseratops (author)steveharr2012-10-17

Because the lighter they are the faster they have to travel to be affected by the g force of the trajectory enough to overcome the force of the wind...

Well how does terminal velocity of a piece of dust get overcome?
That would have to be like 40 kajillion Gs. Wait wait & then if it slows down the wind is still pushing it & the gs arent making a diff...
Im lost I dont get it.

steveharr (author)dreiseratops2012-10-17

The cone! brings the wall closer to the center, so in contact with the dust. It's a cone, it narrows, a cone.

Rob311 (author)2012-10-17

I'm going to be the practical one and say that the cone helps funnel the dust into the bucket at the bottom =).

moosetooth (author)2012-10-16

Great project! Going on my "to do" list. Filters are to vacuum mfgrs as ink is to printer mfgrs. $$$

audreyobscura (author)2012-10-15

When I saw the picture my mind wandered as to what your project could be, but this is really excellent. Any way you could include some video of it in action?

About This Instructable



Bio: I have always like building... now I have the skills and equipment to do some really cool stuff.
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