Instructables
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This instructable details one way to take a vacuum cleaner motor and utilize the air outflow for a leaf blower.

If you like the instructable and find it informative, please vote for it in both the
Craftsman Tools Contest and the
Joby Transform It! Challenge please. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!

The leaf blower in this instructable was actually my second attempt at finding something to use the motor from a vacuum cleaner that stopped working. This idea came more from chance than a goal of making a leaf blower.

It's important to note that using the leaf blower that this project produces is risky. I'm no electrician, so I can't say for sure just how risky it actually is, but since I'm somewhat paranoid about electricity (my lack of understanding being the cause) I do worry when using this blower. You basically have an electrical cord up close near your body, though there are no exposed wires. I'm sure someone here knows better and can comment on the dangers. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR INJURY.
 
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Step 1: The predecessor

Picture of the predecessor
The failure that came first (image below):
Initially, I thought the motor would work well in making a large scale shop-vac that I could use to suck up leaves (pretty much a leaf vacuum). While it had more than enough suction, there were two problems with it that made it not really that useful.
- The dryer-vent pipe's length and the fact that when in use the intake end is down at ground level and the other end is up above the barrel caused leaves to get pulled in but then stop moving through a little ways in.
- The second more obvious shortcoming was the barrel itself: it would fill up with leaves quickly since they weren't being compressed as you would if bagging, and then to empty the contents of the barrel into a bag was difficult due to how big, heavy, and unwieldy it was.

There were some modifications that would likely have helped these issues, but at this point the idea was beginning to feel like a square peg being forced into a round hole.
howest5259 months ago
If you have ever tried to use a blower/vacuum then you would probably agree that its built-in bag is too small for any substantial quantity of leaves. Make the instructable will show you how to make a trash bagging system cheaper and better than commercially available units. Get more informations
Interesting idea. Those vacuum motors are everywhere, and reasonably hard to find things to do with (because they need that air blasting through or they burn up). I wouldn't personally use a leaf blower, just because I find some quite raking therapeutic, but I love the idea and simple implementation. Thanks for sharing.
shaggs313 years ago
I've had a vacuum motor sitting around for a while now. This is something that looks cool enough for me to try. Thanks for sharing.
owenskd3 years ago
I found this instructable very informative. Can't wait to make my own! Thanks for sharing!
aeneas shrike (author)  owenskd3 years ago
I'm glad you liked it.
Heads up though, out of the three vacuums I've gone through now, the first, which this instructable shows, was the simplest. The second which is shown in the last step, was about the same shape in motor and casing, just with a ton of extra wiring/cord. However the third, which I'll post some pictures of in a new step at the end, relies on it's plastic casing to create an inflow and an out. If I take the motor out of the casing so it's the nice cylindrical ones used in the first two, it would become just a motor with a fan wheel, moving air around but not channeling it as much.

I would recommend before getting all of your other parts, take your vacuum apart and see what kind of guts you're going to get out of it. The motor may not be this type. This wouldn't mean it's not usable, it just may require some different tinkering. Hope that helps.
aeneas shrike (author)  aeneas shrike3 years ago
update: just added new step at the end, so the second blower I reference above is now detailed in not the last step, but the second to last
alexsolex3 years ago
Congratulation, very simple and clever !

What about the use ? Does it bloes enough air to 'wipe' the leaves ? The air blower used by professional (thermic motor) blows very hard.

Is it possible to get a video which show the realtime effect ?
aeneas shrike (author)  alexsolex3 years ago
It does pretty well. It seems to work better on smoother surfaces, as opposed to the yard, which makes sense I guess. Of course having the second one makes a big difference. I've actually got a third motor now that I'm trying to decide how to install into the first unit. I've never used an actual store-bought leaf blower, but if I had to guess I'd say that it would probably be stronger. While these motors, in this setup, get the job done, I wouldn't mind having a little more output.

Something else I've realized is just how much a rake doesn't care if the leaves are dry or wet, whereas with this device, the dryer the leaves, the more they cooperate.

As for the video, I'll see if I can get one. It shouldn't take long for the yard to fill up again.

Thanks for the comment.