Introduction: Make a Shopvac and Cyclone Shop Cart

About: Build instead of buy....most of the time.

For most of us there is always a constant battle to reduce wasted shop floor space. To me that’s one piece of motivation for getting this project done. I’ve got a 12 gallon shopvac hooked up to a cyclone dust separator and moving them around the shop together is a pain in the butt. That’s motivating factor #2. I’ve also got a bunch of hoses and accessories taking up floor space in a separate box on the shop floor. More motivation.

The solution is to put it all in a mobile cart to pull around the shop as needed. Typically when you see these carts the shopvac and cyclone are sitting side by side. I didn’t want to make mine side by side though. I wanted to use as much vertical space as possible with this build so the idea is to stack the cyclone on top of the shopvac. The frame that holds these two up will also house all of the tools as well as all of my hoses.

I start the vast majority of projects with a plan in hand. That wasn’t the case with this one. I had a rough concept of what I wanted and designed as I went along. Since completing the project though I have put together a detailed set of plans for those who are interested in making this cart.

Step 1: Breaking Down Materials

To start, a few measurements are needed. Both the shopvac and the cyclone will be suspended by half circle supports. They will be under the handles of the shopvac and under the lip of the bucket where the handle attaches to.

Squares are awesome. I have several squares in the shop and they all have their uses. The easiest way I have found to determine the diameter of a circular object is with the use of a speed square riding along one edge of a carpenters square.

The first few cuts were made with a circular saw and a straight edge to get everything down to a manageable size. I made this entire cart out of 2/3 of a full sheet of 3/4” plywood. That means you will have enough scrap left over to make either a miter sled, splined miter sled, or a perfect width router dado jig. Each of those only require a 24” x 24” piece of plywood.

Step 2: Supports and Leg Assembly

The first thing I cut were the two curved support boards for the cyclone and shopvac. I ended up making two sets of these pieces as I screwed up the originals. It’s not so much that I screwed them up as much as it was that I just didn’t make them large enough. I was making it up as I went and realized I cut the overall size of the panel too small.

With the rest of the plywood more manageable I could rip four strips that would be the legs.

The legs were just glued and screwed to form an “L” shape.

Step 3: Support Arms

To eliminate a few sharp corners sticking out and also give the cart a little bit of visual interest I chopped off the bottom corners of the front support arms.

The bandsaw made quick work of this. I am beginning to find myself using my bandsaw more and more in my work. Even for straight cuts. It’s just an incredibly handy tool.

Step 4: Frame Assembly

After a little bit of simple math that had me feeling like an idiot I determined the appropriate locations for the support arms. These are secured with glue and screws. I used brad nails on most of the joints to hold everything in place while I predrilled for screws.

And finally I can visually see some progress. The curved support boards could then be screwed onto the support arms.

Step 5: Base Assembly

I tossed around several different ideas for the base of the cart. My original idea was to make a much smaller base that would only extend to the halfway point of the shopvac in the front. I ended up going out past the shopvac though as I wasn’t sure if that small of a footprint would make the entire cart top heavy. That ended up being a good decision as the cart is incredibly difficult to tip over now.

The leg assembly slips right in to the base. After confirming that everything is square I drove four screws into each leg from the outside of the base.

My original idea was to use large wooden wheels in the back to function the same way you would use an appliance dolly. That way I could roll it outside in my gravel driveway to use when cleaning out our vehicles. When it was time to work on the wheels I realized that I didn’t have the necessary hardware to do what I was wanting so I just went with four swivel casters. The original casters from the Mini CV06 cyclone were reused here.

Step 6: Tool Holders

The tool holders would be sticking out the back so I rounded off the corners real quick with the bandsaw.

I also made a series of holes to accommodate tools for both standard sizes of shopvac hoses. The only tool that needed a custom slot was the crevice tool. Both the small and large tool holders were done this way.

Step 7: Hose Management

I wanted the intake port for the cyclone to face the back of the cart. Everything the operator needs is going to be on the back side of the cart so there is no need in making the front side the operation side. To prevent unnecessary stress on the cyclone I put a horizontal brace with a hole cut in it between the legs. This is where the intake hose will be used. The idea here is that if I accidentally tug on the hose too much the hose will grab the plywood and hopefully not put any stress on the body of the cyclone.

The tool holders are just screwed onto the legs. Then they can be loaded up to verify everything is working as it should. I also have a few extension tubes that need to find a home. I came up with a super simple grid for this. The last piece of the puzzle is a horizontal brace to loop all of the hoses over.

Step 8: Final Thoughts

I’m incredibly pleased with the results of the project and after testing it out in the shop I’m sure I’ll put it to good use going forward. If you would like to build one too I have a detailed set of plans available. If this is your first time here I’d love to have you follow along at my website. I hope you are able to find this useful and are able to at the very least get a few ideas from it. Thanks for stopping by folks and have a great day.