Introduction: Space Saving Mobile Dust Collection Cart With Storage

About: 8th and 9th grade Engineering Teacher

Last year, I received a grant to get some woodworking tools to use in my junior high school engineering classes. The students were getting bored building with cardboard, so we decided to give them a chance to build things with wood. I knew there would be plenty of dust, so we included in the grant request the ability to buy some basic dust collection equipment. That ended up being Ridgid wet/dry vacs attached to 5-gallon buckets with the Home Depot Duststopper attached to the top. The Duststopper works well, but with all of the hoses, it takes up a lot of space as shown in the pictures. After looking at other ideas, I decided to use a design similar to the one made by handmadewithashley. I modified the design a little to manage the hoses and accessories, as well as provide some storage of commonly used tools using french cleats on the sides of the cart.

Let's get started on this space-saving build!



1 sheet 3/4" plywood

1 1/4" pocket hole screws

wood glue (optional)

3" Casters (optional)


Table Saw

Pocket Hole Jig

Circular Saw

Router or Jigsaw

Circle Cutting Jig


Step 1: Step 1: Go Get Materials From Store and Have Them Cut Pieces.

I went to my local orange superstore and picked up 1 sheet of 3/4" sanded plywood and some 1 1/4" pocket hole screws. I have a table saw, but it was much easier to have them cut the plywood into 3 24" x 48" strips and one a little shorter than 24". I only used the 3 pieces of 24" for my build.

This also made it much more manageable to move around once I got the rest of the pieces to my table saw.

Step 2: Step 2: Cut the Rest of the Pieces to Size According to Cut List.

Cut list

Base - 24" x 22 1/2"

Sides - (2) 24" x 48" pieces

Top - 24" x 16"

Front Piece and stretchers - (4) 24" x 4" (I had some 1x4 pieces laying around so I used those as the back stretchers, but you could cut them out of the leftover plywood piece.)

Caster Supports - (2) 22 1/2" x 4"

Step 3: Step 3: Drill Pocket Holes

Drill pocket holes in all 4 sides of the base. (I drilled 5 per side which was probably overkill, but I had plenty of screws.)

Drill pocket holes in the 2 ends of the top piece and 2 in each end of the front piece and stretchers.

Step 4: Step 4: Begin Assembly of the Cart.

Begin assembling the cart by attaching the base to one side, then to the other. I then attached the front stretcher and lower back stretcher to hold everything in place. (Picture 1) Be sure to raise the bottom 3/4" to allow for the caster supports to attach underneath the base. I did this by placing the top piece, which is 3/4", under the bottom and standing the sides up to each side. (Picture 2 shows the raised base)

Step 5: Step 5: Attach Top Piece

Next, I laid the cart down on its backside to attach the top to the cart making it flush with the back and the top.

Step 6: Step 6: Attach the Back Stretchers

Next, I stood the cart back up and attached the back stretchers. I had already attached the bottom stretcher, but added one at the top, and one near the center of the cart above where the wet/dry vac would sit in case I needed to access the wet/dry vac from the rear.

Step 7: Step 7: Attach Caster Supports and Casters

I then laid the cart on its back and attached the caster support pieces using regular 1 1/4" wood screws. I used 5 screws here spaced roughly the same distance apart. (Again, probably overkill, but I had extra screws)

After the caster supports were securely attached, I put the casters on the cart with the supplied hardware and washers.

Step 8: Step 8: Cut Hole for the 5 Gallon Bucket and for Hoses to Go Through the Top.

Next, I used my circle cutting jig and my router to cut out a circle in the top piece for the 5 gallon bucket to sit in. I also cut a 3" hole in the top for the hose to go through.

I also added 3" holes for the vacuum accessories to go through so they weren't snagging on something and falling off of the shop vac when wheeling it around to where it is needed.

Step 9: Step 9: Attach the Hose From the Duststopper to the Wet/dry Vac

Next, feed the hose from the wet/dry vac up to the Duststopper using the hole in the top piece and attach.

Step 10: Step 12: Attach Hose to Dust Collection Port on Your Tool of Choice.

I built this one for the miter saw station, so I connected the hose to the dust collection port on the miter saw using a part I had previously 3-D printed to reduce the size from the 2 1/2" wet/dry vac hose to the 1 1/2" dust collection port on the miter saw.

Step 11: Step 10: Cut Boards for French Cleats on Each Side

I used some leftover 1x4 scraps and cut them down the center at a 45-degree angle and attached them to the sides of the dust collection cart.

Step 12: Step 11: Build Bins for Storage to Use With the French Cleats

I built some bins using the leftover piece of plywood that I had. These bins hold a tape measure, a speed square, a pencil, and other commonly used items that are nice to have close by when completing a build.

Will add pictures soon!

Step 13: Step 13: Step Back, Admire, and Enjoy Your Creation.

I love how this design takes up space vertically, rather than horizontally. I didn't like everything sitting all over the floor. Now everything is in a compact area that can be moved easily if needed.

There are a few things that I would change looking back. I would decrease the height of the cart to where the 5-gallon bucket was sitting about 1-2" above the shop vac. The 5-gallon bucket is a little high for some of my students to pick up out of the cart to empty without the use of a chair.

Another thing I might change to save some money is using 1/2" plywood, even 1/2" sheathing, would have plenty of rigidity for this project. It may not be as pretty as the sanded plywood, but with a little paint, it would be perfect for a shop fixture.

I like the french cleats along the side to hold a tape measure, pencil, and speed square within reach. Also having a small box for the screws that I am using on a project is nice to have close at hand.

All in all, this has helped organize the mess that was my dust collection system. It can now move from tool to tool with ease if needed.

Classroom Organization Challenge

Runner Up in the
Classroom Organization Challenge