Vacuum Cleaner on Steroids

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Introduction: Vacuum Cleaner on Steroids

About: Life is too short for boring projects!

What is the worst job in a woodworking shop right after sanding? Cleaning up of course! That is why it is such a good idea to build an enormous vacuum cleaner powered by a dust collector.

I was hired to help build a traditional wooden sailing ship a few months ago. As the ship will be 22m(72ft) long and 9 meters (29ft) wide it means that our shipbuilding workshop is also enormous and pretty hard to keep clean. Especially when producing heaps of sawdust. To aid with the cleaning process I decided to build this enormous floor sweeper powered by our new dust collector from Koneita.

If you are interested to see our shipbuilding process I invite you to follow me on Instagram and Subscribe on Youtube.


If you are not much of a reader and prefer a visual presentation I invite you to take a look at the video. It can also be found on my Instagram page! ;)

Let me know if you have any questions or ways to improve this design!

Supplies

For materials I used:

  • 1X 2000mm long 110mm dia sewage pipe
  • 2X 110mm 30-degree sewage pipe connectors
  • 1X 4-way 110mm sewage pipe connector
  • 3/4 birch plywood scraps for endcaps and the handle
  • 2X 50mm plastic wheels
  • M10 threaded rod, washers and locknuts
  • 2X Screws and large washers for the handle
  • Sealing tape and strong tape

This grey plastic sewage pipe is pretty common in the EU - at least here, where I live (Estonia). These measure 110 mm in diameter and connect to each other via rubber gaskets. They can be easily manipulated using woodworking tools. I am sure it is not hard to find a substitution for this pipe in your area. All the pipes I used were left over from my home renovation project.

Tools:

  • Track saw/circular saw
  • Oscillating saw
  • Hot glue gun
  • Jig saw
  • Cordless drill
  • Disc sander
  • Personal protection

I know this seems like a whole lot of power tools for such a small project. Do not be intimidated - everything can also be done with simple hand tools. If you have doubts or any questions do not hesitate to ask - I will help you gladly!

Step 1: Building the Body

The first thing I did was to cut the 4-way connector in half as shown in the photo. This allowed it to be placed over a straight section of the pipe and trace the location of the hole. The hole was then cut out using an oscillating saw and the edges were refined with a knife. Then the connector was hot-glued to the pipe.

The horizontal pipe was first left a bit longer so it could be trimmed to the final length afterwards while testing the suction. A similar thing was also done with the vertical pipe to get the handle height correct.

To make the cuts on the horizontal pipe the whole thing was first assembled and then placed on the floor at an approximate working angle. A line was then traced on both sides using a marker and a block of wood. The cuts were once again made using a circular saw.

Step 2: Endcaps

To increase the suction two endcaps were made from plywood. I happened to have a hole saw with the right diameter so I used it. A little section was cut off with a circular saw and I gave both of them a light sanding. To attach them to the pipe I just used hot glue again.

Step 3: Adding Wheels

As the floor of our shipyard is made of 2x2x2 oak cubes it makes it somewhat uneven and the sweeper did not roll too smoothly so I decided to add wheels. It just so happened that we had two 50 mm wheels laying around that worked perfectly for that. I could even use the centre hole from the hole saw to attach them. I bolted a threaded rod to the plywood and then bolted on the wheels making sure the nut would not be too tight preventing the wheel from spinning.

To increase the suction in front of the sweeper I taped on some sealing tape on the back. As it seemed pretty soft material I taped it over with some stronger tape.

Step 4: The Handle

Last but not least I made a little handle from plywood. This was cut out using a circular saw and a jig saw and the edges were rounded over with a disc sander. I gave it a coat of pine tar as a finish.

The handle was attached to the two connectors with large washers and screws.

Step 5: The End!

That is it! I hope my project gave you some ideas.

Please note that the dust collector has to be pretty powerful in order for it to work. Our new dust collector is 3.8kW. Even so, I can only sweep up lighter wood shavings and dust. For larger amounts of sawdust, it is significantly faster to just use a broom and a pan. Large dust collectors are designed for other purposes thus lacking a huge flow rate.

Let me know if you have any questions or ways to improve this design!

Find me on social media! @craftandu

Cheers

Andu


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    8 Comments

    0
    gralan
    gralan

    25 days ago

    I'm going to utilize your design for making a smaller version. We have a commercial shop vac that needs your ideas. Thank you for posting.
    Big Smile!

    1
    Norm1958
    Norm1958

    5 weeks ago

    Simple, common materials, useful, easily done. ingenious. Love it.

    0
    jeanniel1
    jeanniel1

    6 weeks ago

    Man, with lathe turning, we make a BIG mess - this would definitely save a ton of time cleaning up!

    0
    CraftAndu
    CraftAndu

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    I have seen some contraptions that catch shavings straight from the lathe. You should check them out and definitely build one. 😉

    1
    BevCanTech
    BevCanTech

    Tip 6 weeks ago on Step 4

    If you want to make a 'deluxe' handle, which is a pleasure to hold, try wrapping it with cycling handle bar tape.

    20220809_093449.jpg20220809_124558.jpg
    0
    CraftAndu
    CraftAndu

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Fancy! 😉

    0
    jessyratfink
    jessyratfink

    6 weeks ago

    That is awesome! Really clever way to make the vacuum head :)

    0
    CraftAndu
    CraftAndu

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Thanks Jessy! 🙂