Build a Sander/Vacuum Box Dust Collector (for Your Girlfriend)




Introduction: Build a Sander/Vacuum Box Dust Collector (for Your Girlfriend)

About: My girlfriend and I run a company called Deville's Workshop in Toronto, Canada. We build weird props for film and television and love this website - such a great resource for inspiration and discussion!
Here is a very quick and easy table top dust collector that I put together for my poorest girlfriend as she was preparing to sand a bunch of resin cast picture frames. I was hoping to contain most of the nasty resin dust PLUS I had some old metal register metal that needed a project, so she got this box. The lucky thing!

First things first: please be safe and careful when using any tools. I nearly put a misfired crown staple into my thumb on this project because I was rushing - believe me, it slows the whole project down when you're trying to pry chunks of metal out of your digits, so take your time and be safe!

The tools I used:
  1. Table saw
  2. Mitre saw
  3. Panel saw
  4. Crown stapler
  5. Drill press
  1. 3/4" plywood
  2. 1"x4" pine
  3. wood glue
  4. heat register sheet metal (this has a proper name but I'm not sure what that is)
  5. double-sided carpet tape
  6. black duct tape

Step 1: Cut the Wood!

The end of my shop vac hose happened to measure 1 3/4"; luckily I had a hole saw blade exactly that size. I drilled out the hole off to the left side because I figured this box would be sitting on Tina's work bench and the hose would be getting in the way more if it was in the middle.

The framework of the box was really simple glue and crown stapling the 1x4s together; next I added four strips of 3/4" plywood. I tried to make these strips flush to the top so that later I can lay the register metal across it.

Step 2: Add an Angled Base

Using the panel saw I cut 10o angles on two sides of a piece of 3/4" plywood. This allowed me place the ply in on an angle; I reason that it will help pull the dust down toward the vacuum hose.

With some help from a mallet I convinced the plywood to fit into the 1x4 frame; I added some sealant to make sure the vacuum suction will only come through the grate on top.

I was trying to figure out how to make the register metal stay flat on top of the plywood strips and happened upon an old roll of carpet tape - perfect!!

Step 3: Put on the Top

We cut the register metal so that there was a half inch overhang on all sides of the box. I cut triangles out of the corners so that we could fold the edges over easily. The metal stuck to the carpet tape and I lightly tapped everything down with a mallet.

I wrapped the box in black duct tape so Tina wouldn't cut herself on the metal edges. And that's it - you're done!!!

Tina found while using it that she could get better suction by masking off some areas with paper towel. She said it might work better with a hood around it so that any dust not directly caught by the suction would fall back onto the grate.

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    12 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Your "poorest girlfriend"? Sounds like you have several - some poor ones, some middle income ones and some rich ones? :-)

    Neat project! Don't mind my wisecracks! :-)


    5 years ago on Introduction

    A lil lightwpuld b Cool might help wit ur projects


    Reply 5 years ago

    interesting. do you mean a light inside the box or something like a standard desk light beside the box?


    7 years ago on Step 3

    Some ideas...

    The shop vac isn't designed to move a lot of air, the area you're trying to vacuum is humongous compared to the volume it vacuums. That's why you have no suction.

    Cut the plywood bottom off the box.
    Go to Menards.
    Buy approx 20" box fan & furnace filter which fits your box.
    Cut a slit in the box to fit the filter edgewise.
    Attach fan to bottom of box facing down so it sucks debris through the filter.
    Add legs to make the filter box freestanding...

    Just my two pence. If you don't like it, I'll give you a full refund.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, I dug around this website AFTER I made mine and found this:
    I wish I had seen it earlier! Great idea though!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea and documentation, thanks! Plus, you've got a tracksaw, and I am sooo jealous.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, my girlfriend bought me that as a birthday gift one year, thus totally making her pretty much the coolest thing ever. It's such an amazing tool. I know Makita and DeWalt have similar systems but I love the precision of Festool. I built a wooden case for my tracks because if they get dinged it's near impossible to get them perfect again.
    Hey, I can make you EVEN MORE jealous - check out this awesome new toy that she gave me this year - Yeah, I know. Super amaze balls. I can make a brand new piece of 2x8 stock look like old weathered barn board in about ten minutes. Man, tools are great things!

    Bill WW
    Bill WW

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice project that shoud help many of us keep our shop clean. Well described.

    Larger (stadard) Shop Vacs have 2 1/2" hose; these units should move plenty of air for your design. But you have to work withwhat you have!