Introduction: Cyclonic Separator Shop-Vac With Secondary Water Filtration (Wet Scrubber) Made From Junk.. This Is Version Mark 2 of the Cyclonic Dust Collector Shop-Vac.
This is a homemade cyclonic shop vac I built that has a second stage water filtration feature also known as a wet scrubber. The nice thing about this shop vac is it can extract large and fine particles down to several microns with very cheap methods without losing suction and all the while keeping a relatively small footprint so it is easy to roll around the shop.. A third stage could even be added such as a fabric HEPA filter to remove the ultra fine particulates but I did not include that in this build.
For instructions please watch the video first!
This design is actually a Mark 2 version (technically Mark 3) of my first CD Case Cyclonic Dust Collector. Mark 1 only had a the single stage cyclonic separator.
A majority of the dust will be collected in the 3 gallon bucket placed below the cyclonic separator, what makes it through the vacuum motor will be further filtered using the wet scrubber stage. This doesn't remove all of the fine particles but does a decent job down to the 10 micron range. Should a fabric HEPA be placed as a third stage filtration, it would take a very long time for it to clog.
This shop vac has 3 main parts, the cyclonic separator, the vacuum housing, and the wet scrubber.
The Cyclonic Separator portion is made from a CD spindle case, a toy traffic cone, and some 1 1/4" PVC Pipe.
I acquired the vacuum motor from another broken upright vacuum cleaner. I created a housing for the motor using scrap particle board. This housing is essentially a sealed box which contains the inlet/outlet ports, the power switch, and power cable.
All of the vacuum components are sealed with a generous amount of glue and attached to a wooden disk that is secured on top of a 3 gallon bucket lid. It is important to ensure everything is air tight.
The cyclonic separator is bolted onto the vacuum motor housing and then secured to the pipe on the bucket lid using silicone tape. The bracket holding the cyclonic separator doesn't necessarily need to be a metal one as shown in the video but could simply be a piece of particle board with the same diameter hole cut out of it. I used this metal bracket simply because it was laying around my junk part box.
It is also a good idea to empty and sterilize the wet scrubber after each use to prevent germs from being aerosolized into the shop.
To complete the CD case cyclonic separator module you'll need:
1x 50disc CD spindle case
1x plastic traffic cone (found it at a department store sports/toy section)
3ft of 1 1/4" thin walled PVC pipe
1x 1 1/4" PVC straight coupler
To complete the Vacuum Housing you'll need:
1x plastic bucket with lid (doesn't necessarily have to be round)
1x vacuum cleaner motor (can source from any spare vacuum cleaner)
2x 1 1/4" PVC 90 deg elbow
Lots of Particle Board
4x 3" x 13" boards 4x caster wheels 1x toggle switch 1x power cable
To complete the Wet Scrubber you'll need:
2ft of 1 1/4" PVC Pipe
5x 1 1/4" 90 degree PVC elbows
1x Cylindrical bottle with slightly larger diameter than PVC pipe
1x Plastic cup or bottle bottom that is slightly larger than cylindrical bottle
1x small plastic waste basket or tall narrow bucket that can fit on top of shop vac
Step 1: Building the Cyclonic Separator Out of CD Cases and Toy Traffic Cone
Start with a 50 CD case spindle.
Cut out the base of the spindle (the black portion) such that the PVC pipe can fit through it.
Cut an oval hole out the side wall (the clear cylinder) of the CD case so the inlet pipe can be inserted into the case
Cut the clear top off of the CD spindle case
Cut the center out of the CD to act as a spiral ramp for the air inlet
FIrst glue the inlet pipe so it is about half way into the CD spindle case
Tack the CD spiral ramp to the inlet pipe then position spiral ramp so the outlet pipe can still fit
Fill in the gap between the spiral ramp and the CD spindle case with glue
Glue the outlet pipe to the spiral ramp
Glue the black bottom of the CD Spindle case
Cut the top off the toy traffic cone that is the same size as the 1 1/4" PVC pipe
Cut the base off the toy traffic cone such that it can fit into the CD Spindle case
Glue the toy traffic cone to the CD Spindle assembly
Step 2: Building the Vacuum Housing
Measure the diameter of the vacuum motor
Make a box that is slightly larger than the diameter of the vacuum motor
Cut two spacer blocks that can wedge the vacuum motor to the walls of the vacuum motor box
Glue a 1 1/4" PVC coupler to the inlet port of the vacuum motor box
Drill a stepped hole for the power switch
Insert Power Switch
Drill a hole for the power cord
Insert Power Cord and secure using a wooden bracket that screws onto the vacuum motor box
Wire the vacuum motor to the power switch and power cord
Drill a hole for the outlet port
Seal the vacuum motor box with screws and glue
Test the vacuum motor box and ensure it is air tight
Cut out a particle board disc the same diameter as the bucket lid
Secure the disc to the bucket lid using screws
Drill a hole to fit in a 1 1/4" PVC coupler, (glue this in place)
Mount the vacuum motor box near the edge of the bucket lid disc using screws (you can use small blocks of particle board as 90 degree screw brackets)
Secure the Cyclonic Separator sub assembly to the vacuum motor box
Seal the Cyclonic Seperator dust collection hole to the bucket port using silicone tape or glue
Attach the output of the Cyclonic Seperator to the Input of the vacuum motor box using a small section of PVC pipe and PVC elbows (you may want to install a small screen into this pipe to catch any large particles that make it through the cyclonic separator in order to prevent the motor from clogging)
Step 3: Building the Wet Scrubber
Cut two 1 ft sections of 1 1/4" PVC pipe
Connect the two lengths using two 90 degree PVC elbows
Attach another two 90 degree elbows to the other end of one of the 1ft sections
Attach a single 90 degree elbow to the other 1ft pipe section to be used to connect the wet scrubber to the vacuum motor box
Take a cylindrical plastic bottle and cut the bottom off to make a tube
Attach one wall of this tube to the rim of one of the two 90 degree PVC elbow pieces. This will form a concentric tube around the PVC tube
Cut a bottom off of a larger plastic bottle and screw this to the top of the cylindrical bottle tube to form a splash cap
Fill a small bucket or plastic waste about half way full of water and submerge the PVC pipe assembly into it. The two 90 degree PVC elbows should be submerged in water.
Connect the wet scrubber to the outlet of the vacuum motor box
Test the entire assembled Cyclonic Shop Vac with Wet Scrubber to check for any air leaks and to test performance.