DIY Cheap Bagless Vacuum Cleaner




This is a slid show of how I converted an ordinary Nilfisk G 70 to a bagless vacuum cleaner. If you can obtain a Nilfisk G70 or a similar vacuum cleaner you should be able to use these instructions. The project cost me around 75 DKR ( 14 USD ) because I managed to salvage some of the items.

I made the conversion because I was tiered of paying for the rather expensive disposable bags for my vacuum cleaner.

Materials needed:

A Fine quality vacuum cleaner (look for space were the bag is used to be)
I suggest an old Nilfisk G80 G70 or older.

Tree old cans or other cylindrical chambers that fits around each other and of cause fits inside the vacuum cleaner

a roll of Window Insulation Strip.

pop rivets .

5. thin fabric (put it to your mouth you should be able to breath through it, if it is to dense you wont get any suction) you should have enough to wrap it around the smallest of the tree containers/canes.

Some locks, cramps and what ever you can find to keep your contraption tight when the vacuum cleaner is operating.

Tools Needed:

metal scissors,
Blind rivet tool,
screwdrivers and spanners

Step 1:

Step one: Getting a suitable vacuum cleaner.

Get a good old, not be too small, vacuum cleaner.

Nilfisk is an old Danish brand so if you live in Denmark or some where near Denmark, it is not unusual to spot fine working old Nilfisk vacuum cleaners in the recycling stations and on the local garbage collection. For some reasons a lot of Danes seems to be ignorant towards the quality of these old machines. However this can be an advantage as you should be able to pick up functioning Nilfisk vacuum cleaners for free.

Nilfisk is just the model I choose to use, you should be able to find other models in your neighbourhood suitable. I don't recommend using any particular brand but keep in mind that there should be some space where the bag use to be.

Step 2:

Remove everything that has to do with the disposable bag. you can also remove some of the protection for the motor to get more space. I recommend cleaning the empty space from dust while you are there so you get a clean working environment.

Update: I am going to make a new pre motor filter some day. there is of cause a reason for that being there, it takes the last specks of dust which escapes the bag/filtering system. I recommend that you do the same.

Step 3:

check the space in the vacuum cleaner for the dust containers/filters you are going to make in the next steps. In my Nilfisk they may not be higher than 3 3/4 inches or 9 1/2 centimeters and not much wider than 9 1/5 inches or 24 centimeters in diameter.

What we want to build now is a box with tree chambers. the outer chamber is going to have a hole in the wall that fits the intake of the vacuum cleaner were the bag would be. the next chamber is going to have small holes drilled in the side so it functions as a filter for larger objects so that it allows only sand an dust to go through. the last chamber is going to have larger holes but these are covered by some fabric which is wrapped around its sides. this should collect the remaining fine dust and sand. on the top of this inner container a big hole will be drilled (between 1 1/2 and 2 inches) this hole shall pierce all the layers yet only leaving airs from the inner chamber to be sucked out. I added an extra layer of fabric on the top of the hole to minimise the risk of any dust escaping the system.

You can use Cookie Tin Boxes to create the tree chambers depending on the shape of the vacum cleaner you may find other containers more suitable. the containers should also be able to fit inside eachother with a close fit on the top and button but leaving some space at the sides for dust collecting.

I was lucky to find two tin boxes which fitted eachother in height. I had to trim of a little of the height on the last tin.

Step 4:

Cut a hole in the largest of the boxes that fits the air intake of the vacuumecleaner, put the lid on and try closing the vacuum cleaner. trim it to a precise fit. Use the window insulation strip to make it tight around the lid and were it fit with the air intake.

Step 5:

Drill lots of small holes on the sides of the middle box and drill large holes on the side of the smallest box. use a grid and some bolts to fasten the fabric around the little box try to make a tight fit. this will prevent the dust from escaping the fabric.

Update: Actually it is better just to leave out the middle box, after using it for some weeks I found out that it clocked up too soon so I tried removing the middle box, I found out that I actually did not need it.

Step 6:

Arrange the lids of the boxes inside eachother so they all have the same middle point, fasten them with pop rivets or bolts.

Drill a large hole about two or 1 1/2 inches that penetrates the lids of all the boxes.

I recommend that you cover this hole with an extra layer of fabric to prevent any dust that might have escaped the inner filter from getting blown back into your house.

Step 7:

Tighten any eventual air leak with glue and strong tape. find some kind of locking system to keep the boxes closed when the vacuumcleaner is on.

Step 8:

This is the final step. take your bagless vacuumcleaner for a test run. don't panic if it sprays out a lot of dust. that happened to me and that just mens that you must go back to step seven. It is usually easy to spot the leakages after a test run because you can see the traces the dust has left.

When you have sorted out the leakages your bagless vacuumcleaner is finished and ready for service. congratulations.

If you have to little suction power you should try drilling more holes in the two inner boxes.



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    11 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Personally, I prefer bagged systems, that way you haven't got the issue of dust flying up in your face when you dump the bin out in the rubbish or compost (though I do cut my bags open to dump out into the compost bin), but it is an interesting rehash of an old vacuum, but, I think your filter system is a little poor, the opening is that small that it will clog up in no time... :(

    If you left the original pre-motor filter in place and just took out the bag and padding, then you have a bagless cleaner there already, with better airflow and less clogging up, and with that large cloth filter you can wash it easily in a sink in cold water with washing detergent... :)

    Just an observation, but I am a bit of a vacuum nut... :)

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    You are right. after some use I removed the middle filter because it clocked up. that took care of the problem. I had to remove the post motor filter because there was a metal plate on it which did not give enough space for me to mount the filters. but I am planing on making a new one out of some fabric. When i get time to do that I will of cause post it here.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    It's a bit late at night, but I see that you do have a filter / filters in there. You've replaced one filtration system (disposable) with a different (reusable) one. Did you have any thoughts around converting this to a truly bagless cyclone system? L

    5 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    The dust ends up inside the filters, it is not using cyclone separation, The purpose of the tin containers is to act as a filter and collect the dust. You should be able to figure that out by going trough my images and reading their text. But yes maybe I should write it in the introduction.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    No, not with this particular project. It was intended to be a cheap and fast project, it took me around two days of work so I just came up with the filters to keep this simple. The old KISS principle.

    Yet the cyclone separation as used in the Dyson would be an interesting system to experiment on, I guess it would take both a lot of time and some skill to make it work satisfying, but I think it can be done.