Inexpensive ($134) Self-contained Portable Shop-vac Dust Collector




Introduction: Inexpensive ($134) Self-contained Portable Shop-vac Dust Collector

I recently took up woodworking and quickly realized that cleaning up sawdust was a pain and is also a health hazard. Here’s a solution I came up with using a small Stanley shop-vac, a Dust Deputy, a 20-gallon drum and most importantly a P-trap. Total cost was about $134 and takes about an hour to assemble (it took me much longer since I had to find the parts and take photos along the way).

I needed a solution that was; 1) inexpensive 2) self contained, 3) portable, 4) could handle the blower on my Dewalt DW735 planer and could also work with my table saw and other woodworking power tools. When I use it with the Dewalt DW735 I disconnect the p-trap since the built-in blower is much more powerful than the shop-vac. The cheap little Stanley shop-vac has plenty of suction for my other power tools.

After using this setup with my planer, table saw, miter saw and orbital sander the drum was about a third full and the shop-vac had less than a quarter teaspoon of dust in it.

If anyone makes one please let me know how it worked out!

I welcome any comments, questions or recommendations.



Step 1: ​Materials

  • NIBCO 1-1/2 in. x 1-1/4 in. ABS DWV Hub x Slip Joint P-Trap - Home depot $4.97
  • Oneida Molded DIY Dust Deputy Cyclone - Amazon $49.99
  • Eagle 1654 Yellow Blow-Molded HDPE Salvage Drum with Metal Ring Lever-Lock Lid, 20 gallon Capacity, 21" Height, 21" Diameter - Amazon $38.95
  • Stanley SL18129 4-Gallon 2.8 Peak HP Portable Stainless Steel Series Horsepower Wet or Dry Vacuum Cleaner - Costco $38.00
  • Hardware; 6- ¼” x ¾” hex bolts, 6- ¼” nylock nuts & 12- ¼” fender washers - $3.00

I bought my Stanley shop-vac about mid-2013. When I searched the internet for it it's now is described as a 4 Peak HP vac but it has the same model number (SL18129). I'm not sure if the dimensions are the same, the diameter of the bottom (without wheels) of my shop-vac is 9 inches. if the new version is much larger it may not fit on the lid.

Step 2: Tools

  • 3” hole saw
  • Drill driver
  • ¼” drill bit
  • 7/16” socket
  • 7/16” closed end wrench
  • Hacksaw
  • Small flat head screw driver

Step 3: Detach Bottom Plastic Wheel Platform From the Stanley Shop-Vac

Use a small flat-head screwdriver to gently pry out the retaining clips and lift off the wheel platform.

Step 4: Cut Stanley Shop-vac Hose

Hacksaw the hose 6 inches from the end.

Step 5: Make Drill Guide / Template for Dust Deputy (Optional)

The 1/4" holes on Dust Deputy were too close to its side for me to use the Dust Deputy as a template so I made one out of 1/4" plywood.

Step 6: Drill Holes in Drum Lid for Dust Deputy

  • Using Dust Deputy as template draw outline on drum lid with the Dust Deputy positioned ¾” from the inside edge.
  • Make sure to align ¼” holes so they don’t interfere with the reinforced plastic on the underside of the lid.
  • Cut a 3” hole using hole saw.
  • Center and clamp the drill guide and mark ¼” holes.
  • Drill 6 ¼” holes.

Caution.. About the lid....When I received it it was concave but when it's warm out and the vacuum runs it sucks down and becomes convex. Don't position the Dust Deputy more than one inch from the inside edge of the lid or the Dust Deputy will bump into the shop-vac and push it to where it hangs a little bit off the edge of the lid.

Step 7: Attach Dust Deputy to Drum Lid

Use the 6 nuts and bolts and 12 fender washers and attach the Dust Deputy to the lid. No sealer or gasket is needed, it's airtight using just the hardware.

Step 8: Attach Shop-vac to Dust Deputy

Screw the 6” section of hose into the shop-vac and slip the other end into the p-trap. Attach the p-trap to the Dust Deputy.

Step 9: Other Stuff...

I'd like to add wheels to the bottom of the drum. I'm still looking for a round dolly that the drum can sit on since I don't want to drill holes in the bottom of the drum.

I did add an i-socket switch so the shop-vac will start and stop when I turn on/off my power tools.

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    5 Discussions


    4 years ago

    This may be a silly question, but how donyouvhook it up to the tools if you're using the Stanley's port to blow into the drum?


    Reply 4 years ago

    He doesn't show it but I'm assuming that the side port on the cyclone hooks up to the power tools. The shop vac then creates the suction when it's turned on.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    "I'm still looking for a round dolly that the drum can sit on since I don't want to drill holes in the bottom of the drum."

    Look in gardening stores for those platforms to roll large flower pots.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, this looks like it would be incredibly useful. Haven't fired up the chop-saw in quite a while but it would be a good idea to have one of these around for when I do.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice and tidy. I recently added a set-up similar to this to my shop and have been very happy with it. Cyclone separaters are great.