While at a friend's house I noticed that my kids loved playing with a toy vacuum cleaner, they even fought over it to see who could play with it. Naturally I wanted to harness this interest so that I could spend more time relaxing and have my kids spend more time working. Its never too early to train your kids to do all the house work.
Thus I set out on my quest to make a vacuum cleaner small enough that they could push it around the house with little effort. The problem with most vacuum cleaners is that there is either electrical lines in the top of the handle or the handle itself is a thick piece of plastic. Then I found a cheap Bissell 3 in 1 vacuum cleaner. Its basically a hand held vacuum with a metal pole attachment, and it was only $18 at Walmart. The pole is key to allow for shortening the vacuum cleaner. The only down side is that it doesn't provide much suction as an upright vac. But good enough for the kids to suck up their mess. I can always come by later with a stronger vacuum for a more thorough cleaning.
Step 1: Vacuum and Tools
So you will need a vacuum and a few tools to complete this project.
Vacuum: Bissell 3 in 1 vacuum. $18 from Walmart
5/16th drill bit
Philips screw driver
Step 2: Take Off the Handle
So I marked right below the handle on the pole in order to measure how long the pole should be when I shorten it. The pole extends 2 7/8" into the handle. Remove the handle with a Philips screw driver.
Notice the hole in the pole goes all the way through the handle. You will need to replicate this in the pole after cutting it. There is also a notch in the pole that will need to be cut out as well.
Step 3: Mark Pole, Cut and Drill
After comparing how high up on my waist the unaltered vacuum was I made a rough estimate of how short I should cut the pole. I came to the decision that there should be a 1" gap between the handle and the end of the pole. This then meant that the pole should be cut to 3 7/8 " long.
Mark a line where the bottom of the handle will sit on the pole (1" up from the green coupler), the hole to drill (1/2" up from the line closest to the green coupler), the line where you will cut the pole at (3 7/8" from the green coupler), as well as the notch that will be in the end. You should double check your handle measurements just in case mine were off. After marking the pole with all the measurements it should look something like the picture below.
It is pretty important that you try to make sure the markings are all at the top of the curve of the pole while it rests flat. If you don't line up the hole an notch the handle may not re-assemble correctly. Also, if it doesn't match the original placement the handle could be skewed and your kid will end up walking in circles, the cord will wrap around them like a python and, well, you know how that will end.....
Cut the pole with a hacksaw 3 7/8" from the green coupler. You should have a very short pole.
Drill the hole all the way through using a 5/16 drill bit.I started off by using a center punch to dent the pipe slightly and allow the drill bit to center in the hole. I also used a 3/16th bit first as starting with the large drill bit could lead to mistakes. Make sure you ream out the hole well as the handle is a tight fit and you will end up pounding it like I did and almost break it.
Last task is to cut the notch. Since you marked the notch before cutting and drilling you lessen the risk of making the notch on the wrong side, which is exactly what I did. I used a hacksaw to cut the notch but if you have tin snips that would probably be easier.
Step 4: Reassemble
Once you have made your cuts and drilled your holes you can reassemble the handle. With any luck you measured everything correctly and putting it together is easy.
Step 5: Put Your Kids to Work
OliviaO made it!