Micro Desktop Shop Vacuum

Introduction: Micro Desktop Shop Vacuum

This is my first instructable so go easy on me. This outlines the project that I did but there is a lot of room for improvement and some of those ideas I present as I go along though I didn't have the time, materials, or tools to accomplish that. If you like the idea or it inspires you to improve on it please vote for it. Thanks in advance.

I saw a video on youtube the other day showing how to make a micro turbine blade. The project was to make a turbine engine to power a RC boat with compressed air. You can check it out here micro turbine blade. Later I saw this pill bottle sitting on my desk and got the idea to make a micro shop vac. I noticed that the top of the bottle could be screwed on either way and that it could serve as a chamber to house a blades and a little motor. I have been scrapping out a lot of my old pc's and electronics that would otherwise have headed to the recycling facility. Among the cache were quite a few of the small motors found in cd drives and other devices.

Please note as it stands this vacuum has pretty low suction. First of all I don't have calipers, a compass and am limited on the tools I have available to me so all of this was done by hand and by eyeball. If the blade was made better and I was to fool with the air vents etc I could certainly up the pressure. Additionally I am using a 4 AA battery case or a 9 volt to test it the difference between the 5.5volts the 4 AA's put out (yes they are a little drained mulitmeter showed that as it's output). is dramatic. I imagine accordingly that going up to a 12v source would be even better.

So let's get started.

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Step 1: Materials and Tools

The tools you will need for this.

1. Tin snips or side cutters (I used a large pair of tin snips as my side cutter have been abused so much)

2. Glue gun

3. Dremel or other drill

4. Tweezers

5. Center punch or small sharp cylindrical object to punch a hole in the aluminum. (optionally a drill bit of the right size)

5. Soldering Iron (this is optional and I only have the el cheapo one and it couldn't get hot enough to join the shaft and blade without a very weak cold joint so I used hot glue here instead)

6. Calipers (I didn't have any but they would be very handy)

7. Compass (again I didn't have a set handy but they would have made things easier and more accurate)

Materials you will need for this

1. Pill bottle preferably the sort that is shown in the picture with the lid that can be reversed though you could look around and find many other types of bottles or tubes which would be just as effective. The main thing is to be able to remove the top to empty the chamber and to have a vacuum chamber to house the blades.

2. Sheet of metal. I used an aluminum tray from an old laptop disc drive for this but any sheet of metal of the proper size will do.

3. Plastic lid or any other source to make the enclosure seal on the top of the vacuum. I used the lid of one of those recyclable lunch meat containers.

4. Small dc motor. The one I used was pulled from a CD drive.

5. Tubing. I grabbed some straws from the juicey's my daughter has and optionally some oxygen tubing or aquarium tubing.

Optional material

6. Solder

7. Solder paste

8. Small fan. You can see in the above pics a small fan assembly pulled from a laptop. This could replace the motor above and save having to make the turbine fan blade. I didn't use this because I am saving it for other projects and well it wouldn't have given me the oppurtunity to make the mini blade.

Step 2: Making the Blade.

Sorry for the quality of the image but only had an old first gen Iphone available for pics.

The first thing we want to do is make the blade. (Of course if you have opt'd to use an existing motor/fan this is skipped).

I took the sheet of aluminum and the lid of the pill bottle. I used a maker to draw the outside of the bottles lid on the sheet metal. I then used my tin snips to cut the inside mark of this. The objective being to get a circle that will fit on the inside of the plastic lid. On this step a compass to use in cutting would have come in handy but I just did it by hand and eyeballed it.

Next find the center of the circle. Take a straight edge and start drawing lines halving the circle so you end up with a pie looking drawing on the disc with equal size pies.

Now take your center punch, drill or whatever you want and punch a hole in the center making sure the hole size is the same as that on your motors shaft.

Now take your snips and clip a small way in on each line.

Once you have all them clipped take a pair of tweezers and twist each section up and in the same direction like in the picture above.

If you want to make a better version of this and want a better method please see this video which helped inspire me to do this in the first place. Micro turbine blade

Step 3: The Container

Next I drilled a hole in the pill cap and in the side of the jar. I made them on opposite sides so as any debris enters the chamber it will drop.

Step 4: Assembling the Motor and Blade

Before doing this make sure you blade fits in the cavity of the lid and will be able to spin freely in there.

Next cut a piece of plastic (or whatever you like) for sealing the top of the pill bottle lid. This should be cut to be slightly larger than the pill bottle lid. Cut a hole (make it bigger than it needs to be but not bigger than the diameter of the motor for ease of moving things around later) in the center of that piece of plastic.

Next take the motor set it on it's back with the shaft pointing up, take the plastic you cut and put that down, then take your blade and place that on. I used a pair of popsicle sticks to place between the plastic and the fan. This was to keep the blade at the end of the shaft giving clearance between the plastic and the blade. I needed to do this for my blade to fit properly and spin freely you may not need to.

Now I tried to solder my shaft to the blade but having only the cheap solder iron I couldn't get anything but cold joints that were not going to hold. The aluminum and the metal shaft just dissapated the heat to quickly. I ended up using hot glue for this and it worked just fine though I would much rather have had a soldered joint.

Once you have the blade attached and plastic sandwiched in there you want to stick the whole thing on the top of your plastic lid and make sure you have the clearance and spin you need. Once you are comfortable with that glue the plastic to the lid.

Next again making sure you have the clearance you need glue the motor to the plastic.

Step 5: Finishing Up

Now you want to drill holes in the top of the lid (the vent). I drilled 4 holes on the top close to the motor though I am not sure this was the best place to put them it does work. I suspect that putting a single hole on the side of the pill bottle lid on the opposite side as that in the bottom hole that points into the chamber would have been more effective but I didn't have anymore pill bottles to test with.

You can see above that it is holding a piece of paper to the intake port using 4 AA batteries. You can glue some flexible hosing to that port or you could take a small telescoping antena or other tube and hot glue that into the port hole for your hose.

Hope you guys like it and it gives you some ideas for your own project. Please vote for it if you liked it.

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    6 Discussions

    Couple of thoughts.

    1. Wouldn't the hard drive motor be higher rpm?

    2.For cutting the fins a cold chisel would work well also, striking straight along the line, depends on the quality of your snips/side cuts as to whether this would be a better option.

    3. An epoxy like JB weld would be an option for a high strength bond if a high quality solder gun isn't available.

    Going to have to fiddle around with this now :)


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    1. A hard drive motor would be great and higher speed as well as variable speed. The reason I didn't use a HDD motor though is that they are 3 phase and would require an ESC and servo controller which would mean a purchase (about $15 in parts). I actually have one on order right now for another project (spin coat machine).

    2. Yea that would certainly be a good option.

    3. I didn't have any good epoxy laying around. My first attempt to secure the blade was with super glue though. I still had the pulley assembly attached to the shaft of the motor which had a flat bottom. Unfortunately when seating the fan with it on you can bump the sides of the cap. That made the super glue just pop right off and in the end the little plastic pulley assembly.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Let me know how it comes out or if you make any improvements to it. Thanks for taking the time to look.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Cool concept. I like the idea of having a desktop vacuum. I esspecially like the way you reuse some CD-ROM Drive parts. It would be ideal for it to be USB powered as I have a few ports open on my hub. On a side note, your photos are a bit blurry in places.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Nice idea. You could do this very easily with an old usb cable by cutting off the cable at one end exposing the power wires and soldering them in (might be a good idea to use diodes to make sure there was no feedback to the source port though I am not an electrical engineer). Atlternatively you could scrap a usb female port and solder up the leads to that and just leave off the 2 data wires. If I am not mistaken pin 1 and 4 are the positive and negative respectively. I have done this before for some electrolysis experiments using 5v.