Here is my first attempt at a dust collection cart!
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Tools I used that made life easy:
This was a quick project I put together in an afternoon and costed around $30 excluding the shop-vac. Its a pretty simple build but there are a few modifications I would make if I were to rebuild it. One being in my design I wanted it to be as compact as possible so I neglected the fact that the shop vac may need service in the future and its not easily removed. Its great to have around the garage because I can easily attach and detach from different tools to provide a cleaner work space all around. This solution is cheaper and easier than a full dust collection system that has blast gates at each tool all while keeping the air cleaner and extending the life of the vacuum.
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Step 1: Measure the Base
Each vacuum has different dimensions so the best way to figure out how big of a base plate you need is by tracing it out with a few extra inches for clearance of the risers. The plate is made of 1/2 in plywood and cut out using a Kreg track saw.
Step 2: Risers
The risers purpose here is to go above the vacuum and suppose the dust separator. They are made of 2 0.5"x 3"x 8' pine boards. First they were glued together and then painted black. Next they were attached to the base plate using glue and pocket hole screws. Using some of the scrap wood a small piece was cut, glued, screwed to the top of each riser, this will allow the dust collection plate to be more easily attached.
Step 3: Top Plate
This plate is made using the same dimensions as the bottom plate and will sit on-top of the risers. A few modifications are made so that the 5 gallon bucket that is used as the separator can be easily attached/detached.
I did this by adding a groove, using a router and a circle cutting jig. The jig was made by first centering the bucket on the plate and tracing a circle around the perimeter. Next the center was found and a hold drilled through the plate. By lining up the cutting edge of the bit with the line drawn from the bucket a new hole can be drilled in the jig. This will make an exact circle to the precise dimensions of the bucket. Sadly this has the unfortunate side effect of making your jig look like a block of Swiss cheese.
Using a rabbit bit the two blocks seen at the edge of the circle can be made (from more scrap wood). The blocks purpose is so that when screws are attached to the bottom edge of the bucket the dust separator can be twisted on and off for emptying.
To attach the screws a block is used at the bottom of the bucket. As seen in the 5th picture. In that same picture you can see how tight of a fit the PVC angle is with the bucket. The hole was made using a variable hole cutter that is used in a drill press. Here I attached it to a cordless drill and spun the assembly slowly, this cut through the plastic easily and gave a very good result. Be careful on this step as this device is not meant to used in this fashion! - be slow take your time.
Step 4: Connecting the Shop-vac to the Dust Separator
I found that a 1 1/2" 90deg PVC fit perfectly into the opening of the shop-vac so it is just pressure fit into the slot. Using a ~2' section of PVC the Shop Vac is connected to the top of the dust separator. A screw was used to connect the piece to the top plate, the hole seen in the seconded picture was later covered up by a piece of tape. This provided greater stability and a made everything more rigid. Two more 90 deg elbows were used to put a ~7in section of PVC through the Blue lid and into the separator. Nothing was glued in place so items could be adjusted.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
Adding a power strip with a switch control was an amazing idea. As the system can be easily turned on and off and it provides an easy stop to plug in tools as you are using them. This adds a layer of safety since tools are not always plugged in.
An extension of hose was purchased and attached to 45deg elbow using a hose clamp. This can be seen in the last picture. For easy storage the hose can be easily wrapped around the dust separator and a bungee chord can be used to hold it down.
Step 6: Things I Would Do Over
After using it for sometime the 45deg PVC came loose and a screw was put through the wall of the bucket to hold that part more steady and add a greater angle of attack when the dust enters the separator.
A ground wire could be attached to the PVC as when some of the dust makes it pas the separator it generates a bit of static electricity.
The entire carriage was placed on top of caster so that it could be easily moved around the shop.
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