The Bucket Vac...




Introduction: The Bucket Vac...

About: Carpenter, handyman, husband, dad, buddy...

My wife loves those little, lightweight vacuums that can be had for around 25 bucks at the big box stores....we've tossed a half-dozen of them over the years when they simply stop coping with the pooch hair.

Today i had a revelation...time to stop tossing the money down the drain and make use of the little 'suckers'.

I'm going to show you how to turn a mini-vac into a bucket-vac in a few simple steps, save about $50 versus a 5 gallon portable shop vac, and have some fun tinkering, to-boot.

Step 1: Materials...

Some things you might need are:

*compact vacuum cleaner with working motor...
*5 gallon bucket w/lid...
*basic set of hand tools (wrenches, screwdrivers, etc.)...
*rotary tool (Dremel, etc.)...
*silicone caulk...
*adhesive caulk...
*various fasteners (nuts & bolts)...
*2" swivel caster wheels...

Step 2: The Sucker...

Upright vacuums are built pretty much the same from model-to-model.  The casings vary, but you'll always find a vacuum motor with impeller, a power switch and housing, a filter or two, cord, hose, attachments, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...

Bottom line is: you'll find every component you need in just about any model to make your bucket-vac...

Step 3: Disassembly...

This step's pretty obvious:

Employ your screwdriver and tools set to completely strip the vacuum to its individual components.

The main motor and its housing are crucial, as well as the power switch, cord, hose and attachments.

Everything else (handle, wheels, base, etc.) are kept handy just in case you need to modify a part.

Also, save all of the never know when those ridiculous little assembly screws might come in handy.

Step 4: Mounting the Housing...

Step 5: Revive the "Sucker"...

Now that the top end is ready to go, I reinstalled the motor and foot switch (all of which are now inverted), reattached the filter, fabricated a hose inlet into the bucket body, and attached the various accessory fixtures (cord-wrap, swivel casters, etc.)...

Notice I also used the original vacuum container as a debris shield for the should cut down on clogs...

Step 6: The Bucket-Vac Is Born....

Let your adhesives and sealants dry at least overnight, and you'll have a handy little portable vac that gets the job done.

Of course, you can find a "bucket vac" for sale at certain home improvement stores, for around $60, but why spend money that's already spent?

Maybe it ain't quite as pretty, but it sure does suck...xD

I hope you enjoyed this, my sixth 'ible...again, your model of vacuum will probably differ, but a little common sense should hold you in good stead. 

Thanks for your comments and questions in advance!

For information on some DIY tips and such, visit my website:

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    10 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Cool idea, but looks a bit tippy. How about making a slightly larger base of sandwiched pieces of 5/8 or 3/4 plywood, bolting it to the bucket, and adding the wheels on that?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    For sure, it's a bit top-heavy...and an added base would make for a more stable ride, but I actually ended up deleting the wheels altogether, in favor of stability.

    I wont be adding a base because I need the unit as compact and light as possible, but if size isn't a limitation, I'd definitely recommend your idea.

    Thanks for the input!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    What a great idea, $ saver too. I've seen this, it's so cool.
    You must have a cool Mom.
    Great job. Keep them coming.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I have a dumpster-rescued vacuum, and I've been wondering if it would be possible to make it into a shop-type vac. Lo and behold, here it is! You are my hero today.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    That's why I love this keeps me learning and innovating, just like everyone else...xD


    8 years ago on Step 6

    Excellent project. Great way to reuse an old vac with broken housing. But Home Depot sells a bucket vac for about $20. Works really well and saved me from spending $60 on a wet/dry vac. All i need to do is take your lead and add casters to one of my buckets.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    This was actually inspired by the Home Depot model...but I figured why toss 20 bucks in the garbage, just to spend another 20, and miss out on some wholesome, mad scientist time?...

    Word of wisdom: Add 4 casters...I soon discovered that three aren't stable enough on the small base of the bucket...kept tipping over.

    Thanks for the comment, and CHEERS!