Shopvac Sandwich Separator #3: Suck it and See...

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Blog entry by jeth posted 10-18-2011 05:18 AM 2670 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Bits in the Middle.. Part 3 of Shopvac Sandwich Separator series no next part

Now on to the inner/upper 5 gallon bucket which will serve as the secondary container between the separator outlet and the vac fan/motor assembly and also form the roof of the separator chamber. It will sit about 3 ½” above the baffle formed in the base of the blue bucket.

I cut the hole for the exit tube with the largest hole saw I had which was almost big enough, then some emery cloth wrapped round a fat dowel to open it up to a tight fit around the tube.
You can see the bottom is not so smooth, those angled reinforcements and printed areas, so I covered it in a layer of scrap 1/8” ply before sticking the outlet tube in place with superglue and sealing it with silicone both sides.

I cut the tube from one of the hose extensions which came with the vac and has the same Dia. as the inlet. The tube protrudes into the chamber by about half its diameter, around 1 ¼”.

The white inner bucket sits down inside the blue bucket and seems to seal adequately due to almost the full surface area of the sides being in contact. Then the Sandwich is made with the vac motor assembly and the lower container, and it’s done…

Now to try her out… I swept up all the accumulated debris from the build and some leftovers of recent wiring and reorganizing the shop, everything from fine sander and router dust, table saw chips through to screws, general crud and off cuts of cable.
Here you can see it all in the separator container…

As I said, this was swept into a pile and the vac really guzzled it up despite the blatant stuffing, sucking like the day it was new once more :) It seemed to run quieter, apart from the clanking debris whizzing round the chamber.
And most importantly, what made it to the upper container?

A piece of string and a tiny weeny amount of fine dust you can just see round the edge, filter looked no different to before. There was also a screwed up ball of paper stuck in the chamber itself. Paper and string are understandably tricky objects to separate and are never likely to enter via a tools dust port.
The result is far better than I expected and I am very impressed. I can now use my shopvac more than minutes without it losing suction, capacity is increased and I think I have a long term solution for smaller tools. I look forward to seeing how a bigger unit for my larger tools works out once I can get my hands on a blower.

I’m happy; virtually zero outlay and for a huge improvement. I hope this has been of use to someone, thanks to Phil Thien for the concept!! :)

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