Not Just For the Woodshop Anymore - Dust Collector Lawn Vac System

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Forum topic by Kelly posted 10-27-2015 09:45 PM 718 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1039 posts in 2361 days

10-27-2015 09:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cyclone vac vacuum lawn vac clean up dust deputy super dust deputy dust collector shop vac lawn tool collector yard clean up shop clean up dust chips sawdust saw dust vacuuming

We have a few pine cones to deal with throughout the year. If I get to them right after they fall, the shop vac makes short work of them. However, if they sit, they start to open and clog the vac quickly.

Additional to the foregoing, there is the routine leaf clean up in the fall and spring. A shop vac doesn’t work and I suspect ma would be annoyed with me if I drove a riding lawn vac through her lilies and such.

It seemed like a no brainer to switch to a dust collector. Getting my four bag Jet to the yard just didn’t seem practical, however. My little one and a half horse Jet wouldn’t be bad to move, but it has a canister I’m not inclined to risk damaging it. These facts helped me convince maw to allow me to buy a third dust collector to dedicate to the task of “tending her yard”.

I found a Delta, which is a one horse, which is dedicated to collecting dust from the miter, when it’s not doing its [alleged] task of lawn keep.

Moving the collector about was a problem. Little wheels barely tolerate concrete, let alone gravel, grass and so on. The unit rolls around the shop as good as or better than it did with the stock wheels, and much better to, from and around the yard. For these reasons, I bought a couple larger wheels, then fabricated some wheel mounts-dolly handles from old 2×6’s I’d pulled off a remodel.

The built in dolly and larger wheels solve the problem of moving the unit about easily. Later, when I’m not feeling cheap, I might upgrade from the Harbor Freight seven inch wheels to, say, twelve inch wheels. We’ll see how frustrated I get moving it a few times.

The next problem I considered was common to every lawn vac system I looked at – everything was pulled through the impellers. For the same reason most of us don’t like this in our shops, I didn’t want it happening with my lawn vacuum. Since I had already put dolly handles on the Super Dust Deputy connected to my big collector, tying it into the system would be as simple as disconnecting it and rolling it into the yard.

My Dust Deputy is normally connected to a six inch hose. Since the lawn system would be four inch, I picked up a six inch to four inch reducer from Home Depot [or Lowes].

I modified the reducer to make it easier to install and remove. This meant drilling rivets and enlarging or shrinking openings according to the need of the fit, then riveting them again.

Once both the collector and the cyclone are in the yard, I power the system off a twelve gauge cord. Like in the shop, the collector plugs into the top of the cyclone. However, in the yard, it’s just a press fit, which seems to work fine.

I have a four inch diameter, twenty foot hose running from the Super Dust Deputy to a four inch vac wand. It works wonderfully, even off the under powered collector. At least until you get into damp leaves and cones, which slows things. One day, I might upgrade to a horse and a half system, which should make a big difference.

If a more powerful impeller was used, I could add a blast gate, on a Y, to reduce vacuum in delicate situations.

The cyclone can is a plastic thirty gallon drum. It has a view port, which allows me to monitor fill levels. It works well, but I should have ran it up another seven or so inches.

To ease emptying, plastic bags can be inserted into the drum. However, the bags need to be clear, or you lose the ability to monitor fill level. Even if you aren’t paying attention to fill level, if you get any leaves into the collector bag, you know you have either a bad seal on the cyclone, or its full.

Because it’s a component system with dollies built in, it’s easy to get to the job site and operate.

This thing cleaned ma’s flower beds of leaves well, and swallowed pine cones like a pro. This would work great for cleaning up paint chips from scraping a building for painting. I used it to clean up a couple gallons of paint chips on the gravel of my wife’s store. Too, a pine fell over in our yard and cutting it up left a lot of chips. This made short work of removing them from the grass. The uses are endless.


The replacement wheels on the motor side of the collector leave the same gap under the collector as the original wheels. With the new wheels, instead of wheels that spin and that are intolerant of small items, the unit steers and you just push it around with the handle. It’s actually easier to move than the original design.

To make the handles for both the collector and the drum, I just used 2×6’s. I did cut the side of the 2x resting against the collector and the drum at a slight angle, so the handles would be a bit more of a ninety to the can or frame. It wasn’t necessary, but it did make installing the axle a little easier.

For the axle, I used 1/2” iron rods, which was the size of the inner diameters of the wheels. With minimal angle on the handles, I only had to put a single washer between the wheel and the handle. If yours has more angle, just add washers to shim the wheels out.

Once the wheels were on, shimmed and a washer placed on the outside of each wheel, I just marked a spot to drill a hole for a Carter key close to the washer to keep play to a minimum.


- The collector has a cross bar at the input, to stop large items from entering the impeller. I would add the same at the stack of the cyclone. Instead of having to unclamp the hose at the collector, it could just be lifted off the cyclone and unplugged in seconds.

- I might consider going to a 1-1/2 horse and adding a T with a blast gate. That would give me more draw, but would allow me to dampen vacuum, if needed.

2 replies so far

View oldnovice's profile


5638 posts in 2785 days

#1 posted 11-17-2015 01:21 AM

That should do a very good job … if it doesn’t scare the neighbors when they first see it.
You might have to watch out for chipmunks, moles, voles, and mice cause they will make a mess.

It will be a lot quieter than those gas powered leaf blowers that are annoying early in the morning.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Kelly's profile


1039 posts in 2361 days

#2 posted 11-17-2015 02:46 AM

The neighbor was rambling something about “the noisy scarecrow” I had in my yard. It took me a moment to figure out what he was talking about, since there was a large bag up in our tree. However, he, later, pointed out he could get me several cleaning jobs for people with rocks in their yard (we’re in the desert of Eastern Washington and people try to avoid water hungry landscape) who have to clean up leaves and things.

I took this down to the wife’s family store and cleaned up all the paint chips out in the gravel parking lot and it did a great job.

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