How To Make A Dust Collector From A Shop Vac

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 15, 2022
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A dust collector is a must for any industrial and commercial operation in case you want to breathe air without impurities. Installing a dust collection system that is used in a large industrial setting can be prohibitively expensive for a small garage, woodworking shop, or production unit. In that case, making a dust collector from a shop vac can be a wise and inexpensive option.
Therefore, in this write up we will break down the whole process of how to make a dust collector from a shop vac.

What Is Shop-vac

Shop-vac is a high-powered vacuum that is used for cleaning up heavy materials such as screws, wood pieces, nails; mostly used in a construction or woodworking site. It comes with an extremely high-powered vacuum system enabling you to pick up the bigger pieces of debris. In a dust collection system, it works as an engine of a bus. It is responsible for powering up the dust collecting system.

How Does A Dust Collector With A Shop Vac Work

Shop-vac for dust collection is used to vacuum all sorts of dust and put it through a filtration process. A shop vac can’t hold dust in a huge magnitude. That’s why, while going through the filtration process, the dust and bigger pieces of debris are sent to a collection area and the rest go into the vacuum filter. The clean air that goes into the vacuum filter eliminates the chance of clogging and suction loss and extends the lifespan of the vacuum.
How a shop vac works

What Will We Need To Make A Dust Collector From A Shop Vac

Making a shop vac bag
  1. Shop-Vac
  2. A dust deputy cyclone
  3. A bucket with a top.
  4. Hoose.
  5. Quarter-inch bolts, washers, and nuts.
  6. Blast gates, T’s, and some hose clamps.

How To Make A Dust Collector From A Shop Vac- The Process

If you search through the internet there are a lot of ideas for making a dust collection system using a shop vac. But those are mostly complex and incompatible with your small woodworking space. That’s why these are some simple steps we have pitched in this article that will make the process more hassle-free for you. Let’s dive in!
  • First of all, you have to make some holes by placing the dust deputy cyclone on the bucket top in order to attach the screws of the dust deputy cyclone. It’s better if you drill the holes out with a quarter-inch bit. It will help the screws to stick tight with the bucket top.
  • After that, make a three-and-a-half-inch circle from the center of the bucket top. You better use calipers to make a perfect circle. And then use a sharp utility knife to cut the circle off.  This will be the hole from where the debris will fall through.
  • Add some glue around the screw holes where you are going to place the cyclone dust collector for better rigidity. And then put the bolts in with the washers and connect it uptight. The dust cyclone works as the filter of the dust collector. If you vacuum the dust and debris just with a shop vac you will notice that dust is blowing out from the exhaust of the shop vac. But with a dust cyclone, trapping even the finer particles of dust gets very easy. A high-end filter can also ensure a prolonged lifespan of your shop vac.
  • Anyways. When you are done with attaching the dust collector cyclone with the bucket top, now it’s time to attach the hose from the shop vac to one end of the deputy dust collector. The perfect size of a hose can be 2.5 inches. You must use insulation tape and wrap it around the input of the cyclone so that you can attach the coupling and the hose right in with a tight grip.
  • There are two inputs in a deputy dust cyclone. One will be attached to the shop vac and the other one will be used for sucking dust and debris from the ground and air.
With that being said, you are ready to go. Now you know how to use a shop vac as a dust collector.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you need a deputy dust cyclone?

A dust deputy cyclone works as the filter of your dust collection system. When the air steam goes into the filter, it removes any kind of dust such as wood dust, drywall dust, and concrete dust from the air using centrifugal force.

Is a shop vac as good as a dust collector?

A shop vac is half of a dust collector in terms of power and efficiency. Undoubtedly, a dust collector is the best option to go for cleaning your space. But in terms of smaller space, if you can’t afford a dust collector, a shop vac is an ideal option considering your tight budget and small space. So which one is better depends on the size of the space it will be cleaning and the budget you have.

Final Words

If you are looking for an inexpensive option for collecting dust debris and heavy particles of wood or metal from your working space or small production unit, make your dust collector using a shop vac. We have provided the most simple and rock-bottom process so that making your homemade dust collector with a shop vac gives you no hard balls.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.