Hacking together two shop vacuums

Unfortunately the result of hacking together two shop vacuums isn’t a double-power monstrosity. This is actually the story of combining broken and substandard parts into one usable machine. The guys at the Shackspace originally bought a cheap shop vacuum whose motor gave up the ghost way too quickly. The replacement had only a tiny container for rubbish. So they did what any group of hackerspace members would and combined the two.

Since they wanted to use the voluminous enclosure from the broken vacuum the first order of business was to remove the dead motor assembly. Quick work was made of this by melting away the plastic using an old soldering iron. The motor assembly from the small machine was then mounted in place with screws, and sealed with caulk. It was now working, thanks to salvaged hoses and attachments from other long-lost vacuums.

But a boring hack this might have been if they stopped there. The team added a wall outlet to the top, and adorned the beast with RGB LEDs which are powered from a wall wart (hence the added wall outlet). It can double as a mood light when not in use.

[Thanks Momo]

Comments

  1. Ren says:

    Oh, I wished they’d taken an extra step and thrown in cyclonic separation.

  2. Eniac says:

    wait….no Arduino?

  3. Hackerspacer says:

    The guys at the Shackspace originally bought a cheap shop vacuum whose motor gave up the ghost way too quickly. The replacement had only a tiny container for rubbish. So they did what any group of hackerspace members would and combined the two while taking untold hours upon hours of work to create a monstrosity that has no spare parts available and while technically “works”, doesn’t really do anything a normal off the shelf unit would do while valuing their time at pennies per hour.

    • John says:

      With a name like “Hackerspacer” it is really surprising how much you miss the point.

      • Hackerspacer says:

        I love it when people upgrade projects or create brand new projects when the things they want are not available off the shelf.

        My point is more that I think it’s a waste of time when people build things that replicate (at best) existing technology and in doing so use up a huge amount of time and achieve arguably poorer results. That’s not hacking – that’s scrounging.

        In other words – this is neat and clever and all but I can go to a store and buy a brand new shopvac for about $50 that does exactly what this thing does and I would have spent 10 minutes vs several days at least. Plus used parts are available and it comes with a warranty. Not exactly necessary items and my priority list may be vastly different than the people who built this thing but it just seems rather pointless to make rather than buy for something like this.

  4. parkolay says:

    http://www.grizzly.com/products/12-Cyclone-Separator/T23831

    cheap, fast alternative, like Ren had suggested.

  5. Buildsit Isay says:

    I so wanted to see the “double-power monstrosity” version of this.

  6. warspigot says:

    “. Quick work was made of this by melting away the plastic using an old soldering iron.”

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who does this.

  7. Rich says:

    My 30yo Craftsman 16g vac finally died recently after I had kept it alive for a few years. I bought a new Craftsman vac for cheap (and it is) and use the old one as a “pre”chamber for the new one. I blocked off the old inlet/outlet, and the hose fits perfectly into the center hole where the motor was mounted. Next mod is to cyclone it, but it works well to collect stuff before it gets to them main vac, and I now have a 32gal vac.

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