Super Cheap Vac Attachment Helps Find Small Dropped Parts

Part Finder, Vacuum Attachment

It’s pretty much guaranteed that when working with small parts, you will drop at least one. This phenomenon is just how the universe works, there is no avoiding it. Digging though a carpet or dirty shop floor usually results in frustration and subsequent scrambling for a replacement part. Tired of crawling around on his knees looking for runaway parts, [Frank] decided to do something about it. He made a vacuum attachment that helps with the search… and it’s made from stuff he had kicking around the house.

The idea here is to suck up and contain the part without having it making it’s way into the vacuum. To do this there would have to be an intermediate chamber. For this, [Frank] used a multi-pack CD container. This was a great choice because it is clear, allowing him to see what enters the container, and it unscrews quickly making it easy to retrieve the tiny part. The inlet and outlet connectors are made from PVC and are attached to the CD container’s base with adhesive. To keep the debris from getting past the CD container, an old kitchen strainer was cut up and the screen material was used to only let air pass. Once a shop-vac is connected to the outlet pipe, the sucking can begin. [Frank] shows that he has to sift through a bunch of shop-floor crud to find his dropped screw, but it works!

27 thoughts on “Super Cheap Vac Attachment Helps Find Small Dropped Parts

  1. I guess with a little modification this project could employ cyclone separation technology to get rid of the grille around vacuum inlet! I’d love to see how many SMD resistors it would extract from my carpet.

  2. I use some neodimium magnets for screws etc, but this is great for small non – ferous items

    also, the amount of crap sticking to the magnets is avoided this way :)

      1. Better yet, magnet in a rigid plastic container – like this CD tub, or a plastic milk carton. Much easier to achieve separation than with a bag when the magnet is powerful.

        1. Too bad most RF parts and some screws are non magnetic. But works good for that stuff that is so cheap that I rather take another part from the box than search it on my dirty floor, like SMD parts

  3. Or just attach some fabric to the end of the hose/pipe with a rubber band, and do away with the container alltogether.

    [Because there has to be at least one post how it could have been done easier :D ]

  4. Or you could put a leg of a stocking inside the vacuum tip, and then just turn the leg inside out when your done. Kinda the reverse for using pantyhose to catch the lint coming out of your washing machine.

  5. This is an excellent hack. A similar device is used to vacuum up bees and wasps that are unwanted. You put a large screen inside the box, NOT at the outlet orifice (because the grating will be too small and it will both clog up with and harm the bees.

    After collecting bees, even an entire hive if you wish, you can transplant them to a new location or into a bee box. Even if they have no queen, or you couldn’t get or you killed the queen, you can re-queen them using a pretty standard process.

    I love this hack; it reminds me of the single-part hack I did for vacuuming out the inside of my hot water heater’s boiler. Well done!

  6. I’ve made a somewhat similar setup that vacuumed out the fluid from my power steering pump when I had to replace it. Instead I used a flexible tube and a used soap bucket. The liquid went into a bucket instead of my shop vac or onto the ground.

  7. Reminds me of the time a field mouse interrupted my girlfriend and I were watching a movie.

    It had found a way in via a window mount AC unit and retreated back to the AC unit when the girlfriends startled reaction freaked it out. I was able to remove the faceplate to see that it had chosen a cranny to hide in rather than risk retracing its previous path. Can’t say I blame it… considering that if I was a mouse inside a running AC unit I be all ‘Woah dude… do I really, and I mean /really/ want to see where this goes?’

    Anyway. I put the GF on guard duty while got all MacGyver and went looking to see what I had to work with. House Vac with hose and attachments- a plan starts to form, um… 2-liter bottle- yeah, okay… this can work. All I need now is something to seal it with- something common that you can find in every home. It needs to be sticky and formable. Something like, I got it! Duct Tape. Awesome, I might be able to do this if i can just make it back to my pants and the pocket knife they contain in time.

    I cut a hole in the side of the bottle and insert the hose to the vacuum. Wrap it with a few turns of tape to hold it in place as well as to form an air-tight seal. Unscrew the bottle cap and slide the long-reach, open-end hose attachment down over the bottle-opening. With more tape I seal the two parts together. Then I add more tape to make the assembly a bit more robust.

    Feeling like the hero I grew up watching I was able to catch the mouse and return him to the wilderness with some ruffled fur and some pretty wild stories to tell his field mouse friends. As for me- my quick-thinking and not being all ‘I will be manly and slay this beast for you, my princess’ had it’s own reward that night.

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