A Cyclonic Vacuum Cleaner On A Hacker’s Budget

Have you ever seen a product in the store and been shocked at what the manufacturer was trying to charge for it? Since you’re reading Hackaday, we can safely assume the answer to that question; building a homebrew version of some commercial product for a fraction of its retail price is practically a rite of passage around these parts. So it’s fitting that for his entry into the 2019 Hackaday Prize, [Madaeon] submitted the “DIYson”, an open source version of a popular high-end vacuum made by a British company who’s name you can surely guess.

As [Madaeon] explains on the project’s Hackaday.io page, the idea behind “cyclonic” vacuums is not particularly complex. Essentially, with a powerful enough blower and carefully designed chamber, the incoming air will spin around so fast that dust is pulled out by centrifugal force. The trick is getting it working on a small enough scale to be a handheld device. Especially given the energy requirements for the blower motor.

Luckily for the modern hacker, we’re living in the “Golden Age” of DIY. With a 3D printer you can produce plastic components with complex geometry, and thanks to a resurgence in remote controlled aircraft, powerful motors and high capacity lithium-ion batteries are easily obtainable. Powered by what’s essentially the hardware that would go into an electric ducted fan plane, the total cost of all the electronics for the DIYson comes in right around $60 USD. Even with a roll of printer filament added to the mix, you’re still comfortably at half the cost of the “name brand” alternative.

With some refinements, [Madaeon] hopes that this open source dust-buster will be a staple of labs and hackerspaces all over the world. Judging by the performance his early prototype shows in the video after the break, we know we wouldn’t mind having one.

18 thoughts on “A Cyclonic Vacuum Cleaner On A Hacker’s Budget

  1. I think you may have mixed up your pronouns.

    Cool project. I could see this not just as a way to save some money, but to put good lightweight dust collection easily near individual tools on demand.

  2. Great build! And yup, sounds like a Dyson, too!

    If you used something commonly disposed of to capture the dirt, like maybe 1 gallon jugs, milk cartons, or amazon shipping boxes, you could just detach the full cannister, drop it in the trash, and attach a “fresh” one without creating the cloud of dust and debris associated with emptying a bucket.

  3. This inspires! I have been thinking about a portable vacuum to collect seeds from invasive plants. Some like, Garlic Mustard, have thousands of seeds per plant that can pop out of pods if disturbed. Something which hoovers and chops might be worth trying…

  4. Inside the cone,
    for a higher force for the velocity – due to the smaller diameter,
    the cone should be a cylinder – so the separation force is equal and debris doesn’t flow up the inside of the cylinder/cone,
    it should be open at both the top and bottom, and short enough it can’t end up in the debris at the bottom
    debris settles out down the cylinder due to gravity
    air in middle of cylinder, and near top, has low/no debris and that clean air flows out the top

    look at the water/oil separation tubes

  5. Friend of mine applied for job at D*son after university. Compulsive maker of things since he was a child. He made it past the skype interview with a synthetic human to the real interview with a real human. He pointed out that when he took everything out of his cylindrical shop vac apart from (crucially) the L shaped piece of plastic where the hose enters the side of the cylinder, that deflects the air so it swirls around the rim, this removes about 95% of the dirt with ‘no loss of suction’ either. He is happy to put up with the other 5% coming back out on the grounds of simplicity, no HEPA filters to extract/clean and monster suction. He was not offered the job for some reason – Heretic.

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