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Moving the shop vacuum outside

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  • Moving the shop vacuum outside

    Well the noise has caused me to move the rotary phase converter and the air compressor out of the shop. The vacuum is next on the list not as much for noise reduction as removal of smoke and irritation from breathing the vapors from cutting operations. I realize that it removes heated and air conditioned air in the process but I am willing to accept that.

    Has anyone done this and what guidance would you offer?
    Byron Boucher
    Burnet, TX

  • #2
    Loss of Hot/cooled air is not a factor compared to noise reduction.
    Put in a cyclone can collector for chips and residue, in the shop for easy cleaning, and you will find that filters last for a very long time .
    keep a bowl of wood blocks 1" x1" x 1" and suck a few up after picking up chips. The blocks will blast any hanging metal strings in your hose and keep it clear. If you use coolant or cutting oils , have saw dust on hand and dump it on the wet chips to soak up the mess. Then I suck up whats left the next day and have had NO hose issues in the 30 years I have had outside vacuum.
    Make you collector from a 20 or 30 gallon grease barrel. You could probably get a PVC pipe into the barrel, but I used 2 inch copper and soldered it for a rigid mounting. Swirl the chips around the barrel, and have a open ended coffee can mounted in the middle where the feed goes to your outside vacuum. The chips will stay on the wall, and the clean air will move to the middle and go outside.

    Have a small metal flag on the bottom of the barrel to help decelerate the swirling vortax and eliminate rattling barrels.
    Here is a few pictures.

    In the photos, you can see
    The white suction pipe which goes to the floor and out to my backyard vacuum (Has never plugged in 22 years)
    The copper pipe soldered to the barrel side
    The flag in the bottom of the barrel
    The open end deflector on the bottom inside of the clamp lid


    The PVC pipe and fittings are not glued, just fitted....and they work without leaking.
    The radiator hose acts as a quick tear apart so the fittings will not wear out
    I go about 6 months between cleaning ..unless I am cutting lots of aluminum
    Last edited by Rich Carlstedt; 10-31-2012, 01:05 PM.
    Green Bay, WI


    • #3
      Thanks for posting this, I'm moving toward outside vacuum as well. Cutting oil smoke getting nasty and really want to move the shriek away Lots of well though out details I can add to whatever I do to make it work a lot better.


      • #4
        One thing i forgot to mention, Location-location.

        My first central vacuum was a regular shop vac placed outside and I ran the 2" PVC suction pipe up to the sofit(outside), into and across the shop ceiling to the middle of the shop. The hose was attached to a 2" PVC elbow and hung down, with enough length to reach any part of the shop. I used an outside outlet with a X10 remote control for ON/OFF operation.
        I did not have a cyclone seperator as above. Major problem... heavy chips would not go up the hose to the ceiling, and hang about 6 feet off the floor. You could hear the racket and when the Vacuum was shut off, they came down inside the hose. To get rid of them, you either dumped them in a waste can, or removed all but the vertical section of hose for better air flow, then they would flow to the Vac.
        The problem was insufficent air flow and chips.
        To solve the air flow problem, use a shop vac with corregated filter. The one above ( 1981 model) had a bag, which is no good, as it plugs too easily and air flow is reduced quickly. I use a 1991 $ 39 dollar Sears Shop Vac that is terrific, by itself, and when you add the chip barrel it is foolproof and goes 6 months unattended.
        When I built my current shop, I had a 2 " PVC pipe buried in the floor, and graded a slope to the back yard which is 4 feet lower than the shop floor. When the outside electric outlet was installed, it had an inside wall switch control just for vac . A pipe buried in the floor is great, but a ceiling mounted pipe also works well, if you have the barrel and a pleated filter vac.

        Last edited by Rich Carlstedt; 11-01-2012, 06:54 PM.
        Green Bay, WI