Vote to buy a commercial shop vacuum

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  • Ron Bean


  • Mailing List Announcement:
  • Officially Proposed:
  • Voted passed on: 12/20/2016
  • Budget expires on: 2/19/2017


Given our size and level of activity, I think we've outgrown consumer-grade shop vacs. Some research turned up an interesting possibility:

This is designed to be used on top of a standard 30- or 55- gallon drum. Several vendors are listing it for around $400. It's 16" in diameter, and they sell a drum adapter, which is expensive and not necessary-- we can fabricate an equivalent adapter on the Shopbot, and buy fittings that use common shop vac hoses (commercial shop vacs seem to use 1.5" diameter hoses, which is not one of the two or three common sizes used on consumer vacs). The cloth filter is washable.

Since it's modular, I think it would work well with a "Thien Baffle" separator between the vacuum head and the drum, but that could be constructed later, and it would be cheap enough that it doesn't need to be part of this vote. The main function of the "baffle" seems to be to prevent collected dust from being stirred up by internal air currents and drawn back into the filter. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it's almost as effective as a cyclone (although Phil Thien is careful not to make exaggerated claims).

Approximate Costs:

  • $400 Vacuum Head (not including shipping, weighs about 20 lbs)
  • $70 Plastic 55 gal drum from Uline
  • $100 Vacuum hose and misc fittings from Rockler or Woodcraft
  • $100 Misc plywood to build a cart
  • $80 Four large-diameter wheels @ ~$20 each.
  • $50 Anything else I left out

Total: $800

If the membership doesn't like this one, there are others available, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. This is a good place to start:


Authorize the Board of Directors to spend up to $800 for an industrial shop vacuum. Authorization terminates two months after the vote.


  • Quorum: 43
  • Yay: 38
  • Nay: 1
  • Abstain: 4