October 2, 2021

How to Make a Dust Collector from a Shop Vac

Gather the necessary materials, such as a shop vacuum. Make sure of a bucket and a lid as you connect the two using screws and hot glue. Connect to a coupler. Attach a 45-DegreePVC to the hose and run a test.

Minimal materials are required when making a dust collector from a shop vac. The process is a low-budget project since it requires parts that you buy off the shelf from a local shop. Make use of your garage to run the project. 

Since proper dust collection systems come with a high price tag for installation, gather your materials to build your dust collection system using a shop vac. The shop vac itself is affordable; hence the project becomes cost-efficient. 

The materials and tools do not even cost more than 100. Take 2 1/2″ fittings, flexible tubing, clamps, and blast gates to complete your dust collection system. Assembling your dust collection system needs the below materials and tools. 

This new system has proved to be efficient and effective in removing a lot of dust. However, remember to protect yourself from fine particulates by wearing a respirator mask when cutting wood.

The project is fun and easy. It helps you minimize dust from your workspace, and it also saves the filter on your old vac. To cut costs, make use of your existing shop hose and buy only one. Make use of a bucket and two PVC elbows. Choose a strong bucket that is sturdy enough not to explode while using your dust collector. That is dangerous and inconvenient since you have to make a new one. 

Materials Needed

  • Two hoses.
  • Shop-vac.

Tools Needed

  • Glue.
  • Clean bucket.
  • Knife.
  • Drill for cutting holes.
  • Two PVC elbows.
  • Four little screws.

Get a strong vacuum

A strong vacuum does not only lead to better product quality, but it improves your health and safety. It increases productivity since you are looking forward to removing dust and debris. The vacuum has to collect every particle close to the material. 

All the contaminants should be off the air. More dust and debris inside the machine slows down the dust machine. When the vacuum fails to reduce the dust, it ceases to serve its purpose.

Find a large plastic container

Get your supplies as you prepare to assemble the dust collector. Get a strong bucket with a strong lid as well. A weaker bucket explodes since it cannot hold the pressure and dust. The bucket should not be too thin. The moment you connect a weak bucket to the shop vac, get ready to start afresh. 

A 5 liter gallon with a tight lid makes a good dust collector. You need three types of PVC pipes, which are 2.5″ 45-degree PVC pipe, 2.5″ 90-degree PVC pipe, and 2.5″ to 1.75″ coupler. Since you are using two hoses, it is cost-effective to consider using an old one and buy the new one to make them two rather than buying both. 

Make sure the existing one does not have defaults. Otherwise, you will have to forget about maximum performance from the new dust collector. Do not forget the screws that attach your pieces.

The process of assembling a lid serves as the portion that plugs into your shop vac. In other words, it powers the dust collector. Trace top hole using 45-degree PVC, which guides you where you will attach the vac. 

Use a drill to cut a hole. Minimal effort is needed when using a drill. Use a knife to finish the cutting process so that you pay attention to the details. It has to be comfortable enough to accept the hose. Glue the lid in place using hot glue. 

Long glue comes with its advantages over any other glue. It has a longer life, quick to dry and cure, and creates tamper-resistant seals. Apply glue to both sides of the lid so that it seals tight. It has to be airtight so that there are no possibilities for leakages. 

Connect the two of them

Attach a hose to a coupler. Use the hose to plug into your dust collector and use it to trap the sawdust into the bucket. Make use of the step-down coupler. A  2.5″ to 1.75″ coupler will do for your second hose. 

Measure the old hose to make sure you get what works for you. Cut the hose to fit inside the coupler and make a clean cut with a knife. Heat hose to make stuff into the coupler easier and glue before pushing a hose into the PVC coupler. The coupler has to face the right way so that it gives a tight fit into your 90-degree PVC elbow.

As you prepare to make the side hole intake, measure your elbow diameter near the top of the bucket and cut the hole just like the cut on the lid. Set the 90-degree elbow to create the cyclone effect. Grab your hot glue as you put it both on the inside and outside of the bucket. Give it time to cure. Do not rush the process. 

Put the shop can and the prepared tool together. Make sure the shop vac is empty and clean. That allows you to maintain accuracy on the dust collector. Dirt compromises. Attach shop vac hose to the lid of the dust collector and attach the suction hose/coupler to the side 90-degree intake. 

Plugin the dust collector after making sure all parts are well. Run a test and pay attention to the progress. If it does not run smoothly, check the dust machine and run again.

Drill a hole in the container

Pre-drill four holes around the 45-degree PVC, and that is why you need four screws. Although the screws have to be small, they should be long enough to thread into PVC and hose otherwise, and they will be useless. 

At this point, apply industrial adhesive in the PVC and set the hose inside the PVC. Prepare your screws as you and screw them into the hose for a snug and fit. 


  • Remove dust and clean regularly.
  • Check if there is overflowing dust.
  • Inspect the hose before use.
  • Examine seals and tighten screws.
  • Check compressed air pressure.
  • Inspect airlock wipers.
  • Lubricate fan bearings.
David D. Hughes

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