Shop Vac Cart

I made a shop vacuum cart for a couple of main reasons. The twenty foot hose is very nice, and the Dust Deputy cyclone separator which put almost all of the dirt and shavings into the barrel, and keeps the shop vac clean, and more importantly the filter stays pristine. A clean filter keeps the suction at a maximum. I’ve been using the shop a lot more, and even though I have dust collection to all the main tools, the planer and jointer still can spit out quite a bit of shavings onto the floor, so I’ll be using the shop vac cart quite a bit. The 20 gallon drum makes it so I won’t have to empty that so often, as the shavings add up to quite a bit.

The idea was, when vacuuming the inside of the car, it is difficult to keep the vacuum away from the paint on the car when I only have a six foot hose. With twenty feet of hose, I can vacuum the entire car without moving the shop vac cart. I can store the shop vac cart in the back of the garage, and vacuum a lot of the shop, and the backyard area where my dog’s house is, all without moving the shop vac cart from its storage place in the garage. We usually move the car out into the driveway, and now move the shop vac cart near the front of the car, just outside the garage, when vacuuming the car.

I did some research, and found a lot of people were using the Eagle drum to mount the Dust Deputy on. I also considered buying the Dust Deputy kit which has the bucket, hose, 3 wheels, and even a piece which connect the DD bucket to your shop vac which makes it so they wheel around together. I didn’t realize at the time it came with the hose and fittings and bolts, or I might have went this way. Although a 5 gallon bucket would need to be emptied fairly often. But this wouldn’t hold the 20 feet of hose I got.

Some cons with the way I went, the bucket is pretty large, which makes the cart fairly large. I’d heard that the extra hose length would cut down on suction, and while that is probably true, the addition of keeping my filter completely clean, keeps the suction at a constant high level. Another issue is the length of hose is a little difficult to reel up onto the holder I made. Same issue when taking it off for use. It’s not that big of a deal, once you get used to it, it takes only a minute. One thing I noticed about the Dust Deputy, some larger pieces will swirl around that forever. When it starts doing that I put my hand over the end of the hose, cutting off the air so the swirling stops for a couple seconds and the pieces can fall into the storage drum.

One issue with the Dust Deputy, the intake for it is smaller than the shop vac hose, so the hose goes over it. That’s a problem that allows debris to get stuck there and clog the hose. What makes it worse is Dust Deputy has two sizes to that smaller connector, apparently to fit a smaller type of shop vac hose. There’s a smaller pices that expands to slightly wider. My shop vac hose doesn’t touch the smaller piece, and connects when it hits the wider part. This leaves a gap inside the shop vac hose, and debris really gets stuck here. Sometimes the hose clogs, sometimes not. I may try cutting that off, and just leaving the wider section to connect my shop vac hose on. This would not be an issue if the shop vac hose went inside a hole in the Dust Deputy, just like the hose connection on your shop vac itself.

I didn’t make any hard connections or changes to my shop vacuum. If I want to, I could take it off the cart in a couple minutes and be ready to use it separate. Of course, that would then start getting more dust clogging my filter. I bought a new filter with everything else, it’s rated a high efficiency for fine particles, and should do better than the old stock filter.

The cart was pretty simple to make. The bottom piece is two pieces of plywood glued together. I cut a large circle on one side where the new large drum fits. One the other side I used a forstner bit to cut four small holes that fit the shop vac wheels. Both pieces just sit in the indentations and stay in the cart as I wheel it around.

I got 4 swivel caster wheels for the shop vacuum cart. I like the way that travels around. I could have gotten two swivel casters, and two rigid casters that do not turn. With two casters that don’t turn, the shop vac cart would maneuver like a shopping cart at the store. Where I will be using the shop vac cart, the ground doesn’t slope, so I didn’t get casters with brakes. If you have any sloping areas, you may want to consider getting casters with brakes.

I made a structure that goes around and over the drum with the Dust Deputy on it. I installed the Dust Deputy on one side of the drum lid, to leave room for the hose storage on the other side of the lid. I did some research to make sure the Dust Deputy does not need to be installed in the center of the drum, it does not. Dust Deputy even shows some solutions where they have two Dust Deputies installed on one drum, and those aren’t centered over the drum. The structure I built holds the 20 feet of hose on one side. One the other side, I made a little clip holding spot, so I can clip the hose on there, and help hold the hose upright so it doesn’t kink, and doesn’t pull so badly on the Dust Deputy.

I used wood screws and wood glue to connect most of the parts of the cart. In some spots I used my brad nailer. The brad nailer is awesome, as I don’t need to clamp parts for an hour waiting for them to dry before moving onto the next piece. I can hit them with the brad nailer, and move onto the next part. Using the brad nailer for plywood is slightly tricky, make sure you line it up in the center and keep it straight, or the nail might pop out the side.

For the clip I made that holds on the plastic clip to hold the shop vac hose, I marked it’s location, after trying it out with the hose attached, to see where it would best support the hose to not pull on the Dust Deputy so hard (it pulls sideways). Then I used my smallest drill bit and drilled holes on each end of the plywood where I wanted to use my brad nailer from the other side. I glued it, put it in place, then used the brad nailer between the two drilled holes, which made sure I was using the brad nailer right in the center of the plywood pieces.

I bought the Eagle 1654 yellow 20 gallon drum. It has a pretty sturdy lid on it, I didn’t make any modifications to the lid like some people mentioned to keep the suction from pulling down on the lid so hard. I just put the Dust Deputy over to one side, to leave room for the hose storage, and marked and drilled holes so I could bolt the Dust Deputy on. I used some silicone around where the Dust Deputy would go, so it was well sealed, then bolted that on.

This drum gets fairly dirty and collects over 99% of everything

I went ahead and painted the cart. I filled the brad nailer holes with some wood putty first, then sanded everything. I gave it a coat of paint, sanded very lightly after it was dry to smooth out where the wood grain was raised, then gave it a second coat of paint.

The dimensions of your cart will depend on your shop vac size and drum size you end up with. I tried to make mine as small as possible. The base of the cart is 19″ x 43.5″. The stand for the hose reel has sides that are 5″ wide and are 38 3/4″ tall. The half octagon piece to hold the hose is 12″ wide at the bottom and each piece is about 4.5″ long, and 9 1/2″ deep. I used an octagon calculator online, and found if the outside of each of the 4 pieces is about 4.5″, then the radius of the octagon is about 11 3/4″. The top curved pieces above the octagon are 5 3/4″ taller than the top piece on the octagon. All of this of course can be modified to however you think for your cart. My hose reel holds the 20 feet of hose easily.

I’m pretty happy with the way the shop vac cart has been working out the last couple months of use. Like I mentioned before, it is a little large. However, the twenty feet of hose, and the way it keeps the filter pristine clean for maximum suction is a real plus.

Parts used in this project (Amazon links):
Dust Deputy:
20 gallon drum:
20 feet of hose:
Better vacuum filter:
Shop vac similar to mine:

Alternative parts:
Dust Deputy (with drum and other parts):
Taller, narrower drum:


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