Dust deputy cart with 20-gal container

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Project by BOBAH posted 12-16-2019 08:58 PM 1131 views 10 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have several tools that need high-volume dust collector – table saw, jointer, planer, router table, and a few that need high-pressure low-volume collection – drill press, miter saw station, oscillating sander. Decided to handle these two groups separately, using 1.5HP JET cyclone for the former, and 14-gallons shop vac with cyclone for the latter.

This is my third version of Dust Deputy cart. The first one used bucket as dust container – had too little capacity to be practical; the second one used 55 gal Oneida fiber container with automatic dust collection switch, but failed spectacularly with the drum collapsed, and was taking too much space.

I have learned all my lessons:
- this time, I use plastic 20-gal drum container placed on top of the vac, to keep the footprint to minimum;
- automatic dust collection switch is mounted directly on the cart – no need for a standalone fixture;
- added hose reels to keep it compact;
- installed LED light source behind the drum so I could see the dust and debris level without ever opening the container;
- used smaller diameter lockable swivel wheels so it can roll around freely;
- the vac is mostly enclosed now – this partially reduces the noise. It rests on its bottom, with its wheels locked in the cutout holes, much more stable this way.

This configuration works great so far – all tools that use this vac are on the right side of my shop, next to each other – now I have much more floor space to move around, and no hoses getting in the way.

9 comments so far

View Redoak49's profile


4436 posts in 2631 days

#1 posted 12-16-2019 10:57 PM

Nice neat setup.

View fivecodys's profile


1592 posts in 2279 days

#2 posted 12-16-2019 11:22 PM

Nicely done. I have that same 20 gallon container on my DC. I liked it because I didn’t want to get a barrel that I couldn’t lift when it was full.
You did a great job.

-- A bad day woodworking is still better than a good day working.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


3689 posts in 1463 days

#3 posted 12-17-2019 03:37 AM

Great design BOBAH.

Like the fact that it doesn’t seem to be top heavy… hope that’s not an optical illusion.

Got me envious with your ”auto switch”... I’m big (lets not interpret that as my girth) into automation and always strive for remote activation of machinery… One of these (and maybe a few more) would be a nice addition in my arsenal.

- used “smaller diameter lockable swivel wheels”.....

Was surprised by that statement… I have gone out of my way to upgrade (and still continuing) all my small wheels to larger ones (100/125mm dia.). When I had a level timber (toungue and groove particle board) the small wheels manouvered beautifully, however, in my current cracked concrete workshop with chips and cables all over the floor, the small wheels used to grip and tip. Admittedly these larger wheels up the centre of gravity, so I’m always developing counter measures to move the COG further down… nevertheless its a small price to pay for the easier movement using the larger wheels.
I do like the fact that you chose wheels with the lever brakes and not those mongrel butterfly brakes.

PS. I learnt the hard way of steering clear of rubber wheels as they tend to flatten out under weight they required a lot more grunt to make the initial push.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View BOBAH's profile


128 posts in 1986 days

#4 posted 12-17-2019 08:10 AM

@LittleBlackDuck, indeed, it doesn’t feel top-heavy, at least now – the enclosure adds enough weight to keep it grounded.

I made conscious decision to switch from larger harbor-freight wheels to smaller ones from Amazon – had a lot of grief with the former. Could be size, could be lower quality, hard to say. Very happy with smaller ones – using this exact type in prep table, miter saw cart, drill press cart, router table, oscillating sander station… My shop’s floor is also concrete, with some cracks – I just need to mind electrical cords, the wheels handle everything else.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


3689 posts in 1463 days

#5 posted 12-17-2019 08:50 AM

... the wheels handle everything else.

I am jealous… as my small ones weren’t bargain basement…

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Tim Royal 's profile

Tim Royal

315 posts in 2129 days

#6 posted 12-18-2019 08:27 PM

Very nice unit – Well thought out

-- -Tim Royal -"Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real." -Thomas Merton

View dickhob1's profile


1 post in 2451 days

#7 posted 01-28-2020 05:00 PM

Nice job! I’ve been thinking about a shop vac DC for a long time. Hope you or someone can answer a few questions for me.

1. Why is the shop vac always on the bottom of the stack (shop vac, dust bin, cyclone) ? Is there a problem if the shop vac is on top (dust bin, cyclone, shop vac)? It seems to me that the stack would be much less “tippy” if the inlet hose were closer to the floor.

2. Is it really necessary to use a round dust bin? Could the bin be a plywood box with an airtight lid?

View BOBAH's profile


128 posts in 1986 days

#8 posted 01-28-2020 05:18 PM

Hi, good questions. For #1, no, the relative locations of bin and vac are not predetermined. But it might be awkward to place vac on top of bin AND cyclone. If you want lower center of gravity and don’t mind footprint, you can put them side by side on the floor level. Just google ‘shop vac cart’ – there are quite a few designs out there.

For #2, the only critical requirement is to have pretty much airtight lid. The painter bucket, or chemicals containers both meet this requirement nicely. If lid is not tight, the separation becomes really poor, and now you have to empty both vac and container.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


3689 posts in 1463 days

#9 posted 01-28-2020 08:10 PM

... Hope you or someone can answer a few questions for me.
- dickhob1

Hi dickie, I’m no physicist, but I do fit into the someone category, so I’ll take a stab.

  1. It all depends on the design and ease of emptying the bin. Usually to empty, the cyclone (DD) is lifted and let dangle (as it is light) and the bin lifted upwards out of it’s receptacle… though it could be slid sideways, if you have the clearance to get the lid off when beneath the cyclone with the vac above. Carefull design could achieve this, however if you had a small plastic bin, like what comes with the “DD kit”, would a shop-vac on top confuse gravity with the light (when empty) bin below?
  1. No mathematical idea, however, I am guessing that the circular receptacle would permit easier air circulation/rotation to permit the crap falling/sucked down the middle of the vortex…

Now if either of those make sense to you, feel free to convince me!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

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