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It seems to me that you could simply put a hole in the bottom of the barrel (with maybe a small false bottom with holes) and evacuate it with a shop vacuum. Once the bag is settled into the barrel, there's no reason to have additional vacuum if you plug the hole used to evacuate. The illustration on the link looks like there's a pourus stone at the bottom. These are used in fluidized bed coating systems and are really nothing different than a grindstone with the center hole plugged. But, think of putting a piece of pegboard a couple of inches above the barrel botton and attaching a vacuum device (shop vac) below this.

I have a Oneida 1.5 hp system and usually wait until the barrel is full because it is such a paine to empty. I've got to seriously think about this concept.
 

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Good idea, I see what you're thinking, once the air is sucked out and the bag conforms the vacuum created by the cyclone on the inner side of the bag would have to overcome the vacuum then created between the outer side of the bag and the inner surface of the drum. Does sound plausible. But relies on the bag sealing good between the cover and the drum. And I would think the vacuum would dissipate and have to be redone periodically, I would also think that the fiber the drum is made out of has some amount of porosity, but coat of poly would probably solve that. If it held a few days that might be ok. But I still would consider using a vacuum pump and not a shop vac just to get the higher vacuum.

Something to consider, but you got me thinking. I was concerned that you'd have to start the vacuum pump and wait for it each time to draw the vacuum out of the drum before starting the cyclone but it should still be there somewhat between use and be good enough to start both at the same time once the initial vacuum was done.

It also got me to thinking that it could be done maybe a little less complicated and I like the idea of the connection hole in the bottom, have to raise the drum a bit, I probably only have 4ish inches to work with but could raise it 2 inches.

I've got the 1-1/2HP Oneida too, it had the internal filter but I recently removed it and went with the external filter retro kit. It made a significant improvement in airflow. And yes, emptying the thing can be a bit messy and why I'm considering this, the plastic bag would help big time.
 

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Hi Blankman,
Did you ever do this project? I'm thinking of doing the same thing, was wondering how you made out. Also, do you think it would be possible to tap into the intake duct for vacuum instead of using a vacuum pump?

-pmc
 
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