Make a Tool-Actuated Vacuum - Fine Homebuilding

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Theres a Better Way


Make a Tool-Actuated Vacuum

comments (12) April 8th, 2010
grateful.ed Chuck Miller, editor at large

Video Length: 1:49
Produced by: John Ross, Edited by Cari Delahanty


Jay B. Lane from Portland Oregon has figured out how to turn a typical shop vacuum into a tool-actuated vacuum using a $20 dollar switch from Sears.

To find it, google Craftsman auto switch.


posted in: remodeling, restorations, electrical

Comments (12)

ToddLara ToddLara writes: Great tip! Simple and cost effective. I modified two vacs using this idea, and they're working perfectly. Thanks so much for sharing.
Posted: 7:51 pm on August 29th

koolratt koolratt writes: You can get the same tool from a duplex receptacle wired in series.
Posted: 5:21 pm on May 10th

MikeMc MikeMc writes: Here's an autoswitch with 2 circuits:

http://www.busybeetools.com/products/SWITCH-I-VAC-VACUUM.html

Posted: 8:05 am on February 21st

dbdors dbdors writes: The Sears switch is called the Auto Switch
http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00924031000P

Posted: 9:45 pm on April 12th

789456123 789456123 writes: Very good point about tripping the circuit breaker with a shop vac and tool on the same circuit.

I went with a remote switch from Northern tool. Here is the link http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200206724_200206724.

It is called a Super Switch. Like the others mentioned it only handles 8amps. But it was cheap.
Posted: 7:31 pm on April 12th

ChristophW ChristophW writes: One more comment on the iVac (see my previous posting below). I noticed that the specs say it supports two circuits and with a built-in, resettable 12A circuit breaker each. However, 12A are not enough for some more serious power tools like my benchtop table saw. I contacted MBright and the person said, they have to write 12A because the 'Certification UL/CSA lab' requires that (no tool plugged into a 15A circuit should take more than 12A), but the circuit breakers in the iVac are in fact 15A. No need to cancel my order :-) They are supposedly also planning for additional products this summer that support higher amperages and voltages.
Posted: 3:04 pm on April 12th

ChristophW ChristophW writes: fpratt, for a while I had been mulling over the same question. My table saw draws a max of 15A, but with my big shopvac that would trigger the circuit breaker when I cut into thick lumber. For that reason I have already put in multiple, separate circuits in my shop and currently control both tools manually.

I found it weird that all those master-slave switches that can supposedly be used for power tools don't support separate circuits. Makes them look like toys.

Long story short, today I finally found what I was looking for all that time, the iVac switch from MBright Tools. Costs little more than the i-Socket switch and supports two separate circuits up to 15A. I haven't tried it yet myself but the order is placed :-)
Posted: 1:16 pm on April 12th

rongo rongo writes: I have a central vac system in my shop, fabricated from 4" PVC pipe (with grounding wires inside), and connected to a Delta dust vac unit. It's connected to a simple device sold by Stanley tools that turns the vac on or off using a small remote control like those used to unlock car doors.

I clip the remote to my shop apron, and can turn on the vac from anywhere in the shop, no matter which tool I'm using.
Thew unit is Stanley model 51170 remote switch, rated at 15 amps. They're available for under $20 (I bought one at BJ's
Warehouse for around $12). They're also great for controlling outdoor Christmas lighting, etc.

Ron Godbout
Northfield, NH
Posted: 12:02 pm on April 12th

richs richs writes: I agree with guston , other then just plugging the auto switch into the wall where it normally goes , and works fine ,where is the big tip ?
Thanks anyway Jay but I like to keep my auto switch mobile so I can use it anywhere with any tool not just a vac .
Posted: 11:22 am on April 12th

fpratt fpratt writes: Problem with this is that many shop vacs will draw 10 - 12 amps. When you add the load of a good sized router, your asking for upwards of 20 - 25 amp from 1 circuit. It would be better to use the type of switch that has a separate circuit for the vacuum and the tool. I've seen them but can't remember the manufacturer.
Posted: 9:17 am on April 12th

WobblyVBO WobblyVBO writes: Guston, it IS super-simple, isn't it? I suppose the "big tip" is that someone (Sears) sells a readily-available, moderately-priced automatic switch. I didn't know that.
You and I probably could have designed one, but it would have taken more than $20 of time, material, and pondering to refine it.
It's also handy that the switch module stays with the shop-vac and can monitor any tool you choose.
-Might have to try this in my shop. Thanks, Jay!
Posted: 8:59 am on April 12th

guston guston writes: It's an automatic switch- what's the big tip? that he screwed it to the vacuum? lol
Posted: 7:38 am on April 12th

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