To Print A Vacuum Cleaner

An assemebelled version of Christopher Olah's 3D printable handheld vacuum cleaner.

Hacklab was getting dusty and the roombas couldn’t get in the corners. So I designed a printable hand-held vacuum cleaner. It works, for some definition of works.

What you need

  • A 3D Printer
  • A DC motor
  • Tape
  • Filter (some cloth; see later)
  • Power Supply


Step 1: Print 3D printable parts (get them from github/thingiverse/RepRap Wiki) and collect other necessary materials (refer to part list).

3D printable hand held vacuum cleaner parts layed out

Step 2: Attach motor to impeller chamber. (You may need to redesign impeller_chamer.scad and impeller.scad for your motor.)

The motor is attached to the impeller chamer.Step 3: Attach impeller to motor (tight fitted).

The impeller is inserted into the impeller chamber and tight fitted onto the motor of the 3D printed vacuum cleaner.

Step 4: Insert filter and filter grip into bin. My best results have been with filters made out of commodity sink towels/cheese cloth (double layered). Originally I was using a bounce sheet (the things that go in your drier with clothing) but a piece of solder shot through that and came out the exhaust which wasn’t terribly safe.

Filter held by filter grip in bin of 3D printed vacuum cleaner.

Step 5: Tape bin to impeller chamber. Be aware that air escaping is an issue.

The bin is taped to the impeller chamber.

Step 6: Attach nozzle to bin.

An assemebelled version of Christopher Olah's 3D printable handheld vacuum cleaner.

Step 7: Hook up to a power supply, test, and enjoy! I upload a youtube video of some pepper getting sucked up here (thanks to Norman for filming!).

Tags: ,

16 Responses to “To Print A Vacuum Cleaner”

  1. Erik Says:

    This is something that really makes me smile 🙂

    I was planning on making an open source Roomba, or at least the replacement parts and slowly assimilate it to become fully open source. This is a great approach to even print out the vacuum. I was thinking I would use an existing handheld tool for the motor and convert it to robotic vacuum, but this shows that we could print all of it (except the motors).

    Nice that you openSCADed it.

  2. Sublime Says:

    It may help if you have the collection bin to the side of the impeller instead of behind it. Impellers like to fling stuff outward not inline. Have a look at an impeller based water pump to see how they do it.

    P.s. I have a mini mushroom shaped vacuum from china and its impeller flings outward.

  3. Sublime Says:

    Oh and my mini vacuum lets the dirt go through the impeller and then traps the dirt with a filter. So it pushes the dirt and air through the filter, it does not try and pull the air through the filter to capture the dirt.

  4. Jelle Says:

    Like the posters above said: get a radial fan instead of the axial thing you have now. A this small size, a radial fan offers more sucktion/efficiency per unit of power.
    Instead of a filter that gets clogged, you might try a cyclonic action separator, but I would not know how to lay that out that you still have something useable as a vacuum cleaner.

    • D1plo1d Says:

      I tried printing a radial fan a few months ago (there’s one on thingiverse) and spinning it up to a few thousand rpm but it didn’t get very good suction.

      Is the housing crucial to a radial fan if you are using it for suction (through the hole in the middle)? I figured that was only to control the exhaust but I’m not exactly an expert here.

      fan design by luck and intuition, what could possibly go wrong? 😛

  5. Tom Says:

    The rotor/impeller, whether you keep the current axial flow design or switch to radial flow, will be significantly more effective if you add a matched stator/diffuser; some vacuum cleaner designs use several pairs of rotors and stators in series on a common motor shaft. A properly designed diffuser (and impeller) should cause the air, as much as possible, to flow only in the direction that is actually useful, i.e. from intake to exhaust. The equations to optimise a radial design to do this, for low Mach numbers, are two-dimensional and relatively easy to do by hand; axial flow is a lot trickier (this is one reason why radial compressors were used on most of the early jet engines, though the Germans did have axial-flow models working pretty early on), and simply cries out for a CFD solution.

    On its own, a propeller will waste a significant amount of input power giving a useless lateral component to the flow; i.e. just spinning it around inside the housing without sending it anywhere or, worse, allowing it to carry away much unused energy in this lateral momentum. A diffuser can redirect the lateral kinetic energy back into a useful direction and/or convert it to additional static pressure.

  6. Justin Says:

    HAHA sweet handvac! Let us know when you go in business and we will sell them on our website!

  7. September Review: Maker Faire, Casting, Lasers & More « Christopher Olah's Blog Says:

    […] vacuum cleaner went in a sock: Vacuum ready for transport to Maker […]

  8. Lloyd Says:

    That is cool. I never knew you could build your own vacuum. But where do I find a 3d printer now?

  9. Untold Stories From Hacker Hostels - Says:

    […] he writes articles about how to print things you wouldn’t expect, like camera lenses or vacuum cleaners.In the San Francisco hostel, residents tend to be more diverse by age and occupation. Some are […]

  10. 3D Printing Illegal! | Biscuit Buddies Says:

    […] Instead of throwing it away, or searching for weeks or months on end for a non-existant spare part, I can make a replacement part. Instantly. So cheap it is almost free (just a few cents). I could give my nephew a toy for […]

  11. sean Says:

    where is the dust collected and how do you empty it?

  12. Shark Says:

    This is so cool. I can see a complete open source printable vacuum coming soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: