How-To: $10 Water Bucket Dust Collector

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Have you seen my DIY soda blasting video? Well, I thought it would be nice to adapt this idea to a blast cabinet and not have soda all over me and the driveway. After I setup my HF blast cabinet, I ran into another problem, filtering all the dust before it hits the shop vac filter, which can clog very quickly.

So I thought I would start with the easiest & cheapest solution, a bucket water filter. The idea is simple and effective, however there are some disadvantages which ultimately made me look into a better solution. This is how it works, the airtight bucket/lid has an inlet and outlet. The inlet pipe pictured on the right below, reaches to about 3” above the bottom of the bucket. The outlet is high as possible, pictured on the left, and can have an elbow on it to prevent water to make its way to the shop vac. Finally, an inch or two of water is added to the bucket. When dusty air come into the inlet pipe, it blows right across the water at the bottom of bucket and becomes “trapped”. The air that exits the outlet is much cleaner, and won’t clog your filter as quickly.

$10 bucket water filter dust collector


I did run into some problems with this setup, though. Water does make it all the way into the shop vac. So the filter becomes damp and you will have to clean out the shop vac once done.

water in shop vac bucket filter


Another issue is that before you begin, you have to make sure the bucket is clean and the proper amount of water is added. Lastly, after 20 minutes of running the vac, all the water that does not get sucked into the vacuum will become dried out with all the media coming into the bucket. Once this happens, the vac filter clogs quickly.

water filter bucket sludge
Now, I’m posting this since many may need a budget solution and don’t mind the pitfalls of the water bucket filter. I on the other hand, had to find a much better solution. If you want to read up and watch a video on the better solution, then read this post on the Dust Deputy review. It was a little pricey, however it solved the problem completely and my time is now saved once again.

You may also want to check out my post on how to make shop vac fittings from PVC.


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