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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I used to use a Magnum 350 as a vacuum cleaner for cleaning my tanks, I have a continuous water change system so I don't siphon crud out with the water changes, The Magnum worked ok but it plugged easily and didn't hold much plant matter. I have a lot of hairgrass that gets matted with ricca, java moss and bladderwort and is difficult to clean. The canister on the Magnum broke and a replacement was about the same cost of a whole new filter so a replacement was out of the question. I started thinking about what to use to replace my broken vacuum and after several failed ideas I came up with a small pool filter off of Craigslist for $5.00. After getting it home and looking it over, it had less space for crud than the magnum had.


I decided to use the pump, screw on lid and glue them into a larger canister for more volume, but come to find out the plastic they use can not glued.

I probably went overboard on this but I have fun building stuff.

I went back to one of my favorite materials to work with, PVC, I cut a length of 10" PVC pipe split and heat formed some flat material, I used another length for the body of the vac. I used a circle cutter on a router to cut round ends for the canister.

The pump slides up into the bottom and seals with an O-ring so I had to build up the thickness of the bottom for this to work. I cut a couple round plugs of PVC and epoxied them to the bottom with Super Glue Plastic Fusion.

To cut the round plugs and the precision hole for the pump to seal in I used an adjustable circle cutter in the drill press. it takes a few tries to get it set right but works well.

Here is the plugs glued on and the hole bored in it.


With the pump installed


On the inside I needed to mount the pool filter cartridge. I cut two disks of PVC to match the diameter of the cartridge and drilled the center of one for 1" PVC. I cut a length of 1" PVC and slotted it with a router bit in the drill press using a mill vise. Then glued that into the bottom disk and to the bottom.


I found one of my many test hole plugs that fit into the 1" tube, tapped it to 5/16-18 installed a stainless screw and glued it to the stand pipe.


With the filter installed.


after getting the bottom done I moved onto the top, I needed some kind of removable lid to access the filter and clean the crud out, I settled on a expanding 6" pipe plug.



I cut a short piece of 6" pipe and cut it into the top for the plug to work in, I don't have a pic of this stage but you can see it on the finished product and in the background of a couple of the previous pics.

Now the next part is the inlet to the canister, as a vacuum I want it to be smooth all the way in so it won't plug as the crud goes through. Any fittings would be a crunch point and cause plugging. I found a watertight electrical compression fitting that fit the tubing I was using for the intake, I also wanted the canister to swirl and keep the debris from blowing right into the filter. I drilled through the side with progressively larger drill bits and rotated each one to the angle I wanted the pipe going in until I ran out of larger bits I got up to 1" then I filed and fit until the 3/4" PVC pipe would go through. I glued the stub of pipe in with a female TA on the outside for the watertight fitting.

Inside.

Outside.


Ok that gets water in, now I have to get it back to the tank. The pool filter had a clamp on hose for the output so I had to adapt from that to a garden hose for the return. I found that the output size was close enough to 1" PVC that a compression coupling would clamp down on it.



I cut the compression coupling in half and a threaded coupling in half, glued the threaded coupling half in the compression coupling and installed a 3/4" NIP to hose adapter giving me a garden hose fitting on the output.


Glued the top and bottom in place, drilled a hole for the cord and output and installed the pump. used a couple more of the plugs from test drilling to tap and glue in the bottom, some 5/16 running thread and a scrap of aluminum bar to mount the pump and now I have a true wet vac.




Works great and holds more than I hope to ever need.

Future mods will include a handle to pick it up, it's kinda heavy when it's full, probably holds 3-4 gallons, and maybe a paint job.
 

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I didn't understand how exactly the micron cartridge fits in the green housing.

Also - the green hose on the last picture seems to plug into a connection that doesn't look sealed.

Have you tried to suck mulm from a tank with this vacuum and does the micron cartdridge plug up fast or it handles quite a bit of dirt because of the way the water moves inside your housing?

--Nikolay
 

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I didn't understand how exactly the micron cartridge fits in the green housing.

Also - the green hose on the last picture seems to plug into a connection that doesn't look sealed.

Have you tried to suck mulm from a tank with this vacuum and does the micron cartdridge plug up fast or it handles quite a bit of dirt because of the way the water moves inside your housing?

--Nikolay
No, that fitting isn't sealed, I noticed that too. But, from what I can tell, neither is it exposed to water in that area. Have a look at the second to last pic...see where the pump mounts to that plate? In that shot, the unit looks to be upside down. I gather the pump draws from inside the canister, thru the cartridge filter, out thru the green hose to the tank.

Fantastic DIY skills, BP! Any chance you coud make another and shoot it down to Oz?
 

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Ghengis,

What you said makes more sense then. So the pump is actually external? The second to last picture we are looking at the unit upside down, I guess if you turned over the big green canister that is what you gonna see. I think I understand it now. So on this picture we see what is above the pump:
http://i101.photobucket.com/albums/m57/bdpimm/Wet Vac/IMG_4246.jpg

And I can even make out the black pump under the green circle that is actually the bottom of the canister.

I was wondering how he seals the electric cord to be waterproof but there is no need for that if what you said is correct. Nice!

My only objection would be the plugging of the micron cartridge. The unit looks to be built super tough! But if you attempt to clear a pretty dirty tank with a micron filter the cartridge plugs up in less than a minute if you use say a 350 gph. pump.

Bpimm,

Could you explain in details how you cut these nice circles out of such thick PVC. I have tried before and couldn't do it. What I'm really impressed is the nice clean edges on your circles.

--Nikolay
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You guys are correct, the pump is external. As for plugging, I cleaned my 80 Gal that had not been cleaned in 3 Months and by the end the flow had slowed down a little but not to bad. My thought for that is to sew up a sock out of a filter pad to make a pre filter if needed. I will be trying it out for re-scaping in a soil tank, that will be a good test for it, if it can handle the soil it should handle anything.

My method for cutting circles is this:




It replaces the base plate on your router and is calibrated to 1/16" increments. you just drill a 1/8" hole at the center put a pin in the hole and select the hole in the jig for the right size circle. It's designed to cut holes and the disk is the waste but it works both ways. I bought it for building speakers and have used it for many different things, it has never came off the router since I put it on.

Router Jig

ghengis,

It took me 3 months to finish this one, somehow life seems to get in the way of hobbies, so I'm not planning on going into production ant time soon. ;)
 

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I remember, I think, that you once discussed techniques for making things out of PVC pipes, in another thread (a light fixture?), how to make flat sheets, how to cut it and form it, etc. If not, it would make a very good sticky if you were to write an illustrated primer on this. I tried to flatten some 1" tube pieces once and wasn't able to do it at all well - the stuff acted like soft rubber when I heated it. It would be fun to learn how to use the stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I remember, I think, that you once discussed techniques for making things out of PVC pipes, in another thread (a light fixture?), how to make flat sheets, how to cut it and form it, etc. If not, it would make a very good sticky if you were to write an illustrated primer on this. I tried to flatten some 1" tube pieces once and wasn't able to do it at all well - the stuff acted like soft rubber when I heated it. It would be fun to learn how to use the stuff.
Yea that was me. It's buried in here somewhere.

I split the pipe with a table saw, heat to 250 degrees in the oven then using gloves try to flatten it out as much as you can as it's cooling. I then place it between two sheets of glass, weight it down (I use lead blocks) and reheat in the oven to 250 degrees. it will lay down nice and smooth when it gets warm enough. Let it cool in the oven or carefully pull it out and let it cool. the PVC works very much like a hardwood with wood working tools.

Here is the latest thing I'm trying, I'm trying to come up with a way to make a simple corner skimmer/overflow out of pipe. I made an internally expanding jig to stretch 4" thin wall pipe into a right triangle. that's as far as I've gotten.





I might even try to turn it into a internal filter/CO2 reactor.. More later.

Brian
 

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I will be looking forward to the final write up on this! I would still like to see you work up a PVC Work Primer, or "How to Make $100's of dollars worth of Aquarium Goodies with $1 worth of PVC Pipe".
 

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Oh this looks very promising! Looking forward to more of this.

Bpimm, how did you cut the big size pipe for the vacuum canister?

--Nikolay
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Oh this looks very promising! Looking forward to more of this.

Bpimm, how did you cut the big size pipe for the vacuum canister?

--Nikolay
I use the table saw, I clamp a 2X4 perpendicular to the blade for a stop, lay the pipe in place and with the saw on slowly raise the blade into the pipe. Then slowly rotate the pipe to cut the rest. it's a little tricky but after a few tries I can get a fairly consistent cuts.

Brian
 

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I will be looking forward to the final write up on this! I would still like to see you work up a PVC Work Primer, or "How to Make $100's of dollars worth of Aquarium Goodies with $1 worth of PVC Pipe".
:amen:

Sticky!*clap, clap, clap* Sticky!*clap, clap, clap* Sticky!*clap, clap, clap* Sticky!*clap, clap, clap*
 

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:hail: All I can say is WOW! For a couple dollars you built something that would put anything on the market to shame! I need to go to your house! If I give you $5, will you build me a sump?:p
 
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