How to Build a Vacuum Cleaner

  • 2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50
What You'll Need
Empty bottle or jar
Garden hose
Electrical air pump

A vacuum cleaner never actually creates a vacuum. It pulls air in one end and blows it out the other. The dirt is pulled into the vacuum cleaner along with this moving air. A distinct difference in air pressure is actually what causes air to rush into the vacuum to replace the air that is being pulled through. Inside, there is a filter or a filter bag that keeps the dirt, a solid, in and lets the air pass through. As a science experiment, or to make the world's cheapest vacuum cleaner, you can assemble one from a few parts that are pretty easy to find.

Chances are this won't be pretty unless you buy a special hobbyist or builder's kit or source similar parts from a single manufacturer. But don't worry, as this project is aimed more at demonstrating the principles behind the vacuum cleaner than it is with actually supplying you with a competitive vacuum.

Step 1 - Cut Hose Pieces

Cut the hose into two pieces, one short and one longer. The short hose piece will connect the bottle with the pump. The other is the hose that will suck up the dirt. This should be a length that can be handled easily while vacuuming.

Step 2 - Attach Hose to Top of Bottle

Cut a hole in the top of the bottle. Glue one end of the shorter hose to the bottle, completely covering the hole. The other end of the short hose connects to the hole in the pump that blows air out.

Step 3 - Install Filter

The bottle should be strong enough to handle air pressure. A plastic storage jar might be best. Cut a hole in the side of the bottle. This is the exhaust hole of the vacuum cleaner. Dust needs to be kept in the bottle while the air goes out. Something as simple as a kitchen sponge will act as a filter. Glue the sponge to the inside of the bottle over the hole.

Step 4 - Finish Connections

Take one end of the longer hose and use the silicone to attach it to the other hole in the pump, the one that sucks air in. Make sure that all connections are sealed tight and ensure that no air is escaping from any place other than through the membrane that is the sponge, which is where it's supposed to escape.

Now you have a complete system. Air and dirt go in the longer hose. Then it goes through the pum, and is blown through the shorter hose. The air and dirt ends up in the bottle. Air pressure builds up in the bottle and the air is pushed through the sponge, leaving the dirt behind.

Step 5 - Use Your Creation

Everything passes through the fast fill electrical pump. It was not designed for this purpose. It will not be able to handle nails, coins, or other hard objects. This is a short-lived vacuum cleaner, and it doesn't have an easy way to empty the dirt out of the bottle. It will have limited use. It is an interesting tool for learning how vacuum cleaners work, and it will help get rid of a small amount of dust. For anything more, it is recommended that a vacuum cleaner built for that purpose is used.