Building the Frankenvac: Frank Howarth's birch wood self-built shop vacuum
May 24, 2021 | 3:30 pm CDT




The "Frankenvac 2.0" is YouTuber and woodworker Frank Howarth's second version of his self-built shop vacuum. 

"Ever since I got a mini cyclone separator for my Shop-vac, I have wanted to combine the two units into one system by removing one of the dust containers," says Howarth.

"This is the 2nd version of my self-built shop vacuum. The first version worked by putting a vacuum blower on top of a Mini cyclone separator. This worked well but it had a few things that I wanted to improve. One thing I wanted was an easier way to empty the dust when the dust bin was full. In the new version, I made a box under the separator that the dust will fall into.

On the side of this box is a door that I can use to suck out all of the dust with my shop’s main vacuum system. The other big improvement that I made was to put everything on the front of a main housing of the vacuum so the switch, the exhaust, and the handle are all on that front side.  This allows the vacuum to fit within my storage system at the south end of the shop so the vacuum has a place to go when not in used. I also built this new version out of nice Baltic Birch and tried to clean up the design so that the whole system didn't look so hacked together."

Howarth, whose YouTube channel has more than 580,000 subscribers, describes his work as "architecture at a small scale expressed through woodworking and film making."

Howarth is the creator of the wooden Death Star.

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About the author
Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at