Sunday, March 3, 2024

What are wet and dry vacuums and how do they complement other tools?

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The generation of sawdust, dust and / or fine particles produced by the operation of some power tools, such as, for example, sanders, drills, saws, grinders or ceramic cutters, is inevitable and affects not only the tools, the parts and the work environment, but mainly the user himself. That is why in this article, we will discuss how the industrial vacuum cleaners They come to fill in already directly, to the tools to facilitate this work.

Since the great boom that these tools In the last 60-70 years, various governmental health and environmental institutions have established a series of strict standards for personal and environmental protection, ranging from waterproof clothing and self-contained breathing apparatus to localized ventilation / exhaust systems and / or containment of airborne particles, depending on whether the portable tools or large machinery.

The regulations also emphasize addressing the problem From the beginning, that is to say, avoiding the formation of these harmful particles. The most common way not to produce them is by using machinery and portable tools with water supply systems (wet work). However, depending on the material of the piece – think of wood, for example – this is not always possible.

In those cases, what is recommended is to use machines with a localized extraction system incorporated into the tool. Thus, we have many power toolsSmall machines that add a bag or cartridge to collect dust, for example portable sanders whose descriptions and illustrations appear in this article. That bag or cartridge connects to an opening in the tool, named port, which is intended for dust extraction.

However, as we can see, not all electric tools come supplied with a dust collection bag. Those that generate a considerable amount of particles, whose volume would quickly exceed the capacity of the bag, omit this accessory and only have the port, so that to avoid the generation of particles during the operation of the machine, the user must connect to said port an external suction system. One such case is, for example, the groover we describe here.

As we see in that article, the external system is a vacuum cleaner. Many will wonder if the vaccum cleaner that we have at home and that we acquire in a household goods business. The answer does not favor this option. For starters, household vacuum cleaners do not have the power or durability that their use would require to couple to a electrical tool. Second, with a few exceptions, they do not suck up liquids, and this would be an important advantage if water is used in a workplace to prevent the formation of particles. And mainly, domestic vacuum cleaners do not have highly efficient particulate filters (known as filters HEPA), an essential condition to avoid its rapid clogging by coarse particulate matter, such as plaster or masonry.

Therefore, this is where the industrial vacuum cleaners offered by many manufacturers of the same electric tools that generate particles during their operation. One of the most popular and sold models of this type of vacuum cleaners They are the ones that work both dry and wet, and they are precisely those models that this note will deal with.

Wet and dry vacuum cleaners, what are they?

These are basically machines designed to suck up solid and liquid materials using the corresponding filter. They are not designed to suck up flammable, explosive or harmful to health materials, and the models that we will see here are suitable for use at home, by the hobbyist or in small workshops. The versatility of wet and dry vacuum cleaners allows you to easily perform a large number of tasks, for example:

  • Pick up spilled liquids.
  • Keep workplaces clean.
  • Pick up broken glass.
  • Remove dust and wood chips from power tools.
  • Thoroughly clean the interior of vehicles.
  • Empty containers.
  • Vacuum the carpets that we just cleaned.
  • Dry a clean floor.
  • Clean garages or other areas that generate larger waste.
  • Unclog sinks.

However, this is not all. Some models are not only used to vacuum, but also to function as blowers and, as we are especially interested in this article, even to synchronize its operation with that of the power tool we use.

To get started, let’s see one of these wet and dry vacuums in action.

What do they consist of and how do they work?

A wet and dry vacuum It has three main components:

  • Collection tank or chamber, usually constructed of stainless steel
  • Motor
  • Hose

The motor is housed within a unit called head located on the tank, and actuates a fan that draws air from the tank and the hose, as we see in the following figure.

Parts of an industrial vacuum cleaner

As the air enters through the input port to a smaller area (the hose) it increases its speed and creates suction. This allows you to drag the dirt particles and transport them into the tank. As air enters the (larger) tank, it slows down and particles are released. Then the air is expelled by the port of departure, on the top of the device.

To prevent solid or liquid particles contained in the tank from being projected out of the tank through the outlet port, a filter between the tank and the outlet port, whose function is to retain the aspirated particles. Depending on whether they are solids or liquids, typical filters consist of a flat paper cylinder or pleating for solid particles, and a cylinder foam for liquid particles, any of which is mounted with its corresponding cover on a basket attached to the head. Many manufacturers also incorporate a collection bag, and in fact recommend its use, designed only for dry vacuuming. The bag not only strengthens the suction power, but also facilitates the removal of solid materials and prolongs the useful life of the filter.

Collection bag - industrial vacuum cleaner

Collection bag – industrial vacuum cleaner

What are its components?

The following figures show one of the most complete models of wet and dry vacuum, with its main components, as well as those of the head detail.

Wet and Dry Vacuum Components

Wet and Dry Vacuum Components

Wet and Dry Vacuum Components

Wet and Dry Vacuum Components

  1. Handle
  2. ON / OFF / Automatic mode switch
  3. Head
  4. Basket to place the filter
  5. Floating valve
  6. Automatic outlet to connect electric tools
  7. Hook to lock the head
  8. Tank
  9. Suction hose connection
  10. Connection for blowing
  11. Flexible suction hose
  12. 3-piece suction tube
  13. Multipurpose nozzle
  14. Wheels
  15. Hook for hanging the cable
  16. Wheels
  17. Dust and liquid drain cover
  18. Adapter
  19. Accessory holder

What benefits do they provide?

As stated above, the wet and dry vacuum cleaners they serve a number of purposes that domestic versions do not have. With the components mentioned in the figures in mind, let’s examine what they are.

a) Automatic socket to connect electric tools (component 6 of the figures)

It should be noted that not all wet and dry vacuum cleaners They have this function, but it is incorporated into the most complete and equipped ones. From this it follows that if we are looking for a vacuum cleaner to use with our power tools to automatically remove the dust generated, it is It is essential that the vacuum cleaner has a built-in automatic outlet, just like the one shown in the following video.

The operation of the automatic outlet is very simple, since it only consists of following these steps:

  1. On basket 4 of the head of the vaccum cleaner We place the pleated filter for dry suction and, if the dust to be collected is very fine, we also connect the bag, as indicated in the following figure.
Bag connection to tool

Bag connection to tool

  1. We connect the power cable of our electrical tool to the automatic socket (6) of the vaccum cleaner, and then we connect the flexible suction hose (11) to the dust extraction port of the power tool.
  2. We put the switch (2) of the vacuum cleaner in the «AUTO» position (automatic mode).
  3. As soon as we turn on the power tool, the power tool will also turn on. vaccum cleaner, so that we can work with our tool without forming dust particles.
  4. When you turn off the power tool, the vaccum cleaner It will also turn off after a short factory preset delay.

b) Blow function

Virtually all models of wet and dry vacuum cleaners They can function as blowers, for example, to collect dry leaves from a garden. To use our vaccum cleaner As a blower, we simply connect the suction hose (11) to the blower connection (10) and turn on the vacuum cleaner. If it is necessary to extend the suction hose (11), we can attach one or more of the elements that make up the 3-piece suction tube (12) to it.

c) Drain drains and / or containers

Thanks to the large capacity of the stainless steel tank (which depending on the manufacturer and model varies between 10 and 60 liters or more) we can drain clean, dirty or soapy water from kitchen sinks, small ponds, bathtubs or any other container. Since most vacuum cleaners include a float valve (5) to prevent liquid from being projected towards the motor when the tank capacity is full, as well as a dust and liquid drain cap (19) to empty the tank , we can reuse the tank capacity as many times as needed.

What characteristics do they have?

The wet and dry vacuum cleaners Equipped with an automatic socket for connecting power tools, they are robust equipment, with a motor power of approximately 1500 W, a weight of about 7 kg and an average tank capacity of 30 liters. The built-in outlet allows you to connect power tools up to 2000W, which can accommodate even powerful miter saws.

One might think that with these characteristics they are noisy and energy-consuming machines, but this is not the case, since nowadays all recognized manufacturers place special emphasis on designing their electrical appliances under rigorous environmental standards, as this video explains.

As you can imagine, choosing a good wet and dry vacuum it takes into account many of these characteristics that will obviously depend on the use that we will give it. In a future article we will take care of reviewing them.

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