Auto Vac

This past year I have been reorganizing my shop … like I always wanted and never had time for.

I have learned two important things:

  1. If my tools are hung where I can see them there is a better chance that I use them, return them to their assigned place and don’t buy duplicates. note: I use french cleat walls and I have been very impressed with how easy they are to build and use.
    2. If my vacuum system is easy to turn on and adjust the gates I will use it, if not I find an excuse to think “its only a small cut”. The dust builds up!

note: since my shop is in two locations in the basement & garage a central system is not practical. Instead I have used area vacuums with RF switches on them. This includes single vacs for isolated tools.

Now the reason I wrote this.

In one case I have a drill press with a dedicated small vacuum. I find that I forget to turn the vac until I start drilling. Usually I have on hand on the spindle feed and one on the piece so I just finish the hole and am annoyed by the debris the vac was supposed to remove.

I decided to solve this by building a vac control that senses the tools current and then turns on/off the vac.
This build uses these parts that are all packaged in a power box.

  • an Arduino nano
  • ac current sensor,
  • off line 5v switcher
  • switch
  • relay

Also, much less expensive than the store bought ones.
If there is interest by others I will go through the effort of documenting what I did and sharing it and the code.
I am thinking about making a version that turns on a vac by monitoring current from multiple tools…


That’s really cool. It would be great to see the build documented.

So you will build one :)?

I would give it a try. I have yet to play with Arduinos so this would be a great way to learn something new.

ok then I will get on the documentation.


I would probably build one also. Devices like this just Makes a shop all that more efficient noise-wise, which some don’t consider when using a shop. Soo many tools are loud(vacuums included), so any way to toggle these on/off as soon as their not needed should be mandatory :slight_smile: Extra insulation in the walls doesn’t hurt either im told…lol