My $45 Gold Vac
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  1. #1
    us
    Sep 2011
    Glendale, AZ
    TDI Pro, GMT
    259
    316 times
    Prospecting

    My $45 Gold Vac

    Although AZViper makes a nice gold vac, and I commend him on his helping others out by showing them how to build one, I just never could warm up to the idea of using a bucket with a motor on top of it… let alone paying $400 for one from the prospector supply stores. Just seemed way too unstable for my tastes. Sure I could fill the bucket with rocks or boulders to help keep it stabilized when out in the field, but then that would kinda defeat the whole purpose by lessening my volume. I want to fill my bucket up with as much gold bearing material as I can possibly vacuum up… not rocks or boulders!

    So I got to thinking… what platform would offer me the stability of a shop vac, the suction of a shop vac, the already included hose and attachments of a shop vac, and the engineering of a shop vac? Hey…. how about using a shop vac! So off to the internet I go...

    Echo PB2100 leaf blower with gunked up carb but good compression - $20 purchased off Craigslist
    6 gallon shop vac with hose and attachments - $10 purchased off Craigslist
    black nylon stockings for dust/fine gold filter - $5 from WalMart
    weather stripping for lid gasket - $4 from Ace Hardware
    5 inch PVC sleeve - $3 from Ace Hardware
    misc. nuts and bolts - $3 from Ace Hardware
    plywood for mounting motor to vac (already had) - $0

    Time spent cleaning the motor and carb, using a Dremel tool to shape, drill, grind, and route all the plastic nubs and plywood so it would mount flush on the shop vac lid, and then assembling all the components to make a "factory" looking gold vac... priceless!


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  2. #2
    Charter Member
    us
    I can dig it! "WP"

    Mar 2007
    Arizona
    Whites TM 808, Whites GMT, Suction Dredges, Hand Dredges, Trommels, Gold Vacs, High Bankers, Fluid bed Gold Traps, Rock Crushers, Sluices, Dry Washers, Miller Tables, Rp4 Shaker table etc
    5,496
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I like the way you think
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    Last edited by Goodyguy; May 20, 2014 at 07:17 PM.

  3. #3
    us
    Minning Tools: 12" Trommel, Royal Drywasher, Viper-Vac, Miller Table, Blue Bowl, Footprints, Google Earth, These Are Just Tools As You Still Have To Be On The Gold

    Sep 2012
    Arizona - Is there any other state worth visiting in the southwest?
    Fisher Gold Bug Pro, Nokta FORS Gold, Garrett ATX, Sun Ray Gold Pro Headphones, Royal Pick, Etc.
    2,033
    2192 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by azblackbird View Post
    Although AZViper makes a nice gold vac, and I commend him on his helping others out by showing them how to build one, I just never could warm up to the idea of using a bucket with a motor on top of it… let alone paying $400 for one from the prospector supply stores. Just seemed way too unstable for my tastes. Sure I could fill the bucket with rocks or boulders to help keep it stabilized when out in the field, but then that would kinda defeat the whole purpose by lessening my volume. I want to fill my bucket up with as much gold bearing material as I can possibly vacuum up… not rocks or boulders!

    So I got to thinking… what platform would offer me the stability of a shop vac, the suction of a shop vac, the already included hose and attachments of a shop vac, and the engineering of a shop vac? Hey…. how about using a shop vac! So off to the internet I go...

    Echo PB2100 leaf blower with gunked up carb but good compression - $20 purchased off Craigslist
    6 gallon shop vac with hose and attachments - $10 purchased off Craigslist
    black nylon stockings for dust/fine gold filter - $5 from WalMart
    weather stripping for lid gasket - $4 from Ace Hardware
    5 inch PVC sleeve - $3 from Ace Hardware
    misc. nuts and bolts - $3 from Ace Hardware
    plywood for mounting motor to vac (already had) - $0

    Time spent cleaning the motor and carb, using a Dremel tool to shape, drill, grind, and route all the plastic nubs and plywood so it would mount flush on the shop vac lid, and then assembling all the components to make a "factory" looking gold vac... priceless!


    Click image for larger version. 

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    Hmmm, well thanks for the kind words. First I have never had any stability issues while in the field. As the vac begins to fill the weight is in the bottom of the bucket. Hey all the power to you on saving money although I believe you will find that the sock on the intake will clog and you will lose suction power. Also your vac does not have the power of a shop vac as the Echo motor is providing the suction so your limited to the CFM of that blower. The blower I use has the highest CFM for its size. Not sure what CFM that old Echo blower has. Personally I just like the vac to be a little more compact in size to haul on a pack frame.

    Good job though. Hope it works out for you.
    Aufisher likes this.
    “He who builds their own equipment has a better understanding of what works and what does not work”



  4. #4
    us
    Sep 2011
    Glendale, AZ
    TDI Pro, GMT
    259
    316 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by AzViper View Post
    Hmmm, well thanks for the kind words. First I have never had any stability issues while in the field. As the vac begins to fill the weight is in the bottom of the bucket. Hey all the power to you on saving money although I believe you will find that the sock on the intake will clog and you will lose suction power. Also your vac does not have the power of a shop vac as the Echo motor is providing the suction so your limited to the CFM of that blower. The blower I use has the highest CFM for its size. Not sure what CFM that old Echo blower has. Personally I just like the vac to be a little more compact in size to haul on a pack frame.
    No clogging whatsoever. The reason for the nylon sock/filter was to cut down on the dust and to capture any fine gold that may get blown out. Works perfect, although it does still blow dust, but nothing like the unfiltered bucket vacs I've seen. Motor has plenty of CFM/suction, in fact more than the vacuum had with the electric motor that I replaced it with. Reason being is I kept the impeller pressure/vortex space that most all shop vacs use to generate their suction. No stability issues either… I don't have to place it next to me, and then hold on to it to keep it from tipping over while I fill it up enough to keep it from tipping over if I drag the hose around to different locations. As far as size goes it's 6 gallons, so it's about the same size as most of the bucket vacs I've seen, although maybe not quite as tall. If I thought I was going to put it on a pack frame, I'd probably slide the legs off (like I do when I put it in the tote) so it would be just like a regular bucket vac. However I have a couple of these, so I don't foresee putting my gold vac on a pack frame any time soon and hiking it into a remote location.

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  5. #5
    us
    Minning Tools: 12" Trommel, Royal Drywasher, Viper-Vac, Miller Table, Blue Bowl, Footprints, Google Earth, These Are Just Tools As You Still Have To Be On The Gold

    Sep 2012
    Arizona - Is there any other state worth visiting in the southwest?
    Fisher Gold Bug Pro, Nokta FORS Gold, Garrett ATX, Sun Ray Gold Pro Headphones, Royal Pick, Etc.
    2,033
    2192 times
    Prospecting
    Where others fail with gas blowers that are sold is the design.You will never eliminate the dust. In my testing I had placed a sock over the blower exhaust and never found any gold and that was after peppering the dirt with gold. The key is forcing the pay dirt downward away from the suction of the rotating impeller. The sock will clog, been there done it. Think of an air filter over time it clogs. It's better to design the inside correctly and allow the air to move freely within the vac. Just my two cents...
    Last edited by AzViper; May 31, 2014 at 07:41 PM.

  6. #6
    us
    Dan Gamache

    Aug 2013
    East Mesa, Arizona
    Garrett Deepseeker ADS
    333
    118 times
    Prospecting
    A little water in the bucket keeps the dust down.
    Aufisher likes this.

  7. #7
    us
    Minning Tools: 12" Trommel, Royal Drywasher, Viper-Vac, Miller Table, Blue Bowl, Footprints, Google Earth, These Are Just Tools As You Still Have To Be On The Gold

    Sep 2012
    Arizona - Is there any other state worth visiting in the southwest?
    Fisher Gold Bug Pro, Nokta FORS Gold, Garrett ATX, Sun Ray Gold Pro Headphones, Royal Pick, Etc.
    2,033
    2192 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by elgatodelnoche View Post
    A little water in the bucket keeps the dust down.
    Only works for a very short time as the incoming dirt will absorb the water.
    Aufisher likes this.
    “He who builds their own equipment has a better understanding of what works and what does not work”



  8. #8
    us
    Keith

    Feb 2013
    Glendale
    Gold Bug Pro, Gold Buddy drywasher, Black Magic, Pro Gold recirc, Custom highbanker/2.5" dredge, Roadrunner Member
    876
    356 times
    Prospecting
    The blower that he is using is my all time favorite. I was really mad when they stopped making it. I use blowers daily on the roof, and that old grey one is powerful and light. The new Calif Carb ones I don't like. They work, but in my opinion, they like to stop working too easily.
    Goodyguy and Aufisher like this.
    Men are strong so long as they represent a strong idea they become powerless when they oppose it. Sigmund Freud

  9. #9
    us
    Minning Tools: 12" Trommel, Royal Drywasher, Viper-Vac, Miller Table, Blue Bowl, Footprints, Google Earth, These Are Just Tools As You Still Have To Be On The Gold

    Sep 2012
    Arizona - Is there any other state worth visiting in the southwest?
    Fisher Gold Bug Pro, Nokta FORS Gold, Garrett ATX, Sun Ray Gold Pro Headphones, Royal Pick, Etc.
    2,033
    2192 times
    Prospecting
    Here is my thoughts of using the Echo PB-255 blower over all other blowers. First and foremost is the simplicity of mounting the the blower and sealing the the blower to the lid/bulkheads. No other blower that I have found makes this task so simple. Next is the low noise of the PB-255 over the others. I am also fond of the fuel consumption. Last but not least is its power. The PB-255 develops as a blower 190 MPH of wind while on the other side creating a great suction. As a blower its always sucking my untucked shirt up against the finger guard.
    Goodyguy likes this.
    “He who builds their own equipment has a better understanding of what works and what does not work”



  10. #10
    Charter Member
    us
    Wolf Pack!

    Jan 2014
    Brookings-Harbor Oregon
    Bounty hunter gold digger Keene A52 with Gold Hog mats Keene A52P Blue Bowl Gold-N-Sand hand dredge
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    11791 times
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    Great thread.
    So I'm going to guess that any of the battery powered shop vacs, just can't get the job done?
    No one seems to talk about them.







    Freedom is something that dies unless it's used.


    Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of your life.

    A student said to his master, "You teach me fighting, but you talk about peace. How do you reconcile the two?"
    The master replied, "It is better to be a warrior in a garden, than to be a gardener in a war."

  11. #11
    us
    Minning Tools: 12" Trommel, Royal Drywasher, Viper-Vac, Miller Table, Blue Bowl, Footprints, Google Earth, These Are Just Tools As You Still Have To Be On The Gold

    Sep 2012
    Arizona - Is there any other state worth visiting in the southwest?
    Fisher Gold Bug Pro, Nokta FORS Gold, Garrett ATX, Sun Ray Gold Pro Headphones, Royal Pick, Etc.
    2,033
    2192 times
    Prospecting
    Battery powered vacuums lack suction power and batteries do not last. Check out my thread on building a gas vacuum nor do they hold much paydirt. Viper-Vac
    Last edited by AzViper; Jun 06, 2014 at 04:36 PM.
    elgatodelnoche likes this.
    “He who builds their own equipment has a better understanding of what works and what does not work”



  12. #12
    Charter Member
    us
    Wolf Pack!

    Jan 2014
    Brookings-Harbor Oregon
    Bounty hunter gold digger Keene A52 with Gold Hog mats Keene A52P Blue Bowl Gold-N-Sand hand dredge
    7,060
    11791 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by AzViper View Post
    Battery powered vacuums lack suction power and batteries do not last. Check out my thread on building a gas vacuum nor do they hold much paydirt. Viper-Vac
    Very nice.
    Very practical.
    I like the cost too!
    All your "build your own" stuff are A+.
    Goodyguy likes this.







    Freedom is something that dies unless it's used.


    Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of your life.

    A student said to his master, "You teach me fighting, but you talk about peace. How do you reconcile the two?"
    The master replied, "It is better to be a warrior in a garden, than to be a gardener in a war."

  13. #13
    us
    Minning Tools: 12" Trommel, Royal Drywasher, Viper-Vac, Miller Table, Blue Bowl, Footprints, Google Earth, These Are Just Tools As You Still Have To Be On The Gold

    Sep 2012
    Arizona - Is there any other state worth visiting in the southwest?
    Fisher Gold Bug Pro, Nokta FORS Gold, Garrett ATX, Sun Ray Gold Pro Headphones, Royal Pick, Etc.
    2,033
    2192 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by Oregon Viking View Post
    Very nice.
    Very practical.
    I like the cost too!
    All your "build your own" stuff are A+.
    Thanks... AzBlackBird has offered a nice alternate to the expense ($300.00) of my Viper-Vac to build. Buying used equipment can be frustrating though with these small engines. Save your money and stay away from the battery powered vac's, I know they have one advantage and that being quiet over the gas powered vac's but replacement batteries are over $100.00 and over time battery output goes downhill if your not using the batteries daily. If your on a budget find a good used blower on CL. Also Echo makes a PB-251 of which is the same as the PB-255 just a different year in which it was built.
    Goodyguy likes this.
    “He who builds their own equipment has a better understanding of what works and what does not work”



  14. #14
    us
    Jun 2014
    Lubbock Texas
    28
    7 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I built a bucket model last year with a backpack blower I never used. I may try to retrofit to a shop vac lower like yours nice job....

  15. #15
    us
    Dan Gamache

    Aug 2013
    East Mesa, Arizona
    Garrett Deepseeker ADS
    333
    118 times
    Prospecting
    Sometimes you can find older shop vacs at yard sales that are made out of metal and have metal lids. Much stronger than the plastic ones sold today.
    tamrock likes this.

 

 
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