Craftsman Shop Vac/Blower comments


There was a thread about these things a while back that seems to have scrolled--I'm starting a new one for that reason.
A question raised in that thread was the utility of the blower, with the observation that it probably doesn't work very well as either a vac or blower.
I have had one for several years--it's always worked well as a vacuum--I don't know how much horsepower it is actually delivering (I'm sure it's not the "6.5 peak") but I can say with considerable certainty that it *SUCKS*, which in a vacuum is a good thing. I have a dewalt random orbit sander that I had been using in conjunction with the little dewalt portable vac (nice unit for what it is by the way) but the other day I hooked it to the big Craftsman and I was surprised when there was _no_ dust in evidence during sanding and the sander ran much much cooler than it ever had before.
It usually picks up whatever I point the hose at, including nails, lead weights, and whatnot--the only time it has a problem is when something manages to get crossways in the hose.
The blower, as a blower, I've never used so can't comment, but it has two other uses. One is, hook the hose to the blower outlet and feed the other end into the tank and fire it up and clogs usually clear--if you don't point it into the tank then they may end up on the other side of the shop. The other, I discovered by accident tonight--position the vac so that the outlet is pointing in your general direction and it makes a very effective cooling fan without seeming to blow stuff around.
I'm not sure how the motor is arranged but with the hose blocked there is still airflow through the motor from somewhere so apparently there is a separate cooling fan for the motor--this is different from most shop vacs and I think it's a nice feature.
Now, it does have downsides. The big one is that the tank just plain isn't very big. That mechanism on a 25 gallon tank would be very nice. The other is that in common with most shop vacs it is noisy--hearing protection may not be strictly necessary but it helps. It's also somewhat bulky--in a 16 gallon size a higher profile and smaller diameter would be more convenient but if that compromised the performance then Sears or whoever made the right decision.
All in all, I'd recommend it.
Note, I'm not recommending it as an alternative to a dust collector--I've got a 5 horse cyclone for that, but as a vacuum it's a damned nice one.
--
--John
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Snippage

I have had a 16 gallon one for 6 or 7 years. I would add as one more down fall, the filter. I replaced mine with the Gortex pleated filter and it is better than the standard, but it still gets clogged quickly when sucking fine dust. I typically only used it for the router table. Cleaning up the bandsaw would clog the filter long before the canister was full. I ended up adding a Jet with the LARGE pleated canister filter for the band saw, OSS, TS, and planer.
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