Anyone ever try to water cool a shop vac?

Like many before me, I have been brainstorming a way to keep the sound of the shop vac at bay… My current ‘dream’ is to disassemble my shop vac and wrap the motor in some metal tubing and apply some non-conductive thermal compound to help wick the heat away from the motor so I can seal the thing up inside of my enclosure creating a closed-loop and route the water lines to a radiator under the enclosure that has fan pushing/pulling air through it to keep the shop vac from overheating.

My shop vac is located in the cubby in the bottom right of the enclosure. so everything is nice and organized (ignore the mess everywhere else lol) If I can’t get this idea off the ground my next best idea is to put the shop vac in the adjacent room and rout the hose through a passthrough outlet box on the wall (the room behind the CNC enclosure is our utility room)


Well, if you want a fan, the shop vac exhaust should be moving a lot of air already…

Speaking of moving a lot of air, if the shop vac is doing its job, then there should already be plenty adequate air cooling available to the motor. I don’t know that liquid cooling the motor will make much difference, if any to the overall noise of the shop vac. The noise comes from the forced movement of air, which really is kind of the point of the vac in the first place.

For computers, liquid cooling helps with noise because of the reduced need for fans in small enclosed areas. We can reduce noise by reducing the need to move air. This works because it’s not the movement of air that is the purpose of the machine.

The whole purpose of your shop vac is to move air. If you wanted quiet, you’d turn it off.

I can think of 2 things that would reduce noise.

  1. Slow it down. Something like the speed controllers for your router should also be able to slow down the shop vac. They’re both AC motors, after all. Reducing the overall speed of the vac motor will reduce its sound volume quite a lot. It will, of course also reduce the amount of suction that it produces, but since the noise is mostly a product of moving air, that’s going to follow.

  2. Put a muffler on it. Maybe not literally, but… Maybe literally too. That air from the vac has to go somewhere, and it carries a lot of the noise with it as it goes. Instead of liquid pipes going to a radiator, just pipe the exhaust air from the vac to a noise dampening chamber, like a muffler, and/or route it to outside, or somewhere that the noise isn’t a problem.

That may well be your best idea, especially if the room has a door that can be closed. It would also give you the option of hanging something like a blanket on the wall to damp some more of the noise. It would save the trouble of making the liquid cooling system that may not be any more effective.

I thought this too. I think the design here is to put the exhaust venting back into the mpcnc enclosure. That might make the air temperature in the enclosure get high, which is where you would need to pump out the heat. I am not sure the best way to do that though. On a cpu, you would get the heat sink as close to the very hot heat source and try to pull as much heat as you could away. I don’t think you would have a very good system if you just out the heat sink in the air, even with water to move the heat out of the enclosure.

You’d need something like a heat pump or an air conditioner to make super cooled air to extract heat from near ambient air temps. Then cool the super hot liquid.

Really, it is a lot simpler if you let the enclosure suck air in from the room and the vac push it’s exhaust into the same room. I have seen some vac enclosures that make the air take a few u turns to try to muffle the sound. But I don’t know how well any of that works.

And I have to mention in every sound post that earplugs work great are cheap, and have a real savings over hearing aids.

yeah, I think I have an unrealistic idea of what water-cooling is capable of. I’m leaning more and more to moving the shop-vac into the adjacent room, at the moment there isn’t a door but that will change eventually. I appreciate all the feedback and consideration to my idea. Its always nice to hear feedback and ideas from others.

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I was thinking general noise reduction if an acceptable alternate was to put the vac in another room.

Well, I know of one other application where we want to remove added heat from a stream of air. For my car, when the turbocharger compresses the intake charge, it also adds a lot of heat, so it then passes the air charge through an intercooler where it loses that heat back to the surrounding air. Something like that could be used to remove heat, but passing air over the intercooler would make for a definite increase in noise.

for noise though, after the router and the router bit doing its job, my shop vac doesnt make much difference… Then again, if those things are running, I’ve got my PPE on.

If the idea is to enclose the vac and add noise reduction to the enclosure, and the problem is the possible over heating of the vac inside the enclosure. What you need is this:

A ~$35 heat pump for cooling :slight_smile:

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