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Controlling static in shop vacs

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billd View Drop Down
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    Posted: Dec/18/2012 at 1:58pm
A while back I had posted about the nasty static shocks I was getting with my new shop vac - which has more power and capacity than either of my old ones.  It happened with each use any time I shut it off and then touched the metal handle or other vac parts.
My floor is plywood painted with a couple good coats of floor paint after being smoothed down a lot, and it's fall/winter, meaning dry air. I was pulling in a lot of sawdust and the fine particles speeding down the hose generated a lot of static charge. The metal vacuum body is isolated from the floor and everything else, and the motor is of course isolated to protect dummies who might try to use a shop vac while taking a bath.
My grade school science finally came back after reading about all the elaborate, and at times expensive, solutions many others either proposed or had used.

For the solution I didn't buy a $120 fancy hose nor did I run copper wires around the hose and vacuum and put a foil hat on my head.
I attached a small metal chain, much like that used to hang a fluorescent shop light from a ceiling, to an alligator clip and using the clip I attached the chain to the bottom of the vacuum canister lip and let it drag the floor.

Static dissipated, static shocks prevented.
I plan on attaching the chain via a very small screw to the vacuum canister and making it permanent.
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bigbad69 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bigbad69 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/18/2012 at 2:13pm
I'm a little surprised the charge could be dissipated to a non-conductive surface like a wood floor, but I can't argue with success. We did the same thing with the carts at work that are used to move stuff around the labs. The carts are metal and the floors are treated with conductive "wax", but the rubber wheels isolate the cart from the floor. Dragging a chain completes the circuit and prevents static buildup.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote billd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/19/2012 at 1:37pm
Originally posted by bigbad69 bigbad69 wrote:

I'm a little surprised the charge could be dissipated to a non-conductive surface like a wood floor, but I can't argue with success. We did the same thing with the carts at work that are used to move stuff around the labs. The carts are metal and the floors are treated with conductive "wax", but the rubber wheels isolate the cart from the floor. Dragging a chain completes the circuit and prevents static buildup.


I wonder if it's the paint - it's a Dutchboy latex "floor and patio paint", it sure makes sweeping and clean-up nice, especially since I filled most of the joints cracks, splits and major imperfections prior to painting. Easy to clean, tools roll or slide nicely on it.
Plus if I drop something, I can see it!

When the floor was unpainted, all I had was my cheaper vacuum - but  I did feel the hair on my arms sort of stand out while using it.
I painted the floor prior to moving in most of the tools. (my wife's suggestion, bless her heart. She also said I'd be happier with a second coat of paint - so I did, and I am.)

The floor is fully painted - even in the closets and storage areas, 2 coats, edge to edge, and I used caulking at the bottoms of the walls and then put the trim into the caulking to help seal things up (bugs mostly, but air, too)
So the floor and walls are sort of all connected via paint and caulk and the fake wood trim - that foam-like stuff with the wood print on it. That stuff is very static-conductive - if that's even a word or term.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mr. Ed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/19/2012 at 2:27pm
If you guys need to buy that chain, it is called sash chain. It was used in the old wood windows to attach the counter weights to the window in the weight pocket. It comes in a cloth bag with hooks.

I do not know how it works but probably works along the same line as the old rubber strap that used to attach to cars and drag on the road to dissipate static electricity.

Later!
Mr. Ed
2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo "Herman."
1951 Ford F-1, with C4, 351W, cam, headers, "Henry".
1993 Mustang convertible LX 5.0 "Sally"
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