Welcome to the Tormek Community. If you previously registered for the discussion board but had not made any posts, your membership may have been purged. Secure your membership in this community by joining in the conversations.

Main Menu

Can a robot vacuum cleaner remove wood chips?

Started by Solange, October 03, 2018, 04:18:10 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


I want to buy a robot vacuum cleaner, what would he cleaned wooden chips in the garage. I'm tired of doing it all by myself.
What do you think the robot vacuum cleaner can handle or will it be difficult?


I have doubts, but I have no experience with the robot vacs, so take if for what its worth...

My doubts are the ability of the small wheels to track over the wood chips and not be "deflected" in another direction and debris capacity.  The little bumper sensors seem to be on the side of the units, so maybe that isn't an issue.  The little remotes seem so small, I wonder about their capacity to hold debris without having to be emptied so often, it destroys its utility.  Plus, In my shop, there are so many nooks and crannies where wood chips/dust collect that the remote would never make it into, so I'd have to do those areas by hand and those are the areas that take the most trouble and work. 

Taking off on a different direction, I recently added a "Dust Deputy" cyclone chip collector on my Shop Vac (SV).

I really didn't do much dust vacuuming/collecting as my SV bag was full and is a pain to go around and get it all.  But, with addition of some woodworking machines (scroll saw, spindle sander and planer) to the three sanders, drill press and band saw, it was getting to be more a problem.  I was buying the spindle sander through Ken Rizza of Wood Turners Wonders and inquired about dust collection systems.  My needs are not so great as to justify a dedicated system and Ken turned me on to the Dust Deputy. 

I am completely thrilled with this simple and inexpensive "completion" of my SV.  The venturi really does collect 99% of the debris, leaving almost nothing to fill the SV.  And I have not noticed a decline in suction for the system compared to the SV alone.  It is so effective, I don't think I care even if there is a little loss, which there has to be. 

I made a custom dolly for the SV and DD to fit on for rolling around the shop.  Casters are large (3") and all four are swivel so it is really loosy-goosy but it is completely maneuverable.   

It is enough fun to use at this point, so I gleefully go around sucking up wood debris just to see it work.  I'm sure that will wear off soon. 

Quality is like buying oats.  If you want nice, clean, fresh oats, you must pay a fair price. However, if you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse, that comes at a lower price.


Quote from: RickKrung on October 03, 2018, 05:35:45 PM
Taking off on a different direction, I recently added a "Dust Deputy" cyclone chip collector on my Shop Vac (SV).

Oh, that looks great. My most frequent use of my wet/dry vac is cleaning out soot and small lump charcoal pieces from my smoker and that makes the vac pretty heavy to lug around pretty quick. [Edit to add: and clogs the filter rapidly as well.] I'm going to have to consider this.

To the original question, I'm skeptical that a robot vac would work well with wood chips. My only experience with them was with a first-generation Roomba and I don't recall it having the clearance to navigate over them. I suspect it would just push them around. It's been a long time, though, so I could be wrong. I'd definitely try to research clearance first.
Joy is a sharp knife and a block of wood.



I have a DC that is fed with 4" piping.  I added a floor vac to that, and it is awesome at cleaning up the floor.  Like Rick, I've added a separator (a home made version of a cyclone), and it is definitely worth it.  I've not seen a real loss in suction due to the separator.  But, like Rick noted, it is an acceptable loss regardless.

I make loads of chips on the lathe, and if I try to vacuum them all up, I've found they get stuck in the piping.  So I've resorted to using a snow shovel to get up the most of it.  I shovel the chips into lawn bags, and put them out with the other yard waste.

Kind regards,
Rich Colvin - a reference guide for sharpening

You are born weak & frail, and you die weak & frail.  What you do between those is up to you.