3.5Hp Leaf Vacuum

Updates: The leaf vacuum was recently featured on woodgears.ca. You can find more pictures and details at http://woodgears.ca/misc/leaf_vacuum.html

A leaf vacuum was designed and built as a tribute to the endless pursuit of conserving one’s energy. Based on a material handling fan, the unit was designed as an attachment to a riding lawn mower. Utilizing a second hand Briggs and Stratton 3.5hp vertical push mower as a power source allowed for a low total project cost of under $40.

The impeller was designed in CAD with specific attention to the centrifugally induced stress on the assembly. The impeller base was CNC cut from 1/4″ 6061-T6 aluminum and the blades were CNC cut from 1/2″ nylon. The blower housing was constructed from plywood and aluminum fascia.

1) Impeller CAD model 2) Inside Housing 3) Impeller Blade 4) Video by Matthias Wandel

13 Responses to “3.5Hp Leaf Vacuum

  • This looks like an amazing idea for me to try. Have you tried using this when mowing the grass? Reason I ask is that I’ve tried several grass clipping gathering contraptions, that are just horrible. Worst is the bagger, all the clippings get stuck in the hose. A little better but still time consuming is the yard sweeper. The problem with that one is that you have to mow the yard first then go over it again with this. I’d love to see if this vacuum design would suck up the grass so that it doesn’t get stuck in the pipe. Thoughts/experiences?

  • Grass, depending on the moisture content and volumetric rate, will plug it up.
    When this happens it’s usually right off the deck at the beginning of the hose.
    A bigger motor (>3.5hp) and a better hose would probably work well with grass.


  • hello
    I make same ,put 3.5hp engine ,but engine get hot in 5min ,wat problem? can you send more information and more better photos please .

  • hello
    I make same ,put 3.5hp engine ,but engine get hot in 5min ,wat problem? can you send more information and more better photos please . r_milusauskas@yahoo.com

  • Don’t leave the choke on and put some oil in the crankcase…

  • No choke on my engine ,oil level ok

  • Send me some pictures and I’ll see if I can spot something: michael @ krazatchu . ca

  • Hey Mike,
    I was wondering where you purchase ur hose and 18 gauge sheet metal from?
    also do u think a 4 blade steel impeller would work ok for this?
    Thanks and have a great HOLIDAY!

  • Absolutely love this! I have really enjoyed browsing your other projects, as well.
    Would it be possible to get the dimensional drawings for your impeller/ baseplate? I would like very much to make one for myself, …I have more than 20 trees, that are 20- 23 meters: Walnut, Oak, Bass, Maple…I have a lot of leaves…lol.
    Great site.

  • Neat! My brother has many Pecan trees. Maybe a version of this could clear leaves & sticks so picking the pecans up would be easier.
    Great Website, Mike

  • Thanks! It picks up the stick/stems of walnut trees well but I don’t know about pecan sticks.

  • Love the idea and am working on building my own. Could you send me the specs on your impeller design?

  • Hi Michael,
    Its leaf collecting time and I came across your very cool DIY leaf vacuum. I’m wondering about how you fastened the impeller to the shaft. Most vertical shaft engines are keyed and have a threaded hole. Did you make some sort of custom bushing?

    I’d love to know how your design is holding up after a season or two of use. I’m starting to design one of these for myself.

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