One Spring day I was taking the trash out to our neighborhood dumpster just as I tossed our garbage in I noticed the sound it made, it had hit something in the dumpster that sounded odd. When I saw what it was I was amazed to see it was a vintage Craftsman shop vacuum. So I decided to hop in the dumpster to rescue this little treasure. There was something more laying in there with her, there were three hoses in there also that came with her. Once she was out I saw who threw her out had cut the cord off so now I couldn’t test her to see if she ran. So I cleaned up her outside from being in the dumpster. I took her inside and tore open the motor section to see what the condition of her motor was. Surprisingly, the armature, the brushes, the copper spool, the bearings, and the rings seemed all in great shape but I still seemed to be stopped because I did not have a cord to tie in for a proper test.
So I cleaned up any dust and rust on the inside from previous use and I also cleaned up the sponge filter while it was clogged up with what looked like paper mache and hair clogging the filter. Once I had that done all I could do now is wait patiently until I could decide what to proceed to do about the cord situation.
You wouldn’t believe it!!! Somebody tossed out an upright vacuum with the exact heavy-duty 2-phase cord needed a week later for my little shop vac! After installing the cord I was able to use her in MANY aspects, I vacuumed out the bed of my truck, And our patio, sucked up water in the neighbor’s kitchen when the washer water lines blew, and also used her as a leaf blower. I named her Big Betsey and I love her and she loved to work!!!
About a year ago while working in our carports blowing leaves, she started getting hot and making the oddest sounds. We took her out of commission and I thought I better look at her and see what is going on and found that the brushes needed some attention and they badly need replacement. She also needed some SERIOUS lubrication and after finding out that she needed parts, I looked up through Craftsman to get these parts. I was saddened to find out there is no chance of getting these replacement parts. So she just sat in my storage awaiting until I could come up with a solution.
Then one day the solution finally hit me. My wife and I were driving down to the local Post Office and we drove by this little electric motor shop named Steven’s, and I finally came to me maybe they could help me get the brushes I need or at least point me in the right direction because I so desperately want this old girl going again. So I finally got around to going to check these guys out. I showed them my brushes, they pulled out a dial caliper measured my brushes, and they happened to have a box full of misc. brushes that were used but still in good shape. So they told me to look for brushes in this box that would work for me. So I dug in and pawed around pulling things out right and left, there was more than just brushes in this box. It took me a while but I did finally find some brushes that were compatible and fit in my vacuum without too many modifications. I mentioned to Jerom they were still a little too wide and he told me all I needed to do is use a hacksaw to cut them down to the desired width that I needed. The guys at Steven’s Electric Motor Shop are a great bunch of guys and I enjoyed visiting with them! And they wanted me to make sure I mentioned in my post that they are all very good-looking!!!??? Thanks, guys!
Then all I had to do is separate the connections at the end of the copper wire and crimp on new connections and he gave me the new crimp connections that I needed and I was ready to go home and get started on my project. Once I was home, I started immediately, cutting them to the width I needed. I didn’t use the whole hacksaw, I just took the blade out and I cut the brush on the bare surface of my workbench because I know how delicate these things can be. So first I took my hacksaw blade, put my old brush on top of my new one and I scored a line into the new bushing with the help of the hacksaw blade. I did the same thing with the second one. Remember safety first when working with something that will put out harmful small dust particles you will want to wear a dust mask and eye protection, to make sure you won’t breathe in the harmful dust these things put out.
Once I had my bushings cut and trimmed, I did a test fit on the outside of my motor housing, and YES! It’s perfect!!! Now I am ready to put these in and install the rest of the parts with the armature, and the copper spool housing, and remember to lubricate all the moving parts and do a test run on this beast.
Now if you look at my pictures, I used two pairs of small vice-grip pliers to hold the brushes gently so they would hold the brushes while I put the housing over the armature so I’m not doing too much with only two hands.
Now the vice-grips I put on there are not tightened down very tight and I watched out for the wires because I only want to do this ONCE.
Once I have this housing over the armature, I released my pliers slowly so as not to cause any damage to my brushes. I twisted the armature bolt sticking through the housing to be sure everything was turning properly.
As you can tell my motor housing is held up vertically while it’s in my bench vise. So now I get to install the screws that hold this whole thing together.
Put the long ones in first and two of the housing screws that go under the fan I decided to clean up their heads. I don’t know why. Even though no one will see them.
Then I installed shaft shim, then I cleaned out the threads on the shaft before installing the nut. Then I chased the threads with my die to get out any Rust or debris because I’ve had trouble in the past taking the nut off and thought it would make it easier this time to do the job right.
I chased the threads with a 1/4″ inch N.C. 20 thread tap. To properly tap this nut. Now I get to screw on the rest of the shields, lay the wiring in place with a cord, and make sure I put the switch in the right direction. Now I have to remember how many screws I had at the beginning of this repair for the end of the repair. LOL!
Tighten the screws down in a criss-cross pattern. Now time for the test. She blows as well as she sucks!!! She is a heck of a lot quieter than she was when we first got her!!! Success!!!