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I love making tiny vacuum cleaners and have made many of them since I first started over 30 years ago. The first ones were in black plastic film canisters with grey clip-on lids or party popper cases. It all started when I saw my mum struggling with a Hoover upright which had a paper bag to collect the dust. The bag would split and need replacing and they weren’t cheap.

Why do vacuum cleaners need bags?’ I thought to myself and set to work making a tiny bagless vacuum cleaner. Being 8 at the time I didn’t realise what a momentous invention it was although I have managed to get a Guinness World Record for the world’s smallest vacuum cleaner out of it.

Anyhoo, I decided to make a vacuum cleaner in an Altoids tin because I thought you would appreciate it. Enjoy!

Difficulty; depends on whether you are used to making small, fiddly pieces and putting them together in small, fiddly spaces! Moderate/hard.

Time; took me about 12 hours but a lot of that was resoldering/reconfiguring/remaking which hopefully I have spared you! 6-9 hours depending on how slick you are.


- Empty Altoids tin
- Empty carbonated drinks can (lager is best)
- Electric motor
- Rectangular 9V battery
- Dremel/craft drill
- PPE rated earplugs
- PPE Goggles
- M2 or M3 Nuts, Screws and Washers
- Thick double sided tape (I used Gorilla and it was great)
- 9V battery connector
- 7cm piece of insulated wire (not shown)
- Washing up or bathroom sponge
- 1cm metal pipe (I used brass, you can use whichever metal you like or have to hand but I wouldn’t recommend lead, titanium or mercury.)
- Gaffer tape
- A small nail/pair of compasses
- Plastic fruit punnet (for base of switch)
- Craft Knife, Pliers, Wire Strippers, Kitchen Shears
- Sandpaper”

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