Plastic chips & static

I cut mostly acrylic. My vacuum system works fine (just a cyclone on top of a bucket), but when I open the lid to empty the bucket, a mini mushroom cloud of static-charged plastic billows out & goes everywhere. Are there any tricks to killing the static, even temporarily, just to empty the bucket? Static Guard spray (for clothes) works well to clean cut parts & I’m considering rigging something up to ‘inject’ it into the bucket before opening it, but I’m hoping somebody has some trick that I don’t know about.

Good question, I have not done plastics yet but I’ve had to deal with static. Do you have a bare wire inside your vacuum pipe to discharge the static to ground? I purchase a roll of bare stranded wire at Home Despot and installed it on my vacuum tube. You may want to also glue some inside your bucket.

I found this document at Lee Valley that provides instructions on how to run the wire to remove the static.

03j6112ie.pdf (129.8 KB)

A side note to the static conversation. I use to design power tools for Ridgid and Ryobi. We had a fiber cement saw with a built in vac to capture the dust. The earliest prototypes would shock the crap out of the user every few inches of cutting. (It was just static build up discharging into the handle). This finally got solved when they used a static dissapating additive to the plastic.

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Since I have a Rigid shopvac with Rigid vacuum hoses, I guess they did not use this static dissipating plastic because it was causing me serious static discharge issues breaking communications to my Shapeoko until I installed the bare copper wire on the hose. Another solution for a manufacturer would be to add a copper conductor inside the hose during manufacturing but an the owner, unfortunately the additive solution would not work unless it could be purchased and applied as a coating.

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I do have the ground run through my hose. I’ve had zero issues with static, aside from this I guess.

Maybe if you extended the ground wire around the inside of your bucket, maybe gluing several loops around from top to bottom it would control static so you don’t have a problem when you open it.

Plastic gets charged when it gets cut, I know that from cutting plastic on my tablesaw, bits gets charged and stick to everything. Alternatively, I have read that rubbing dryer sheets on plastic removes the static charge on plastic so maybe when you empty your bucket, you should rub a dryer sheet everywhere inside the bucket. Another solution is to spray liquid fabric softener and water solution (50-50) in the bucket.

If any of this works or not, report here to share the info.

When dealing with plastic “angel poo” in the vacuum, I toss a dryer sheet into the bucket. It seems to reduce static charges to a minimum as it swirls with the wisps of plastic. My 2¢

Your mileage may vary.


Simply place the bare end of a wire inside the bucket (i would drill a hole just barely large enough for it to fit) then ground the other end of the wire (on a copper water pipe or the ground pin of any outlet, no more static.

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