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Feb 05, 2012, 06:20 PM
Barney Fife, Vigilante
tom43004's Avatar
Thread OP
Build Log

DIY Vacuum Table


Here is a vacuum table that I have made that just clamps to my CNC table. You apply vacuum with a regular shop vac and there's enough holding power to machine foam, MDF, and most medium to lighter density materials.

The vacuum table is made from 3/4" thick HDPE, and has 1/4" deep channels machined using a simple 1/4" two fluted upspiral endmill. G-code is attached for two sizes. One is roughly 12x16 and the other is roughly 13x20 cutting area.

The cut takes approximately 50 minutes on my CNC at VERY conservative speeds. I have cut one in as little as 10 minutes, but that was using a special high speed bit for cutting soft plastics rapidly without fuzz.

To use, simply place your stock on the vacuum grid, and use a piece of posterboard or vinyl to cover the remaining grid so the part is held firmly.

If you have any questions about the Gcode, view it in a text editor and you'll see the stock dimensions in the first few lines. All cutting for these is done at very conservative speeds (20 or 30ipm IIRC)

Enjoy.
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Feb 05, 2012, 06:41 PM
Do it AGAIN! This time BETTER!
ThermalThief's Avatar
Tom,

That design looks great! Thanks for posting.
On my machine the dust shoe would be a problem with your vacuum attachment. Here is how I did my connection using a crevice attachment.

Ken
Feb 05, 2012, 06:57 PM
Barney Fife, Vigilante
tom43004's Avatar
Thread OP
Yep Ken. I made that part "modular" so you could adapt to different machines. It's simply bolted to the top of the slotted HDPE. I'm lucky with lots of Z axis travel so I could be a bit lazy.
Feb 05, 2012, 10:11 PM
But I am learning
I_Can't_Fly's Avatar
Thanks Tom, I will put it to good use.

Brian P.
Feb 06, 2012, 06:07 AM
Registered User
I just started making one out of foam, I forgot about HDPE. I wanted to hold down some 1/32 inch balsa. Maybe I'll make the base from HDPE, and use foam or mdf for the cutting surface.
Feb 19, 2012, 07:44 AM
But I am learning
I_Can't_Fly's Avatar
I got to use the table today. Cut a foam bed for the vertical vacuum hold down. Here is a link:

Vacuum hold down and dust collection

Brian P.
Feb 24, 2012, 03:39 PM
Registered User
Merk's Avatar
Brian, That looks nice.

Got my new controller last week and I had to send it back this week.
I blow it up. I had a short a cross the powr leads and shorted it all out. Bumed.
I had it starting to move and boom it all stopped.

Russ
Oct 04, 2019, 06:08 AM
Registered User
Grantassassin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by tom43004
Here is a vacuum table that I have made that just clamps to my CNC table. You apply vacuum with a regular shop vac and there's enough holding power to machine foam, MDF, and most medium to hire essay writers for such tasks as lighter density materials.
The vacuum table is made from 3/4" thick HDPE, and has 1/4" deep channels machined using a simple 1/4" two fluted upspiral endmill. G-code is attached for two sizes. One is roughly 12x16 and the other is roughly 13x20 cutting area.
The cut takes approximately 50 minutes on my CNC at VERY conservative speeds. I have cut one in as little as 10 minutes, but that was using a special high speed bit for cutting soft plastics rapidly without fuzz.
To use, simply place your stock on the vacuum grid, and use a piece of posterboard or vinyl to cover the remaining grid so the part is held firmly.
If you have any questions about the Gcode, view it in a text editor and you'll see the stock dimensions in the first few lines. All cutting for these is done at very conservative speeds (20 or 30ipm IIRC)

Enjoy.
Hi Tom,

Could you please resend the images? Via email, Dropbox or Google Drive? I can't open any of those, I get an error message: "The image size limit has been exceeded." I'm planning a similar project, but didn't find anything that could be suitable as a model.
Oct 04, 2019, 12:03 PM
Registered User
I kind of like your idea of a smaller and "portable" vacuum board.

When I cut the vacuum board for my larger machine (5' x 12'), I knew that I didn't want to put vacuum to the entire area all the time so I segmented the board into 5 separate areas (which is why I like your portable board idea).
With valves underneath, I can use all or just one area, or whatever area I need for the cut on hand.

This pic is of the vacuum cut chambers just before I installed the top mdf piece.
Oct 08, 2019, 08:40 AM
Barney Fife, Vigilante
tom43004's Avatar
Thread OP
I'll have to dig around and see if I still have the files for this. I should have one laying around... I tend to not clean out file structures.


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