I’m slowly upgrading my X-carve (even though I’ve only had it for 2 weeks) and one of the first things I thought I’d try out is a vacuum table. I bought the DamenCNC ST (http://damencnc.com/en/components/vacuum-tables-and-pumps/vacuum-tables-st-series--low-cost-). For the price, it seemed like something I can easily try and, well, put to the side if it doesn’t work out.
It doesn’t really work out
This vacuum table is supposed to work with just a standard shopvac. I have a 1.5HP shopvac (Kärcher MV2) attached to it with a bit of a (leak free) bodged converter tube. But parts just don’t stick very well at all. Even when I use the rubber hole mat and cover the entire surface with an aluminum plate, I can wedge off the plate fairly easily.
Is this a matter of my shopvac just not being strong enough? Am I doing something else wrong? There are not many resources for entry-level vacuum plates, I’m a bit at a loss for where to start.
I honestly haven’t seen a good vacuum table that works off of a shopvac. I’ve always see the more industrial setups with a vacuum tank and pump. Something I noticed that this table doesn’t have is any rubber gasketing to help contain the vacuum. Here’s a pic of the types of vacuum tables I’ve used and they’re extremely reliable. I’m also in the process of recreating this style table for my X-Carve. I’ll definitely share my Easel file when it’s done.
Vacuum Table Design
You definitely need rubber gasketing for a vacuum table to work, without it you will have a VERY bad time.
There is an attachment you can get for a compressor that will create a vaccum, I can’t remember what its called though. It’s essentially a T-line with a 1 way valve on one port. The air passing through the T-line creates a vacuum in on the 3rd port, which you can run to your table. I’ll see if I can find a link and post it here.
Here we go. Its called a Venturi vacuum generator.
That one is a bit pricey, but I think there are cheaper ones out there.
Also heres a DIY solution: http://www.instructables.com/id/Venturi-Vacuum/
The table has a gasket sheet (if you click on the shop item, it’s on the picture). Obviously I used it with the gasket sheet.
I’d rather not bother with a (serious) compressor and venturi vacuum generator - my garage is already cramped enough. At the moment I’m just using the vacuum table as a clamping table (because it is nice and flat and doesn’t mind being splashed with coolant).
I’d be interested what makes vacuum tables possibly work better with a shopvac; obviously this design is supposed to work with it. There should be a way to at least get acceptable results.
Ive made myself a 700mm x 700mm vacuum table that sits on the X-Carve waste board. its basically a box of 16mm custom wood with the melamine outer that 700x700x50mm with 18mm space between the 2 flat faces- with a hole lot of 5mm holes… tonight was my first time using it and it worked really well. have vacuumed down a 600x600 6mm plywood sheet and cut a few shapes out without having to use tabs which is very exciting and best of all it runs of my old house vacuum
gaps between rows of holes is where my supports are to keep it flat…