Had my X-Carve for a few weeks, enjoying it a lot, but finding that I don’t like using tabs or double sided tape for small pieces. Here’s what I’ve had happen:
If I have a small piece that is thin, it’s really hard to get up from double sided tape without damaging it
If I use tabs and clamps, then by the time I sand the tabs even usually I’ve screwed up my part. Not saying this is an X-Carve problem, more mine. plus some really thin parts, the tabs are as thick as what I’m carving!
So, I figured I’d build a small Vacuum clamp. Here’s a few things I learned that might help you if you decide to go this route.
First off, try to keep it small. Mine is 5" x 14", which is the same size as the stock I’m carving. I bet you could probably double that and still keep good suction, but not sure beyond that. This works well.
I went ahead and had 1/8" holes so I could use the same bit to cut the pieces out and drill the vacuum holes. Built it with MDF, which yes, is NOT airtight, but I used a liberal amount of tite-bond II and also taped the outside with blue painter’s tape. It’s ugly but functional. Inside I also took the tite-bond II and used a squeegee to put a thin film into the MDF, in an attempt to seal it a little better.
Two pieces of 1/4" MDF were the top and bottom, top had 1/8" holes drilled every 1/2", staggered so it wasn’t a square grid, more like a chinese checker pattern. Center piece was 1/2", and had a gap in it for a vacuum attachment - the narrow flatish one that you use for getting into corners and such. Seemed easier than making a ring sized for the vacuum hose and trying to adapt that.
So basically I just clamp my 1" thick vacuum ‘box’ that measures 6" x 16" to the board, place my piece I’m carving on it, make really sure it’s how I want it, then I turn on the vacuum. It sucks it down hard enough that I cannot move it while the vacuum is on. Then it’s Carving Time.
I’ll probably make a nicer one later, this was more of a proof of concept thing and I didn’t really want to spend a lot of time making something nice and then having it not work. This is ugly but functional. By the time I’ve used this several times I’ll have come up with ways I would done things differently, I’ll make that part of vacuum table 2.0