Friday, July 27, 2012

Angle Madness! - First one in the bag!

The next episode is mostly edited with just a bit more to record for it.  Should be out by early next week.

Meanwhile, a bit of a photo update and a handy shop project you might find useful.

I setup the vacuum bag and platen to verify everything was going to work; don't want to diagnose a leak while plastic resin glue is merrily curing!  (Big roll of packing tape nearby is your friend if you do!)  I tossed in some shop towels and the atmosphere promptly smashed them.  Left the VacuPress vacuum pump on for a little over an hour to ensure it wasn't going to cycle indicating a leak.

As you can see, this is a huge bag... it can press a full 49"x97" sheet with full platen.  A big chip-clip makes the back half of the bag inactive.

I put my VacuPress pump in a mobile stand that's pretty handy; I roll it underneath the MFT table next to two milk crates on furniture movers used for offcuts.  The VacuPress stand has 4 very smooth casters.

The top tray is removable making removing the pump trivial or to take all the VacuClamp parts to a workstation area.  Basically the four corner posts on the stand are inset into the lip under the tray.  No rocket science was used in this quick handy addition.

The back has a scrap of ply to prevent racking of the sides and also to protect the connectors on the back of the pump like the vacuum hose, air cleaner bottle, and power connector.

I use the VacuPump as a vacuum clamp sometimes so the pods and other stuff in the tray is handy to store with it especially since that stuff stores as well as a ferret.  The vacuum hose for the bag is too robust and long to store on the tray so I hang it on a hook with a bunch of other hoses like the HVLP turbine hoses.

So this is the first panel of 12 for this project in the bag!  This is an underside panel with curly Maple book-matched on the show side and Poplar on the inside.  I'll get a book-and-end match ("4-way") recorded tomorrow night to complete the episode then see how it all edits.


  • Pitbull said...

    I am actually looking for a vacuum system right now to have dual use for the CNC and what you are using it for.I checked it out Vacupress online, never knew about them, thanks...but the price wont work right now. Going to have to go the DIY route.

    Did yo uhave an option two for a less expensive pump you were checking into before the Vacupress?

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Hi Jason,

    VacuPress is pretty well known in vacuum pressing circles, but so are's offerings (sold on his sister site).

    I originally was going the DIY route with Joe's plans. While he always has different sales on, by the time I built the equivalent system as the VacuPress, I wasn't that far off (for me... everyone's price tolerances are different). However, an important thing to think about is that the VacuPress kits come with a big bag able to press a 49x98 sheet with platen; most people don't need that. Further, I was comparing with the industrial poly bags; so that may change the comparison. I have a napkin sketch of a bent-lamination desk I will build "real soon now" so I have a need for a large bag.

    Back to your specific question. I think some shopping parameters change for CNC. For example, even with this huge bag, I could use a small Venturi vacuum pump. Sure the evacuation rate is considerably slower than my pump, but if it gets the vacuum down in time for the glue, who cares? I know of one guy who has a shop-vac nozzle modified to pre-evacuate the bulk of the bag then lets the small pump finish the job. I'm sure duct tape is involved...

    For CNC, though, you need continuous evacuation. Normally you have a sacrificial sheet on the vacuum deck and your stock on top. MDF leaks a lot, more than I expected based on some new product experiments I'm doing this week. Point is, your vacuum pump will need a higher CFM rate for this application than for vacuum bagging. Also, as you use that sacrificial sheet and cut into it, you'll be making it even more leaky.

    For that reason, I'd consider going to a ShopBot forum and see what the others are using successfully to know the CFM rate you'll need. Looking at, Joe offers a 5.5 CFM Gast pump. Whether 5.5 CFM is enough for CNC, though, I couldn't say.

    I'll be watching your Wetland CNC thread to see what you decide :)

  • Anonymous said...

    Your involvement in woodworking never ceases to amaze me. Although, I’m also amazed at how you get all of your woodworking equipment into that garage. While vacuum laminating has always been an interest to me, you always seem to take things to the next level. Let me put it this way, you’re a Concorde flying at 56,000 feet, and I’m a Piper Cub following the ground terrain.

    By the way, how’s life in the woodshop with your new AC unit?

    Thanks for all that you share with us,


  • HalfInchShy said...

    Thanks for the great compliments, Dean!

    I admit that a lot of flat boards strewn all over the shop clamping veneer flat is a nuisance so it's a bit of a disaster in there, but with the A/C, a cool disaster!

    So, funny story, a local I've met before at a WWing event came over to buy something off me. He looked around the garage scanning slowly, "this garage is a study in space management". haha, true! Someday, I'll run smack into the Pauli Exclusion Principle and not be able to stuff more in there.. then I'll move :)

  • Anonymous said...

    Yes, it’s a terrible thing to be excluded from ones own shop (Paul-Marcel Exclusion Principle). The tools and lumber have out voted you. Is there a cartoonist in the house?