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Thread: Vacuum Clamping

  1. #1

    Vacuum Clamping

    Despite recent PC problems I have actually been active in the shop in the last few days as well. I have finally got round to implementing a vacuum clamping system for the templates I use with my Onsrud pin router.

    I always had a vague distrust of vaccum clamping. I guess for two reasons - firstly because I had a bad experience with a cheap system but mainly because - heck - its only a bit of air pressure - how is that gonna hold my workpiece firmly.

    Well - I recently got to experience a real vacuum system at W6 - the main woodworking exhibition in the UK - and bought an Onsrud add on kit. When this thing grabs hold it does not let go! It has languished in my shop for the last 3 weeks waiting for me to put a plug on it and set up some new templates. Today I finally got round to it and it is fantastic.

    Basically it saves me having to screw through the template into my workpiece and therefore saves time and also reduces manufacturing artefacts in my finished product. I reckon it will save me at least 30 seconds a piece which sound like nothing untill you consider that I cut about 5000 components a year - thats about 42 hours a year saved - nearly half a weeks holiday!

    I will try and take some pics tomorrow and expand a bit on this - I just wanted to post something about woodworking for a change!

  2. #2
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    I don't understand how vacuum clamping works, so I am looking forward to being educated by the pictures when they arrive.
    Cheers, Frank

  3. #3
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    Same here.

  4. #4
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    Skin of Your Teeth

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Barley View Post
    ...
    I will try and take some pics tomorrow and expand a bit on this - I just wanted to post something about woodworking for a change!
    Ian, here I was preparing to get all over your case for not showing any pics of this new clamping system, and you sneak this in at the very end. It might buy you a little time, but you're by no means off the hook. We need pics!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Pellow View Post
    I don't understand how vacuum clamping works, so I am looking forward to being educated by the pictures when they arrive.
    Simple, it sucks

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Ablett View Post
    Simple, it sucks
    Reminds me of a time years ago when I was a construction inspector, and I was chatting with a couple of plumbers installing a big vacuum pump on the HVAC system at an airport. Pointing to the pump, I said something like "so that's the Suckutron, huh?" In a deep southern drawl, one of the guys reached over, patted the top of the pump a few times, and said "We just call her Darlin'"

  7. #7
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    ian, i`ve been using vacuum for years, both as a fixture clamp and bags, all i can say is welcome to the modern world! your product will be cleaner with less work and as you get used to having a vacuum system you`ll think of lots more uses for it.......enjoy! tod

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by tod evans View Post
    ian, i`ve been using vacuum for years, both as a fixture clamp and bags, all i can say is welcome to the modern world! your product will be cleaner with less work and as you get used to having a vacuum system you`ll think of lots more uses for it.......enjoy! tod
    tod

    I already am thinking of new uses. So many jigs - so little time!!! When I bought the Onsrud router which was the main driver to this purchase the vacuum setup was a little bit more money than I was able (willing) to spend. The other problem was that it just seems too good to be true. "No way can a bit of foam tape and a little pump hold that workpiece". And then you try, as hard as you like to tear it off and it won't come.

    I have just cut a small batch of one of my components and I am saving more like a minute a piece with better quality. I wish i'd spent the little bit of dough 2 years ago - no where have I heard that before?? Oh yeah - me!

  9. #9
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    ian, one of the handiest non-pinrouter jigs i`ve done is a 90 degree hold down that i can use on the saws or shapers sliding tables.......food for thought...tod

  10. #10
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    Nov 2006
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    My first exposure to vacuum cups was at the IWF show from these guys.

    http://www.bettervacuumcups.com/

    I thought there could be some good applications for the home woodworker but the prices are too high IMO. The holding power of these this is pretty incredible. I guess if a veneer vacuum press can give you 1200 pounds of force, these can hold well too.
    Brian

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