Question about building a DIY Vacuum table

Gary Wiant

New Member
Im thinking ov building a vacuum table for my old / new to me 4'x8' router table, I initially wanted to make it out of MDF but the I was thinking if I try cutting aluminum the mister fluid will swell up the MDF, so my next move was to build it out of aluminum rectangle tube until I realized it would cost about $1300 just for the aluminum, so now I'm trying to find another material to use. Can anyone tell me an alternative matetial, I was thinking maybe a PVC would work.

Thanks in advance for the advise
 

Gary Wiant

New Member
What plastic are you talking? I think I've heard 6mil versacell can be used as spoilboard for vacuum tables so that means the vacuum will pull through the Versacel ( at least the 6mil ) what plastic can I used? I was thinking about getting a sheet of 1" or 1.5" plastic can machining out the Zones into the top of it, then use the rubber tube that is used to seal off the vacuum boards and "artach" another piece of say 6mil on top as my spoil board. Would this work?

Also what size of a pump / vvacuum would I need for 2'x2' or 2'x4' zones and what size of vacuum line should be used?

Thanks
 

MikePro

Member
MDF is fine, and preferable, as it is cheap & disposable. Mister fluid may swell MDF over time, but you should be resurfacing your table every so often anyways, which will clear it up....also make sure to surface the MDF on both sides prior to final install. The sheets are coated/sealed on both sides, and if you only surface one side then you'll definitely have issues with the boards potato-chipping/curling.

Router table base material should be something like HDPE, or another dense plastic, with holes for your vacuum-pipe array. Use either carpet tape or something tacky to bond MDF to it. Just needs to be enough tack to keep the boards from shifting when the vacuum is off.
 

billsines

Member
Ez Router | eBay

Notice how this company sets up their vacuum table. that's 2" and 3" pvc pipe on there. note how they have their channels routed. use some sort of gasket material like frost king gasket, put that in the channels, and put the spoil board on there.

your vacuum is only as good as the number of leaks in it. a 10hp pump/regen blower is fine. you can use atlantic blower or republic blower. Becker I hear is good, but I have no experience with them. if you are not routing material all the way through and "opening up" the vacuum during the routing process, you will be just fine. just do some google searches and youtube searches and you'll learn along the way.
 

Gary Wiant

New Member
Mike - Thank you I think the HDPE & MDF is going to me my material combination I called my supplier and they only stock 3/4" HDPE how thick of bottom material do I need to leave to keep rigidity? How thick do the vacuum chamber need to be? I'd like to be able to use both vacuum & manual clamps of some type, but like I said I'm new & really don't know what I'm going to need until I can get to start using it.
They also only have 4'x8' sheets and I'd prefer to have the table oversized a bit.


Billsines - Thank you for the photos my gantry runs the whole way across the bottom of the table so my plumbing will need to come out the ends of the table and not the side. Can I run all 4 2'x4' zones on one 10hp pump or would I be better to run 4 - 2.5 hp pumps? Can the vacuum just come into the bottom center of the zone or does it need to be spread out across the zone to even the vacuum out?

Thanks
 

Gary Wiant

New Member
2CT Media - like I said I'm really new to Demensional materials, for our digital printed signage we typically use .040 - .80 aluminum, DiBond, Alumilite, coroplast, foamcore & PVC. What are phenolic sheets
 

Gary Wiant

New Member
Wow tons of choices. What grade is typically used & how are they assembled? If they are routed out of 1" or are 3/16" or 1/2" sheets glued together to create the zones?

Thanks
 

Christian @ 2CT Media

Active Member
Wow tons of choices. What grade is typically used & how are they assembled? If they are routed out of 1" or are 3/16" or 1/2" sheets glued together to create the zones?

Thanks
Most that I have seen and used have all be 1" or thicker with aluminum t slots routed in it and drill holes with taper cones for velocity on top and gasket channels.
 

Gary Wiant

New Member
Do you know where I can find samples of this type of table? I have some t bar slots that I can put in my table but I'm not familiar with "drill holes with taper cones for velocity on top and gasket channels."

Thanks
 

billsines

Member
Mike - Thank you I think the HDPE & MDF is going to me my material combination I called my supplier and they only stock 3/4" HDPE how thick of bottom material do I need to leave to keep rigidity? How thick do the vacuum chamber need to be? I'd like to be able to use both vacuum & manual clamps of some type, but like I said I'm new & really don't know what I'm going to need until I can get to start using it.
They also only have 4'x8' sheets and I'd prefer to have the table oversized a bit.


Billsines - Thank you for the photos my gantry runs the whole way across the bottom of the table so my plumbing will need to come out the ends of the table and not the side. Can I run all 4 2'x4' zones on one 10hp pump or would I be better to run 4 - 2.5 hp pumps? Can the vacuum just come into the bottom center of the zone or does it need to be spread out across the zone to even the vacuum out?

Thanks

General rule: less leaking the better. If you aren't routing all the way through the material to create a leak in the vacuum during the cutting process, you should be absolutely fine with one 10hp pump. You must consider your electrical requirements and how much space you have in your panel, do you have 3 phase, etc.

Gasketing will go a LONG way toward how much vac pressure/cfm is required.

See this site for the idea of a dedicated spoilboard with gasketing...works great!

In*Board Products - All Star Adhesives - gasketing products for CNC routers and v-groove tape for v-grooving and coving applications

As far as the vacuum zones, I would plumb to four zones. Note also on that table there are ball cock shut offs so you can put the vacuum to just one zone and get more suction out of a smaller zone.
 

Gary Wiant

New Member
I would imagine we will be completely cutting though the material some of the time so maybe vacuum isn't the best hold down method for us 100% of the time.

We do not have 3 phase but we can do 220v ( we used to have a laminator that required 220v)

I'll definitely check out the link.

Thank you
 

MikePro

Member
if vacuum hold isn't enough for some parts, i'll just zip deck screws & clamps down into the table to supplement.... pausing the router & movinig/adding hold downs as necessary. OR I mask the sheet with a couple layers of high tack transfer tape/paint mask, lightly spray mount to table (3M 77 spray adhesive, anything heavier and you'll never get if off), & route with intent of not penetrating base layer of mask, but even if it does the part doesn't move due to adhesive.
 

Gary Wiant

New Member
Sounds good Mike, the more I figure out the price of the vacuum table the more out of control it becomes. I may just stick with adhesives and t-track hold down a, and take the money for the table and start to save for a spindle
 

Gary Wiant

New Member
What double sided tape is being used to hold the substraight to the table? I can see that getting expensive fast If I used the Lord's 181 that we use to mount signs

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