The Basement #22: Vacuum Clamping Jig on the Cheap.......

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Blog entry by JL7 posted 11-05-2011 03:36 AM 4158 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 21: Cool Wood Finds - Mostly Exotics Part 22 of The Basement series Part 23: The Wall - Part 2 »

This is really just a prototype…..........

I aquired the vacuum pump a year ago for $5.00….and shame on me for not putting it to work until now. All the parts shown are “found”, not specifically fashioned for this purpose.

The motivation to build something now is I have to sand ALOT of thin parts. The idea was to make a jig to hold the thin parts over a belt sander or a sheet sander without grinding away my fingertips….

The platen is a scrap part from work, which is an aluminum plate with low durometer (hardness) silicone rubber bonded to it. Attached a little piece of UHMW plastic to the top so I could hand thread the fitting into….I don’t have a 1/4” NPT tap.

The sheet sander stays put with a sand filled innertube – a Doug Stowe idea:

The pump can be turned on and off with a my foot switch:

It is truely amazing how strong the bond is when running this gadget…..I can defineately see alot of applications for this – and will be building some better jigs in the future…...very cool stuff…...

Thanks for looking.


-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

10 comments so far

View exelectrician's profile


2327 posts in 2449 days

#1 posted 11-05-2011 05:23 AM

... Good thought with the foot switch, so you can have both hands on the job.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Rob_n_Wood's profile


109 posts in 3370 days

#2 posted 11-05-2011 08:23 AM

I saw a similar vacuum pump on sale at Harbor Freight is this worth it
thought I could use it for vacuum forming as well
Very clever to hold those small parts

-- "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." Thomas Jefferson

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3123 days

#3 posted 11-05-2011 11:15 AM

Ya, this is a clever idea….......

-- mike...............

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3903 days

#4 posted 11-05-2011 02:07 PM

Hey Jeff. Really cool.

This is such a coincidence, I just ordered some parts and fittings from JoeWoodworker for vacuum clamping. I really want to try it. Main thing I wanted to get was the 1/8 inch thick sticky foam tape that can withstand a vacuum.

Please describe a bit more of your silicone rubber solution. Looks great.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View JL7's profile


8667 posts in 2986 days

#5 posted 11-05-2011 02:47 PM

Hey – I appreciate all the comments!

Rob – There is really no end to the applications for a vacuum pump if you have the right stuff. Adding a vacuum bag would be nice, but kind of spendy, so I will wait for the right deal to come along. So it is really up to you if you want to make the investment, but I would say go for it!

Steve – 2 days ago I was on the JoeWoodworker site and had a bunch of stuff in the cart, including the tape and fitting, etc…..but then decided I would try to piece something together first before committing the $$.

The platen I found at work – it is a part used for laminating credit cards in a production machine and has a 1/8” thick layer of silicone molded to the aluminum. Not something you would likely make at home very well. I also doubt I will find any more of these as it is an obsolete design that i fould in my sample drawer at work…...

I’m pretty sure I will be ordering a roll of the JoeWoodworker tape along with some hose and fittings to build more stuff, along with a little cart or something for the pump to move it around easier…..


-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2861 days

#6 posted 11-06-2011 04:44 AM

Jeff I think this project sucks;)
Just kidding, great idea. The inner tube with sand in it is brilliant too..
Good stuff Jeff.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View JL7's profile


8667 posts in 2986 days

#7 posted 11-07-2011 03:17 AM

Thanks Dave – always happy to post a sucky project.. ;)

Ran the pump ALOT today and it really gets hot and stays hot for a long time…..should I be worried about this?


-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3903 days

#8 posted 11-07-2011 03:34 AM

I know that you only paid $5 for the pump, but can you replace it for that? I went through all this when I also found a cheap pump. I would think that it would be better for it with a regulated pressure switch. Ala JoeWoodworker. It is a lot quieter when the pump shuts down too.

You can use a shower curtain liner to make a vacuum bag for less than $10 (at least for a while).


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View fernandoindia's profile


1081 posts in 2965 days

#9 posted 11-07-2011 04:47 AM

Hi Jeff.

You and Steve make a good team

A $5 pump with a $10 vacuum bag. That leaves $500 for a LN plane !!

CanĀ“t wait to see the other stuff coming Jeff

-- Back home. Fernando

View JL7's profile


8667 posts in 2986 days

#10 posted 11-08-2011 04:00 AM

Hey Steve – good point on the regulated pressure switch. So I’ve been doing more research since your post and it turns out I have a Gast rotary vane pump – which Joe claims are not so good for these applications. He also confirms that this pump runs real hot, so I guess my experience is expected…...

This style pump is not actually very loud, which is a plus.

Looks like around $150.00 for the EVS kit (which would be sweet) and another $75 or so to get the foot switch – so (for the moment) it seems the setup will stay simple…...appreciate the input!

Hey Fernando… LN plane for me, but I would like to find a deal on a medium shoulder plane…(someday)....what are you up to??


-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

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