Home Built Vacuum Pump

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Project by wood_wench posted 02-03-2009 03:45 AM 8453 views 10 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a vacuum system I made (with the help of to vacuum press my veneer and marquetry projects. I live in the Cincinnati area, where we hope someday to have a winning football team, which is where the orange and black stripes came from as decoration on the pump system. I have ganged 2 pumps via a pressure regulator and mac valve system with a reserve system of vac tanks underneath. Being the cautious type, I have wrapped the tanks in vinyl black tape in case they decide to implode for some strange reason.

29 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4244 days

#1 posted 02-03-2009 03:53 AM

It only makes sense ro paint a vacuum pump like that, ‘cause the Bengals suck! LOL!

I’m just kidding….I’m a long suffering Saints fan, so I’ve got nothing to brag about. :-)

That is one fancy looking setup. Have you had a chance to try it out?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Way7's profile


13 posts in 3454 days

#2 posted 02-03-2009 03:57 AM

That’s an awesome looking vac system! Looks like it could do double duty as a deep sea exploration device. Great paint job too.

-- Mark Twain said it best, "There is no such thing as an accident but rather the unhappy confluence of poor decisions made by one or more parties."

View jm82435's profile


1285 posts in 3768 days

#3 posted 02-03-2009 04:00 AM

Looks like it should do the job. it does look like a submersible. Charlie, you are too funny.

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3616 days

#4 posted 02-03-2009 04:21 AM

Cool creation, the job a creative woodworker and the machanic. Great job!
Blogg it Wood Wench, for future reference.

Charlie, I would rather say orange matchs the BenchDog’s colour…..

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View jm540's profile


150 posts in 3444 days

#5 posted 02-03-2009 04:57 AM

that is awsome
do you gain money, quality or both ny doing this yourself

-- jay Rambling on and on again

View tinnman65's profile


1357 posts in 3440 days

#6 posted 02-03-2009 05:12 AM

Nice Job, I built a vacuum pump with the parts & directions from Joe and it works great. I didn’t have 600$ to buy a 5’X10’ bag so I went and bought some vinyl from local fabric store ( the thickest stuff they had), bought the vinyl glue off Ebay,and the valve from J.W. and had the whole bag for about 40$. I wouldn’t compare it to what you get for the 600$ but it still works great for now and was a lot cheaper.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View wood_wench's profile


89 posts in 3457 days

#7 posted 02-03-2009 05:38 AM

Thanks for the input guys. Yes I have used it. It pumps a 4’x6’ bag down in less than a couple of minutes. It only takes 6 sec for the system to pump down to -20 with no veneer bag attached. The reserve tanks help hold the vac constant, even if you develop a very small leak. The Mac valve with the sub-reservoir (detailed instructions available on allow for the easy cycling of the pumps during a typical veneer glue curing cycle. If my bag is fresh, I make my own from heavy gauge vinyl I buy from Joe) during a 6 hour cure time the pumps may only cycle on twice. From a cost perspective – I can’t remember what the total was (i made this in 2007) but it was significantly less than a mid to high end cycling vacuum system and was just a blast to make.

And your right – this thing sucks, just like my beloved bungals!

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4164 days

#8 posted 02-03-2009 06:15 AM

Excellent vacuum pump and I like the paint job! I have a pump from JoeWoodworker as well and I really like it.


View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4426 days

#9 posted 02-03-2009 07:06 AM

I made mine also. I found a vacuum pump on ebay that was local. About 20 miles do I didn’t have to pay shipping. It works great.

But I do have a monster pump in reserve. I bought it at a junk yard. It was brand new at least unused. It was bought as a spare for a printing plant for running their presses. They bought a new press and so the unused pump went to junk. It’s a 220V and I’ve never put a power cord to it yet. It weights about 50 lbs. a real tank Total cost $25.00.

I love vacuum veneering.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3739 days

#10 posted 02-03-2009 08:10 AM

Very cool… I’ve seen some plans on JoeWoodworker, but they look a little complicated… was this very hard to put together?

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Mike's profile


391 posts in 3642 days

#11 posted 02-03-2009 12:45 PM

Winning and Cincinnati do not go together. We have the Bengals.

Paul Brown was the man. Mike Brown needs to be vacuumed outta here.

East side welcomes. Cool pump.

-- Measure once cut twice....oh wait....ooops.

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3584 days

#12 posted 02-03-2009 01:29 PM

Where did you come up with all the parts and how long did it take to build this pump? Looks great.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3551 days

#13 posted 02-03-2009 03:08 PM

I built a venturi vacuum setup using parts and instructions off of the Joewoodworker website also. It was very easy to do, and has worked flawlessly for 3 years now. I also made my own bags using the heavy mil vinyl. If you want your bag to pull a vacuum quicker, try and flatten it out as much as possible before sealing the end, just like you would with a ziplock baggie.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View daveintexas's profile


365 posts in 3901 days

#14 posted 02-03-2009 05:15 PM

Wonderful job on the pump. You should get many years of service from it.
Two things (among many) that I found from Joe Woodworker that are great, the bag closure he sells is super.
My pumps were pulling 19-21 inches of vacuum with a dowel and pvc pipe closure (shop made), when I switched to Joes closure, the pumps now pull 24 inches of vacuum. may not seem like much of an addition, but I use my bags for bent laminations on a form. I have noticed better adhesion on the laminations.
The second thing is Joes veneer glue. it comes premixed, just spread it and go. Down here in Texas I can press up a panel in less then an hour in warm weather, and about 1.5-2 hours in cooler weather.
Plus I get next to zip on bleed thru.

Thanks for posting

View wood_wench's profile


89 posts in 3457 days

#15 posted 02-03-2009 08:04 PM

At the request of a fellow LJ I started a blog on this Shop Made Vacuum Press – I go into some detail as to how I built it. Basically, go to JoeWoodworker and download the instructions. Then spend a day or so looking them over and tracing out the wiring – if you can wire a light switch you can do this. If you don’t feel up to wiring a light switch – find a friend who really can, not just says he/she can. If all else fails – ask Joe. Once I was sure I knew what I was doing I would say that the wiring and assembly (after the carrier was made and painted) took about 4 hours. Just taking my time and double checking myself as I went. From the very first time I fliped the switch – it pulled a vac right down to -25, I then slowly adjusted the vacuum sensor, bleeding off vac as I went, until I consistently got -20. As mentioned by daveintexas – if you want to do bent laminations with it – just tweak up the vac (or down the vac – which ever way you want to think of it) to -25. I don’t think I would go much lower than that. The PVC pipe acting as the reservoirs are pretty sturdy (Bought at Home Depot) but I wouldn’t press my luck. Pardon the pun! All other parts I bought from JWW.

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