|Review by whit||posted 12-24-2013 06:29 AM||3901 views||4 times favorited||5 comments|
- Joe Woodworker Project V2 - Venturi Vacuum Press Kit
- Brand: Joe Woodworker | Category: Clamps
I couldn’t decide if this should be a project or a review. Technically, it’s both, I guess. The project – a vacuum press – is based on the V2 Venturi vacuum press kit (i.e. you need an air compressor) from http://www.joewoodworker.com.
The Project Kit
I bought the kit a while ago. Well . . . a few years ago. OK, it was 2006! I wanted to let it age before I put it together. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it! The build is really simple. The instructions are available on the website and, aside from my having confused the V2 build instructions with the V2 premium instructions because I couldn’t remember which kit I’d bought, are very clear and easy to follow. If you can comprehend basic instructions – including pictures – and have a basic complex of – and competence with – hand tools, you’re good to go. Be advised, there is some basic wiring involved and, depending on which power option you choose, you may be dealing with 110V or 240V. They also offer a 24V wall wart if you’d prefer to go that route.
If you’d rather go a la carte, the parts are all available on their “Vacuum Press Parts” page at http://www.veneersupplies.com/. They also have a varied collection of brass parts on the “Brass Fittings” page. Either way, there are a LOT of options depending on what sort of airflow you need, the size of your compressor – or pump if you opt to go that route, your power requirements, and what you decide to use for a reservoir.
In addition to different kit options and a la carte hardware, joewoodworker.com also offers vacuum bags for veneer work and clamping kits.
Aside from waiting for the PVC glue to cure, the build took a total of about two hours. It’s a matter of cutting three pieces of wood for the frame, assembling the manifold, attaching the reservoir and the pump parts, and doing the wiring. It’s really that simple. I did add a duplex outlet to the wiring – one side is switched; the other is always on.
I stuck with the plans because of the small form factor that could still be hung on the wall for work at the workbench. I’d considered using a cylinder from a compressor but it takes a LONG time to draw 20-25” Hg in a 20-gallon tank. Given that I only draw down 1” Hg per use, I think the dual PVC cylinders work just fine.
There are some really slick configurations of vacuum presses built by their customers; check out the pictures on the website at http://www.joewoodworker.com/veneering/visitorspress.htm.
The material I’m using for the template is two layers of 1/8” hardboard glued together. The seal between the template and the media is made fast with the vacuum gasket tape. With the vacuum applied, the media isn’t moving. The media and the template separate easily once the vacuum is bled off through the valve shown in the shaded area in the lower-right corner of the press. By the way, this valve was not a part of the kit; there are some additional parts to be bought if you’re looking to do vacuum clamping. i understand there are additional parts required for vacuum veneering, as well, but I’m not familiar with that process.
I did find that I needed to add some gasket tape to the center of the void on the template. In order for the vacuum to keep hold of the media, I needed to turn it up (down?) far enough that it actually deformed the media. The extra four strips of gasket in the middle stopped – or at least reduced – that deformation.
I LOVE IT!! My current application is template routing some signs and vacuum clamping has knocked about 90 seconds off each one over the double-sided tape setup. That doesn’t sound like much but the first job was 200 signs – about 5 hours’ savings. I didn’t lose one blank to a failure of the press. There WERE, a couple of incidents of ESO (equipment superior to operator) but, hey, that’s to be expected in a new process. Well . . . new to me, anyway.
Just out of curiosity, I wanted to see just how much grip the press would put on a flat surface. The template that I was using is 24 square inches (3” x 8”) and at 20” Hg, I was able to lift my 35# battery charger with it. I guess that explains why none of the blanks slipped on the template; the signs weigh in at a whopping 4 oz each.
About the only change I can think of that I’d make is to add a power indicator to the switch box. Other than that, it does exactly what I need it to do. And very well.
One last thing – I need to give kudos to Joe at www.joewoodworker.com. He is very helpful and replied to e-mails very quickly. They also provide all the parts necessary to build or accessorize the press for both clamping and veneering operations.
And no, I’m not affiliated. :)
-- Even if to be nothing more than a bad example, everything serves a purpose. cippotus