Vacuum Table for Shapeoko 2

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Sprenkle
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:13 pm

Vacuum Table for Shapeoko 2

Post by Sprenkle » Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:04 am

I wanted to see if I could make a vacuum table for my Shapeoko 2, so over the weekend I came up with this. I have not done much cutting with it, not really sure how it is going to work once I have a lot of groves in my waste board but so far it is kind of cool. Fun to make anyhow.
Setup.jpg
Setup.jpg (35.76 KiB) Viewed 3879 times
vacboardtop.jpg
vacboardtop.jpg (120.85 KiB) Viewed 3879 times
vacboardbottom.jpg
vacboardbottom.jpg (96.62 KiB) Viewed 3879 times

Brian
Posts: 78
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:42 pm
Location: Saint Louis

Re: Vacuum Table for Shapeoko 2

Post by Brian » Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:24 am

You'll need a lot of vac to hold pieces down. I use a vac table on my 5x12 industrial router at work with a massive 480v dual impellar vac pump and that smallest piece it can hold and cut is about 1.5'x1.5'. I've looked into smaller plates and found 2 different designs. The holes in plate version needed a lot of vac, however a version with channels machined into a plate that used rubber tube as a gasket around the perimter of the part seemed to work with your basic HVAC vac pump, some even said it worked with a high power shop vac.
Brian
Shapeoko 2 #I have no idea
HF cutout tool, 72oz nema 17 steppers, TB6600 stepper drivers, Mach3 control

Sprenkle
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:13 pm

Re: Vacuum Table for Shapeoko 2

Post by Sprenkle » Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:50 am

After working with it as it is, I don't know if it would be practical for it to be the only holding method. I do think that it might work well at keeping my working material that have bows in it flat against the waste board so my depth cuts will be more accurate.

Brian
Posts: 78
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:42 pm
Location: Saint Louis

Re: Vacuum Table for Shapeoko 2

Post by Brian » Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:03 pm

Sprenkle wrote:After working with it as it is, I don't know if it would be practical for it to be the only holding method. I do think that it might work well at keeping my working material that have bows in it flat against the waste board so my depth cuts will be more accurate.
Depending on the holding force it could make simple engraving projects easier. Even with the massively powerful vac motor on my table at work it didn't always suck warped materials flat, plywood for instance is a huge PITA as its never flat and the vac doesn't help. Softer and more flexible materials it does help though.
Brian
Shapeoko 2 #I have no idea
HF cutout tool, 72oz nema 17 steppers, TB6600 stepper drivers, Mach3 control

Sprenkle
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:13 pm

Re: Vacuum Table for Shapeoko 2

Post by Sprenkle » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:32 am


Warning, turn off sound.
Just thought I would post a video of it in action. I was surprised that it held so well for the video. I don't think it would be enough to hold down your work without modification but I think it is a good start. I may try to add more holes.

Threefer
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:02 pm

Re: Vacuum Table for Shapeoko 2

Post by Threefer » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:06 am

You should cover every open hole with masking tape in order to maximize the vacuum to the area holding the work piece down. We have a router table where I work that has a vacuum table which has an MDF spoil board but no holes are drilled into the board. The vacuum actually travels through the MDF. Underneath the spoil board is an aluminum plate with a grid milled out with 1" holes spaced on a 12" grid pattern. Since the table is 5' x 12' you can close off all the holes except for the area that is needed and put a rope gasket in the grid to dam the vacuum to a specific area of the table. We usually have it set up to work on a 4' x 6' area under the MDF so we get better vacuum in that area because most of the sizes we use are that big or smaller. We cut mostly aluminum sheets and it does a pretty good job of pulling the material flat. Most of the guys still tape all of the edges of the sheet down with masking tape anyway, they don't trust the vacuum I guess.
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Shapeoko# 3456, Makita RT0701c. Stock size for now but have 13"x13" travel by trimming down belt clamps and lip on smooth idler. Dovetailed wooden track clamping setup. Dust shoe in works.

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