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Thread: Has Anyone Made Their Own Vacuum Table for Work-Holding?

  1. #1

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    Has Anyone Made Their Own Vacuum Table for Work-Holding?

    Happy New Year, Everyone.

    I own a company that makes really high-end guitar picks ($30-50 each). These are no more than 1-1/2" across.

    We do no injection molding. All the plastics we use must be machined from sheets. Therefore, after the initial cut there is still a lot of sanding and prep we do.

    One of our likes is PEEK thermoplastic. It cuts and machines very similarly to Ultem, Celluloid, Delrin, and other pick plastics.

    I'm looking for a way to hold these in place so I run a sander over there.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?

    Thank You Very Much,

    EG

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    Supporting Member Toolmaker51's Avatar
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    Vacuum chuck is a natural. If the picks are consistent size, that establishes nest or pocket to retain them. Ideally, that combination is easy and quick to load/ unload.
    Having sufficient pump is critical, don't know your location but they pop up used all over the usual sites. I'm not aware just who the initial users are, but the pumps abound. A shop vac is capable generating enough suction for tests, but needs venting upstream to provide maximum without unduly loading motor; a real vac-pump has this built in.

    Hand held or mounted in a machine, the basics are same. Not just a board full of holes, the low pressure is generated by closed chamber below. A mask or pattern blocks off unused holes. Drilling them is satisfactory, about .020 in diameter, Sand both sides to remove all burrs, otherwise projections break the seal on top, below hamper flow. Fasten this 'lid' by screwing to chamber with enough wall thickness [all 6 sides] to resist collapse. Depending how this will be handled in use, determines best location for the hose connection.
    With a modicum of hand woodworking tools, this is maybe a 2 hour project.
    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
    ...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...

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    Some Cabinet makers use a layer of MDF board on their CNC platen to hold the wood down.
    The MDF has enough permeability to allow the suction through the material.

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    Supporting Member tonyfoale's Avatar
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    This may help Vacuum chuck for PCB milling and engraving.

    If your picks are all about the same size and shape then you could make the chuck with a detent of similar size and shape with a number of small holes to the vacuum source. Because your workpieces are so small you will need a high vacuum source to get enough force. A shop-vac is OK for large surfaces such as those used on CNC routers but their vacuum is nowhere near enough for small objects. You need a fridge technician's vacuum pump which can be had quite cheaply.
    If you make a form fitting chuck it would help sealing if you line it with some rubberised paint or similar. Maybe the paint used for truck beds?

    If your picks vary in shape and size you could make the detent to suit the largest and for smaller picks you could seal around the edges with moulding clay or something similar.

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    Toolmaker51 (01-15-2021)

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    Supporting Member mlochala's Avatar
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    Am I understanding correctly that your guitar picks cost as much as $50 apiece? If you don't mind my asking, what is it about them that makes them so much better than a normal pick?

    This is just an honest question, not criticising. That just seems like a LOT of money for something is normally a very inexpensive item (less than a $1, most of the time).

    What sets them apart from all the others?

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    Supporting Member hemmjo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlochala View Post
    Snip...What sets them apart from all the others?

    https://bogstreet.com/


    snip...
    Maybe get a blister on your little finger
    Maybe get a blister on your thumb

    https://genius.com/Dire-straits-mone...nothing-lyrics

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    Toolmaker51 (01-15-2021)

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    Supporting Member Toolmaker51's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hemmjo View Post
    https://bogstreet.com/


    snip...
    Maybe get a blister on your little finger
    Maybe get a blister on your thumb

    https://genius.com/Dire-straits-mone...nothing-lyrics
    WE hack! I too, kinda nuts for well-turned phrases....... or paraphrasing one Everett McGill I detect, like me, you're endowed with the gift of interjecting a masterfully created idiom.

    Except me over rating the abilities of a shop vac.........



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    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
    ...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...

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    tonyfoale (01-15-2021)

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