Vacuum table?

Old 12-05-17, 02:27 AM
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Vacuum table?

Anyone ever make a simple vacuum table for holding parts down while you rout or sand them? Everything I find online is for shopbot type computerized CNC routers.

Seems pegboard wouldn't really be ideal because of the hole spacing and I certaingly don't want to layout a 1/2" grid on a 2 x 4 ft piece of plywood then drill all the holes. It would seem like maybe a household air hocky playing surface might be ideal, but doubtful I'd be able to find one around here. (holy crap..WM has them on sale for like $90) And they might not really work in a suck mode.

Basically, I want to use my trim router to fancy up some poly cutting boards, and maybe make some in the future. It's way cheaper to by a 1/2"-3/4" 2'x4' sheet at wholesale online, then it is to buy the ready made boards. Plus I've thought about making one exactly the size of a small section of countertop and just having a nice large semi-permanent cutting station. Also maybe some freehand stuff on plywood or good planks.

Clamps just seem to always be in the way, especially when you need to go smoothly all around the circumference.
Old 12-05-17, 02:55 AM
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Vic, have you tried using a piece of rubber shelf liner? It looks kind of like little rubber nubs in a grid only about 1/8 inch apart. It comes in rolls and is readily available at all junky stores in the section that has shelf paper. I have a roll and it is made by Con-Tact, the same as pressure-sensitive shelf liner paper. Mine is 20 inches wide by 4 feet in length and is black but I know it comes in different widths , lengths and colors.

Cut a piece a bit smaller than your work and then place it on the bench with the work piece on the mat. I bet it won't slip unless you try some pretty deep cuts with the router.
Old 12-05-17, 03:36 AM
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You have given me a idea to try. be a while before I can get to this.
Old 12-05-17, 05:49 AM
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I think the holes in an air hockey table are too small and would plug up with dust quickly. Especially when routing poly that's so static-y that it would cling to the table rather than get sucked through into the vac.

If clamping is your only objective (rather than a dust-collecting downdraft table) maybe 1-4 1/2" holes would do a better job holding by concentrating all the flow into fewer ports. Large work surfaces need to be masked all around the workpiece unless you have an industrial vacuum capable of great suction AND high flow.

"Bench biscuits" are popular for holding a workpiece up off the bench so the edge can be routed, and they're covered with grippy rubber.
4 used hockey pucks, glue and shelf liner that Furd mentions would do the job.
Old 12-05-17, 07:32 AM
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A rubber mat like Furd said will probably work. The pegboard or similar will work also.
I'm not fond of Ryobi tools but I have an old BT-3000 with extended side table. The side table has holes @ 2" centers and serves as a hold down and a floating surface for large panels. It's effective using only a normal shop vac. Good suction and even better floating.

The side table is maybe only 5' x 2' and 3/4" thick (hollow plenum), Masonite would work to duplicate it.
Old 12-05-17, 08:29 AM
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What if you used two layers of peg board material for the top. Attach and seal your first layer of peg board to your vacuum plenum/box. Then put the second sheet of peg board on top. By slightly offsetting the two you can vary the size of opening. Maybe have oversize mounting holes or slots in the sheet so it's easy to move and lock down in position. If the holes become clogged you can loosen the screws and move it to go to the full open position.
Old 12-05-17, 12:31 PM
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Good ideas all around...
I have a roll of the exact same rubber shelf liner. Used it to line some of my tool box drawers as well as non-slip and sound insulation under small electric "things"... nebuliser for the cat, humidifiers in the bedrooms, etc. It's got the larger "nibs" than the stuff you would use in a bathroom or kitchen, but probably the same as yours. I hadn't really thought of it for this, but was hoping for something that would help with dust also as guy mentioned. Wouldn't the poly chips cling to the mat pretty bad? Maybe Brians or Danes things would work best. I think I may have been picturing a vacuum forming table in my head.

BTW..I have a bunch of Ryobi stuff...cordless only and have been real happy with their performance. That's sort of what brought this up. I got the "buy this kit, get a free tool" deal for Xmas. So I got a hammer drill with the brushless motor, another charger and hi cap battery, and the freebee was the trim router. It was either that or a 6 1/2" circ saw, and I already have a 5 3/8" for small stuff and my Makita corded for big stuff.

Matter of fact Brian, it was my BT-3100 (that I only paid $100 for the display and then got a $99 accessory kit free) that got my thumb. Is that table you mentioned OEM or a homebuilt? Pics?

Guess I'm going to have to build a few demonstrator models with scraps I have around and see which works best for my needs. Not like I don't have the

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