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Bill Adamsen
02-28-2015, 5:37 PM
Thanks to Joe Woodworker (http://www.joewoodworker.com/veneering/welcome.htm), I just built a vacuum system to help with some composite and veneering projects. I had been borrowing a unit owned by a friend, but it became unavailable (he was using it for an extensive job) right at the same time I really needed it. So off to JW I went (I had been planning to do this for years). By the way, JW sells a kit of better materials, less expensively, than any I could source locally.

I made some modifications based on a design by Jim Harmon (thank you Jim) which made the project much more complex ... but fun. Someday when I need to get inside to replace the capacitor or regulator I'll sand the wood and varnish/poly to try and compete with the outrageously polished item Jim built. But my execution works, in fact it works great, no leaks. I installed the MAC valve backwards, but once I discovered that, I was able to fix the problem quickly. I used a DPDT switch to provide vacuum run, off, continuous run.

Used an engineering CAD program to get the carriage shape I sought. Printed out at full scale, cutout the template and used to cutout the wood for the carriage. The "persnicketyness" of npt fittings demanded that I assemble the tubes first, then measure carefully, and translate those measurements to the drawing system. There is basically no play or forgiveness to the system. So had the npt fittings needed an extra turn, it is likely nothing would have fit. Stupid way to design and build something (my fault entirely). But all is well that ends well.

Going to go test it out on a job right now!