View Full Version : My Vacuum Chucking System

Mike Peace
12-24-2008, 8:46 PM
Thought I would provide some pictures and details of my new vacuum chucking system. Thank you Steve Schlumpf for your tutorial which helped immensely.
Pump Setup
Here is my pump setup mounted on the wall next to my lathe using my existing French cleat system for easy relocation. Instead of wiring a switch I simply wired an old computer power cord to the pump and used an old power strip with a switch. I bought this power strip in the early ‘80s for my Commodore Vic 20!
I was able to buy a late model GAST 523 110V with internal filters off eBay. This saved me the expense of having to buy external filters. The 110V Gast saved me the inconvenience and expense of having to run another 220 line or buying and wiring a 220 duplex receptacle to the circuit my PM is connected to. My advice to folks looking at the 220V GAST 522 from Surplus Center would be to compare the options and costs closely as reasonably priced 110 V Gast pumps come up on eBay quite often.

Mike Peace
12-24-2008, 8:52 PM
Rotary Adapter
I wanted the convenience of a quick removal adapter and ran across the idea of using a plastic garden hose quick disconnect. I turned a 4 ply laminated MDF turned handwheel adapter sized the same as my PM’s handwheel.

I built my rotary adapter with a pump bearing from Lowes, part 99502-H .625 Bore, double seal for Ace Pump found in Drawer K10, Specialty Fasteners. I added a 3/8 barb to 3/8 MIP brass fitting. I turned down the threads on the lathe with a parting tool to closely fit the .625 bore of the bearing and glued with JB Weld. Sorry for the out of focus picture as I was not aware of the macro focus setting when I took it.

I fastened the bearing with three washers in case I decide to make a better handwheel adapter from Corian or something else if the MDF adapter leaked too much. The small end of the garden hose fits snugly in the handwheel and has an “O” ring that appears to seal very well. You may be able to see the closed foam gasket on the end of the adapter that seals against the handwheel snugly when the pump is on.

Mike Peace
12-24-2008, 9:01 PM
I made a holder for the rotary adapter when not in use as shown here.

Here is a picture of my first chuck. I made a wooden face plate using a couple of pieces 5/4 cherry and the Beall 1-¼” tap I recently picked up at the local WC.

The white gasket on the chuck and handwheel adapter is from a sheet of thin closed cell Fun Foam, 99 cents at Michaels.
Total costs for my pump system were $131! I have not had a chance to actually use it yet but it held a piece of wood with 24 inches of mercury so I think I am set.

Pete Jordan
12-24-2008, 9:15 PM
Looks like a beaut, Mike!

You will wonder how you ever got along without it.

Steve Schlumpf
12-24-2008, 10:07 PM
Very nice work Mike! I like your variation on building a system! Have fun with it! It honestly makes finishing the bottoms of bowl/hollow forms so much easier you will ask why you didn't build the system sooner! Nice work on the vacuum system and the writeup! Thanks for sharing!

Bernie Weishapl
12-24-2008, 10:09 PM
Great looking system Mike. Really like the way you set it up.

Christopher K. Hartley
12-25-2008, 7:14 AM
Nice Mike, looks like you'll be having a lot of fun with that system.:)

Kurt Bird
12-25-2008, 8:54 AM
Do you think you will have any problems with the pump mounted vertically? Lubrication, or something of that sort?

Jim Becker
12-25-2008, 10:37 AM
I really like how you leveraged the cleat system for this addition to your shop, too.

Kurt, if there was an issue with the mounting position, it would be a simple matter for him to rotate the unit 90º without disrupting the setup. The only thing I can think of that might be of consideration is load on bearings.

Mike Peace
12-25-2008, 11:41 AM
Do you think you will have any problems with the pump mounted vertically? Lubrication, or something of that sort?

Kurt, I originally was going to put the pump on a small shelf but when discussing with a woodturning friend about how to mount the shelf so it would hold the pump he suggested the simpler approach of mounting it like I did. I was concerned about the orientation but when reviewing the manual from the Gast website I discovered:

This product can be installed in any orientation. Mounting the product to a stable, rigid operating surface and using shock mounts will reduce noise and vibration."

robert hainstock
12-25-2008, 11:54 AM
I was concerned with the verticle mount for the pump too. I'm suspicious that verticly loaded ball bearings will not last as long as a horizontal loaded bearing. Probably Old foaggy syndrome. Enjoy your system, and "PICTURES" of the results from the system. :D:D

David Walser
12-25-2008, 3:57 PM

It looks like a great set up. Thanks for all the details, in particular the part numbers!

A couple of questions:

Is the garden hose quick disconnect attached (glued or something else) to the handwheel adapter or is just held in place by suction & friction?
Is the handwheel adapter attached to the lathe in anyway or, again, is it just held in place with suction & friction?

Chris Haas
12-25-2008, 10:58 PM
love the railing system in your shop, configuring it for my garage right now. do you think any of these three vacuum pumps will work? http://tampa.craigslist.org/pnl/for/957239192.html i'm not sure since they are the blower type. any help would be great, as i could probably get one for pretty cheap.

Mike Peace
12-25-2008, 11:42 PM
David, I used epoxy to hold the plastic quick disconnect in the turned recess. The snug fit and the vacuum holds the adapter to the handwheel without assistance but a large rubber band might provide some peace of mind.

Chris, I am no vacuum pump expert so went with the Gast model frequently used. The ones in your link have bigger motors than the 1/4 HP of the Gast 523. I would have concerns that bigger is not necessarily better. Gast 522 or 523 both work and are popular.

Ray Bell
06-04-2010, 12:44 AM
Thanks Mike, nice set up. Are you still happy with this? I am saving all of these good ideas.

Mike Peace
06-12-2010, 8:29 PM
I am delighted with my system now that I upgraded to a machined rotary adapter. See my message on this trhead.