vacuum chuck

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  1. Sam Fleisher
    Sam Fleisher
    Anybody using a vacuum chuck on their lathe? And if so What's your preferred brand? pros, cons?

    I acquired some rough turned bowls that were turned with a vacuum chuck in mind for finish turning and right out of the box I made a funnel because I used a 60 degree live center in the tailstock when I was truing it up and it being a mortise when I was sanding inside a little spot appeared and it didn't go away. Saw dust and ca didn't work either and turns out I'm not very good with a large forstner bit nor turning a plug to size.

    So will set the nice spalted maple bowl aside until I try some epoxy some day.

    And that's why I'm researching vacuum chucks.
  2. Walter Mooney
    Walter Mooney
    Sam, I have and use a Frugal vacuum chuck/system. It’s fantastic! I can have mine up and running in less than a minute. Bought mine at SWAT several years ago. I highly recommend it.
  3. Sam Fleisher
    Sam Fleisher
    Hi Walter, I just got a sales flyer from the frugal site. It seems like a good set up. What size chuck are you using the most?

    Does it have enough hold to use it to true up the tenon or mortise on a rough turned bowl? Also, what keeps the spindle from wearing through the hose on the opposite end from the chuck?

    Sorry for all the questions. Never seen a vacuum chuck in action other than you tube.
  4. Brice Rogers
    Brice Rogers
    I also have a Frugal Vacuum system. I bought the pump and flanged bearings from him but did the rest myself. I have a gauge that gives me a good idea of the level of vacuum. The amount of holding "power" depends on the amount of vacuum, the number of square inches of the fitting, the smoothness of the surface, the porosity of the wood and how well the foam or rubber gland seals.

    I can use my vacuum chuck to true up a mortise or tenon as well as completely removing the mortise/tenon, embellishing the bottom, etc. I have never had a piece fly off of the chuck, but I take light cuts.

    I wondered about the spindle wearing through the stiff poly tubing. But I've used mine for several hours and haven't noticed any wear. If it does eventually wear out, I'll probably need to spend another fifty cents for a new piece of tubing.
  5. Sam Fleisher
    Sam Fleisher
    Good to know that the tube is a non issue. The one time I had the wheel off the end of the spindle it just seemed rough/sharp. Suppose a little file work would fix that. I like the idea of making the base of the vacuum chuck out of wood so I could just mount it in the 4 jaw. I'd rather not take the regular chuck off.

    Is that how you do it? Or does it cause run out?
  6. Patrick Morris IV
    Patrick Morris IV
    I haven't had a problem with run out (did mark where #1 jaw sits). If you leave a center mark on base to align with the tail stock, then offset should be eliminated.
  7. Sam Fleisher
    Sam Fleisher
    I wonder if anyone made a base for the chuck out of hdpe? Or maybe it's too soft?
  8. Sam Fleisher
    Sam Fleisher
    I found the guy on you tube who makes his chucks with pvc and a thick piece of acrylic instead of wood. Ordered the frugal system today. Delivery mid April. (fingers crossed)
  9. Brice Rogers
    Brice Rogers
    I use a piece of wood with the flanged bearing stuck in it with a little silicon. Then I just stick the stiff PVC tube through the spindle and mount it on my 4 jaw chuck. Then I connect (tight slip fit) the vacuum line to the left end of the PVC tube in the spindle. It is really easy to set up or take down.

    When I prepared the wood that I stick in the chuck, I used a parting tool to make a recess for the PVC coupling. So, there is minimal runout. But it usually doesn't matter anyways because to apply partial vacuum and then adjust your piece until it has acceptably low runout. Then you close the vacuum bleed to achieve full vacuum.

    You'll love your vacuum system!
  10. Sam Fleisher
    Sam Fleisher
    That's what I like. Nice and simple. I tend to overthink things. Ordered one of the frugal premade chucks until I make my own but realistically 5 years from now I'll probably still be using it until I get around to making my own!
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