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Vacuum table for hold down

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  • Vacuum table for hold down

    I need a small vacuum table about 800mm x 600mm to hold down vinyl for cutting with a rotary cutter.
    Have any of you built a vacuum table? I have watched several YouTube videos and it doesn't seem as though it would be a very big project. I was thinking about using MDF board and milling trenches and then covering with another MDF board with small holes drilled in it.

    Or should I just buy one?
    Location: The Black Forest in Germany

    How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

  • #2
    Have a look here, it might be of some use to you ----------------


    • #3
      We had a vacuum hold down for 4 x 8 sheets of plywood on a CNC router. No holes, we used a sacrificial sheet of 1/2" particle under the plywood. The pump we had held down the sheet, and the parts, just fine through the particle

      I built one for doing PWBs years ago, to hold the film down over the PWB. Nothing fancy, but I was not putting any force on the film. It was better than I actually needed,

      One MDF with holes might be good enough, bottom boxed in and sealed decently. Cover the areas not under the workpiece. The trenches might be OK, but you may have to varnish the MDF, because it is a bit porous. If your vacuum pump has enough volume at sufficient vacuum, it won't matter, though.
      CNC machines only go through the motions.

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      • #4
        You dont even need to drill holes in the MDF, the top layer is porous enough that it will suck right through, just as mentioned above. Usually the edges are sealed with paint or something.


        • #5
          I built a small one, 5x12 inches. It's powered off a Ridgid Shop Vac and does work pretty well. One thing I had to learn was to support the entire surface as much as possible. I had a 5+mil drop in the center due to the surface not being supported well enough.

          There were some good suggestions in my threads about them:


          • #6
            Its best to use something like a small regenerative blower, if you do use a shop vac make sure to install a bleed on the vacuum line to maintain some air flow through the vacuum otherwise you can fry the motor.

            I actually put together a little vacuum table for cutting latex on a laser cutter. Forgot to route the exhaust back into the laser cutter, boy, that stinks.