Before you start out, there are two things you need to keep in mind:
If you use a good vacuum pump you are dealing with very high pressure. Atmospheric pressure is over 14 psi which doesn't sound like much until you realize that 1-foot cube has just over a ton of pressure on each side. I crushed a thick metal pan (see picture) that I thought could handle the pressure.
Keep your fingers away from the air-intake of your vacuum pump. It will tear or rip off your skin in no time. You are a complete moron if you check to see that your vacuum is working by using your fingers to feel for air. Do not ask me how I know this.