Introduction: Vacuum Clamping Table for Homebrew CNC
I've always wanted a CNC machine so I started building a "woodpunk" CNC about 2.5 years ago. The original Idea was for me to build a temporary table for it then use the CNC to create this table. But due to the time restraints in order to win an awesome ShopBot, I asked my bosses at QuickCrate if I could use their CNC machine; they graciously agreed.
I noticed most of the Homebrew CNC machines I looked at (and was modeling my machine after) were just brad nailing or screwing pieces to their tables. But what if you need to work on all sides of the material and have no place or way to nail or glue? Like Acrylic?You could even make a larger one of these for the ShopBot. You have to upgrade to a better vacuum pump. I don't think a shop-vac could power an awesome sized table as the ShopBot's 48x96. You would just have to take this idea and beef it up tremendously to get it on par with the ShopBot,.
Okay let's get going!!!!
Step 1: Assemble the Table
Step 2: Machine the Table
This Part was a lot of fun. I pulled the measurements off of a commercial vacuum table for the grid pattern and the hole sizes etc.
Step 3: Make the Legs
Step 4: Attach the Pump Fitting
Step 5: Hook Up the Vacuum
Okay all I had right now was a 1.2hp shop vac and I think it gave me sufficient pull to machine a part. A surprising amount of pull.
In the Video you will see I took a piece of MDF and drilled holes in it and gasketed around it with adhesive gasket, drilled holes for air. In the video it is really hard to see but I have to put a lot of force on it to pull it off the table. and I beat the crap out of it. In theory the amount of suction should be equal even if the whole table is holding down a part. It should just take slightly longer for the vacuum to form. But there a lot of factors that can increase or decrease a vacuum, IT WORKS!! so enjoy!
What would it mean to me to have a ShopBot? It would literally change my life, I could do more projects in half the time. And know I am using my time to it's fullest. I hope to one day get a degree in mechanical engineering, and this cold be a stepping stone to do so. It would be a blessing!