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I know that some GENIUS will tell me how to do this! Answered

Okay, so I am building a CNC router table. To hold down the material to be routed, I want to use VACUUM instead of screws and clamps, so they will not be in the way of the router bit as it cuts the material. Various sizes of material will be placed onto the 60"x120" cutting area.

I want to make the top surface of the vac table out of pegboard, or some other perforated board. It will be replaced occasionally, as the router will score the top surface when it cuts completely through the material.

The challenge: Find a way to close off each individual hole (or bank of holes?) that is not covered by the material, so that no matter what size or shape is placed onto the pegboard, ONLY the holes beneath the material will be open to allow the vacuum to hold down the material. All other holes will be closed by a reed, or a flap, or some other means.

I know NOTHING about Arduino, but I know you guys are the ones who can find a solution.

Possible scenarios I imagine:

1. Pegboard holes are 1/4" round and 1" spaced both vertically and horizontally. A square slightly larger is placed beneath four holes. It rotates on a center pin. When CLOSED, each corner of the square closes one of the four holes. When OPEN, the square is rotated 45 degrees, opening four holes for suction.

2. Banks of holes (perhaps four or six in a row?) are covered by a strip that slides. When CLOSED, the holes are covered and block air passage. When OPEN the six holes in the strip align with the six holes in the pegboard, allowing those six holes to provide hold down suction.

Can you think of a good way to do this?



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1 year ago

I was going to spitball some ideas, but liquidhandwash linked a fantastic article that out does any hypothesis I can come up with.

Except for one. If you get a setup, you're pulling a good vacuum, but it's still not enough force, the limiting factor is room's air pressure, because the vacuum doesn't hold the board in place, it just makes it so that the air pushes more from the outside than from the inside. Theoretically, you could pressurize the room to get better holding power. Again, this is all hypothetical, but I thought it might be worth sharing. Especially if you live way above sea level.