A vacuum pump is tremendously useful for a diverse range of applications requiring lower than atmospheric pressure. Good examples include: Vacuum forming. Removing bubbles and dissolved gases from glues and resins. Casting projects. Speeding up drying of paints, dyes and solvents. Distilling sensitive or non-volatile chemicals. Freeze drying food. And even carefully preparing certain types of food.
Now a good vacuum pump can be rather costly and the powerful ones are also somewhat delicate in that if they suck in any vapors other than air, the oil inside will get contaminated and damage the pump.
For a great many applications where high vacuum isn't needed, an "aspirator vacuum pump" can perform extremely well. It also has the advantage of being extremely robust against chemicals, very easy to repair in the event of an accident where unwanted materials are sucked in and also extremely cheap compared to the high-vacuum models.
For just $50 worth of parts it's possible to construct a powerful aspirator vacuum pump system that can boil water at room temperature. Almost every maker project can be met with this simple vacuum system.
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