It can be difficult if not impossible to secure odd shaped items to your workbench. Recently, I've been making elliptical boxes with domed/convex tops. These are especially difficult to secure, so I decided to make a vacuum clamp. The result was SOOOO GOOD that I wanted to share it! The best part is that it's easy and inexpensive to make!
Step 1: Parts Required
For this project you will need:
A gasket for a toilet tank (the one that goes between the tank and the bowl)
- Some epoxy
- A quick coupler fitting for an air hose
- 1 board about 8" x 12"
- 2 boards about 1.5 x 1.5" x 9"
- Air hose and a clamp
Step 2: Assemble Jig
Cut notches on two sides of the large board and glue the other two boards into those notches
Hold the gasket on the board and trace around it with a pencil
Route, or chisel a groove that the gasket will fit into
Clamp the jig into your bench vise
Fill groove with epoxy and place gasket into it
Place a board or an item that is similar to what you plan to use the vacuum clamp for on to the gasket
Gently press the board on to the gasket with the clamps and leave it clamped until the epoxy is dry
Step 4: Attach Hose
Drill a 1/2" hole in the board and epoxy the air fitting into it
Attach the hose to the fitting with the clamp
Step 5: Using the Jig
Clamp the jig into a vise, onto some sawhorses, a table, etc
Attach hose to a vacuum pump Place item on the gasket Turn vacuum pump on while pressing item onto gasket.
That's it! The vacuum will hold your item securely in place while you work on it!
I "think" that a regular shop vacuum would work in place of a vacuum pump. I haven't tested that, but I think if you used a larger vacuum hose fitting in place of the small air hose fitting that a regular shop vacuum would generate enough vacuum to hold the item in place. However, you might need to use a larger gasket like those intended to go between a toilet and the floor.
Please let me know how this works out for you!!
Thanks, Charlie Kocourek