Simple, Low Cost Vacuum Chamber

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I wanted to make a simple, low cost vacuum chamber. Using a previous Instructionable, I made one (see the blue RTV?) but I was unhappy with the result - especially the cost. I had about $16 in 2 fittings alone - the most expensive being a brass bulkhead and the container. I thought that I could do one simpler and more economical with more commonly obtained and cheaper items.

I decided to use a large, wide-mouth canning jar as the chamber. It's strong, and you can easily see what's going on inside. Plus they're cheap - we had several in storage from our canning forays (my wife won't miss one, or two..)

I built 2 chambers - one for quickly marinading meat for jerky. Our 13u baseball team eats a lot of jerky. The other one will go to stabilize wood. I make pens, bowls, and other projects on a lathe and always use stabilized woods as wood that is stabilized is inert, not prone to temperature changes, won't pick up oils from hands, and actually becomes harder after my process.

Gather your supplies - 1 simple T fitting at Menards - ~$1.25, 1/4" valve at Menards $4, a couple of wide mouth canning lids, piece of scrap aluminum, teflon tape, 1/2" bolt and nut, old air fitting, and an old gauge I found.

Step 1: Make Your Bulkhead

The bolt I used is about 1 1/2" long. Drill a small hole through the middle (I was a bit off but as long as it's through and through, you are OK). Diameter of the small hole is not important. This will be your bulkhead.

Assemble everything. I drilled a hole that was slightly larger than the bolt through the 2 lids and the scrap aluminum. I made rubber washers from some rubber sheeting laying around - an old bike tire would work also. I made 2 washers - one for each side of the lid. I was going to cap the other end of the T fitting but found a gauge that fit. Make sure you use Teflon tape where there are threads.

I connected the air fitting to an air pump from Harbor Freight and it easily pulls -25lbs of vacuum. When it hits -25, I shut the valve and disconnect the air line.

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    11 Discussions

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    tytower

    2 years ago

    So you are using gas threaded fittings and what a metric or imperial bolt? You need a BSP threaded bolt to match the BSP fittings don't you?

    1 reply
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    DylanD581

    2 years ago

    Nice vacuum chamber! Could I use a vacuum pump to operate this?

    2 replies
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    RyanJ12DylanD581

    Reply 2 years ago

    Absolutely - I use a pump from harbor freight that doesn't pull a lot of negative. Just be careful - see previous comments - I am actually going to switch to a metal container for the sake of safety.

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    RyanJ12

    2 years ago

    Disclaimer - please see Jims shop comment. I am not responsible for any accidents or injuries. I will be switching from a glass mason jar to something more sturdy and safe.

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    Jims shop

    2 years ago

    Vacuum Chambers are made from a very special glass and then have a steel cage placed over it. Ordinary glass bell jars can implode and cause great bodily damage. PLEASE be very careful. Do some research before proceeding.

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    fred3655

    2 years ago

    I have a vacuum pump from harbor freight & an AC manifold gauge set. I would love to build this - but what could I do with it??

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    RyanJ12DIY Hacks and How Tos

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks for looking - it's nice to have a couple of chambers to use for different projects.