Vacuum Jig

Moderator: Michael

Vacuum Jig

Postby rwest » Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:10 pm

Hi Everyone,

I reached a point in my latest project where I needed to drill an accurate hole in the middle of a piece of MDF to mount it to my lathe to hold my stock. If the hole was crooked it would affect the symmetry of my whole project. In this instance, I could have used my drill press, but I'm trying to make it obsolete, and I wanted something that would work on very large pieces of stock later on, such as table tops.

This picture shows all the pieces; the vacumm pump, the latching foot pedal, and the milled piece of plastic holding the DJ-1 sans outriggers.
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This one shows the milled plastic, not shown is the back side which has a small hole that connects to the threaded hole with a barbed fitting with the hose on it and a loop of gasket material to keep the suction to the surface.
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The jig in use on a cabinet face.
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On a painted wall.
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Yes, I could drill perfect holes on the ceiling!
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-Rutager
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Postby John » Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:21 pm

Rutager;

Cool jig. I am thinking...

John
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Postby ForumMFG » Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:51 am

Wow, that really is awesome. I could really use something like that and I could see myself using that jig more than having the DJ-1 fully set-up. There are times when you don't need the jaws set up to reference off an edge and your jig is perfect for that.

I would really like to see John come up with something. Would it be possible to come up with something similar that doesn't include a vacuum pump? Maybe some suction cups with a cam action lever that you could push down making the suction cups go to the work piece? That would be nice.

Rutager, Can we see a picture of the bottom side of your jig? Also, what did you win this time?! =)
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Postby rwest » Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:24 am

Hi Dave,

You have some good ideas about making this jig more simple and less expensive! I already had the vacumm pump rig which I built using parts and plans from joewoodworker.com several years ago and I just recently bought the clamping stuff. I use my pump with a bag to veneer panels and make curved parts, so the clamping was a way to get even more use from it. I have about $700 invested in all of it. You can also use a venturi set up with an air compressor, and from a quick check of the site it looked like for around $200 you could get the clamping stuff and venturi things. Another thing that might work would be adapting a wine bottle vacumm hand pump to the plastic jig to suck it down, a company makes a small vacumm bag set up for making skateboard decks at home with. I think you can get it at Rockler for $40.

Here is the bottom of the jig, I very carefully milled the plastic so that the DJ-1's center mark is exactly on the edge of the plastic so it is easy to place on my marks!
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Check this out, MDF is so porus that my jig pulled a vacumm through the one 3/4 piece and attached it to a second piece!
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Dave, as far as any prizes, I won the admiration of millions of BCTW forum users! For the benefit of people who had not read about the contest; When the DJ-1 was shipped, John announced a prize of a $100 gift certificate to any DJ-1 owner who submitted a custom jaw idea. Of course the DJ-1 is very flexible right out of the box so I rushed to come up with something before someone else came up with it first, as it turns out, I think only two of us took him up on the deal! The contest was per owner not per jaw, so all of the other jigs I post are for glory not for cash!

-Rutager
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Postby rwest » Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:30 am

Hi,

One more note: The reason the gasket is not following the edges of the jig all around is because in my current use part of the jig hangs over my workpiece. For larger workpieces I would run the gasket near the edges all around for maximum suction.

-Rutager
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Postby savatteridesigns » Fri Mar 05, 2010 12:36 pm

.

Rutager,

Very, very nice!

Thoughts......

In seeing that you have the border of your acrylic piece wrapped with a 1/4 or 3/16 inch thick gasket to secure the vacuum - And that you indented the part where your bushing is so it would be outside of the vacuum pocket.

Now if you wanted to use the other bushing nest on your DJ-1 you could enclose that let's say one inch square on the bottom of your acrylic piece with a gasket tape "donut" - now you have maintained your vacuum.

Next,

Is the forstner bit jig for the Vacuum the next one your working on?

hmm, also a modified hinged vacuum plate to use on curved surfaces?

cheers,
Roger
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Postby rwest » Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:09 pm

Hi Roger,

Yes, I could put the second hole in the plastic piece and run a gasket around it, in fact if you look closely at the jig, you'll see that I milled the slot for the second bushings set srew long enough to allow for having a bushing installed!

It briefly crossed my mind that it might be nice to be able to use Forstner bits in a set up like this and now that you brought it up I have thought about it and think that it would just be a simple matter of taking a second piece of plastic with a relief hole for the bit and a hole through it for the air to escape and a gasket on the bottom and stack them. I would also put some threads and machine screws outside the gasket area so I wouldn't have to try and fight with two chunks of plastic moving around!

Curved vacumm drilling? you have me there, didn't think of that one at all! Maybe some sort of a plastic or non-porus tambour with a gasket on it that would hug the curve and suck down. The nice thing about using a vacumm for drilling is; That since the force is straight down, the vacumm doesn't have to be as strong as it would be for taking a side load like from a router or tablesaw.

Stay tuned for the Forstner adapter in the near future and a curved jig maybe in the far future!

-Rutager
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Postby PFranks » Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:17 pm

That's seriously cool, Rutager! A great idea. It would be interesting to sell something that would take bushings (without the DJ-1) and that could easily attach to any vacuum system. You could sell it pretty cheap, and it looks like it would work a treat! You could also just use the vacuum system for making a fence in the middle of a piece. Say, for registering your Festool Domino or something. Wouldn't even need the bushings.
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Postby rwest » Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:02 pm

Hi Peter,

In theory the DJ-1 isn't really needed in this application, it's only holding the bushing. In reality though it is holding the bushing perfectly straight and true and has the laser engraved center marks which are crucial for lining up to drill the hole! No sense re-inventing the wheel!

Yes, with a vacumm clamping rig you can make all sorts of fences, hold downs, and router templates. The bonus being no marks left on your work piece.

-Rutager
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vac jig

Postby User308609 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:21 pm

Boy, you went all out on this one! Very funny with the thing on the ceiling. Of course you must have a machined, untextured ceiling. Because for that scale, you just have to eyeball a perpendicular hole and drill it freehand and it would be more than plenty accurate for any application that I can think of. My first choice regarding accurate drilling in the middle of a large slab would problably be a plunge router. Or a small mag drill. You would think that if you can machine a housing for the guts of a DJ-1, you can put in some crosshairs on a bushing with a centerfinder and an exacto knife... Anyway, these are just thoughts off the top of my head, so I hope you don't take any offense--I hope you won something from this most original use of the tool. But in all seriousness, I really like the concept of using the vac as a general jig holder--that can indeed be very useful.
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Postby rwest » Fri Mar 04, 2011 6:13 pm

Hi,

No offense taken! This was one of those deals where it could be solved as many ways as there are woodworkers. I had all of the supplies on hand and the milling was super simple; basically 3 dadoes on my router table and a couple relief holes, it just looks hard. I have used it several times and the outcomes were excellent.

-Rutager
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