They're nice looking - for anyone whose budget doesn't stretch that far,
I put up the recipe for a DIY version at
and that recipe works for any size/shape puck of at least 16 sq in. My
tubing is 3/8" vinyl ($15/100' at Menards)
With a recycled refrigerator compressor I can pull about 25" of vacuum
I'm still going to make my own pucks like yours and I'm sure
interested in a recycled vacuum system. Any hints or suggestions in
regards to the refig units? Do keep some sort of filter to stop the
dust from going into your pump? I would also like to find some way to
make pucks on pedestals about 4" high so I can reach under the work
piece to move/locate the pucks/pedestals. The eStone boys build their
tops upside-down so that all rabbets and cut-outs are done referenced
to the finished face. Many of the cheaper acrylic solid surface sheets
vary in thickness ± 1/32. The better ones like Staron and Corian
These are exciting times.
Kohler and Franke and Blanco all publish .dxf on their sink cut-outs,
but some off-shore sinks only supply a paper template. I have to find
an efficient way to turn those into a .dxf. I get it done, but the key
word is: efficient. Now I do the photo/trace/scale routine and know
nothing about probes. The local blueprint guy has a scanner which will
do, but he's pricey. Any thoughts?
Type of refrigerator doesn't much matter - nearly all of the compressors
used are made by only a handful of companies.
Hmm, filter - I folded a piece of Kleenex until it was about 1x3, then
folded that over the cut end of the output tube so as to catch excess
oil being pushed out of the beast. The input side has a 10' length of
vinyl tubing which seems to catch the dust before it gets to the pump.
That's not a particularly razzle-dazzle filter, but I haven't had any
problems in the five-plus years I've been using this compressor (which
came out of a refrigerator more than 20 years old). Since I put that one
into service, friends have brought in three more compressors, so I
haven't felt any need to coddle the thing.
Pedestals should be easy - I think I'd just make 'em out of 4x6 cut-offs
(or glue up some 2x6 scraps) and screw the pucks to those.
I kinda like the p/t/s approach. With practice it's fairly quick. I've
heard that Corel Draw can produce a line drawing from an image file, but
I've never tried it out.
CorelTrace which comes with CorelDraw is very good, if you have a good clean
scan/image file. I've typically used it for customer supplied jpegs, that
we need to convert to spot colours, yes I am currently working in the
Illustrator comes with similar tools, but Corel's are much faster and more
accurate and easier to clean up, if required.
I used to use Adobe Streamline, years ago. The problem with most of
the software that does tracing, is that they create very detailed, but
huge vector files. Even if you set them to 'sloppy', they still create
huge files. ( not 'huge' in terms of the size of what a large image
file can be, but even a 100K file can translate into an hour of
machining on my cnc, while a 60K file created in ArtsCAM can be done
in 3 minutes. I guess it is all about data points. So much to learn
and loving it.
That is a totally different application, I admit, they go through the RIP in
our case, and then hit the press leading to *very* rapid duplication.
I have no experience with CNC, but it sounds interesting.
Just thought I would toss an opinion in here.
How're your programming skills? If you examine toolpath cutting commands
(movement with tool below surface) in groups of three, you can eliminate
all points that don't lie more than a pre-selected error value (say,
0.001") from a straight line joining the endpoints.
If you want to further refine what's left, you may be able to do a fair
amount of reduction by fitting arcs to groups of three or more points
and use arc-producing movement commands.
I played around a bit with code that re-ordered toolpath segments to
minimize waste tool/spindle movement and for /some/ files it made a big
difference in machining time.
I created an oval in CAD. Exported as .dxf, .eps. and as an image file
Then I imported into VcarvePro via .eps, .dxf. and traced the image
file. I also created the same oval within VCarve Pro.
The file sizes were different, but not as significant as the estimated
machining time associated with each type of file.
The trace off the image file was close to an hour, the same oval in
VCarve was 3 minutes. Same oval.
Sounds like the the cad was generating way more points than necessary,
and there may be a precision parameter that you can adjust to reduce the
number of points.
In my DesignCAD package, I can (very carefully!) sometimes use the
"smooth" command to reduce the number of points. You might experiment if
you have a similar command.
A while back I cut a 48x24 elliptical template for a local cabinetmaker
(for a conference table inlay) and still have the file:
1 command to position spindle
1 command to lower tool to cutting depth
1440 straight-line moves to cut perimeter
1 command to raise tool
1 command to move spindle out of the sway
The program calculated points in polar coordinates 1/4-degree apart and
converted the polar coordinates to cartesian on the fly. Run time was
just under three minutes with a 1.5"/sec feed, and the curve was smooth.
"I put up the recipe for a DIY version at http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/Projects/VacuumPuck /
and that recipe works for any size/shape puck of at least 16 sq in. My
tubing is 3/8" vinyl ($15/100' at Menards) With a recycled
refrigerator compressor I can pull about 25" of vacuum almost
silently. -- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto /
And, thank you very much for sharing. But I have a question regarding
the "ball/button catch (valve)" you used - SOURCE, ITEM NUMBER and a
request fot an instructable on converting my olf fridgerator into a
vacuum pump - maybe a picture of yours. Not trying to be a smart ass
here, seriously interested.
They're also called "bullet catches".
The source was a (now defunct) Woodcraft Supply store in West Des
Moines. I bought the remainder of their supply and (I think) I still
have the bag in the shop. I tried to order more from Woodcraft but they
were never a stock item - so I tried to order from the manufacturer and
they wouldn't respond either letter or e-mail. I'll try to get the
manufacturer and part number and post here. Those I bought from
Woodcraft were priced at $0.50/each.
To make a local search easier, I think they were metric-sized. They
consisted of a swaged tube with a captured ball-bearing and spring. In
short, they are the cheapest kind of bullet catch imaginable - but they
were exactly what I wanted for this application. :-)
I'd suggest having the refrigerator compressor removed by a pro who has
the equipment to capture the Freon coolant, and who can dispose of it
properly. If you have an HVAC-capable friend, it's worth a six-pack to
not abuse the planet more than it's already been. I suspect that my
"extra" compressors weren't removed by pros, but that wasn't my choice.
I understand that Freon is one of the causes of the polar "ozone holes"
and not a good thing to let loose.
Next time I'm in the shop I'll make compressor photos.
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