That Vacuum Clamp Robatoy was talking about

Well I bought one also. With the Festool sanders you really need to secure smaller pieces down to keep them from moving. Clamping from the sides was desirable as the clamps would not have to be moved to sand the entire surface. Festool sells a pair of side clamping clamps for about $90. I was reluctant to take the plunge and kept putting that purchase off. I have been using rubber router pads but they were not quite enough any more.
I bought the Vacuum Clamp from Woodcraft this afternoon and to add to what Robatoy has mentioned, the clamps do work well on porous Oak. To check the holding power I set the vacuum clamp, which is about 5.5" square, on my TS top and turned the clamp on. Then I placed a 2' x 4' piece of 1/2" Baltic Birch up on the clamp except I sat the panel on the clamp on the corner of the plywood panel. All but the corner of the panel was hanging ff the edge of the TS top. Pretty impressive.
Next I set the clamp on a steel top work bench, turned it on, sat a 5' long piece of 1x6 Mesquite on the clamp and again at the very end of the board. I grabbed the opposite end of the board and moved it up and down. The steel top of the work bench flexed but the clamp held fast.
Pictures of the last test.
http://fumpr.com/viewer.php?file=ahdz7oh351bk4xtjttsy.jpg
http://fumpr.com/viewer.php?file 2rk2iz81sg428s1n8a.jpg
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Holy crap!!! I guess I skimmed over the board dimensions.. 5" piece of 1x6", BFD... Then, I looked at the picture and saw about 4 1/2 FEET of board hanging over.. Pretty damn impressive..
Question.. Do you have to use a compressor, or could it be reversed or re-worked to use a vacuum pump?

mac
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I finally got the one photo of the mesquite board open. That is very impressive.
SteveP.


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mac davis wrote:

Mac...
A part of what you're paying for with the LV clamp is the built-in venturi vacuum pump. If you buy the clamp and rework it to use with a vacuum pump, you're wasting about half of what you've spent...
BTW, the clamp effectiveness is a function of area to which the vacuum is applied. I use smaller 4" square pucks, but daisy chain them (typically five at a time when routing 6'-8' boards) for about 80 sq in of clamp area before I hit 'em with my 5 hp spindle.
Something to think about: the clamps will stop working rather suddenly if you rout all the way through the board (or if the board splits) over the clamp to break the vacuum.
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Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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wrote:

I wonder if you could make a manifold to place on the top of the clamp with multiple vacuum hoses coming out of it to provide vacuum to other simpler vacuum clamps?

Because this clamp holds particularly well I will probably make some jacks/pucks to place away from the clamp to help support longer pieces.

Very True.
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Leon wrote:

It wouldn't be difficult to make, but you might not be able to handle much/any leakage though the workpiece. I'm fairly sure that you wouldn't want to depend on that kind of a setup for holding, say, MDF or red oak. Even white oak might become pretty iffy...
The catalog description implies that these are low-cfm devices. The venturi vacuum pumps are available separately (elsewhere) and might be a better way to go - but at that point, you might as well use a dedicated vacuum pump and daisy-chain simple pucks (I've drilled a couple of mine to work as T's).
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Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
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I'll keep that all in mind, thanks for the information Morris. So far the single clamp is working very well for holding Baltic Birch drawer sides steady while sanding.

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I thought so, Morris.. thanks..
I guess if I need one, I'll have to build it.. lol
I have a nice 2 piston Gast vac pump on the lathe, which I'd rather use..
It's a LOT quieter than the compressor and it's in the shop.. the compressor is on the carport..

Yep.. same theory involved with different size vac chucks on the lathe..

Been there, done that... Just one more pass on that bowl bottom with the gouge before sanding and you see the vac gauge drop.... lol
OTOH, it's an instant warning that you're about to create a funnel..
mac
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Yeah type-o. Should have been 5'.
That piece of Baltic Birch you seen in the back ground was hanging from the clamp also, from the corner of the panel similar to the board.

I don't know for certain as I have not yet read all of the instructions, I use a compressor and IIRC it was intended to be used with a compressor. The exhause comes out on opposite sides and if you mount the exhaust to point towards you it privides a pleasant breeze. ;~)
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I'm pretty sure that you did say 5', Leon.. Most likely, my brain interpreted it as a more reasonable measurement, before I saw the picture..
mac
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