Anyone know of a good supplier of plastic or polyurethane tubing for use
with a vacuum clamping system?
I don't know what size to purchase. My pump will create 5cfm at 0" Hg. It
will move 1cfm at 25" Hg. What size ID tubing do I need?
I also want all the fittings and valves and associated parts.
I checked out MSC and Grainger already. MSC had a pretty good selection, but
I was hoping to find somebody a bit less pricey. Yes, I'm cheap.
Polyurethane tubing may not be what you want; generally too soft for
heavy vacuum work. What happens is the walls collapse. That said, the
McMaster-Carr catalog has some rather hard (95 Shore A) Ether based
polyurethane tubing that is vacuum rated to 28". Its around $0.67 a
foot for the 3/8"ODx1/4" ID stuff (Part number 5648K26).
Better yet, if you don't need extreme flexibility is their selection
of Nylon 6 or Nylon 11 tubing. The former will handle 28.8" Hg vacuum
while the latter is good till 28". Both are cheaper than the PU and
work with standard compression fittings (you can use the cheap plastic
ones for this) that you can find at your local BORG or plumbing
supplier. The 1/4" ODx 0.190" ID is only $0.15/ft (part 5173K9).
They also have a flexible Nylon 11 tubing, 1/4" OD x 0.180" ID for
$0.36/ft (part 5112K13).
Good people with amazingly speedy delivery; its just damned difficult
to get one of their paper catalogs. Their online web catalog is pretty
You do not need a big tube as all that is required is that the air be
removed from that tube (and whatever sealed area it is connected to).
Smaller tube will evacuate more quickly as there is less air there. So the
variable here is the volume of your clamping area.
I recently made my own using a compressor from a refrigerator. I went to HD
and bought the 1/4" nylon tubing and fittings that you use for an icemaker.
It develops 22" of vacuum which is plenty for a vacuum clamp (you need more
for a vacuum press). For $40, I have a vacuum clamp that works really well.
When two pieces are together, it is extremely hard to pull them apart
without releasing the vacuum.
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