Having the use of vacuum in your shop is immensely helpful. Whether you’re using it for clamping or for holding a workpiece, it can greatly improve efficiency and make many tasks easier. We offer excellent vacuum solutions that are perfect for your shop. In this article, we will review the tools and set-up options so you can add vacuum to your shop.
This small but efficient vacuum pump is rated for 8000 continuous hours of operation. The pump can be a central fixture in your shop for other vacuum jigs we offer or that you dream up. The pump comes with a muffler, gauge, filter, 1 yard of 1/4″ ID hose, and a quick-turn plug coupler which when coupled with a quick-turn socket coupler makes easy work of connecting and disconnecting your vacuum jigs and fixtures.
When you look at the top of your vacuum pump, you will see two arrows indicating the direction of vacuum flow. The muffler should be placed on the outflow side and all other components on the inflow side. In other words, the arrows should be pointing toward the muffler. The first components to attach to the inflow side are the filter and pressure gauge, which thread right into the pump. Connect the 3/8” diameter (1/4” i.d.) tubing to the filter barb.
If you already have a compressor in your shop, you can use this handy valve to generate a vacuum. It can generate up to 12 PSI of pressure. It comes with 10 feet of vacuum sponge tape which you can use to make jigs or fixtures. It turns on and off by way of a ball-valve and has a vacuum gauge attached. There is 6 feet of 1/2” (3/8″ ID) hose which is barbed to a yard of 1/4″ hose with a quick-turn plug coupling attached. The quick-turn plug coupling has a universal connection which will couple with our quick-turn coupling sockets (supplied with our other vacuum tools).
The vacuum work holder is supplied with 1 yard of 1/4” hose (SPVACPT) and a push-to-connect fitting (SPVPTC1418). Simply thread the push-to-connect fitting into your work holder using Teflon tape to get a good seal. If you want to go a step up, you can purchase the check valve and vacuum dump valve accessory pack (VWHAK). This allows you to have a vacuum dump valve connected right to the work holder which is convenient for easy removal of the workpiece. The quick-connector threads right into the check valve (both installed with Teflon tape). The check valve is a great tool because it gives you approximately 10 seconds of vacuum after the vacuum pump has been turned off or if you lose power. Your precious project won’t just fall right off the work holder immediately!
The vacuum bridge clamps come with 1 yard of 1/4” tubing (SPVACPT) and a built-in push-to-connector. Simply insert the tubing fully into the push-to-connector then connect the quick-turn socket to the quick-turn plug on the vacuum supply side. This assumes you purchased either the SPVP vacuum pump or the SPVAC Compressor Vacuum Valve set-ups from Luthiers Merc. If you have your own vacuum supply you will need to determine what set up works best for connecting to this tool. Here is a link to our quick-turn couplers.
Vacuum pull is measured in inches of mercury (Hg). The pressure gauge will tell you how many inches of mercury your vacuum is pulling. For guitar building purposes, 15-25 Hg is ideal. To determine how many pounds of clamping pressure you’re getting, here is a simple equation:
- W x L of clamping area = Z
- Z x inches of mercury = Y
- Y / 2 = lbs of clamping pressure