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Custom Vacuum Plate

Posted by Eric Schimelpfenig 
Custom Vacuum Plate
July 24, 2017 06:56PM
Hey all, I just made a custom vacuum plate for my Handibot, check it out!


I can share the files if anyone's interested.
Re: Custom Vacuum Plate
July 25, 2017 12:54PM
That's great Eric! I've never had a lot of success with various schemes for vacuum hold down with the handibot--but you've really got a good system here.

How easy is it to set up for a different cut? Just peel off the rubber and cut a new piece to fit the part you want to make?
Re: Custom Vacuum Plate
July 25, 2017 01:51PM
Very cool. I'd be interested in the files.
Re: Custom Vacuum Plate
July 25, 2017 04:56PM
It's super easy to peel up that gasket and make another one. The holes are all flush with the surface so that you can just tape off the holes that you don't need. That top plate that has all of the holes in it just lays on top of the plenum and lines up with a couple of dowels. I'm going to make a few other plates for specific operations. Swapping plates with that drawer system and the dowels only takes a few seconds. This should be in the accessory store! smiling smiley
Re: Custom Vacuum Plate
July 25, 2017 10:31PM
Don't you have a handibot accessory store Eric?! winking smiley
Re: Custom Vacuum Plate
July 26, 2017 10:05AM
HA! Let me add that to the very short list of all the other things I've got to do! smiling smiley

Honestly though, I think this could work well. It's pretty simple. The only thing I'd really change is swap out my wooden stand off's for something more Handibot ish... like HDPE.
Re: Custom Vacuum Plate
July 26, 2017 11:59AM
You heard him folks--Schimel-co accepting preorders now!

Joking aside though--didn't you get some sales on your handibot table a couple years back? I always thought it'd be cool if customers came up with accessories and could make a little side living selling them on the forum here...even accessories for other tools!
Re: Custom Vacuum Plate
July 27, 2017 11:11AM
I did make a Handibot table a few years back, and I did sell a few!

Here's a question for you Brian:

I made these plates out of Corian solid surface because I had some around. If you haven't seen Corian, it's 1/2" thick inflexible solid surface. It's totally non porus. I had a bunch of scraps around so it seemed perfect for this.

I milled that plenum .25" deep into the 1/2" Corian and it worked great. If I did the same thing with HDPE would it curl up? I figure you might know because from what I can tell you might have milled a piece or two of HDPE... smiling smiley
Re: Custom Vacuum Plate
July 27, 2017 01:36PM
The HDPE wouldn't curl right away--but as it dries out (If you've ever really crushed a piece of HDPE you'll see that it oozes oil), it will begin to curl. I try to always keep a first in, first out policy with HDPE sheets because the longer they sit before being cut and bolted together into a tool, the more risk of warping.
For the plenums on my production tools, I just use Baltic Birch. There are no voids in the nice plywood so it doesn't leak through the layers--you can also surround it with a piece of duct tape if you really want to be sure you're not getting any leaks.
I used to use phenolic--but that is expensive and always makes me feel like I'm going to contract some horrible lung disease when I smell it cutting.
Re: Custom Vacuum Plate
July 28, 2017 05:22AM
Eric, what are the specs on the vacuum pump you're using? I've seen really conflicting information about what's necessary for a small vacuum plate.
Re: Custom Vacuum Plate
July 28, 2017 09:17AM
Huh... I guess I'll make a plenum out of Baltic. I've got plenty of that around here! Maybe I should make one for my soon to be swapped plenum on my full size shopbot....

The uses for that stuff are seemingly endless.

I will say that the Corian worked awesome. That stuff is just harder to get ahold of if you aren't a countertop fabricator.
Re: Custom Vacuum Plate
July 28, 2017 11:06AM
Hey Brian, here's a challenge for you:

If you take a look at that video you can see I'm running without the vacuum foot. This is because I have to have the router dropped down as far as it can possibly go. Not only is the router up to it's collar, I moved the collar to it's lowest mounting point.

This caused a problem with the vacuum foot in that it bumps the perimeter of the base plate. I had to take it off, and I lost about an inch on the Y. (I made a custom XY zero script to mitigate that)

So here's the challenge: since I can't use the stock vacuum foot I have to come up with something else. Anything that wraps around the router I think will be too big and cause a collision with the baseplate. So near as I can tell it's got to bolt under the router around the collet... Do you have any thoughts (or perhaps an invention sitting on your bench!?)
Re: Custom Vacuum Plate
July 28, 2017 09:49PM
Hi Eric,
I need more coffee to try and think this one through, but could you somehow extract the chips,etc., down through the plenum chamber?
Re: Custom Vacuum Plate
July 31, 2017 09:02AM
No, this works on suction and a tight seal. Imagine holding up an inflated balloon with nothing but your lips. This works exactly the same way.
Re: Custom Vacuum Plate
August 02, 2017 03:25PM

I've got a few ideas...I've tried a separate ring that clamps around the router like the collar that we sell--but it looked really goofy and just didn't offer enough of an improvement in the placement of the dust foot to be worthy of selling as a product.

Bolting to the area around the collet though...I've made a router with a piece bolted there--to run a wire down to the collet that would allow z zeroing without the clip on the bit. Turns out the collet does not make reliable electrical contact with the bit because of the oxide coating on the collet nut.

But it is definitely possible to attach things there by taking out the screw that holds the little yellow button that locks the spindle in place and replacing it with a longer bolt that is clamping the accessory there...
Re: Custom Vacuum Plate
August 06, 2017 07:51PM
How about this Eric?


You remove the two screws that hold the spindle lock button in place and bolt on this aluminum bracket with slightly longer screws. There are vents in the aluminum bracket to redirect the air that blows out the bottom of the router.

The dust foot twist locks onto a few screws that are sticking out of the bottom of the bracket.

Problems so far...brushes are too long. Kind a of self correcting problem because the bit will trim them whenever it touches them, but it'll look ugly. Sealeaze, the company that we buy brushes from has a few smaller sizes though...
Re: Custom Vacuum Plate
August 07, 2017 02:03PM
I really like that, but I still don't think it's going to work for my setup...

If you take a Handibot Adventure Edition (the newest one) and you drop the router bracket down to it's lowest factory setting, AND you put the router as deep as you can get it, that's how I'm setup.

Even with the riser plate up like I have it, I cannot have anything that is larger than the diameter of the router or it will hit the base plate. As it is now I have lost 1" on my Y axis to make this setup work.

There are two solutions as I see it: Make the vac hose exit out of the back of the machine, which would mean turning it 90 degrees from what you have, OR a different base plate, that would have to be one that's totally open in the front....

This should explain it better: [goo.gl]
Re: Custom Vacuum Plate
August 09, 2017 11:06AM
Forgive what perhaps might be a stupid question. But couldn't you just make your t-track plate have an adjustable height? The idea would be that you would slide into the accessory base in its lower height state, and then once it was inserted, you would raise it up to the proper z-height. This seems like it would solve both your X/Y restrictions (e.g., the 1 inch loss) as well as your dust shoe problems.

You could probably make some fancy crank mechanism or if you want some more low tech just some guide poles and and some blocks that you place underneath the t-track once inserted into the accessory base.

I appreciate this may not work if you plan to index the accessory base, but the question would be whether you'd be willing to trade that for the dust shoe and the extra inch of X and Y axis.
Re: Custom Vacuum Plate
August 15, 2017 02:52PM
That's not entirely out of the question, but probably hard to do...

I do like it at the height that it is as id does allow for easy indexing. Also, keeping a moving level table would be a bit of a challenge I think...
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