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When I posted a question on using shopmade veneer panels, one of the responses pointed me to JoeWoodworker's site.
I noticed the kits available to build your own vacuum press, and the very good prices vs. buying a factory built unit.
Has anyone on the site built their own vacuum press from one of these kits?
Do you use it only for veneering or also for shaping panels (e.g. laminating curves)?
Thanks for the help.
Gerry
 

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I have looked in to it, but just ended up getting a pump, gauge, filter and some hose on Ebay. I got just the bag from them.

The pump just runs the entire time, usually about 1 1/2 hours since I always use regular yellow glue which dries fast.

Unless you are using it all the time and using a real slow setting glue, you can get by with just the above.
 

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I have the venturi system from the site. I have used it extensively over the last five years without a hitch. Since I make sure I have airtight seals on my bags and hoses my system only cycles maybe once every hour and even then it only runs for a few seconds. My compressor is an ingersoll rand 60 gallon running on 110 volt. If I am using a small bag(around 20"x60") the compressor won't even kick on to pull a vacuum.
 

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I also built a venturi vacuum system from there. The key is the vacuum reservoir and sensors. if the bag and hoses have no leaks, the system shouldn't run once drawn down. the sensors you get with the kit allow it to cycling if vacuum drops too low. Julian is right, if the system is mostly tight, the pump does kick back on, and if it does, only for a moment or two.

Gary, if you add the vacuum sensor and reservoir kit it won't run constantly. It's a whole lot better when it doesn't run constantly. Saves wear and tear on the pump too. sounds like all you need now is a couple of sensors and a switch and some PVC.

russv
 

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I built a vacuum press from a Joe Woodworker kit and was very pleased with how it worked. I used it to veneer 7 panels for a toybox for my grandson. No curved surfaces though. A picture of my press is pictured somewhere on his site. His instructions and personal help were of great value to one new to veneering at the time. His web site is very informative. Lots of good info there.

A picture of the curly maple frame-n-panel toy box with verneered panels can be seen here: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_v2sZi-ywpzo/RY7yoB8_P-I/AAAAAAAAALI/i5fix271tNM/s1600-h/P1020956.JPG
 

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I built my Joewoodworker venturi pump about 7 or 8 years ago for about $100. Still works great. I haven't done any curved work, but you can see what I've done in my Projects.
 

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Russv - To get all his stuff would run about $150, plus all the stuff I have to get elsewhere. I only use it maybe once a month for an hour or two, so it's fine with me if it runs all the time. Maybe 24 hours in year? Even if I got 200 hours out of the pump that's 8 years.

If I were using it a lot I would invest in a better system. Also having the basics I can upgrade it at any time should I end up using it more.
 

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I built my own before I even found Joe's site. I since built a vacuum storage tank like he shows on his site.

I got a vacuum switch from a salvage yard and I use an electric pump.
 
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