Other - Project: EVS auto cycling Kit + 5.5 CFM Vacuum Pump (Rating: 5)

There are many different kinds of vacuum presses. Wading through which you need can be daunting. Buying a vacuum system can also be costly. I went with the EVS Project at http://www.veneersupplies.com/pages/DIY__Vacuum__Press.html. These pumps require putting some parts together and some very simple wiring. I had never done this sort of thing. I'm a woodworker, not an electrician and had no idea what a manifold was. But everything I read about the company from its customers was very positive. In return for doing some of the work putting it together yourself you get a high quality vacuum system at less than half the price. It turns out, it was also a fun project to do.

You can go with several alternatives. The plans are free and you can supply your own parts. You can buy individual parts from Joe or you can get all the parts together in kit form from Joe. You can use your own pump or buy one from Joe.
A chart describes the different pumps that are available from his site: http://www.joewoodworker.com/docs/vacuumpresschart.pdf. To give myself some latitude in what kinds of projects I can do down the road I went with the somewhat more powerful 5.5 CFM Vacuum Pump. Not knowing anything about pumps I got mine along with the kit from Joe.

The order arrived within a couple of days. The parts are of very high quality, the instructions including clear photographs, drawings and written explanations are clear and easy to read and follow. The support is second to none. When I had a question, Joe responded almost immediately. Sometimes I had to wait a few hours. When I found a part that was missing, Joe sent it out immediately by priority mail. The carrier I made was from some old banged up shelving of walnut veneered plywood that has been laying around forever. It finally found a home. With a couple of coats of shellac it looks better too.

The pump worked fine from day one (no system leaks) and is relatively quiet. The pump created the vacuum very rapidly which is great since sometimes you have to hold things in place until the vacuum is complete. Also, waiting around for a vacuum to be created while glue is starting to set up is no fun. It's a game of beat the clock that I don't like to play. As noted in the instructions, the pump cycles on every 15 minutes or so for 10 - 15 seconds.

So far, count me a happy customer.