Use CA glue or invest in a vacuum table??

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Forum topic by Snoopy1 posted 05-17-2020 10:27 PM 422 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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14 posts in 105 days

05-17-2020 10:27 PM

Hello everyone, I pretty much settled on a CNC router, Camaster Stinger 1 SR23, but before I order it I have a question. Being a hobbyist, how do you recognize when to get the vacuum table. How much do you need to do before you think a vacuum table would be worth it over using CA glue and tape. I understand the risks of running into hold down clamps but glue vs vacuum, where is the turning point?? I see some pros and cons – 1 vacuum table buys alot of glue and tape, always buying glue and tape plus disposal vs one time buy of vacuum table. Long term hazzards of glue and accelerator?? Don’t know. Anything else?? Thanks Joe

-- Snoopy1 Tennessee

7 replies so far

View gwilki's profile


354 posts in 2251 days

#1 posted 05-18-2020 12:21 AM

What do you plan to do with your CNC?

Vacuum tables are great, but if you plan to use a vacuum cleaner to run it, be prepared either to buy a very expensive vacuum cleaner of to replace cheaper ones frequently. Almost all shop vacs need air flow to stay cool. When we use them on a vacuum bed, we pretty much eliminate air flow. The vac fries. There are models out there – Festool for one – that have a dedicated channel for cooling air, but they are very pricey.

If you go with a vacuum pump, that will solve that issue, but the size of the pump is dependent on the size of the bed you want use. Our shop machine has a 4’ x 8’ bed, and the pump is 15HP and cost thousands.

I have a small Gast vacuum pump that I bought for a vacuum chuck for my lathe. I think it’s about 3cfm.I made vacuum “pucks” for my CNC router and it works well with them. But, they are only 6” square.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View Snoopy1's profile


14 posts in 105 days

#2 posted 05-18-2020 12:41 AM

Just starting out, first thing is to cut acrylic parts, got a few people asking for signs. My guess, the list will grow. The CNC will have a 2×3 table, small for some but alot bigger that the Piranha I was first looking at. My first thing I was thinking was cost, overall, as well as hassle. Glue sticking too good or not good enough, always buying glue and tape. Putting tape on, peeling tape off. Am I over thinking this??

-- Snoopy1 Tennessee

View gwilki's profile


354 posts in 2251 days

#3 posted 05-19-2020 12:49 PM

You may want to look at CNCNutz channel on youtube. Peter has done 4 or 5 videos on his attempts at building a vacuum table. Note especially his experiments with shop vacuums.

I don’t believe you are over thinking this. You may be over limiting yourself by just considering tape or vacuum. There are plenty of other hold down methods – screws, hot melt glue, clamps, etc – that will hold your signs down. I’m a hobbyist, and I use a combination of all the above, depending on the size and nature of the piece.

I don’t have the budget for a vacuum pump large enough to work with a larger vacuum table. Likewise for a shop vacuum that would work for any length of time without burning up. A business would be in a different financial situation, I would guess. As I mentioned before, at the shop where I work part time, we have a huge pump. It sits on a 3’ x 4’ pallet and weighs hundreds of pounds. It will draw a strong bond sucking through 1.25” MDF. Not for a hobbyist.

Good luck in your research.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View ChiloquinRuss's profile


4 posts in 168 days

#4 posted 05-19-2020 02:55 PM

I have a vac and I use a lot of 2 sided carpet tape as well. Each hold down requires different machining and cleanup techniques. With the tape I can get by with tabs so little cleanup. With the table in order for the vacuum to work I have to leave a skin, lots of cleanup. A trick with the tape (early on clean up messes) I learned from my scroll saw buddies. Put masking tape on your spoil board, and the underside of your work piece. Then put the carpet tape down and stick the piece down. When ready to clean up you pull off the masking tape (easy) and along comes the carpet tape. Making the move to a vacuum system is not an easy or cheap move. I use a lot of tape and my vacuum system occasionally. I make models, so the parts are small so the vacuum is not optimal for me. If I made kitchen cabinets with very large pieces I would use the vacuum a lot. My 2 cents, spend wisely! LOL Russ

View TimInIndiana's profile


160 posts in 917 days

#5 posted 05-19-2020 03:04 PM

I use this two-sided tape from Taytools:

It was recommended recently by Jonathan Katz-Moses. It’s very much like masking tape – not at all like carpet tape. It seems to hold the work piece securely enough for everything I’ve used it on, including both CNC and handheld routing.

View mrg's profile


868 posts in 3776 days

#6 posted 05-31-2020 02:57 PM

Double sided tape from Woodcraft works great, no residue and strong. Blue painters tape and CA glue works great also. Make yourself some clamps, cut them on your CNC or 3D print them.

Rockler and others sell the vacuum pucks you can use with a Venturi vacuum generator using your air compressor if you have one.

-- mrg

View Arm3's profile


13 posts in 313 days

#7 posted 06-01-2020 01:34 AM

I’m still only a month into doing CNC work and I have tried a couple of different methods.

I have used the Tay Tools double sided tape Tim mentioned with mixed results. It has slipped and let the work piece move on two different occasions while cutting so I’ve abandoned that method. Blue painters tape with CA glue has has held very well but I have found myself having to clean tape residue off the endmills regularly.

Lately I have been using a 23 gauge pin nailer and found it has worked really well. Keeps the work piece from moving and is pretty easy to pull off once the cut is done. And no clean up on the endmill required.

I made a threaded insert spoil board this week and will be making some cam style clamps like Ben from Myers Woodshop on YouTube.

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