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Thread: Hold down with Black Box Vac

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Habitat For Bats, Jackson GA
    Posts
    2,101

    Default Hold down with Black Box Vac

    Well, one of my feins finally died and I needed to get back to work quickly. I discovered http://www.blackboxvac.com with some help from the forum here and learned they were in Jasper, GA. That was close enough for me to go get what I needed and be running by the end of the day rather than building something myself after waiting on shipping for parts not to mention design time.

    I decided not to go back with Feins. While I found their performance acceptable, I was never thrilled with it. The most it would pull completely sealed was 6.5" Hg and about 5.5" in practical use. They did the job but I did often have to tape edges and be very careful with cut order.

    I was skeptical about the Black Box vacs, I mean that's a nice chunk of change for a "black box" with 4 vac heads in it. But, having seen it now I'll say its had a lot of thought put into it and no skimping on materials. It is hooked up and is running well pulling 10" Hg on the same vac guage I used with the feins. In practical use I'm seeing 7" Hg running one stage and 9" running both stages on a full sheet. I could generally cut at about 5.5" Hg with the feins using tape to seal the edges if needed to get the sheet down.

    I have videos and pictures on the way. After running about 12 sheets so far I can't speak to longevity yet but it has worked very well. I believe with the extra power I will be able to reduce some of the use of tabs in my cut files.

    I'll keep you posted as I keep running it and post video links to YouTube as I get them uploaded.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    LaGrange GA
    Posts
    590

    Default

    Those look like nice units. Vacuum hold down is next on my wish list for my bot. I have done a lot of reading on the forum, and would rather not build my own box. This looks like it might be a good fit for me.

    Which one did you get?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Habitat For Bats, Jackson GA
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    Default

    I got the Hurricane with 4 motors. It is overkill but nice to have. I've ran 14 sheets with just the 2 motors, but as I type this I had a sheet with excessive lift along one edge, the two motors couldn't pull it doe and keep it. I had about 1/8" gap under it. Normally I'd close it with masking tape which would pull it down when sealed. In this case I powered up the second stage and it sucked it right down. The sheet just finished, no tape needed, nothing moved. Nice.

    /RB

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,305

    Default

    Isn't that unit the same one that Gary made available on this forum.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Habitat For Bats, Jackson GA
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    Default

    Yes, that's where I got some of the the info was from those posts. I don't know all the political ties but the guy I talked to at Black Box Vacs was named Paul. Seemed like a pretty nice guy.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Marquette, MI
    Posts
    3,375

    Default

    Jerry, et al....
    Some clarification:

    The Hurricane Vacuum that Robert has is not from the same design as the original design (circa 2010) that after a few dozen units sold, was given as open source to this forum.

    Over time I received numerous inquiries from individuals that had made their own "improvements" and took some shortcuts which resulted in numerous failures and less than optimal vacuum performance. I also received requests for complete units. My employment at that time did not allow me to sell products that might be perceived at competing against products that my employer sold. That restriction no longer exists.

    My newest new design (circa 2013) was improved upon and is being manufactured by Paul and Joey of Black Box Vacuum Solutions, Inc., and are sold to a number of OEM CNC manufacturers (and individuals) thru their www.usroutertools.com website. I do not have a stake in either corporation, but do have a financial interest. This new version can be ordered stand alone with a machine or built in and plumbed on some brands, or drop shipped direct to the customer. I do not believe ShopBot is among them. Some of the changes to this latest version are:

    Smaller more efficient design, with better airflow
    Up to four 2" openings with optional zone valve for each
    The enclosure is no longer made from wood products
    Thermal breakers control the main and secondary vac motors (safety)
    Vacuum relief valves are included
    Cooling intake air is filtered
    Forced air fan cooling for the vac motors
    Easy access to motors and control wiring

    Of course a ready to run, plug in and cut, warranted solution is not for every one, but then again, neither are the trials and tribulations of uninformed DIY projects, especially by those inexperienced with vacuum hold down. And please believe me that vacuum hold down is one of the most misunderstood subjects in the small CNC world.

    Sorry for the shameless marketing plug, but I do wish to set the record straight.
    Gary Campbell
    GCnC Control
    GCnC411(at)gmail(dot)com
    ShopBot Controller Upgrades
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Islaww1


    "We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them"
    Albert Einstein


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,305

    Default

    Thanks for clearing that up. But isn't it still based on the one you posted. Robert I was wondering how the noise level and heat level is compared to your old system. My shop is small gets pretty hot here in the summer

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Marquette, MI
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    3,375

    Default

    Jerry...
    I will try this again. NO. The new version is a total redesign. So that you may understand the concept, take 2 products that use similarly named parts with different specs and designs. Like your machine at home and the one you run at work. Or, a pinto and a BMW. Virtually all the parts of each are similar in name, but by using a different design a totally different performance level can be achieved.

    Heat is a product of the motors. Average for these are 550 air watts or 1600 input watts per motor. I assume that they generate near 1600 watts of heat. Compared to a Fein's 1100. Double the air watts for 50% more heat. Sounds like a winner. As far as noise goes.... If you need quiet, go with the Fein.
    Gary Campbell
    GCnC Control
    GCnC411(at)gmail(dot)com
    ShopBot Controller Upgrades
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Islaww1


    "We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them"
    Albert Einstein


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Habitat For Bats, Jackson GA
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    Default

    Again, I'm not interested in any politics here and wish to remain objective, but I appreciate Gary's explanation. So far as I'm concerned, I found a company that makes what I needed and bought it.

    The vacs are louder than the feins. My original installation had the feins outside in a cabinet and I was going to put the blackbox vac outside as well. I originally just pulled the feins out, put in the blackbox vac, plugged in the two hoses that connected to the feins and powered it up. It sucked the hoses FLAT immediately. I tried a few tricks but couldn't keep the hoses from collapsing so I moved the vac inside under the table and replumbed the PVC direct to the unit (a more conventional solution). I will probably attempt to move them outside again in the future, but I needed to get up and running for the moment.

    They are louder, but I wear hearing protection and it is comfortable. With only 2 motors running it isn't bad, with all 4 running (rarely when needed) it is noticeably louder.

    I was concerned about the extra heat, but was actually surprised it didn't put out more heat than it did. Don't get me wrong, they do produce heat but not like I expected and the shop temp remained reasonable running like I normally run things.

    When I get videos online I'll report back again.

    /RB

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    cnc routing, portland or
    Posts
    3,628

    Default

    heat I roasted this summer when I was running 6+ hours steady. I only got a 6 degree increased but it seemed like more. how quiet is the setup? thats my big battele keeping it quiet so I don't always need hearing protection.

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