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Thread: PVC Plenum for 4x8 vac table?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    Default PVC Plenum for 4x8 vac table?

    Hey all, I'm about to replace my spoilboard again, and before I do I wanted to explore the idea of a PVC plenum. Right now I have a 3 layer table, the first layer being plywood that's bolted to the frame, the second being a sealed MDF plenum, and the third being Trupan LDF.

    This setup has worked well for a number of years but I'm now toying with the idea of replacing the plenum with 3/4" expanded PVC.

    Has anyone done this? I'm thinking this might work well because it'll be more airtight, and I'd be able to glue it to the plywood base, and the spoilboard to it.

    I've thought about using HDPE for a plenum, but it won't take glue of any kind....

    This is my current plenum:

    IMG_20151018_123314.jpg

  2. #2
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    Mar 2013
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    Memphis TN
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    It certainly will cost more. Value? I doubt it's going to be any different than MDF plenum.
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  3. #3
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    May 2014
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    MA
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    I'm not too worried about the cost, but if I can get some more suction out of it it'll be worth it.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2001
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    Austin, TX
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    I replaced my mdf plenum a few years ago with an hdpe (maybe pvc - I can't remember exactly) and have never looked back. At the time I was using a Fein vac and I didn't and don't often suck through a spoil board. A conversation with the guy from Allstar CNC Products whose view was that with a minimal vacuum source every little bit helps and that mdf is porous no matter how well it is sealed. convinced me. The hdpe loses no vacuum and with two lighthouse motors will hold anything I throw at it.

    I know that Brady does not like this type of table because of movement. I have not resurfaced it or checked it closely in a while but it seems to be flat, judged by cutting. I made the plenum in four zones with a separate piece of hdpe for each zone and allowed for expansion with some oversize screw holes on one side. The plenum holds threaded inserts well for jigs. You might look into King Board as a plenum. I think that it is an extruded plastic.

    Also, I hated sealing the mdf plenum with shellac. It was long and laborious. Did I mention I hated it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Gainesville Florida
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    127

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    Eric,
    I made a 3/4" HDPE plenum 6 or 7 years ago and it has worked great for me. I have it set up to use ALL Star gasketing and I have added locator pins to align the ultralite MDF spoilboard. My original intention was to have a removable spoilboard for other applications, but I leave it on all the time now. I made plugs for all the supply holes with an O ring seal, but again I tend to leave all supplies open and simply cover the un-used spoilboard. It has worked great for my purposes. Just thought I would share.

    Mark
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  6. #6
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    Jan 2004
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    Novato CA
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    If you're not to worried about cost and you'd like to add some mass and stability to the table you might think about a material like Richlite or Paperstone. Little if any movement. Expanded PVC has a large thermal expantion.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    I have a 25 MM pvc plenum on my table. Used to have an MDF one but I think I get better vacuum with the PVC one

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Springfield Mo
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    817

    Default vacuum guage

    Have you tapped in vacuum guage into the table / or plumbing just to see how much vacuum you are getting ?
    The decimal point seems to be the most important on the z axis... x & y not so much....
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  9. #9
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    May 2014
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    MA
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    I have, I'm getting about 8HG with a sheet of ply on it, It'll drop to 5 when there are a lot of holes.

  10. #10
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    Jan 2011
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    gleason, wi 54435
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    I used corian for mine and it is very stable. I gained quite a bit of vacuum but I no longer remember exact numbers. I switched to 2 5 horse becker vacuum pumps with 4 zones, the smallest being 36 x 17 inches. For many projects I use a small sheet of 1/4 inch mdf on top of the spoilboard so I don't have to resurface as often.

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