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VacuClamp pods provide a strong hold

Vacuum Pressing Systems Inc., a manufacturer of vacuum bag systems and vacuum presses, has introduced its two-sided VacuClamp pods designed to hold work pieces firmly for sanding and routing applications. Each 4" x 4" x 5/8" aluminum vacuum pod has a spring-loaded release valve for independent two-sided clamping, and a removable plug for permanent mounting. The two-sided suction pods provide a clear work surface and eliminate the need for clamps.

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“The pods would be mainly used for sanding and routing, something where you have to get to the edges, where you don’t want to have anything in the way and you want to hold it,” says Darryl Keil, president of Vacuum Pressing Systems. “If you have four pods, you can hold a 4x8 sheet completely fine. If you’re just doing a small panel, two pods will do pretty well. Two pods will hold a 4x8 sheet; there’s a lot of power in vacuum. But you will have a little bit of a rocking action with two pods that the four pods are going to stabilize.”

Two-sided pods are somewhat common, but Keil says the VacuClamp pods are unique because suction for each side of the pod can be controlled individually. This is particularly beneficial for vertical applications.

The air requirement for the VacuClamp pods is minimal, because the pods have such a small surface area. The lower the porosity of the material, the lower the cfm requirement is.

“A one cfm pump would be totally fine in many applications. But if you were trying to hold MDF, which is extremely high porosity, then you would probably be better with a 5 cfm. The other consideration is: what are you trying to do? If you’re just trying to hold it so you can sand it, there isn’t much force on that. But if you want to hold it so you can put a big meaty routed detail on the edge, then you want a little more cfm. I would say anywhere between 1 and 5 cfm is plenty.

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“The other part of the requirement is inches of mercury [HG]. If you have a 20 cfm pump, but only have 9" HG, which is like a vacuum cleaner — a shop vac — you’re not going to get much holding power because it’s low vacuum. So it’s a combination. You can’t really hook up a vacuum pod to a shop vac and expect much even though it is has very high cfm. You really want to look at 20" HG as a general parameter.”

A pneumatic foot switch provides quick release of the work piece by simply stepping down. The user simply has to release the pedal and the clamping force is instantly reapplied. One, two, three or more pods can be connected together with vacuum tubing.

The two-pod clamp kit sells for $162 and includes two VacuClamp pods, foot switch and 20' of vacuum tubing with disconnect fitting. A four-pod clamp kit consisting of four VacuClamp pods, foot switch and 30' of vacuum tubing with disconnect fitting is priced at $256. VacuClamp pods cost $51 each, the pneumatic foot switch is available for $69 and 20' of vacuum tubing runs $7.50.

Contact: Vacuum Pressing Systems Inc. Tel: 800-382-4109.

This article originally appeared in the May 2009 issue.

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