Vacuum Pump suggestions?

Hey all, just ordered my Journeyman, so have a few months to get things together. I’m going to be cutting mainly thin acrylic sheet, so will be building a vacuum hold down system. I’ve been searching online and this forum, but other than the black box pumps which are really pricey, can’t find a reliable suggestion for a vacuum pump. I think I will probably use two, and split the 32x48 work surface into two zones. I’ve seen the foreign regenerative vacuum pump motors(like this one) which are $150-$300 which seem like a good option, but I don’t know about longevity or what size to get.

I have access to both 110v and 220v. Just starting out, so flying a little blind here - thanks for the help.

Best, Peter

I have a 220V Gast vacuum pump. I bought it off ebay and use it in the shop on my wood lathe. Mine was in good condition but they are a sliding vane pump and can be rebuilt fairly easily and are good performers. You see them as surplus when they come out of a lab, etc.

Thanks Alan - i’ll look into those - upon a search there were about a dozen variations, I have no idea which one is relevant. I also just emailed Black Box, which sells replacement motors for their systems - hopefully I can buy two motors and DIY a unit - that would be ideal, assuming their motors last (they say “long lasting”, but…)?

I did talk to Black Box (Paul is very nice!) and I can buy the motors and DIY a unit. They are vacuum motors essentialy, and he suggested not running for more than 60-90 minutes at a time so they can cool down. So, if anyone has a suggestion for a longer duty vacuum pump, please let me know! Thanks, Peter

Peter, here’s a photo of my Gast vacuum pump doing its duty on my wood lathe. I use it there as the vacuum source for a vacuum chuck. I am fairly certain that the Gast has a 100% duty cycle. I have seen these in laboratories and process facilities where they run continuously. I am also attaching the manual and cut sheets for the model 1023 that I have.

0523 Gast Rotary Vane Air Compressor Manual.pdf (655.2 KB)
Gast 1023 cut sheets.pdf (263.9 KB)


Wow, that is quite the setup! I wonder if that type of small orifice vacuum pump for a small chuck area would work on a vacuum hold down board, over a large area? The only pumps I’ve seen working on the type of sheet hold down I need for a CNC (32"x48" area) are larger orifice higher air volume pumps?

Yes, a sliding vane will pull a very low pressure. It also flows 10 CFM at atmospheric pressure.

The trick with all the tables I have seen are to get a good seal and minimize the leaks. That said this pump likely pulls more vacuum than a blower. Here’s a photo of the performance after I put new sliding carbon vanes in it. As you know 29.92" Hg is full vacuum, so this pump performs quite well. “Well” is defined as me being willing to stand in front of a big chunk of rotating wood held on the wood lathe by the pump! :grinning:

Hey Alan,

thanky you for providing the pdf manual and datasheet. Would you mind showing a more detailed photo of the nameplate?

I will take one. I don’t have one in my old files on the topic.

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