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Vacuum Workholding Systems

Vacuum workholding, which seemed to be the province of the well-funded professional until very recently is now within the reach of most woodworkers thanks to the development work undertaken by M-Power to make these system affordable, then going even further and producing them, as an option, as self-build "kits".  A range of sizes and build/buy options are offered, below.

Big Mach Vacuum Table Kit: 1120 mm x 520 mm (44" x 20.5")

The Big Mach is the largest in the line of vacuum table designs from M-Power.  When built, it measures just 1120 mm x 520 mm (44" x 20.5") yet can hold components as large as 2440 mm x 2440 mm ( that's an incredible 8 feet square!) and as small as 100 mm x 100 mm (yes, just four inches square!)  As the illustration shows, the great advantage of vacuum holding is that you can work over the entire surface of your workpiece with unfettered access to all four edges, without any hassle such as double-sided adhesive tapes and the attendant risks of damage to pre-finished surfaces or deposition of residues inhibiting subsequent finishing.  The power source for this table is a vacuum cleaner of 1000 watt (1 Kw; 11/3 HP) minimum power, or an industrial vacuum pump rated at a minimum of 6 cubic metres per hour.  Most workshop vacuum cleaners fulfill the required specification, so you probably already have the power source sitting wating for a more full-time role!

The pre-built version of the Big Mach is no longer available but we offer the Big Mach Kit which contains all the basic parts to allow you to construct a vacuum table of your own, for a very economical price.  This includes 21 ball valves, a vacuum control tap and mounting plate, all required screws, gaskets and full instructions.  You supply the skill and around three hour's effort - though this is not a particularly testing project - and either MDF or marine ply for the baseboard (25mm for top; 18 mm for base) - plus the power source.

NB:  The Big Mach Kit does not include the Fence shown in the photograph, above.


MiniMach Vacuum Table: 610 mm x 320 mm (24" x 12.5")

Like its larger cousin, above, the MiniMach brings vacuum workholding within the reach of virtually any woodworker.  The MiniMach has been designed for those who routinely indulge in smaller projects such as boxmaking, furniture-making, signmaking etc.  But don't be fooled by its compact size.  When connected to the recommended 1000 watt vacuum cleaner power source, this device can hold components up to 1220 mm (4 feet) square, yet copes equally well with workpieces as small as 95 mm (33/4") square.  The MiniMach has eleven hold-down chambers of graduated sizes making it suitable for a wide range of workpiece sizes up to its maximum capacity.  Being a sealed unit, the MiniMach can be laid onto any worksurface without loss of holding power and, by simply attaching a batten to the rear, can be easily clamped into a vice or portable workbench (making it ideal for on-site use).  It can also be screwed to a workbench if a permanent installation is required.


U-Mach Vacuum Table Kit: 259 mm x 482 mm (10" x 19")

This kit is designed to enable a woodworker with four hours to invest to contruct a vacuum hold-down table.  The builder is required to supply sufficient 25mm MDF or marine ply to form the body of the unit, but the kit contains all of the key items to complete the device including 12 ball valves, a vacuum tap and mounting plate, gasket materials and full instructions.  A 1000 watt (min.) vacuum cleaner or vacuum pump rated at 6 cu. m. per hour is required to power the unit.

The components of the kit are shown, right.

The illustration, above, shows a completed U-Mach kit.


Vacuum Table Components

The following listed components are available to assist with repairing existing vacuum tables or to enable those with special needs to create bespoke tables to their own designs.  The parts are as shown in the photograph, above right, as the detail components for the U-Mach kit.


*NB: Prices quoted in pounds sterling. 
Value Added Tax will be added to invoices to EU residents unless
a valid VAT registration number is quoted when ordering.

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1997-2009 P. Hemsley.  The information on this website is the copyright property of Peter Hemsley.  Coeur du Bois and The ToolPost are trading styles of Peter Hemsley.  Whilst reasonable efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of information presented, no liability can be accepted for errors in this information nor for contingencies arising therefrom.  If you are inexperienced in any aspect of woodworking, we would strongly counsel that you take a course of formal instruction before commencing to practice