Author Topic: My Vac-Sys setup  (Read 5961 times)

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Offline scholar

  • Posts: 136
My Vac-Sys setup
« on: June 10, 2018, 06:46 AM »
Someone may be interested to see how I have adapted the excellent Vac-Sys vacuum holding system for my workshop.

I already had a vacuum pump for my vacuum bag system - an Airpress pump that provides 8m3/hr - this is higher than the Festool pump, I believe, but as far as I can tell the vacuum pressure is the same (the AirPress pump is adjustable anyway and the Festool units still hold well at much lower pressures).

AirPress do make some vacuum holding pods that are quite neat, but I had been looking at the Festool kit for along time, just unnerved at the cost - in the end some eBay vouchers and some good discounts encouraged me to buy a Festool SE1 set and SE2 set, plus the alternative size plates - total outlay for these was £805 after I sold off the 2 Classic Systainers that I didn’t want (and are not a very good storage solution unless you are transporting the units to a job site) - RRP would have been £1,268.  Even so it is a sizeable investment.  In addition, I spent about £100 on the various additional fittings to modify all the connections to quick release, as mentioned below.

I needed to get a few interconnecting fittings because the fitting on the AirPress pump is different to those on the Festool units - there is a rather annoying range of different air tool connections, but it was fairly easy to sort out the fittings needed.

Having got the system all connected up, I thought about how I really wanted to use it - the units could just sit on top of the workbench, but they would have to be stood in from the edge to avoid the dog holes and they would not be at an ideal height.  I decided to find a way of fixing the units to the front apron of the workbench - this I did by making some 3mm steel plates that are bolted to the SE1 and SE2 units and in turn can be bolted to the workbench.  I installed some M8 threaded inserts in the front apron of the workbench (possibly a bit sacrilegious to do this to my lovely Lie-Nielsen workbench, but the inserts are fairly discreet and could always be removed and the holes plugged with some maple).  I backed the steel plates with some rubber sheet to avoid them clunking on the workbench.  The fixing holes in the plates mean I can install the units at two different heights.

The SE1 and SE2 units come with all the hoses attached - the hose is rather stiff and thick so it makes the whole unit rather unwieldy - I figured it would be better if all the connections were quick release, so I modified the hose connections with appropriate quick release fittings that makes it much easier to set up.  (Standard hi flow air fittings are required for this - you do not need to get Festool fittings that are inordinately expensive as spares - the only issue was finding 9mm barbed fittings to fit the ID of the hose - these are available, but not a common size).

Finally, I decided that it would be nice to have the pump located remotely so that it was not constantly buzzing whilst in use - I have not compared the noise of the Festool pump with my AirPress pump, but whilst the AirPress pump is not unbearably loud, it is preferable to have it out of the workshop.  So I have installed the AirPress pump in an under stairs store cupboard outside the workshop, with air connection and power switch inside the workshop - I fashioned an assembly of air connections and copper tube to get the connections on either side of the wall.  I can also now use this setup for vacuum pressing where again having the pump remotely positioned is nice (in fact the pump has two ports so I could use both the airbag press and the Vac-Sys at the same time, although I have only made one connection through the wall).

Here are some pictures that hopefully explain.  I am very happy with the setup and would certainly recommend adding the QR fittings as it makes deployment of the unit so much easier.

Final step, still to do, is to make some plywood boxes to store the two units under the workbench (the Systainers would not have worked for this due to the steel plates and anyway, I found the Systainer storage annoying as the foam lining did not allow the units to be lifted out easily, plus the Classic catches are not nice compared to T-Locs).

« Last Edit: June 10, 2018, 08:06 AM by scholar »

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Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 8888
Re: My Vac-Sys setup
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2018, 09:26 AM »
Nice install... [big grin]...it's also nice to place the noise maker in a different room.   I made similar stainless plates with 2 attached 20mm aluminum dogs that fit in the holes on the bench. That way the vacuum chucks can be positioned anywhere on the surface of the bench.

I especially like the idea of converting everything to QD fittings.  [thumbs up]

Love the bench, did you import that from the states or is there a distributor in GB?


Offline scholar

  • Posts: 136
Re: My Vac-Sys setup
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2018, 09:47 AM »

Love the bench, did you import that from the states or is there a distributor in GB?

Ha!

I bought it from the man himself quite a few years ago. Axminster Tools sell the workbenches and they used to have an (excellent) annual show in the West Country - I bought this as a very keen deal from Tom on the last afternoon of the show and have loved it ever since.

I got him to pose with it too!



Cheers

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 8888
Re: My Vac-Sys setup
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2018, 11:04 AM »

I bought it from the man himself quite a few years ago.


Ah...that explains why the legs are different than the current version.

Great photo. 👍👍

Offline DynaGlide

  • Posts: 1096
Re: My Vac-Sys setup
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2018, 03:58 PM »
If you kept a parts list for the QD fittings I'd be interested.
Instagram @matts.garage

Offline scholar

  • Posts: 136
Re: My Vac-Sys setup
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2018, 09:06 AM »
If you kept a parts list for the QD fittings I'd be interested.

I haven’t without going back and recreating it. You need to logically draw out the layout and work out what fittings you want.

The main things to look for are:

- XF fittings (sometimes known as hi-flow or euro air fittings). There is a multitude of similar looking things, so just check the profiles look the same.
- 9mm barb for the fittings that fit inside the hose (9mm being the inside diameter)
- 3/4” BSP threads for the threaded fittings (into the unit and on the brass nipples)

So you will basically need some of each of these:

- https://www.pcl-online.com/aa7114-xf-adaptor-plug-9mm-hose-tailpiece-167-p.asp
- https://www.pcl-online.com/ac7109-xf-coupling-socket-9mm-hose-tailpiece-153-p.asp
- https://www.pcl-online.com/ac71ef-xf-coupling-socket-rp-38-female-thread-149-p.asp
- https://www.pcl-online.com/aa7103-xf-adaptor-plug-r-38-male-thread-158-p.asp
- https://racebikebitz.com/hose-clamp-clips-fittings-universal-heavy-duty-pressure/double-ear-o-clips-zinc-plated-w1-mild-steel/double-ear-o-clips-304-stainless-steel-w4-o-clamps

For neatness, I swapped around the Festool QR fitting that was attached to the foot valve - this can now be used with one or both Vac-Sys units connected.  This and the earlier pictures shown above should illustrate the layout that I have used.



I hope that helps

Cheers


Offline DynaGlide

  • Posts: 1096
Re: My Vac-Sys setup
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2018, 09:21 AM »
@scholar That does help immensely. Only question is I see on your foot valve you used a combination of AA7103 XF Adaptor Plug R 3/8 Male Thread and AC71EF XF Coupling Socket Rp 3/8 Female Thread when the links you provided show there's a one piece unit AC7109 XF Coupling Socket 9mm Hose Tailpiece that would do the same thing. Is there a reason for this?

For the extra hose did you cut the Festool or did you find a supplier?

Instagram @matts.garage

Offline scholar

  • Posts: 136
Re: My Vac-Sys setup
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2018, 05:09 PM »
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@scholar That does help immensely. Only question is I see on your foot valve you used a combination of AA7103 XF Adaptor Plug R 3/8 Male Thread and AC71EF XF Coupling Socket Rp 3/8 Female Thread when the links you provided show there's a one piece unit AC7109 XF Coupling Socket 9mm Hose Tailpiece that would do the same thing. Is there a reason for this?

For the extra hose did you cut the Festool or did you find a supplier?

Regarding the foot pump connectors, there are of course many different ways to do all these things. I think my intention was to minimise the number of OEM pipe clips that had to be removed and then replaced, to put all the nice Festool QR fittings on the connections to the units and also to make the two connectors on the foot valve assembly the same (just OCD tidiness).  If you work from what is OEM supplied, that should make sense (I did away with the ball-valve and a couple of other incidental bits that came with the SE2 foot valve connections.

Regarding the hose, I had originally expected to need some more, but just cut up the hoses supplied as necessary (you don’t want the hoses too long as they are a bit clunky).

I found my original scruffy sketch planning the layout and attach this in case it helps. 



Cheers

« Last Edit: October 18, 2018, 06:51 PM by scholar »

Offline MikeGE

  • Posts: 264
Re: My Vac-Sys setup
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2020, 10:11 AM »
I apologize for resurrecting this thread, especially for what might be a stupid question.  I want to modify the vacuum lines on my VAC SYS for my workbench, which involves adding QD fittings so I can remove the hoses for easier storage, and also shorten the lines a bit.

Can the same QD fittings used for compressor lines be used for vacuum lines?

Offline afish

  • Posts: 600
Re: My Vac-Sys setup
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2020, 10:36 AM »
Having only ever seen the vac-sys in photos, I have always been surprised at the size hose they use.  Most of the pneumatic clamping systems I have dealt with usually use much smaller line 1/4" or 6mm seems to be the most common with push connect fittings.  Just curious if there is a reason for such large hoses for something that doesnt seem like it would require a large amount of cfm's

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 8888
Re: My Vac-Sys setup
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2020, 11:01 AM »
Having only ever seen the vac-sys in photos, I have always been surprised at the size hose they use.  Most of the pneumatic clamping systems I have dealt with usually use much smaller line 1/4" or 6mm seems to be the most common with push connect fittings.  Just curious if there is a reason for such large hoses for something that doesnt seem like it would require a large amount of cfm's

Vacuum hose has to have a fairly thick wall section so that it won't collapse under vacuum use. If you make the hose from a thinner, harder material then the hose also becomes less flexible. It's a compromise...

The larger diameter hose is actually a good thing because it becomes a "holding tank" for vacuum much like the tank on an air compressor. If you don't use the cavities under the clamping modules (I always do for safety reasons) then the hose is the only vacuum reservoir in the system.

Offline afish

  • Posts: 600
Re: My Vac-Sys setup
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2020, 02:17 PM »
Yes the reserve capacity was one benefit I saw with the large hose if you dont have any extra tanks like the festool pump. Not sure how much is needed for the relatively small surface area of the suction clamp.  I know if you are doing large vacuum bags or 3d parts that has a lot of air to suck out the extra reserve is nice to quickly evacuate the air. 

This is the stuff Ive been using. hose
I haven't used it a lot yet but have run and done some tests and it hasn't caused any issues yet pulling vacuum to 27" plus its small and flexible. It would seem like the larger the diameter of the hose would require more strength and thicker walls to prevent collapse.  I have about 5 gallons of reserve vacuum so bigger line isnt helping me much.  I just wanted to make sure I wasnt missing something before getting to far as Im also planning on trying to locate the compressor in another room and run the line over to reduce noise like the OP. 

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 8888
Re: My Vac-Sys setup
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2020, 09:17 AM »
I apologize for resurrecting this thread, especially for what might be a stupid question.  I want to modify the vacuum lines on my VAC SYS for my workbench, which involves adding QD fittings so I can remove the hoses for easier storage, and also shorten the lines a bit.

Can the same QD fittings used for compressor lines be used for vacuum lines?

All QD fittings are not the same and there are special QD fittings available for vacuum applications. In an industrial/aeronautical situation using the special vacuum QD fittings would be the norm.

However, in this case it isn't a life or death situation and so people regularly use standard QD fittings for vacuum, some work better than others.

My solution was to order some extra Festo QD fittings from Festool service and then reconfigure the lines accordingly. I've been happy with the results. I'm thinking about making a vacuum chuck for the lathe and will again order the Festo fittings from Festool.

Offline rst

  • Posts: 2684
Re: My Vac-Sys setup
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2020, 09:57 AM »
Don't get too caught up in what vac, hose or fittings you use.  I've been vac jigging for more than 40 years originally using a Craftsman vac or the intake on my air compressor and for 25+ years using a $15.00 surplus HVAC pump with standard heavy duty industrial rubber air hose.  A couple years before Festool finally made their vac system available I bought two Virutex vac heads.  They came with 8mm nylon hose.  I bought hose and push/pull fittings for 8mm from Automationdirect.com.  I use the push/pull fittings on the Festool heads to remove the hose from heads for storage as it makes them much easier to store.

Offline afish

  • Posts: 600
Re: My Vac-Sys setup
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2020, 03:13 PM »
Yea, I did the same thing with a senco compressor I never used anymore.  It used to be my trim gun compressor but now everything is battery powered.  So it was headed for the door until I thought of trying to convert it to a vacuum pump.  So far it works great but I have only done some mock up tests so far.  But Im very happy with the performance thus far.  I have less than $200 in parts to convert it over.  I could have done it much cheaper but I wanted it to pull vacuum to a set point and turn off and then kick back on if it dropped below a point.  This way it isnt running constantly. I only have a about 4' of extra tubing right now but I was only getting about a half of an inch drop in 24 hours.   

Re: My Vac-Sys setup
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2020, 02:02 PM »

Love the bench, did you import that from the states or is there a distributor in GB?

Ha!

I bought it from the man himself quite a few years ago. Axminster Tools sell the workbenches and they used to have an (excellent) annual show in the West Country - I bought this as a very keen deal from Tom on the last afternoon of the show and have loved it ever since.

I got him to pose with it too!

(Attachment Link)

Cheers
Nice


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