Jump to content

Vacuum Bagging

Recommended Posts

I've been wanting a vacuum bag system for quite a while, but the price has always put me off. $450 for a decent one from Rockler... Yikes. I saw this refrigerant vacuum pump at Harbor Freight and knew I was on to something:


My wife bought these clothing storage bags a few years ago, in an attempt to declutter her closet:


With those two pieces, and my existing compressor making the three major components, I dug through my box of miscellaneous fittings and came up with this contraption:


IIRC, it's comprised of a 1/2" to 3/8" reducer, a 3/8" ball valve, a 3/8" to 1/4" reducer and a quick disconnect. The 1/2" to 3/8" reducer fit into the vacuum port of the bag perfectly, so it just needed some epoxy to glue it in.

I also put a quick disconnect on the vac pump:


After a couple promising test runs, I tried it for real:


The bag was punctured where it was going over the sharp edges in the roughed-out control cavity, so I patched it up with some packing tape and gave it another go; this time with some protection. I used thin shelf lining foam rubber, since it's what I had lying around, and placed a square of wood over the control cavity opening:


The bag held vacuum overnight with no leaks at all, and worked a treat.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks guys. I went on to use it for headplate veneers, and the outcome was perfect. I forgot to mention that the white rectangle bit in the pics is a scotch-brite-type pad. After using it for these first few times to allow more space around the air valve, I don't think it's necessary and just adds another step.

The air consumption is very little and is only running for a minute, so this would even work with a small pancake compressor. For a minimal outlay of cash, I'm very, very pleased with the results.

Edited by DC Ross
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

Awesome! We have an old Robin Air a/c refrigerant recovery & charging station at work that is no longer used because the controls are shot, but the

internal electric vacuum pump is still intact. I may see about snagging the pump and some of these bags and giving it a go. Thanks for the tip. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...


What sort of pressure do you need at the high-pressure side of the vacuum pump?

between 85 to 125 psi is what I have found using the venturi from harbor freight.

In 2009 I posted a thread about this venturi(see here thread), similar setup to Joe woodworkers design for about $100 total with gauge,valves, 5gal tank, fittings, but no bag. I purchased a 32x60 bag for $85 from woodcraft.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah OK - I didn't realize the pump was a ventui thing until I read the Harbor Freight description.

Those bags are a steal though! I have a Bed, Bath & Beyond about 20 min away - and am now wondering if they carry a bag large enough to do what I want, which is to laminate acoustic guitar sides! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...