Midiplate Plan

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TOP VIEW

Vacuum tape

Nearly 80-sq.-in. vacuum chamber

SECTION VIEW

Quick-disconnect fitting, male

BOTTOM VIEW

Vacuum tape

""j Right-angle port

19-sq.in. vacuum chamber

19-sq.-in. vacuum chamber

Quick-disconnect fitting, male ---

19-sq.in. vacuum chamber

""j Right-angle port

Va" plywood

Vacuum chamber on top only

Va" plywood

Vacuum chamber on top only

8 Vi"

MAXI PLATE PLAN

TOP VIEW

8 Vi"

MIDI-PLATE

Cutting List

Part Qty.

Dimensions Material

Plate 1

fc" x VAU xll" Void-free plywood

Hardware

Vacuum tape, SA" x ]A", approx. 42"

Quick-disconnect fitting, male

Vacuum tape

MAXI PLATE PLAN

TOP VIEW

Vacuum tape

MAXI PLATE

Cutting List

Part

Qty. Dimensions

Material

Plate plies

2 X" x 12" x 18"

MDF

Hardware

2 pes. plastic laminate, 1 fc" x 125<$"

2 pes. plastic laminate, 12J4" x 18^"

Vacuum tape. x 'A", approx. 14"

Quick-disconnect fitting, male

/-Vacuum port

11 Va"

SECTION VIEW

Quick-dis fitting, male

BOTTOM VIEW

r Plastic laminate seals j edges, top, and bottom.

T-port

2-layered substrate

T-port

2-layered substrate

1

)

^--Vacuum tape

clamping plate can serve as a vacuum vise. Just seal fasteners with silicone caulk so air doesn't leak around them into the vacuum chamber.

The magic of the vacuum-clamp plate, of course, is that you can outline vacuum chambers on both faces of the plate.Then, by using aT-port. you can simultaneously suck the work to the plate and the plate to the bench.

Here are plans and cutting lists for four slightly different turns on the clamping-plate form.

The first is a plate that replaces the mounting table in a router table. Pop the router out of the router table and drop this plate into its place. It will hold a workpiccc so you can rout around the edges, rout grooves and dadoes, sand it, and perform other operations that apply only downward or lateral forces. If you lift the workpiece, the plate will, of course, pull up out of the router table. The router table clamp plate is not a hold-down.

The next three plates are the same but for their sizes and materials. I just want to demonstrate the range of materials that can be used, as well as the configurations that are possible. The mini-plate and the maxi-plate have vacuum chambers on both faces, while the midi-plate has a vacuum chamber on one side only. To use it, you must dog it to a workbench.

Making a Clamp Plate

Here are the basic steps to making a clamp plate of any size and any material.

1. Cut the base. Sclect your material. Remember that plastics are best because they are flat and non-porous. Man-made sheet goods are flat but vary in their porosity and will undoubtedly need to be sealed. For some applications, solid wood is okay, though it does tend to warp and it will need to be sealed.

Depending upon the material and the style of vacuum port, the plate can be as thin as % inch but may need to be-as tliick as inch. And to boost the height of the work above the work surface, you may want to make the base more than -54 inch thick. To achieve these greater heights, you probably will need to glue-laminate two or more layers.

Given these parameters, determine how big your base will be. and cut the base (or base plies). Glue-laminate the layers if necessary, then trim die edges square and flat.

2. Seal the base. If you are using plywood, go over the edges carefully, filling in any gaps between plies with wood putty or sealer.

Wood and plywood can be sealed satisfactorily with a film finish. But don't be hasty or haphazard; get the base throughly sealed. Shellac dries quickly, so you can apply two or three coats in fairly short order. Most polyurethanes take 12 to 24 hours to dry between coats. Latex paint dries fairly quickly but may leave colored scuffs on workpieces.

MDF and particicboard need to be covcred with plastic laminate—top. bottom, and edges. This can be done faster, I think, than shellacking or painting, and it ensures that the plate will remain flat. And it really seals the plate.

Detailed information on applying plastic laminate can Ixr found in the chapter "Custom Router Table Top" on page 156. Follow the drawing Laminating Sequence as you apply and trim the plastic laminate.

Of course, if you are using plastic for the base, you can skip straight to Step 3.

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