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  1. #1
    paul204's Avatar

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    Default vac table improvements

    There's enough threads on here about building vacuum tables themselves. Not really explaining at all how I got mine built, but I've spent the last few days building a new base for the table and tweaking it to print quicker and more enjoyably.

    I was printing flat before, I would definitely recommend angling yours if you haven't. I'm printing mostly with 36" screens, and my table angles from 36" to 48" high, I'm on the tall side though.

    First and simplest improvement: Put a big light right above the table. People probably are smarter than I am and do this right away. For a while now I've been printing under bunk lighting and I'm happy I finally put in a 4x 48" fluorescent fixture above the table.

    I put in a counterweight system, mostly inspired by the one done up by the guy that built his own one-arm. I used small aircraft cable and hung pulleys from the ceiling. I drilled holes through c-clamps to feed the wire. The pulleys are high up enough that the counterweight itself is simply two 36" lengths of 1" square steel tubing. I drilled holes through it so I could attach it to eye-bolts through which the cable could pass.










    Lastly, I put a micro-switch in under one of the hinge-clamps. Combined with the counterweight, this has sped up my printing about 40-50 impressions per hour. Screen-up: vacuum off. Screen-down: vacuum on. No work necessary. When registering screens I just tape it down turn the whole system on.




  2. #2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by paul204 View Post
    Lastly, I put a micro-switch in under one of the hinge-clamps. Combined with the counterweight, this has sped up my printing about 40-50 impressions per hour. Screen-up: vacuum off. Screen-down: vacuum on. No work necessary. When registering screens I just tape it down turn the whole system on.
    The whole thing is sweet, but the above - innovation!

  3. #3
    halfmassive's Avatar

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    Default

    That micro switch idea is great. Where did you pick up the switch?

  4. #4

    Default

    Does that microswitch go to a relay?

  5. #5
    paul204's Avatar

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    Default

    Kind of a long story, but a bunch of them ended up in my shop is how I got the idea. I'm sure any electric supply place can get you one. I believe micro-switch is the technical term for the thing.

    I don't know anything about electricity or electrical work, really, so I'm sorry Edwardo but I dunno what a relay is. Basically, I cut the power cord on my shop vac and spliced in the micro switch. The hot wire gets wired into the switch, one wire on the central pole and then you have the choice of "default open" or "default closed." You want to circuit to be open by default, and then when the switch is tripped (screen down) the circuit closes and the vac turns on. After that, I wired it to a regular switch (as seen on the front of the table) so that I can turn the whole thing on or off and then reattached the plug so I can plug it in.

    Hope that makes sense. Someone plz advise if I'm risking a fire here or something.

    Paul

  6. #6
    vrooooom's Avatar

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by paul204 View Post
    Kind of a long story, but a bunch of them ended up in my shop is how I got the idea. I'm sure any electric supply place can get you one. I believe micro-switch is the technical term for the thing.

    I don't know anything about electricity or electrical work, really, so I'm sorry Edwardo but I dunno what a relay is. Basically, I cut the power cord on my shop vac and spliced in the micro switch. The hot wire gets wired into the switch, one wire on the central pole and then you have the choice of "default open" or "default closed." You want to circuit to be open by default, and then when the switch is tripped (screen down) the circuit closes and the vac turns on. After that, I wired it to a regular switch (as seen on the front of the table) so that I can turn the whole thing on or off and then reattached the plug so I can plug it in.

    Hope that makes sense. Someone plz advise if I'm risking a fire here or something.

    Paul
    And it's dangerous! Now you're really a screen printer...

    Really awesome work. I'm not an electrician or anything, BUt you're mostly right I believe. Though I think switches normally connect via a power supply that's regulated by a set of capacitors, to prevent surges and discharges. So, maybe it's more "correct" or safe to add the switch relay through the vacuum's own switch mechanism.

    But real cool regardless. I was not familiar with that type of switch before now.

  7. #7
    Premium Member
    ittybittypress's Avatar


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    Default

    The microswitch is a cool idea, but why not just use a foot pedal? The pedal will give you complete control, and sometimes it's useful to be able to use the vacuum when the screen is up. I know I especially find that helpful if I've managed to curl the paper.

  8. #8
    Premium Member
    k8bit's Avatar

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    Default

    my foot switch runs away from me sometimes, it's maddening. All those upgrades are really cool.

  9. #9
    Premium Member
    kylewbaker's Avatar


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    Thanks for sharing, cool rig.

    I wonder if the vacuum motor being constantly turned on and off will be problematic.

    I've only seen a few different set ups but they all ran constantly. Of those the ones that (can) stop suction between pulls don't kill the motor, they disengage the hose so the table is disconnected from the vacuum briefly.
    bakerprints.com | BP GP | BP twatter | BP facespace
    Quote Originally Posted by crosshair View Post
    Kyle travels through time to help people. What the fuck do you do?

  10. #10
    paul204's Avatar

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    Default

    Yeah I'd rather this than a footswitch. Never, ever wanted the vac on when the screen is up other than during register, placing tabs down next to paper in correct position. Never have had issues with paper curl, mostly because I print solvent inks.

    Also: You can print without turning off the vac between impressions? My suction is strong enough that I cannot pull off paper when the vacuum is on without damaging it.

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