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Making a Vacuum Chamber for Resin Work

Pressure chambers are not the sort of things that anyone should make without knowing exactly what they are doing. Vacuum sucks everything in so any malfunction will result only in the collapse of the chamber and some wasted resin.  A malfunction with a pressure chamber can result in a fatal explosion.  

 

 


Vacuum chambers are a lot easier to make than pressure chambers.  Here are some tips on the basics of the design.

All you need is something to withstand the negative pressure. I have used a big plastic (PVC) pipe which has an internal diam of 360mm and wall thickness of approx 10mm. I started with something smaller ( a 150mm diam pvc pipe) but eventually found a bigger pipe. You might go to an industrial plumber or gas fitter to get an offcut.

It can be as long or short as you like. Mine is bigger than I need being approx 3 foot tall. My lid and bottom were made from ply and sealed with a lacquer to prevent any air being sucked through the pores. I used silicone to seal the join on the bottom and ran a bead of silicone around the top to act as an ‘O’ ring and help get a good seal. I also cut an inspection hole in the lid which I covered with a piece of 5mm clear acrylic/perspex. Inspection windows are important so you can see when the bubbles that are being sucked out of the resin and/or timber have disappeared.

Pressure chambers are not the sort of things that anyone should make without knowing exactly what they are doing. Vacuum sucks everything in so any malfunction will result only in the collapse of the chamber and some wasted resin.  A malfunction with a pressure chamber can result in a fatal explosion.  

You then need to connect your hose (make sure you get rigid hose so it doesn’t collapse when the pump is turned on) which I did via the lid. It is important to have a valve inline so you can 1/ regulate the negative pressure and 2/ release the vacuum before you turn the pump off and take the lid off. This is important because otherwise the resin can splatter when there is a sudden loss of suction (ie when the pump is turned off).

You will need a vacuum pump which could be a vacuum cleaner (I think, I have never used one). This is when the in-line valve will be important. It will allow some air through to the vacuum’s motor and help to prevent it from over-heating. Just think of how the vacuum cleaner sounds/struggles when you completely cover the hose. Vacuum pumps are commercially available, mine was sourced second-hand from an old dairy.

All this stuff I learnt through trial and error and wasting lots of money on resin so I hope it helps you make fewer errors and waste less resin.

Remember: Pressure chambers are not the sort of things that anyone should make without knowing exactly what they are doing. Vacuum sucks everything in so any malfunction will result only in the collapse of the chamber and some wasted resin.  A malfunction with a pressure chamber can result in a fatal explosion.

 

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