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Frequently asked Questions

Screwing down or clamping down the work piece wastes your valuable shop time and is impractical for some applications. A specialized vacuum hold down pump, such as one of our Black Box Vacuum pumps, can be turned on to apply vacuum pressure to the work pieces while cutting and turned off to release the pieces afterward. Using a dedicated vacuum pump designed for CNC applications is a surefire way to increase shop productivity and make it easy to get the job done.

Black Box Vacuum Solutions offers affordable vacuum hold down pumps that cost up to four times less to purchase, don’t require expensive three phase power (whether from a three-phase installation or a phase converter), include everything you need to get started, and perform just as well. 

Vacuum pressure is applied via plumbing to a gridded out section of sealed MDF which then directs the air coming through a surfaced spoil board made of LDF or MDF (Light or medium density fiberboard).
Airflow > Workpiece > Surfaced LDF > Table Grid > Plumbing > Vacuum Pump > Exhaust

LDF and MDF are porous materials and allow air to pass through them as long as the resinous layers on top and bottom are surfaced off before use.

The Hurricane and the Cyclone vacuum pumps include an inline filter that will provide protection from dust being sucked into the plumbing. However, we require that you use a spoil board made of LDF or MDF (Light or medium density fiberboard) as the first layer of filtration on your vacuum grid, especially if using a Storm without a filter. An optional canister filter is available for purchase designed for use with the Storm Vacuum Pump.

If using a Hurricane or Cyclone Vacuum Pump, you will need to purchase PVC or ABS piping to connect your pump to the table. Purchase enough 3″ piping, 3″ elbows, and a 3″ threaded male adapter for the intake port on the vacuum pump. Canister filter adapters are included with the Hurricane and Cyclone. If using bladed gate valves to separate zones, purchase one 3″ to 2″ reducing T connector per valve or optionally a 3″ to 2″ reducing elbow for the last zone in the plenum. (Purchase high quality steel bladed valves from our store here) You will also need 2″ piping and elbows to connect the valves to the T’s and the CNC table. You may construct your plenum to suit your needs; however, Black Box Vacuum Solutions recommends using the least amount of piping and sharp elbows as possible to increase efficiency. You may glue the fittings, if desired. Follow the same method for the Storm but use all 2″ piping and fittings.

All of our vacuum pumps are warrantied to be free from manufacture defect for a period of 1 year from the purchase date. This includes the original internal motors. All of our replacement parts including replacement motors are warrantied to be free from manufacture defect for 30 days from the purchase date.

Black Box Vacuum Solutions recommends  using two Hurricane vacuum pumps on two separate zone groups on your table to maximize performance. This can be accomplished by dividing your zones evenly between the two Hurricanes. This setup would be plumbed such that the Hurricanes would not share the same plumbing or airflow for optimal performance. Another option is to try our Grip-Lock mat. Check out the video on the product page. Please call us so we can discuss your best solution with you.

Our replacement brush kits come with a tool to determine if the brushes need to be replaced. The brushes in the motors last approximately 1500 hours depending on the operating environment. Brush wear and life is greatly affected by temperature, humidity, and dust therefore we recommend checking brushes at 800 hours to see if they need to be replaced. Order replacement brush kits here.

When you are going to be cutting small parts, just roll it out on your spoil board. Place your material on the mat, and you will need to re-zero your Z axis with a target of 0.1mm to 0.5mm cut through your material. Grip-Lock mat is reusable. When you are done using it, vacuum or blow it off and roll it up. It is best to store it out of direct sunlight.

Although the mat will lose some effectiveness with age, you should be able to use it many times. The worst thing for the mat is cutting through it and deep tool marks. If you can keep your tool marks between 0.1mm – 0.5mm you will increase the lifespan greatly. You can flip the mat over and use the other side if your tool marks are not deep. Vacuuming or blowing off the mat between runs will also increase the lifespan of your mat.

Arauco makes Trupan MDF and LDF. If you are having a hard time finding quality MDF or LDF, you can look for a distributor for Arauco products on their webpage here.

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North Star Leasing. A division of Peoples Bank

Since 1979, North Star Leasing has focused exclusively on helping businesses grow by providing equipment financing for companies in a variety of industries. We offer a wide range of financing programs to meet unique business needs. This includes everything from skip payments and seasonal leases as well as municipal leasing programs.

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