Let’s move on to the next part of building the CNC vacuum plate: machining the base. You may recall from the last post that the base was to be machined from a 1 inch thick piece of cast acrylic material. The base will have channels that allow air to be drawn through a top plate that has an array of holes. From there, the air will be drawn out of the vacuum plate and into a vacuum pump that has adequate suction to hold the work piece in place.
Below is a photo of the base being machined. I’m using a flat end mill to carve out the channels and the area at the end where a vacuum connection will be made.
These small desktop CNC machines usually handle bits that have a 1/8 inch shank, and as it turns out, just about all of the bits I’ve found that have a 1/8 inch shank have a cutting width of no more than 1/8 inch. I did manage to find a 1/4 inch drill at one site, and I’ve found some “deep reach” bits that have a longer than typical bit length and cutting depth. It just means that it’ll take a bit longer than it would with larger bits because more passes will need to be made.
Finished base part, all cleaned up. Beautiful!
Next, we’ll make a top plate which will have all of the holes in it, connect vacuum, and see how it works!