Vote for vacuum pump(s) for the vacuum former

This is a proposal for $200 to get the vacuum sources for the vacuum former.

I’ve found some nice high vac pumps from Amazon and Harbor Freight in the $100 range and we may have found a shop vac for $25 from John. We probably will also need some adapters and hoses so I’m thinking it wouldn’t exceed $200.

This high vacuum pump looks pretty nice:

It has a 7 CFM flowrate. The 4CFM ones run around $80.

We will probably vote on this next week (Aug 29th).

There are still funds left over from the last vote. I sent the recommended vacuums to Jim already to order.

The vote as approved was $2500.
Cost of the VF should have been $2095.00 with $89.00 Shipping Totalling $2184
Leaving: $316

The following were recommended:

Both Totalling 298.48
Leaving $17.52

Cool, then we will wait on any voting until we figure out the situation.

At the meeting yesterday, we tabled Brad’s vote, and will move forward with the budget Daniel passed previously.

  1. We simply need to choose the items to purchase. For instance, Brad’s pump model is more than $100 cheaper and more than adequate, should we get that one or another similar? A used shop-vac brand vacuum is probably more reliable than other brands, so maybe we want to still move on John’s used vac? etc

  2. Check the balance of available funds and make the order.

As a reminder, we use “cash” accounting. So, although there is $400+ approved for this, we would still be spending from our general balance (as always). Just an FYI that the balance on open finance is the total cash amount in the bank. That balance does not already reflect “earmarked” and approved funds. ie. this purchase, as well as the $2000 tig welder, and other approved items are yet-to-be added to the ledger. So, it’s always best to come in under budget on a project.


I called Centroform and spoke with their support.
They recommend the Robinair 15500. It is the model pump they use to test all the machines before they ship them.

Goes for about $201 on Amazon.
I propose we get that one.
He mentioned that we may not even need the shop vac unless we do some very tall forms.
We could try it with just the pump and see if it works.
Probably should get the correct oil while we are at it.

Around $9

We should also get some high vac hose. Do we know the ID of hose to fit the nipple on the former?

Looks like the pump has a 1/4" MFL.

the 15800 came from research on forums, as the most recommended. the 15500 is what was minimally recommended. (its been a while but i believe it had to do with the the cooldown speeds of some plastics)
also when i budgeted the 2500 for the vote i budgeted it at the 15800.

I don’t really have a stake in this, other than watching the budget.
I’m sure the 15800 has more capability, and it is only $50 more than the recommended one.

Please do a little digging to be sure it isn’t crazy loud or burns through oil to get that capability.
Forums can be filled with people claiming things that are a bit biased.

The Centroform guy said this specific one works for them, so that carries a lot of weight for me.
I’ll back out of this thread, and let you order the things you need.


I don’t have the ordering power, (IE the funds to do so right now and wait to be reimbursed; large commission took any extra funds I had for materials.)
I sent this to Jim a while back, if anyone else has the ability to purchase these (from Hive funds or the funds to be reimbursed) to speed up the process it would be appreciated.
If the 15500 works, Its no skin off my back, i just wanted to put it what I knew.
Almost every VP I have dealt with is loud, no mater the size, but with a Vacuum table they dont run long.

OK, let’s just order the 15500, the oil, and let’s find out the hose diameter needed.

I think it would be cool to start a Hive project to make a stand for the former that maybe has storage slots for plastic sheets and is a bit beefier than the table it is on now. :0

Consider the vote proposal at the top of this email killed.

I always have trouble grasping CFM. I did a quick conversion of 5cfm to more familiar quantities of stuff – about 2.4 liters per second. Seems fast to me, and a very reasonable amount of air to displace. A minute of suction would = 57 crushed milk jugs.

Hmmm… maybe we should try that, just to see if it matches spec. Displacement of air testing is so much cooler with a vacuum pump…


Has anyone actually ordered the vac pump? If it has not been ordered, I’m volunteering.

Side note. My son who worked in the design fab shop at school and Smart Design recommends keeping the Vac Former and supplies in a very clean space as dust is the enemy of a good vac form. The mobile cart and a cover for storage away from the wood shop is recommended.

Dave Velzy


That would be great. Just please coordinate with Jim so we don’t order two. :grinning:

I would also like to propose a group project to build a cart for the vacuum former. Maybe with a storage area for the sheets. I’ll see about sketching something up.


I would be happy to work on thick cloth covering for the machine, Dave’s son (and therefor Dave) is completely accurate Dust, even more so Saw dust is TERRIBLE and a firehazard for a Vacuum former. The heating elements and sawdust… well can we just say bad?

We should determine how high the base should be.

I think we talked about the vacuum former living in the annex. A film of sawdust would be pretty bad for the heating elements.

This would mean we would need 220v and 110v nearby. I think Greg is going to start working on the the annex wiring soon.

Let’s s get the wiki page going and we can put all these thoughts there.


I’d be willing to zap a stand together using the 1" square tube and angle iron I store in the welding room. As a group project, this could also serve as an informal class for a small number of interested people.

  • Ry

Sounds awesome.

I’d love to get an intro to welding.

regarding the annex placement, have we done any sound dampening? Vacuum pumps can get loud quick.

Unless someone speaks up as having already ordered the Vac Pump I’ll order it tomorrow. 8/31/17.
Reviewers on Amazon suggest an oil separator for the exhaust might be required. The exhaust is also most likely the source of sound. Propose, we test the sucker IRL, then solve problems we find.

Given the short duration of operation required, foam ear plugs may be sufficient for the operator team. The Hive isn’t a library. 50 pair of 32 dB ear plugs are about $10.


Noise is the sound of shit gettin done. Noise reduction is difficult. Hearing protection is cheap. Hearing is priceless.

I’m the old factory guy with tinnitus from 40 years of noise exposure. Do yourself a favor and wear the ear plugs.