Workholding Vote?

Have you tried the X-Fasten tape?

It’s fantastic.

I’ve also had this same experience which is why I mostly use these low profile ones now:

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That’s how I first started out. I even went so far as to use VCarve to peck drill places on my workpiece to put the screws so I didn’t place them somewhere that I would run them over when I went to cut.

T track and composite nailer I’m a Rookie so I haven’t tried every thing yet so the world is the limit!! …

Thanks for including links to examples. How would you do a full vacuum setup on an Avid machine? Would it just be MDF with holes in it for the vacuum and grooves to route rubber stripping?

Mine is based on the “black box” that was out several years ago. I used the machine to cut a grid pattern in the first sheet of 3/4" MDF, then the spoil board goes over that. (also 3/4" MDF, this lets me surface it several times) The grid is based on 4 quadrants all 2’X4’ . 1 each end across the table, and the other 2 in the middle, along the long (X for me) axis. I don’t have a pic of that here at work, but I do have one of my vacs. I have 4 valves that turn on the quadrant I want to use, so max vaccum is where I need it. I should add I have 48X96 Avid (CNC Router Parts) machine.

The four vacs are split into 2 groups, and run on an arduino timer. So one group turns on with the switch, runs for 15 mins, 10 seconds before it turns off the second group turns on, then the first group turns off. The second group runs for 15 mins and rinse… repeat.
I have had this system running for 6 years, with no issues.

The table vac works really great for flat pieces that are bigger than 16"sq. For smaller stuiff I made a T track board that is 16" X 48". I vac that to the table then clamp into it.
I do not have any seals between the spoil board and the grid. I do however put 2 coats of shelac on the edges of both sheet of MDF to stop air from coming in the sides.

If you want pics of the grid, let me know and I’ll post them tonight when I get home from work.


Same here - hold down clamps thru-bolted and sometimes screws. Composite nails whenever possible.

I use bolt down clamps on a grid of threaded inserts. Been using that method for the 3 machines I’ve had over the years.

Thanks for the reply Ray.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to see it.

That’s a nice box. I made one like that a bunch of years early in my routing days in my shop:

You can see the full gallery here

I called that the “V8 Vacuum” because it has 8 2x2 zones.

For those that don’t know how these work, it’s pretty simple:

You have a base layer of plywood. The middle layer has a bunch of channels cut into it, and the top layer is ideally LDF (Low density fiberboard). It’s basically really soft MDF.

You run pipes up into the grid attached to some vacuums. The suction pulls air down through the LDF and sucks your plywood sheets down.

This is what the Hurricane Black Box is really good for. I’ve seen people make some pretty good systems using Fein Turbo vacs too.

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I’ve seen several people do this. I never had the patience to pound or screw all of those threaded inserts in though!

Do you have some pictures of your setup you could share?

Sure, I’ll post some pics in a day or so.

Been doing this for 30 years. Nothing but screws and cams occasionally.

CA glue and painters tape…how does this not make sense he lost LOL!

That is what I’m doing in the photos I posted, further above. I’ve got threaded inserts at the bottom of every one of those holes. They are the flange type so the cannot pull through if I over tighten and I put a ring of construction adhesive on each one before screwing them in. It took 1/2-day to get them all done but it has been quite handy… (see photo of the diagonal pattern of holes, further above.)


Have you ever seen the Saunders Machine Works vises? It looks like that grid pattern might work with a vise-style work holding setup.

Also, for those of you using vacuum pods, which ones? I have a real vacuum pump system for other tools, but have never found any vacuum pods for routers that looked good.


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is that a plasma cutter attached to your gantry?

Yes, that is a plasma cutter on a 2’nd Z-Axis on the gantry. CNCRouterParts/AVIDcnc set this machine up for me that way. It is a 4’x8’ machine. I’ve got a rotary axis recessed, parallel to the X-Axis of the machine, then about 30"x48" of swarfboard with the embedded screw down anchors for working with the router. (I do a few projects in wood and a whole bunch in acrylic there) and lastly, On the far side I’ve got a 4’x4’ section with a water table on it for plasma.

I’ve posted a few projects on this forum of the plasma cutter in action. It works great and I use it a ton.


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very cool. you have me thinking about when i extend my table i might move the back end be a plasma section. thank you for the idea.

Wood box nails. I use mostly 1" baltic birch plywood.
When I tried a composite nailer, it did not have enough force and it’s nails bounced the plywood up off the table before pushing the nail into the spoilboard, so the stock material was off the spoilboard surface.

I used to use double-stick tape on a smaller CNC machine.

Since Eric asked (re my response to work holding) that I post some pics of my setup. So here goes.

The first pic is an overview of my machine. The galvanized units on the wall make up a cyclone dust collector (shop built from plans in Woodsmith) some years ago. Dust is collected in a 20 liter gray pail. My 24x48 unit is mounted on the base of my previous machine. There is a small amount of overhang on each end of the X-axis, but the Y-axis fit well. The machine is on casters but supplemented by jacking feet barely seen at the bottom of the photo. There are 2 spoil boards: one with threaded inserts on a 6" grid, and a smaller one with threaded inserts on a 2" grid.

The second pic is another view that shows the jacking bolts clearly. Also the stand for the laptop is shown here. The bottom of the laptop stand is a rather heavy wheel providing a solid base for the stand. The tilted base the laptop sits on will rotate. This view also shows the dust shields on either side of the X-axis; this was a great addition. There is a cubby (left of E-stop) for the pendant and Z-axis probe (seen on right side of spoil board).

The third pic is a closer look at the spoil boards and clamps.

The last pic is a closer look at the dust shoe. This is an AVID design which was made initially for a previous router. The upper portion of the Delrin warped over time such that the magnets wouldn’t hold the 2 halves together. The when I replaced the router with a spindle (Yes, it’s Chinese) the hole for the clamp was too large. So what you see in this pic is a new dust shoe using parts of the original with a wooden upper part and a Baltic birch clamp for the spindle. I’m very happy with the dust shoe now.