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Vacuum Chucks

Joined
Apr 12, 2018
Messages
24
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8
Location
Rocky Mount, NC
I've been using my vacuum chuck set up for years and find it to be a very valuable tool. However, I only have chucks made from PVC which don't always run as true as I would like. Am looking at the Oneway aluminum vacuum chucks and also the Hold Fast fiberglass reinforced chuck heads. Am looking for input from others as to your experience with both (or others), as well as recommendations.

Thanks
 

hockenbery

AAW Advisor
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Joined
Apr 27, 2004
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Location
Lakeland, Florida
Website
www.hockenberywoodturning.com
I use all home made chucks. I have a lot with pvc.
I mount a piece of wood on a faceplate. Make a groove with a parting tool with a tight inside fit.
Hold the pvc in place with hot melt beads inside and out. Seal around the faceplate with hot melt.
I trim the tops of the pvc and round the edges so it runs true.
I use some “rubber chuckle seals” and fun foam seals.

These always run true because it turn the placement of the base and I turn the top true.

I also make chucks from 2x8 material. Face glue 2 or 3 pieces. Screw on a faceplate.
Seal around the faceplate with hot melt glue. Turn the bowl round the rim.
I use thin fun foam on the rims.
Wrap the outside it duct tape - it’s intended use is to stop air leaks.
These are the ugliest chucks I have but they work. I will reshape these throughout their lives.
I use them to hold spherical shapes for hollowing so they have to match the diameters to hold.

If you don’t have faceplates Rubber Chuckie has bases for the pvc.
 
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Joined
Jul 10, 2017
Messages
795
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616
Location
Windermere, British Columbia
I use the Oneway aluminum ones. They are a dream. Run perfect and true. I’ve never used a homemade ones. So can’t compare. Bu5 I can turn something tak3 off lathe stick in Oneway chuck and itbruns true to work on finishing it.
 
Joined
Apr 20, 2006
Messages
780
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456
Location
Erie, PA
I have all 3 Oneway Drums, a Hold Fast, 2 using the aluminum adapters (his name was Tom ? and he passed.) that are grooved to fit schedule 40 I believe and my favorite made by Alan Trout using left over pouring material. I usually grab this first. They all will work just fine. Haven't had a reason to make one with wood but I'm sure they work just as well.
 

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Joined
Dec 15, 2021
Messages
48
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16
Location
West Memphis, AR
I have two aluminum and plastic Hold Fast chucks that have always worked as needed, even on a bowl too big for the big Vicmarc bowl jaws (just cleared the bed on the 3520B.....)
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
422
Likes
783
Location
Hillsborough, NJ
I've been using my vacuum chuck set up for years and find it to be a very valuable tool. However, I only have chucks made from PVC which don't always run as true as I would like. Am looking at the Oneway aluminum vacuum chucks and also the Hold Fast fiberglass reinforced chuck heads. Am looking for input from others as to your experience with both (or others), as well as recommendations.

Thanks
The Oneway chucks are excellent but pricey. I have the small & medium sizes. I probably have more than 20 vac chucks but not all are drum type chucks. The PVC chucks are perfectly fine with a small modification. There have been several discussions about vacuum chucking over the years. The following is from a 2018 post.

The "gasket" material shown in the photos are TURNED from PVC Foam Board. These can also be made with Wood or MDF (or anything else you might have on hand - but should have a sealer coat(s) applied), but the PVC Foam is non-porous and easy to work. It gives a broader and more "gentle" surface area (similar to a OneWay aluminum drum chuck) to mount any sealing foam rather than the thin PVC pipe surface. The Foam Board can be used without any sealing gasket if the bowl's surface is perfectly round and flat, but in most cases will work better with a gasket material. So, even if your PVC fitting/pipe isn't running perfectly true when you turn the added piece it will be true.
 

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Joined
Jul 18, 2018
Messages
505
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439
Location
Baltimore, MD
I’ve made chucks as Al and Tom described. I used 5” and 4” PVC coupling fittings. The wood is birch ply, coated with a few coats of poly to ensure it is sealed. As he said, since the grooves were turned and then the edging was also turned, they run perfectly true. I’ve also made a couple of flat disc chucks, but I find that these two serve for most of what I turn. I use a piece of hobby foam (I think that’s what it’s called) to make a tight seal between the chuck and the piece. PS- I think, if I remember correctly, I secured the pvc in the grooves with silicone caulk.
 

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Joined
Mar 19, 2016
Messages
806
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695
Location
Haubstadt, Indiana
I started out making my own from PVC and wood using the Beall wood tap. I eventually got frustrated as they seemed to change and start to wobble. For the sealing end of the PVC I glued a coupling onto the end to increase the wall thickness and don’t need to make a separate top part for the gasket. I ended up buying the OneWay and have been very satisfied with them. I believe the wood threads were the cause of my frustration. They wear and cause seating problems. Reading Hackberry’s post using a faceplate, I am going to put one on a 6” PVC chuck I have since I never use the 3 1/2” faceplate that came with my lathe and see how that works.
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2018
Messages
505
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439
Location
Baltimore, MD
When I use the Beall tap, like I did here, I use CA to harden up the threads. I’ll cut them initially, then put on a coating of thin CA, then recut them. So far, they’ve held up well for me. It’s been a couple of years.
 
Joined
Mar 19, 2016
Messages
806
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695
Location
Haubstadt, Indiana
I costed my threads wit CA and even tried wood hardner, but after a while they started to wobble, not a lot, but enough to drive me crazy. I blame the wood threads, but not real sure of the root cause. Just didn’t work well enough for me.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
2,138
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1,000
Location
Brandon, MS
I use the Frugal Chuck system. I have one he made and two that I made from his plans. I used a piece of white oak to make a faceplate to glue to bottom and mount to lathe. As others do cut the grove and I use epoxy to glue in the PVC. Hobby foam to seal. Since this vaccum pump uses a lamp rod thru headstock the threads cut for face plate are not a problem but I do reinforce them with CA.
I also use reducers to get more length or a smaller end. When using these you may get wobble and the joint will need either a permanent seal or tape to stop leaks.
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2020
Messages
70
Likes
40
Location
Sykesville, Maryland
I have the 8" holdfast. Nice adapter; works great.

I also have the aluminum hub from jtturningtools that uses PVC inserts. I haver several size PVC adapters for the Jtturningtools hub. Each rimmed with craft foam. These too work very well as long as you get them fully seated in the adapter. Unfortunately jtturningtools' parts are no longer available. Too bad because the head stock adapter and custom handwheels are top-notch, making vacuum chucking a breeze.

I also have the simple tools vacuum chuck and it works good too but only comes in one size.

The oneway's look like nice tools and that is reflected in their cost.
 

Dennis J Gooding

Beta Tester
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Joined
Apr 10, 2010
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Location
Grants Pass, Oregon
Like Al Hockenbery, I made my chucks using PVC pipe couplers (3”, 4” and 6”). However, instead dedicating a faceplate to each chuck, I made a combined chuck and slotted retainer for the PVC coupler from scrap 0.5 inch (obtained free from a local bathroom installer). I laminated 2 to 3 layers of Corian using epoxy, and then I bored and tapped a hole to fit my headstock. Then, I mounted the result on the headstock and turned the base to final shape and cut a circular slot in the disk to accommodate the PVC coupler.

Rather than truing up the outside end of the PVC coupler directly, I turned a ring from Corian and slotted it to fit the coupler, glued it on, and trued up the result. I used a ring of rubber material intended for patching wet suits as a seal on the outer end of the chuck, but several alternatives exist.

The major expense was the tap to match the headstock spindle of my lathe

By the way, I have found scrap Corian useful for many tools, jigs, etc in my shop. It is stable, strong, and machinable.
 

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Joined
Nov 26, 2009
Messages
767
Likes
669
Location
Rockingham, Virginia
I have the Hold Fast System, and use the chuck heads as mainly jam chucks now-a-days. I now have a vacuum pump and use the machined aluminum head with metal tube from Harrison Specialties. The vacuum is so good that I can peg the needle at maximun vaccum with most woods. It is a good bit less expensive than the Oneway, or the one from Craft Supplies. Very high quality machining, and he has an improved silicone seal that he worked on for quite a while, [maybe in conjunction with Rubber Chuckie Products], and that thing is also really good. I’ve been super pleased with it.
 
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
Messages
419
Likes
183
Location
Lummi Island, WA
I've got a couple of holdfast chucks, and they work well, but what I turn to most is the JT Turning Tools hub that takes interchangeable pvc fittings/adapters. The pvc can be easily trued with a scraper everytime its used, if necessary, but I find its rarely necessary and usually only if I change out the pvc adapter. Using the Rubber Chuckie seals makes for a flexible, simple system that will outlast me.
 
Joined
Dec 15, 2021
Messages
48
Likes
16
Location
West Memphis, AR
I have a vacuum pump designed for the automotive industry, I installed a gage and a bypass valve with a filter material so I can regulate the vacuum, afraid of breaking some of the thin bowls. Wondering is this somewhat typical of everyone's setup? I have the threaded rod through the headstock with conical metal end that seals with an o-ring. Only use this when other chuck systems won't work. The Hold-fast Chucks, swivel adaptor for air and the cone are the only purpose bought parts.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
422
Likes
783
Location
Hillsborough, NJ
I installed a gage and a bypass valve with a filter material so I can regulate the vacuum, afraid of breaking some of the thin bowls. Wondering is this somewhat typical of everyone's setup?
I would say "yes" this is typical of most set ups - if not, it should be. I have a simple Bleed(er) Valve - a rotary dial needle valve. Very inexpensive (about 25 yrs, ago), very precise, and simple to use. Much easier (for me) and more accurate than a ball valve that many folks use.
 
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Joined
May 4, 2010
Messages
1,456
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701
Location
Bozeman, MT
Roger, if your homemade chucks don't run true, just true them up as Al Hockenberry describes in his post on making them. 10 minutes and you'll have functionally brand new, true running chucks.

For my homemade vacuum chucks, I use foam sheets from Michaels for the surface, or foamy shelf liner, contact cement glued to a half donut of wood, which has been glued to the end of the pvc. There's more surface contact than trying to keep the foam on the pvc. In time, like 2-3 years, the foam gets torn or wrinkled or comes loose. At that point, I peel off or turn off the old foam and cement, true up the wood end, and glue on fresh foam.
 
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