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Old 03-11-2011, 08:28 PM
Perry Holbrook Perry Holbrook is offline
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Default Why MDF for vacuum spoil board

I've started playing with the Stinger vacuum table. Rather than using MDF for the spoil board, I reasoned that since particle board is less dense than the MDF, I used the particle board. I surfaced both sides, but don't have very much holding power (using a Fien II).

Someone told me I should use MDF, rather than trying it tonight, thought I would just ask here. Will a more dense MDF board provide better suction than less dense particle board? If so, please explain why?


BTW, the particle board is doing a fine job of holding the glass sheets that I cut so many of.
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:57 PM
PJS PJS is offline
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Perry, it seems to most that trying to draw a vaccuum thought a dense piece of MDF is not possible. Actually, I was told once that MDF is made of a sawdust mixed with a resin. It's heavy and porous. A new sheet of MDF has both sides heat sealed to a smooth and not so porous surface. When you skim cut both sides (about 0.020"), you actually open up the pores in the MDF that allows air to pass through. You should always seal the edges to prevent excessive vaccuum loss. As a spoil board surface it works very well. When you mess up the surface with cuts, you simply skim off a little until it's smooth again. You can do this as often as you like until the thickness gets to about 1/4" to 3/8" (maybe even a little more). Discard the old board and start again. Another good thing is, you can also screw projects to the MDF as well.

Paul Stelpflug
Unique Innovations
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Old 03-11-2011, 09:31 PM
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Mick Martin Mick Martin is offline
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Hi Perry,

I is common practice to use MDF as a vacuum table, I have not tried to use particle board, as Paul stated you have to move to surface to make it work. The most important thing is to seal all the sides otherwise you will loose a lot of vacuum.

If you do a search for vacuum table you should get some good information.

Mick Martin
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Old 03-13-2011, 11:16 AM
cdesfablab cdesfablab is offline
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A low density fiberboard (LDF) such as Trupan is even better than regular MDF as it should breathe a bit more easily. Mill off both skins and seal the edges well with epoxy paint, gorilla tape, melamine edgeband or some similar airtight material. If you're milling pieces smaller than the entire bed, mask the uncovered areas with visqueen, scrap mdf sheet or some other material.

Particle board should be be OK... report back if you're able to make an objective comparison.

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Old 03-13-2011, 11:48 AM
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james mcgrew james mcgrew is offline
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today i am nesting 24 sheets of melamine 3/4 to get 6 legs per sheet for a job with a bunch of cubilcles, dust collection is working well (taped over the two exposed holes) and vac (10hp fpz is doing exactly what it is supposed to) the spoil board is ldf and has been milled (surfaced down to just shy of .5 of an inch (been using it a while. i edgeband my spoil boards with maple edgeband plastic will chip and come loose) and seal edge with any decent laquer or poly before surfacing, i machine one side first using vac then flip it over, surface second side shoot a few 18 ga pins in to keep position and seal bottom edge with a lates caulk (easire to clean between boards than silicone) i have used plenty of spoil boards and the density betwwen mdf and ldf is something i have not notice a major difference in (could be a brand thing) and have not thought about particle board (novaply) which is manufactured to expand and contract at the same rate as plastic laminate. might give a sheet a try on the next flip

ldf is about 75% as heavy as mdf
James McGrew
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mdf, spoilboard

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