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Accessories: Vacuum Hold-down

Vacuum is one of the most effective methods to hold down parts for CNC cutting or machining.

Conventional vs. Universal Vacuum Hold-Down

There are two general strategies for the use of vacuum in holding parts during cutting or machining with a CNC router. You can either create seals around specific areas to be vacuum clamped in a conventional manner, or you can draw air through a broad area of a permeable bleeder board to create a more universal vacuum.

The vacuum systems that we sell and that are described here are for universal vacuum. When you purchase a universal vacuum, you will receive the vacuum blower plus components of a plumbing system that you attach to the pump and your table. In addition, you will need to machine the plenum into your table (files are included in the software) and then cover the plenum with a sacrificial bleeder board such as Ultralite MDF.

Read more about our Vacuum Systems

Learn more about desktop tool hold down.

Becker Rotary Vane Vacuum Pump

  • Maximum vacuum: 24” Hg.
  • Capacity: 174 SCFM open flow.
  • Oil-less rotary vane vacuum pump with carbon vanes
  • Built-in suction filter with clear cover
  • Integrated check valve
  • Vacuum regulating valve
  • Blow-off valve/silencer
  • 2½” BSP x 2” NPT reducer bushing
  • 10 HP, 208/230/460 volt, 3 phase, 60 Hz., TEFC motor

Please specify/verify voltage when ordering (208v-28.5amp, 230v-25.8amp, 460v-12.9amp).

10hp Rotary Vane Blower Model VTLF 2.250 $7,650

Republic Regenerative Blower

  • 10.1hp, 13"Hg@190CFM w/pump
  • Motor starter
  • PVC kit
  • Filter
  • Relief valve
  • Vacuum gauge
  • 208v, 230v, or 460v
  • Single-Phase; 82dBa.

Please specify/verify voltage when ordering (208v-28.5amp, 230v-25.8amp, 460v-12.9amp).

10.1hp Regenerative Blower More information is available at Republic's website. call for pricing

Conventional vs. Universal Vacuum Hold-Down


The conventional solution is usually less expensive. It makes use of high vacuum (20-29”Hg) with a low flow volume. It works well for machining parts that are not cut out with through-cuts. It works well if you are cutting repetitive parts for which it is practical to first cut a vacuum template that maintains the vacuum seal, even when the part is through-cut. With conventional vacuum systems, small leaks will cause a large drop in vacuum, which is why the vacuum seal is so important to holding your parts securely.

When using conventional techniques it is often adequate to use: a shop-vac, compressed air venturi vacuum, small blower, or rotary vane blower to produce the vacuum. Conventional vacuum solutions tend to be specific to the application or production process and are usually devised by each shop. The plenum system, described below, could be used in conjunction with vacuum templates in a conventional system, even though it is designed for universal vacuum and bleeder board.


In contrast to conventional vacuum holding, universal systems have an advantage in that you do not need specific sealed vacuum fixtures or templates. You can just put a piece of material down on your table, apply the vacuum and cut, assuming there is enough surface area to the parts for the vacuum to hold the material while the parts are cut.

The universal system does not usually require a vacuum template. Material can be placed directly on a bleeder board and sufficient vacuum can be maintained as long as the required airflow does not exceed the specifications of the particular blower. The universal solution requires a lot of airflow and depends on relatively powerful and expensive industrial blowers/pumps that typically require 3-phase power. We sell several different types of universal vacuum hold-down systems. Each includes all the necessary plumbing to set up a multi-zone system for your tool.

ShopBot Tools, Inc.

Toll Free: 1-888-680-4466

Phone: 919-680-4800
Fax: 919-680-4900

ShopBot Tools, Inc.
3333-B Industrial Drive
Durham, NC 27704

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