Hold Down at a Glance

Use this chart for reference on hold down options for our Desktop and Desktop MAX model tools that are best suited for your projects.

  Aluminum "T" Slot Deck (general purpose deck) Universal Vacuum Hold Down Deck Kit Gasketed Vacuum Hold Down System *
Flexibility Most Flexible – Allows for multiple hold down options. Somewhat Flexible – Allows for some other hold down options to be used in conjunction with vacuum hold down. Specific Usage – Requires the use of special fixtures for any part to be cut.
Material Setup Speed Slowest of Available Options – Material has to be manually attached each time. Production volume would remain low unless a specialized clamping fixture is fitted. Pretty Fast – For the vast majority of items, a blank would be placed on the bed and then the vacuum would be turned on. Production volume can be relatively high and can have a decent variety of parts with one setup. (Various signs, furniture parts, anything with medium-to-large sized parts cut out of flat stock would require no special setup.) Fastest – With the use of specialized fixtures, a blank would be placed on the bed and then the vacuum would be turned on. Production volume can be EXTREMELY high with this method.
Type of Hold Down Screws, nylon nails, tabs in the toolpath, toggle clamps mounted in the t-slots, wedge clamps, and various other types of clamps. Vacuum hold down, which can be supplemented with screws, tabs in toolpaths, and nylon nails for smaller parts that might break free. Vacuum hold down. The addition of threaded holes to bolt down blanks for specific setups can be used if needed.
Type/Size of Parts Small parts, large parts, and anything in-between, as long as there is an appropriate hold down method being used. Optimal for large parts. Without the additional hold down from screws, nylon nails, or tabs, there is a size limitation of about 10 square inches for the smallest part. Anything smaller than that means that there is a risk of pieces breaking free of the vacuum seal. Ideal for larger items like signs or anything cut from flat stock. Almost any size – as long as a fixture is used for it. Parts smaller than 2-3 square inches might require the addition of tabs or screws because parts of this size may break the vacuum seal.
Recommended Materials Any material the machine is capable of cutting. (Woods, plastics, composites, non-ferrous metals.) Recommended for cutting flat stock (sheets of wood, plastic, composites) ONLY. Not recommended for metal cutting without supplemental screws. Any material the machine is capable of cutting. (Woods, plastics, composites, non-ferrous metals.)
Markets Hobbyists, makers, maker pros, schools, woodworking, instrument making, furniture making, and prototyping, Can be used in production environments, but only with specialized clamping fixtures. Anyone who uses mostly flat stock. Hobbyists, makers, maker pros, schools, woodworking, furniture making, or production environments. Particularly useful for signmakers. Production environments with medium-to-large size runs of identical parts. Also appropriate for use when cutting identical-size blanks or when not cutting all the way through, i.e. Engraving/VCarving a variety of things on a standard set of blanks.
Misc No additional environmental noise with this deck option. A fairly significant amount of additional environmental noise is produced due to the vacuum motor. Hearing protection is HIGHLY recommended. A small amount of additional environmental noise generated due to the vacuum pump. It is typically not much louder than the sound a spindle cutting makes.
*(mounts to Aluminum T-Slot Deck)

ShopBot Tools, Inc.

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Phone: 919-680-4800
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ShopBot Tools, Inc.
3333-B Industrial Drive
Durham, NC 27704

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