Pump House

Written by Chuck. Posted in PCB Equipment

When I mention to people that I have a Pump House, I get the strangest looks.  But I have one, and I love it.
One thing that becomes apparent quickly when you have a CNC PCB Mill is the noise.  There is the high speed spindle, and then a vacuum cleaner for dust collection.  If you're using a vacuum table, there is another large vacuum cleanerto provide the suction.  I moved all those items out to the back yard, in my new Pump House.
One vacuum cleaner is loud enough, but two is unbearable.  Some of these boards with 4 mil traces can take 6-8 hours to mill.


By relocating all the noisey vacuum equipment outside, I can mill PCBs for hours at a time, even while others are sleeping in the house.  The Pump House contains:
  • A large rotary vacuum pump for the vacuum table.
  • A smaller rotary vacuum pump and homemade filter for dust collection.
  • An air compressor.
To contruct it, I purchased a small plastic garden shed from Lowes.  Then insulated it with shiny reflective insulation.  This was to provide some protection for the plastic shed from the heat produced by the rotary compressors I use for vacuum.
I  ran two 1 1/4" flexible tubings, a high pressure compressed air line and three 12 guage power lines into the house, and into the utility room in the basement where I keep my CNC PCB Mill.
Connections into the house
Next to the mill, I installed three standard house type switches to control the power to the various equipment in the Pump House.  One of the vacuum lines goes to the vacuum table, the other goes to the dust collection.  The air hose has a "T" fitting where it splits into two lines.  One to the CNC PCB Mill location, the other to the Wet Lab.
Next to the switch bank, I also have a vacuum gauge I purchased on EBay.  It was meant for a cow milking machine but it works gret to monitor the vacuum for the vacuum table.
VacuumMonitor VacuumTable
The more through holes you drill in a PCB, the less vacuum the vacuum table is able to maintain.  THats the reasons such a large volume vacuum pump is needed.
For dust collection I also used a "Homer Bucket" and a shop vac filter to make a dust collection bin.  Although the bucket is not holding up to the heat and suction in the Pump House, it doesn't yet leak, so I haven't replaced it.  When I find an empty 5 gallon metal pcuket with air tight lid I will end up swapping this out --mainly because it looks pretty ugly.
Homer Bucket Dust Bin
I'm still working on a better method to collect dust during the milling process, but for now this has to do.
Dust Collector Attachment