Sometimes the right tool for a job can be unusual, and this sucked only in the sense that vacuum sealing was involved. Recently [Martin Raynsford] found himself in a situation of needing to glue a wood veneer onto a curved surface, but faced a shortage of clamps. His clever solution was to vacuum-seal the whole thing and let the contour-hugging plastic bag take care of putting even pressure across the entire glued surface. After the glue had set enough to grip the materials securely, the bag was removed to let the whole thing dry completely. Gluing onto a curved surface has never been so clamp-free.
The curved piece in question was made from dozens of layers of laser-cut plywood, stacked and glued to make the curved lid of a custom-built chest. It might have been just the right shape, but it wasn’t much to look at. As you can see, giving it a wood veneer improved the appearance considerably. Wood veneers are attractive and versatile; we’ve seen for example that LEDs will shine through wood veneer quite easily.
This food sealer just wasn’t cutting it for [Tinkering Engineer], so he decided to do something about it. The issue with this sealer was that it didn’t have a mode where it could simply seal bags without pulling a vacuum on it. Going through the whole process takes a reported 40 seconds in order to evacuate the air and then seal the bag. Without pulling a vacuum, the sealing process took only 9.
After taking everything apart and looking around, a PIC microcontroller, and vacuum switch were found as well as other assorted electronics. Although the first thought was to replace the onboard PIC with an Arduino, a much simpler solution was arrived at. Two switches were added, one to disable the vacuum pump and the other to manually turn on the heater. This would allow the machine to function as originally intended or simply let bags be sealed without the vacuum function.
This hack may not be the most advanced one that we’ve ever seen, but it’s a good reminder that some projects can be done very simply if you’re willing to look around!