January 25

My Vacuum Pump

All good labs should have a vacuum pump.


You need to make all those glow tubes so your lab can look like the lair of a true mad-scientist!  And in my case, I need to build a good triggered spark gap, and I want to be able to use a vacuum to control the spark duration and length within.

I need… more… Vacuum!

So I got this old vacuum pump that was originally for a neon sign shop, and then later was used by a refrigerator guy to pump out the freon from old systems, then given to a guy I knew who gave it to me. It was in sad shape, so this page is devoted to it’s rebuild.

So here is the pump so far…

Basic Vacuum Pump

Note that the mason jar is used for filtering moisture or other contaminants from the air pulled out so as not to have that enter the pump housing and possibly cause corrosion. I sanded and repainted the motor and pump housing hunter green… because that is what color paint I had on hand. The switch is from my junk box, as is the mounting hardware (old curtain rod holders).  The wood is plywood flooring salvaged from house construction in the area.

Update 01/26/2014 : I finished cleaning and fixing the connectors and have built out the system.  Need some good non-collapsible hose line and a better way to secure the moisture filter. Note that the switch plate is off as I am painting it hammered bronze to give the pump a “steam-punk” look.

Updated Pump with filter and connectors.

Close up of moisture trap

I will update this as I get it to completion to be used in my all new DC Pulse Tesla Spark Gap.


UPDATE! 02/02/2014 – Vacuum Pump Completed.

The Finished Vacuum Pump

Looking Very Steampunk. I may decide to add a brass plate or something to make it look more “Old-School” Victorian Lab, but I am very happy with the results. It pulls 20 Hg on the scale – This should suffice for my current experiments.