Phil, Wow! I can't believe I didn't know this thread existed. What a find! Thanks for the updates - enjoying reading through your progress!

I saw some questions about vacuum pump setups. I have a decent resource for plans at

I built a vacuum pump system that has every bell and whistle you could ever imagine. I've pieced it together with spare parts and items bought from ebay - it's controlled by an Allen-Bradley PLC, has a ambient pressure chamber (so the pump doesn't startup with a vacuum on it's inlet), adjustable pressure switch that controls the cycling of the pump, small reservoir (PVC tubes), and a vacuum regulator so I can dial in exactly how much vacuum I'm after. I've also incorporated four spdt switches that trigger inputs on the PLC so I can set a crude timer in binary logic. 0001 is one hour, 0010 is two hours, 0011 is three hours, etc. Those will start an onboard timer that, once expired, will not cycle the pump I said, overkill.

[Linked Image]Vacuum pump controller (no, it's not a bomb) by Green Room Graphics, on Flickr

Jake Kohl