GD Thomas (formerly Rietschle Thomas) is a manufacturer of commercial vacuum pumps. This heavy duty double piston vacuum pump is ideal for vacuum bags and bending/laminating veneer over odd shaped forms. These are also superb for vacuum clamping bench work and vacuuming chucking lathe pieces. The same pumps sell new for $399.95 or more!
Pump Instructions: PDF
Our shipments of these rebuilt vacuum pumps are typically very nice but the units from the last shipment are very dirty. Click on the picture to see a sample. We're selling these "dirt" cheap just because they need a fair amount of cleaning to look good. However, each pump has new piston seals so each runs like new and meets full factory specifications for CFM and maximum vacuum.
What is the warranty on this pump?
Since this is used product, there is no warranty.
Can this pump be used for vacuum chucking?
There is no safe way to answer this question. More information needs to be provided. You would need to know three things...
With these bits of information, you can calculate a number that will help you determine if the pump is safe to use for chucking. Continue on to the next question.
How much clamping force will the pump create for vacuum chucking?
This is based on a calculation using the maximum sustainable vacuum level and the surface area where the project is attached to the chuck. A smaller attachment area means less clamping/chucking force. A large industrial pump capable of pulling a very high vacuum may not be suitable for chucking if the vacuum surface area of the project is small. You have to calculate the vacuum surface area on your project first. Then determine what amount of vacuum you are capable of applying to the project. With this information, you can determine the total clamping force on the project and consider whether or not it is enough to safely hold your project while it is being turned. Here is the method for calculating the clamping force.
What if the chucking project is porous? How do I determine if this pump is suitable?
Unfortunately, there is no way to determine this without actually placing the project on a vacuum chuck. You would need to determine the actual maximum sustainable vacuum and this will vary across each project you try out depending on the size and porosity of the material.
What pump do you recommend for vacuum chucking?
I can only suggest one thing... the bigger, the better. Several of our customers are using 3 CFM vacuum sources for chucking but most are opting for 5 CFM vacuum sources.
What is the size of the pump?
It is approximately 10" long, 5" deep, and 8" tall.
How large of a bag can this pump handle?
This pump is suitable for bags up to 4' x 9' for flat panel work. For curved work with large volumes of air inside, this pump will handle up to a 4' x 4' vacuum bag.
Review by Sam Beckman
Used this pump for vacuum bagging as soon as I got it. Did great. Tried a new Chinese pump off ebay last week and it burned up in 3 hours. Quality equipment, hard to find parts, free expert advice. So glad I found Joe!
Review by Matt Wydro
I have had one of these pumps for a few years now used for vacuum chucking on the lathe. It has performed flawlessly and would totally recommend it as it is an excellent deal.
I built a wooden enclosure around it that has open mesh covered ends for the air flow to the motor, then I just wired in a switch and put together a bleeder valve system with a 1/4" quick coupler that I connect to my lathe vacuum adapter.
It holds everything from big to small bowls to hollow forms. Couldn't be happier!
Review by Paul Shafer
After several months this pump still works well. I have to say it is a very good deal, as a new version of it costs $800, at least here in Seattle. What needs to be understood is that it is very noisy, even more so than larger pumps, and the type of noise is highly noticeable to the eardrums. If you have your own shop and don't care, fine, but otherwise, plan to enclose the pump in a box. The pump in a box will overheat and shut off, even in the middle of a veneer job, unless you place a fan in the box and run it constantly while the pump operates. You can get such a fan for under $15. With box and fan, the whole deal is workable; without them, it's harder to recommend.
[Message from Joe]
These pumps are rated at 68 dB. This is very quiet for a dual piston pump. In fact, it's more than 8 dB quieter than the Gast piston pump we previously offered. I don't know of any piston based pump that is more quiet than this one.
This reviewer bought this pump almost a year ago. I'm not sure why he didn't bring this issue to my attention before writing such a review or waiting 11.5 months. I've had only one other complaint (having sold more than 900 of these pumps over the last 10 years) about the noise and that was because a piston head screw was loose. That is not a bad ratio... 2 complaints in 900 pumps sold... and this is on a USED pump. For that customer, I paid for return shipping and sent the customer a replacement. When the original pump arrived back to me, I fixed it within 5 minutes and then put it on a vacuum system that I made for a woodworking buddy.
If noise is a concern, don't use this pump for a continuous-run system such as what the author of this review is using. The auto-cycling system (aka EVS) offered on my site will only power the pump when the vacuum level drops. Or use a diaphragm vacuum pump which makes very little noise but has no where near the power of this pump.
Furthermore, I do NOT recommend putting a box around the pump with a cooling fan on it. That is simply inviting disaster.
Despite it being 11 months since the customer bought this pump from me, I offered a full refund if he was willing to send it back. I'm willing to take a loss to avoid having someone so flustered about the noise factor.
Review by Cynthia Abiabi
This is the 2nd pump I ordered from Joe and just like the first one, it is good value for the money. Unlike most of the people here, I use my vacuum system to make foot orthotics and its been very consistent with what it does for my kind of work. Highly recommended
Review by Tim Johnson
Great pump for the money. Order was received promptly with no hassles.
Review by Joseph Tobin
When I started shopping for a vacuum pump to do some clamping on my work bench I only found pumps that were too slow, too expensive, or too junky. So I contacted Joe and got some information on this pump. He shipped it the same day I ordered and it arrived safely. It has been in daily use now for over a month and it is still strong and yet quiet. No problems to report at all and overall, I couldnt be happier with it.
Review by Jerry Himalaya
I bought this pump based on the reviews here. I must say as stated its a great buy for my first vacuum pump application. My suggestion if you purchase this pump don't forget the Continuous Run kit that sells here for $82.50. This kit makes final assembly a breeze. Mine was up and running in 30 minutes. Last but not least, I've been getting 27" hg at sea level. Thanks Again Joe for such a great pump.
Review by Jerry Wooden
Don't you get tired of 5 star ratings? I don't, and I want you to know that this product earns it. It is the best pump for the money on the market. I even saved $10 by getting the one with a little rust. I could tell a difference. I was in an emergency situation so I just hooked up the pump through a value directly to my bag and wham, no problems. Thank you for offering this great deal
Review by John L.
After searching the internet, Craigs List, and want-ads I purchased this vacuum pump and I am extremely pleased as it more that does the job. It was easy to set-up, the intake and exhaust ports were clearly marked. This wiring was a simple standard 110v connection. Surprisingly quiet motor. I have it pulling 22 to 24 inches of mercury on my lathe vacuum system haven't lost a bowl yet.
Review by Roger Knapp
I bought this pump to build my own vacuum press. I wanted one of quality that would work well for many years to come. This pump is meeting all my expectations. Building the project was easy following Joe's detailed instructions on this web site. You don't have to look any further than here for a good pump.
Review by Humberto D
I have had this pump since December 2007, never broke down, just amazing work horse. I highly recommend this pump.
Review by Rick D.
I just received the Thomas 3.15 cfm pump with the continuous run kit. I will be using this for guitar making. The same idea is sold at well known luthier supply houses, but this system takes the cake! At 3.15 cfm, we aren't messing around, and the pump runs real smooth and quiet!
If you want serious vacuum for guitar making, but you would rather put your hard earned dollars toward some really great tonewood, this is the system for you. You won't find a better pump at this price anywhere else.
Review by Butch D.
Easily exceeded all my expectations. So far pump has been ON for 40 hours (5 continuous 8 hour runs) and vacuum is consistently better than 25" of Hg. Also pump is tiny, lightweight, quiet and very low vibration.
Review by Gerry Whelan
My pump came in last week from Joe and I was absolutely amazed that a pump this nice could be had for a hundred bucks. These are easily worth $160 or more. My pump looks like it just came off the assembly line and to be honest, if it didnt say it was rebuilt, I would have thought it was brand new.
I wanted to build a vacuum press a few months ago and when I tried to buy this pump, I found it was not in stock. Joe quickly replied to my inquiry and said that more pumps were on the way and that he was lowering the price of them this time. Where else do you find this kind of customer service and prices? No where. I dont know what else to write about this pump and Joe's website. I think it speaks for itself in many ways. You'll have no problems with this company.
Review by N. Culpepper
I'm retired and on a fixed income so I have to be careful with my funds and I dont always get the best or newest tools. My friend recommended this pump since he owns one. The reviews shown here are all good one and mine is not much different. The vacuum pump is made by Thomas Vacuum Pumps and the rebuild sticker on it indicated a date of just a few weeks ago. The product information for this pump says they are a little dirty but mine looks almost new. For $120 bucks, I dont think I could have found a better and more reliable pump.
Review by Nicolas S.
I've been looking for a pump like this for a year. Everywhere its $300 or more. Even salvage companies are asking $160 to $180 for this pump (same specs!). I ordered one from Veneersupplies and built it into my pressing system and then I took it to my local woodworking club. Before I knew it, everyone was asking about my system and I told everyone how great of an experience I had with this website. I live in Oregon so I thought the shipping costs were going to be high but I found the rates here to be excellent. My pump shipped on the same day that I ordered it.
Review by Robert Edney
I initially built one of the compressor run pumps (venturi type) from Joe's plans, using parts I ordered here. Worked exactly as advertised. My compressor, however, is noisy and draws fairly high amperage. I decided to try one of these rebuilt pumps and it was a great move. Quiet, uses a lot less power than the compressor, easy to set-up, etc. Joe's plans are great, his prices are fair and I've no idea how he ships so quickly! It may sound like I'm his brother-in-law, but I'm not, just a very satisfied customer impressed with a genuinely well-run business.
Review by John Makar
Consider carefully before you buy. I live at an altitude of 6,000 ft in Colorado. Max rated Hg pull on this pump is 24"Hg. Subtract an inch for each 1,000 ft of altitude and you are down to around 18"Hg pull. If you use this pump in the EVS design in that situation, your low vacuum pressure is going to be in the range of 14"Hg - on the low side of the pressure you may want for veneering.
I have found that this pump actually performs better than that, depending on some things. In cold air, such as my unheated shop in winter, I have to run this thing in continuous mode to get the vacuum I need. In that situation I am getting 17"Hg to 19"Hg consistently. I tend to avoid that situation, because in that temperature range almost all glues start doing funky things.
In warmer air, I can get up to +20"Hg pull, and in that situation I can run fairly reliably in auto-cycling mode with some very long intervals between on/off - much better than the 30 minutes JWW cites as normal. Above 70degrees F, this pump has pulled better than 21"Hg, which in theory probably shouldn't happen.
Same pump, same system. The pump is rated for continuous run, and probably has many 100s of hours on the life in that mode. If you plan to use this pump above 5,000 ft elevation, plan on using it at least part-time in continuous mode. I did not do a dual wiring setup. I calibrated the vacuum controller in warm air for a +19"Hg pull, and when it doesn't achieve it, it simply runs continuously.
Review by Jack Himmelman
Being a budding woodworker means I'm on a budget so I needed to be cautious about the total price of my vacuum system. This pump worked out great because its not too expensive and it pulls a fast vacuum. The pump includes the muffler and the capacitor so you just need the EvS kit with it to get your press going. I received my order promptly and Joe was very helpful with my questions before and after ordering. I will buy from here again.
Review by Brad Strong
I purchased this pump to use with the Project CRS Continuous Run Pump Vacuum Press Kit. Everything went together great. It pulls down my 2' x 6' bag very quickly. It seems to be an excellent quality pump and it saved me some money.
Review by Rick Lowell
This pump is so sweet, I came back for a second one to run a dula pump vacuum press system. As always, Joe's customer service, shipping, and prices are impeccable. If you are looking to save a few bucks, this pump is perfect. It runs quietly and without much vibration.
Review by Mike Lowthrop
I bought this pump to go with the vacuum press kit. With Joe's instructions, the kit assembled easily and the pump runs perfectly. I thought about buying a brand new pump but I decided to save some money and go with this one. I'm very happy with my choice. The pump runs cool and pulls a very fast vacuum. Overall, I doubt this could get any better.
Review by Dave Skowron
I rely on a vacuum system for my livelyhood. I had one and it worked out ok, but it was a little weak. I use it exclusively as a clamping system, not a veneering system. I had decided to get a new one and did a little searching on the web. I was about to bid on a pump on eBay until I read the information here on Joe's site. I decided to get his rebuilt Thomas pump and one of the kits he offers. I couldn't be happier with that decision. After spending an additional 20 bucks or so at a hardware store to get the things I needed to make it work in my specific application, this system has perfomred so much better than I ever expected. It's a great performer and has added a little boost to my productivity. Those of you in business for yourself will agree that every minute saved is a few more pennies in the paycheck. Thanks Joe, for a great product. It's well thought out and priced at half what I paid for a smaller 1/8" system.
Red Bear Trading Company
Review by Steve Rozmiarek
Excellent value! I bought the works from Joe, and couldn't be happier! The pump is quiet and fast, the bags quality is awsome and the parts kit made it all easy to put together. I was pressing veneer in one weekend, for a fraction of what the others charge, plus I think my system is much better quality then most of the pre assembled systems on the market. Thanks Joe!
Review by Fred Jensen
I purchased one of these rebuilt pumps thinking it was a good deal. WRONG!!! It was a fantastic deal. The pump ordered along with a builder's kit arrived on schedule and was packed very carefully. All items were there. I was able to build the initial model up to the point of testing for leaks and adjusting the vacuum controller in about four hours. The unit is really quiet and very reliable. I will be spending more time refining the platform and support structure and doing some other modifications to suit several different applications. The point is though, that for around 350.00 and a few hours time invested, I have a working useable vacuum system that would rival almost any professionally built vacuum press system on the market and at an unbelievably affordable price.
Review by Richard Meyer
Joe, Service is wonderful, ordered on Thursday and received on next Monday. Assembled pump using details from several pumps shown on web site and some of my own ideas. Works GREAT! Thanks for your quick service. Will be placing more orders soon. Dick