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Excel 3™
Continuous Run
Vacuum Press System
* Special Savings! *


Additional Pictures: 3

Regular Price:
Your Price:
$393.50   ($119.45 Savings!)
Customer Rating:
Excel Podz™ Kit:
Extended Kit:


Product Description


Simple and Effective -
The Excel 3™ vacuum press kit is designed for woodworkers looking for a simple and affordable way to veneer wood panels and clamp wood projects for routing, sanding, and carving. This system is a testament to the virtue of simplicity.

Every part of the Excel 3 kit was designed with simplicity in mind. This makes it easy to assemble and incredibly durable. The vacuum level is fully adjustable from 280 to 1,785 lbs of pressure per square foot. Assembly consists of only a few pieces and each uses standard NPT threads.

At the heart of the system is a quiet yet powerful 3.5 CFM vacuum pump designed for many years of trouble-free operation. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. The sound level from this pump is even less than some diaphragm pumps. Additionally, there is no wiring involved in the assembly process and the whole system goes together very quickly.

This system can handle commercial and industrial use and is suitable for bags up to 4' x 9'. This system might not be suitable for use with epoxy and similar adhesive types. See the Questions & Answers tab above for more information.

pg-need-help.gifAssembly Time: 30 to 35 minutes 
Assembly Instructions: Click here

To complete your press, you will need a vacuum bag and platens.

Kit Contents

  • Continuous Duty 3.5 CFM Oil-Less Vacuum Pump
  • High Flow Vacuum Filter
  • Braided Vacuum Tube (3/8" ID x 10 Ft.)
  • Lock-On Vacuum Connector (new version)
  • Exhaust Muffler
  • Thread Sealing Tape
  • Vacuum Valve
  • Stainless Steel Vacuum Gauge
  • Four Rubber Feet for Vacuum Pump
  • Brass Cross Fitting
  • Straight Brass Barbed Fittings
  • Short Brass Pipe Nipple
  • Long Brass Pipe Nipple
  • Brass Barbed Elbow
  • Brass Street Elbow
  • Brass Hex Plug
  • Composite Handle and Manifold


  • Easy and adjustable vacuum level
  • Very quiet - operates as just 55 dB at 10 feet on the A scale
  • Balanced carrying handle with integrated manifold
  • Powerful enough to create 25.5" of Hg at sea level
  • Re-usable vacuum filter element made of stainless steel
  • Fan-cooled and thermally protected (266° F) induction motor
  • Simple design with easy-to-follow assembly instructions included
  • Optional manifold with quick connector kit permits vacuum pressing up to 3 bags at the same time

pg-warning-yellow.jpg WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals, including lead, which are known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information visit

Excel 3™ Options

Excel Podz™ Kit (26 Piece Podz Kit + Foot Pedal)
Podz™ are simple vacuum jigs designed to affordably clamp projects to your bench top. Using the power of your vacuum press and vacuum clamping add-on, the Excel Podz kit allows you to configure the clamping jigs any way you choose to clamp projects as small as 4" x 4" and as large as 5' x 4'. The Excel Podz kit includes everything in the regular Podz kit plus the electric foot pedal.Podz Kit for Excel Vacuum Press System

  • Podz Pre-Drilled Jigs - 4" x 4" HDPE (4 pcs.)
  • Mach Valve (4 pcs.)
  • Brass Plug - 1/8" NPT
  • Blue Vacuum Tube (12 ft.)
  • Brass Barb Fitting (7 pcs.)
  • Removable Podz Gaskets (8 pcs.)
  • Attachment Fitting (to connect to Excel kit)
  • Latching Electric Foot Pedal


Extended Kit
This optional extended kit with quick connectors allows you to vacuum press up to three vacuum bags at once. This kit also includes two vacuum quick disconnects to allow the extra vacuum lines to be removed from the system when not in use.

Extended Manifold and Quick Connector Kit

This extended kit includes the following items:

Is this pump suitable for running continuously?
Yes! The manufacturer estimates the life of the pump at 10,000 hours until servicing is needed. We stock replacement parts for this pump and though we have been offering these pumps for many years, we've only shipped a few replacement parts. This vacuum pump has been exceptionally reliable and durable.

Isn't it better for the pump to cycle on and off?
Unless you are concerned about noise (which is minimal) or energy usage, there are no other major performance differences between the Excel 3 kit and a Project: EVS-2 kit with the same 3.5 CFM vacuum pump. The advantages to auto-cycling are the reduction of noise and the possibility of longer pump life.

Project: EVS-2™ Vacuum Press KitCan I convert this system to the Project: EVS-2 so that it auto-cycles?
Yes. We have a discounted EVS-2 upgrade kit that allows you to disassemble your Excel 3/5 system and use many of the parts from it.

Can I use this system with epoxy?
The Excel system is not designed for use with epoxy and similar adhesive types unless an intake filter is used that can trap airborne particulates and prevent gumming in the system. We do not offer this filter nor can we suggest where to find one. Some users have reported that off-gassing is not a concern with today's types of epoxy but I have no clear evidence to support this.

Why can't I use epoxy with this system?
I'm not saying you can't. The system is not designed for use with epoxy. You can try and it might be fine. Or off-gassing from the epoxy could gum-up the piston in the pump and ruin it which would not be covered by the warranty.

Can this system be used for carbon fiber work?
I honestly don't know the answer to that question. Many have asked about it and then bought the system. I haven't received any feedback from them so I simply do not have an honest answer. If you have used the system for a carbon fiber project, feel free to send me some details.

Can I use a vacuum press for clamping boards together face to face?
At sea level, a typical vacuum press can put down the equivalent of 1,750 lbs of pressure per square foot. If the boards are flat, then this is generally considered more than adequate for a project where two sheet materials such as plywood or MDF are being glued together face to face. This also is true for gluing solid wood boards together.

Will this system have enough force to bend strips of wood so I can make bent laminations?
This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on many factors such as thickness, species and grain direction. It will also depend on the radius and complexity of the curves that are being used on the project. At sea level, this vacuum press can create up to 1,750 lbs of clamping pressure per square foot. You will need to decide if that is enough for your bending project.

Why does the clamping add-on on this product appear to cost more than if the Podz clamping kit is ordered separately?
The Podz kit option on the Excel vacuum press system also includes the electric foot pedal. The stand-alone Podz kit on our site does not include the foot pedal. The standard Podz kit with tube adapter option costs $82.95 and the foot pedal is $28.40. The combined total is $111.35 which is what we charge to include the Podz kit and foot pedal with your Excel 3 order.

What else will I need to have a complete vacuum press system?
You will need a vacuum bag and a few veneering supplies such as a glue roller, veneer glue, and breather mesh. Also needed is a melamine platen board which can be bought at most large home improvement stores.

Does altitude affect the maximum vacuum I can get with this system?
There is a loss of about 1" Hg for every 1,000 feet above sea level. This system can create 25.5" Hg so if you are at 5,000 feet, you will get approximately 20.5" Hg of vacuum. Since this system has a maximum vacuum of 25.5" Hg at sea level, it is not suitable for users above 8,000 feet.

What is the minimum vacuum level for veneering?
Most veneers require at least 17" Hg but a few species such as maple and bubinga are best pressed at 21" Hg.

What is the warranty on this system?
The vacuum pump is warranted by the manufacturer to be free of defects in material and workmanship for a period of 1 year. All other parts of this system are warranted by to be free of defects in material and workmanship for a period of 90 days.

What is the return policy on the Excel 3 system?
Please see this page for details regarding our return policy.

Does this system include a vacuum bag?
None of our systems come with a vacuum bag because we don't want to force you to buy something you may not need. We also have no way to know what size bag you might want with your system so the vacuum bags are offered separate from the rest of the system.

Can this system be used to vacuum clamp projects for CNC routing?
The clamping add-on for this kit is designed for bench-top clamping. It is not designed for large scale CNC work. Most large CNC vacuum clamping systems use a vacuum blower (not a vacuum pump) which can move more than 25 CFM. If the project material being cut is exceptionally porous or will have cut-throughs that will release the vacuum, then this system will not work.

The Podz vacuum clamping jigs will hold mid-sized non-porous panels but you still need a way to support the panel so it does not flex downward between the jigs if using with a CNC machine. Small clamping jigs that leak a little vacuum are also fine in most cases.

Does the Excel 3 system work on porous surfaces?
The overall effectiveness of the clamping apparatus is dependent on the porosity of the work bench surface and the porosity of the material being clamped. If the work bench surface below the clamping jigs is porous - such as unfinished MDF or particle board - then you will have diminished clamping power with this vacuum system. Some woods such as oak and walnut will leak a considerable amount of vacuum and this can reduce the holding ability of the system.e

Can this system for used for carbon fiber work?
I honestly don't know the answer to that question. Many have asked about it and then bought the system. I haven't received any feedback from them so I simply do not have an honest answer. If you have used the system for a carbon fiber project, feel free to send me some details.

Can this system 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...

  1. What is the surface area where the chuck attaches to the project?
  2. Is the project material porous? (some species of wood are very porous)
  3. How much weight will be held on the chuck at turning speed?

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 Excel 3 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.

  1. Determine the surface area of the vacuum attachment point. In most cases, the vacuum chuck will be circular so use Pi (roughly 3.14) to determine this number. The formula starts by taking the diameter and dividing by two. This gives you the radius. Then multiply the radius by 3.14 and then multiply it again by the radius. Let's use a chuck diameter of 6" and determine the surface area. Divide 6 by 2. That makes 3 so then multiply 3 times 3.14 (Pi), then multiply that again by 3.
    6 ÷ 2 = 3
    3 x 3.14 = 9.42
    3 x 9.42 = 28.26

    So here we have 28.26 square inches in a 6" diameter chucking surface.
  2. Determine the maximum sustainable vacuum level that you can reach with your project piece attached to the vacuum chuck simply by placing it on the chuck and turning on your vacuum pump. A non-porous material that is chucked to your lathe will typically achieve the same level of maximum vacuum that your pump is capable of achieving. In other words, the project material itself allows no loss of vacuum therefor the pump will achieve its best available vacuum.
    In the following example let's assume that the project material is non-porous and that the pump can generate 25" of Hg. For every inch of Hg vacuum, you get .49 lbs per square inch of pressure. Multiply .49 by the vacuum level that the pump can create.

    .49 x 25 = 12.25 (this is how much pressure in pounds that you are getting per square inch)
  3. Multiply 28.26 x 12.25 to get 346.19 lbs of force holding your project to the lathe.
  4. Now only you can decide if that is enough chucking force to safely hold your project.

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?
The approximate measurements are...

  • Length: 9.5"
  • Height: 7.25"
  • Width: 6"
Joe, what are your thoughts on this system?
There is a well-known quote from Warren Buffett that "Price is what you pay. Value is what you get." When I think of this quote and the vacuum presses we offer, the Excel 3 and Excel 5 kits comes to mind. I don't think there is a better value in vacuum press systems anywhere else and our customers seem to agree. Christine and I ship more of this kit then any other on our site. It's designed it to deliver maximum value and that comes through its price, durability, ease of use, and capability. I think you will be very pleased with it.

Product Reviews

  1. Great Addition to My Shop

    Review by Scott Blackketter

    This is my first project and my first vacuum press so I have limited experience but it assembled easily, all good quality parts, worked like a champ. I couldn't be happier with my purchase. I added the Podz just on a whim thinking I wouldn't really use them and yet I am using them regularly. Paired with the foot switch they are super handy!

  2. My First Vacuum Pump

    Review by Dean Roland

    I purchased this pump and a 2'x3' bag. Everything performs perfectly! I was a little hesitant about the continuous-run pump but no problems. It's very quiet and you can adjust the amount of vacuum, which is handy. I highly recommend this pump to anyone that wants to get in to vacuum pressing.

  3. No More Clamps and Cauls

    Review by Larry Gruppen

    I bought my first vacuum veneer press from Veneer Supplies and found myself hooked. No more clamps and cauls and trying to equalize pressures and scrambling to get all the pieces in one place. The vacuum pump was simple to assemble and the instructions were transparent. The results were perfection and I'm done with solid wood panels if I can get so many different woods for my projects instead of those common enough to build out at full thickness. Now, I just need to find room for another veneering project.

  4. Excellent Vacuum Pump

    Review by Mark Kraus

    Excellent vacuum pump system. Components were good quality and thoughtfully sourced/kitted. Very detailed directions were easy to follow for assembly. Reasonably quiet while in use. Vacuum gauge and adjustment allow precise adjustment and monitoring of vacuum level.

  5. Super Happy

    Review by Marc Leaman

    Received the order very quickly and it was easy to put together with the included instructions. Using this pump along with the bag, veneer, and glue I purchased I was successful with my very first ever veneer project which was a 5 foot by 3 foot panel. Really happy with this pump.

  6. Works Great

    Review by Chris Barnes

    Works great. I also got a vacuum bag and some breather mesh and glue. I've already made a number of flat panels and two curved ones. I use shopsawn veneer of my own.

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