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roygon

Chamber Vacuum Sealers, 2011–2014

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paulpegg   

Hopefully the price will come down some more. Looking at the components and concept I strongly believe it can be made less expensive. I think what's holding back the dropping of prices is simply the lack of competition and the profit oriented mindset of the current market. What we need is a company to revolutionize the industry and bring the idea to the mass market. Otherwise a kickstarter project on this with some strong publicity would be equally nice. The concept seems straight forward enough with a sealed chamber, vacuum pump, some relays and a sealer mechanism.

I can see one hurdle to overcome - current units weigh close to if not more than 100 lbs. All that steel, plexiglass, vacuum pump, etc would cost an arm and a leg for shipping alone. If it can be re-engineered to use less material, it would be an overall savings for any manufacturer.

Another thing, my vp215 looks like it was designed in the 80's with no innovation since. I feel all other appliances like washer/dryers, fridges, ovens, stoves, etc have all been updated but these, not the slightest. Some would say the newer appliances are just cheaper looking and less reliable but I disagree. I'm sure there's a compromise somewhere between high tech and reliability. The vacuum chamber companies need a good kick in the ass with some strong competition that's willing to innovate. Though I can't really complain about Ary. They've already come out with the vp112 which is lighter and cheaper than their previous models. Just a sleeker interface such as a color touch screen would jazz it up a bit but that's another topic.

I paid $540 for my VP112 and am very happy with it. It won't be easy to make a cheaper chamber that can withstand -.95 atmospheres without using very expensive materials or making it spherical, which would make it huge! The choices used now are standard steel and are fairly thick to prevent the flat sides of a cube from collapsing under the pressure. Pressure vessel design standards cannot be ignored. The pump and electronics are a minor cost in comparison. I looked into building my own and could not beat the price of the VP112. The VP112 also cannot pull as full a vacuum as the higher priced units. Want it lighter? Give up on the spec's.

BTW, all other household appliances are being redesigned with lighter and cheaper materials. They also are not expected to last as long as the old iron that they replace. I bought a new refrigerator and washer this year to replace two 30 year old units. The new refrigerator weights roughly half the old one and has been serviced already. It also has very poor distribution of temperature in the refrigerator side. The tech advised me to take out a contract if i plan on keeping it for more than 5 years! The washer also had to be serviced and I got the same info from that tech. I helped him take the thing apart and it is all plastic and PC boards. I doubt that it will last 15 years much less 30!

I bought the VP112 because I got tired of the foodsaver type bags leaking over time in the freezer. I have not had a single failure with the heavy bags from vacuumsealersunlimited.

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Competition will surely help, but Paul is right--they can only get down to a certain price point while retaining features. If you want a Busch pump, that's just going to cost you more... though as far as I can tell, there is a heck of a nice margin built into the price of a chamber sealer.

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rotuts   

I must say this:

I covet a chamber vaccum sealer that will last and not need repairs

Why ? I dont need it. Im not doing Tooty Fruity Compressed watermellon

so why?

either in this thread or the SV thread there were two posts fairly recently showing VIds of the C.V.S:

one was from a french firm showing you and me the delights of their C.V.S.

the top was in english the bottom in French. French was sooo much better.

its the sounds the temptation etc etc. these things sound Good and Tasty.

the other was a ref to colored carrots :

this way, that way, in the bag : then all of the separate bags in the C.V.S

Wow ! those carrots Im sure tasted Perfect !

do not look for those two vids if you know what's good for you. !

so whatever they cost, they really dont help me.

nor does a Ferrari get me to the store quicker.

traffic tickets excluded.

the C.V.S adds Vroooooooom to your kitchen.

thats it.

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I use a chamber vacuum sealer for making cocktail infusions, marinating, holding par-cooked items for a day or two with no degradation, making nearly instant pickles, packaging charcuterie, sealing up liquids, preparing food for long-term freezing... and, yeah, preparing compressed items and sealing a variety of foods before preparing them sous vide. And probably a few other things I'll remember after I hit "Post."

Some of the things it does are convenient and/or speedy. Some could have been done by my old FoodSaver machine. Some are unique. Some are what rotuts is calling "Vrooom." (I think. I can't quite understand most of that post.) Most are not.

It's a machine with lots of possibilities, most of which are hard to appreciate until you have one -- at least that was true for me. I can't say it was a frugal purchase, but it's certainly the most frequently used kitchen appliance in our house.

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I use a chamber vacuum sealer for making cocktail infusions, marinating, holding par-cooked items for a day or two with no degradation, making nearly instant pickles, packaging charcuterie, sealing up liquids, preparing food for long-term freezing... and, yeah, preparing compressed items and sealing a variety of foods before preparing them sous vide. And probably a few other things I'll remember after I hit "Post."

I would say that I use mine for the same things, and as Chris said, for even more I can't remember. Do I need to make Old Fashion infused Clementines to put into my Old Fashions? Definitely a "Vrroom" -- but an awesome one. I could sit here and tell you it pays for itself in what I save by freezing...but I suppose the counter is that a clamp will do that as well. I think my favorite part is that when we are done with dinner, if we don't plan on eating the leftovers within 12-24 hours, I package them up and 99.9% them, and put them into hibernation in the deep freeze. Everything from fried rice to pot roast has been brought back to temp in the sous vide and just as good as the night it was served.....I love that. But honestly, what I really love are the clementines.

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Chris & Poet, if you have any links to "vroom" techniques you enjoy, please post. I've yet to try pickles, and while I marinade I wonder if my procedure is the best.

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rotuts   

very very interesing.

so ...

Chris Amirault

what machine do you have? have you had problems with it?

for what many seem to cost, the repair cost seem unreasonable.

I hope to be wrong.

:biggrin:

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Chris & Poet, if you have any links to "vroom" techniques you enjoy, please post. I've yet to try pickles, and while I marinade I wonder if my procedure is the best.

I probably make pickles once a week, using a basic brine (David Chang's from the Momofuku cookbook), sliced cukes and often onions, sometimes salted until wilted but often not. They disappear at the table.

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Back in March of 2013 when I first got my MVS-31X, I made all sorts of fun stuff -- Some of them are on page 13 in this thread. Since then, I have also made pickles pretty frequently, and also found that a thai style cucumber salad made with shallots instead of red onion turns out magnificently if held at a nice vacuum for sometime -- I simply followed a standard recipe for the salad and ran it through at 99.9 + 30 seconds a few times. The old fashion clementines are simply -- make and old fashion, dump it in the bag and then add a few sectioned clementines -- 99.9 + 30 however many times you want and then drink the old fashion, and keep the clementines for a kick in your old fashion. Delicious.

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You don't need a chamber sealer to do vacuum infusions. marinades and flash pickles.

For a total of about $30-$40, a faucet vacuum aspirator, a FoodSaver vacuum jar lid, a piece of hose and some canning jars can be used....or really any reasonably sized vacuum container you can hook a hose to.

I use the set-up several times a week.

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DerekW   

You don't need a chamber sealer ...., a faucet vacuum aspirator, ...

Interesting. With one of those and a stainless cambro [steam table insert], how far are we from the $100 chamber sealer? The P.O.S. bag sealer part grafted on, and a plumbed in water feed, and what else?

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Actually, I intend to work on that idea soon.

I've found some silicone gaskets for hotel/gastronorm pans that I hope will work.

An impulse sealer can be used to seal the bags.

The biggest issue is temporarily sealing the bag in the pan until it can be sealed with the impulse sealer.

I have some ideas.

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alanz   

One important question with a faucet vacuum aspirator is how much water and how much time would it take to evacuate a chamber and bring it to (and hold) an acceptable vacuum for sealing. I have tried faucet based fluid pumps (in lieu of an electric sump pump) and the results were pretty dismal. Perhaps not having to actual move fluid might render these devices more viable, perhaps not.

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A couple of things....either the vacuum chamber must be sized to very closely fit the job or the vacuum aspirator can be setup as a closed loop system....or both.

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alanz   

Right you are. Likely the most common use of this type of device is in the lab with an Erlenmeyer flask. Replicating the volume of a typical chamber vacuum might be a challenge. A closed system would be interesting because you would have to bring the waste water back up to pressure for it to be effective during recirculating. If a pump is involved to bring it back to pressure, it might not be any better a solution than a conventional vacuum pump. I look forward to hearing/seeing the results of your exploration.

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Spacers in a reasonably sized hotel pan should fine work to resize the chamber as needed and yes, a pump would be needed for a closed loop set-up...about $100 last I checked.

The problem with a standard vacuum pump is the possibility of the back flow of toxins....that's why a medical vacuum pump or the like is recommended when working with food....unfortunately, they're extremely expensive.

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alanz   

I own two Gast 4.5 cfm rotary vane vacuum pumps. I use one for a vacuum chuck on my wood lathe, and the other for wood stabilization. I put a VP112 in my kitchen last summer, nice unit, reasonably priced. I am a tinkerer, so I look forward to whatever you come up with.


Edited by alanz (log)

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johnder   

At least in my case is I am finding I am using my chamber sealer way more than I ever used my foodsaver. A few reasons I attribute to this:

The foodsaver was stored in a cabinet and most of the time I was too lazy to bring it out for a quick job, cleaning / sanitizing it due to the high probability of it sucking in some liquid from the bag and putting it away. That combined with the fact I was never happy with the seals or vacuum level I got with it the foodsaver was never really part of my cooking ritual.

Now that I have the chamber sealer out on the counter, ready to go at a moments notice am finding I am using it 2-3 times a day. That combined with the huge difference in the end product, I am super happy with it. Yes, it is huge and takes up a lot of counter space, but having it available and ready I think also contributes highly the usage it is getting.

In regards to WS or Sur La Table selling 85 pound $900 chamber sealers, I am sure they would sell some especially bundled with with some crazy labeled "Pro" package (PolySci Prof Chef and VP215 or MiniPak, keeping the Vp112 and PolySci Creative as the "Home" package ) , but I feel they will go the way of the breadmakers that were all the fad 5 years ago. People used them for a few weeks, then they sat on the counter untouched for a few months and finally sent out to the curb as part of a yard sale or sequestered in the basement to reclaim the counterspace.

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stckciv   

I am planning on buying the VP215 after the holidays and have a couple questions for everyone.

I need to make or buy a rolling counter area to set this on with the Anova sous vide stuff I have sitting under the tree. Someone posted a video here, not sure if it was this thread or the Anova thread, he had a similar table. I can butt mine up to the existing counter and have about 4'+ area I can use. Does anyone have anything similar? Or can you post any pics of how yours sits? I want to have something functional for when I buy anything bulk to be able to make work easy.

Next question, BAGS is there any sizes that you feel are useless OR a need to have? I guess I should say 5 people in the family. Also best places to buy bags.

Thank for all your help!!

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By far, I use pint (6"x10") bags the most. Quart sized are next, I use them about half as often. I also have gallon sized bags but I might use 20 pint bags for every gallon bag.

So far I haven't sealed anything too huge, but I do use the gallon bags when I want to reseal a bag over and over. For example if I have a giant Costco block of cheddar, I cut the bag open and reseal it after each use. This adds about eleven cents to the cost of the cheese, but also keeps it really fresh.

The cheapest place I have found, when you include shipping, is VacuumSealersUnlimited.com. I looked at a dozen or more shops, pretty much every place I could find that sold chamber sealer bags. Another user upthread was really irritated that they delayed processing his order for a couple of days... that happened to me as well, so if you are in a hurry, I guess go somewhere else. But if you want decent bags at the best price, I could not find anyplace cheaper--and I looked hard. (If anyone does find a better deal, or a good price on small quantities, please post!)

I'm using the 3 mil bags and have only very rarely wished I had anything thicker. When I have had a problem with puncturing the bag--and that only happened once, with biscotti--I was able to get around it by slowing the repressurization time on my machine.

http://shop.vacuumsealersunlimited.com/3-MIL-Chamber-Bags_c67.htm

Note that they do sell boilable bags as well. I decided to get my quart bags as boilable, which adds a cent or two per bag. However, if you are doing SV, all the bags are fine for lower temperatures.

I wish I could buy some of the bags in smaller quantities. The neat gold-backed bags, for example... I'd like 100 of those, I just don't need 1000.

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I have a quick question for everyone -- I have again run into some sort of snag with my MVS-31X -- previously, the pump had gone out because some water had gotten into it -- it was cleaned out in October and was working fine through the holidays. This week, it has once again began to refuse to pull a 99.9% vacuum -- it gets all the way to 97.5% and then just sits there. I know that for sous vide cooking 97.5 vs 99.9 is irrelevant, but I ask because clearly there is something up with it -- has anyone else had a problem similar to this? Thanks. The only thing I can think of is that some cassoulet I packaged up for freezing may have been too hot...seems unlikely to kill a commercial machine though....

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I received my Vacmaster V215 last week and have been having a lot of fun with it. I think I may have gone a little overboard on the amount of bags I bought (too much excitement) from vacuumsealersunlimited.com. I thought I would offer to sell some of the extras if anyone is interested.

I bought a case (1000 bags) of 8x12 ($60.48) Vacmaster 3 mil boilable bags and a case of 10x15 ($94.50) Vacmaster 3 mil boilable bags. I would be happy to sell any at cost plus shipping if anyone is interested. I would be mailing them from the Chicago suburbs. If anyone is interested please PM me.

P.S. I just ordered them today so hope to receive them by the end of the week.

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danelks   

Just wanted to pop in to this thread and thank all the contributors for the wealth of information.

I just ordered myself an MVS-35XP (minus the printer) via Testek (PolyScience's Canadian distributor - who were extremely helpful).

Will follow up here with my first impressions when I have it in my hands (which won't be for a few weeks yet unfortunately).

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