I decided to bite the bullet and bought a vacuum pump and bag from Vacupress. I chose the smaller (1.3 CFM pump) and their 49" sq 30 mil vinyl bag. Came in 2 boxes along with the hose and all the necessary fittings. Instructions for use and setup are well written. Their system requires a grooved platten to ensure the air is evacuated because the hose attaches to the bottom of the bag through a hole in the platten. While I was at it I made a large platten (38 x 48) which is quite heavy and a 24 x 36 platten whicih will be fine for smaller projects - both out of 3/4" melamine.
Pump has both continuous and auto cyle modes ( Use auto cycle with the vacuum bag). In the pics, I was only using about half the volume of the bag and it took about a minute to come up to pressure. The pump pressure and auto cylcle pressure setting are adjustable. Mine cycles, right now, between 22" and 24" Hg.
BTW, I almost missed it. The bag comes with a small patch kit just in case and copule fo extra fittings so you can have more than platten ready to go.
There are cheaper ways to go but this system works great and I am happy with it. I have attached a few pics of my first glue-up. Did both sides at the same time.