SSYTC040 Well that sucks

Jumping straight into the demos, the first item we looked at was the new Autoclean Cleantex.  Looking very much like the CT36 with the extra dimension that it can put itself through a filter cleaning cycle.

The Autoclean (with superflex hose)

Demoing the Machine

The cleaning cycle can be dialed in so it happens at a frequency that suits the job being done.  If doing a lot of heavy sanding of a powdery surface, you want a very frequent cleaning cycle, and it can become as infrequent as once every 2 1/2 minutes, or off altogether.

SSYTC040 Well that sucks

The cleaning cycle does disrupt the suction, but it is very quick so it is not an issue.  There are a couple of parts to the cleaning.  The airflow is momentarily reversed to blow through the filter, and at the same time there is a valve that literally thumps directly above the filter.

That is the theory – in practice I almost jumped out of my skin the first time the cleaning cycle activated! It is surprisingly violent (although it makes sense when you normally see a filter covered in caked plaster, MDF dust etc, just how hard it would be to get it off by being gentle). Given the airflow does reverse, it is more effective if the air doesn’t flow back up the tube, and as such there is a manually operated valve that can be attached to the front of the vac, so at the end of a dusty session, you can close the valve then activate the cleaning cycle to leave the vac ready to go the next time.

The first time I saw it activate, the vac had the new super-flexible hose that Festool have also just released, and seeing it jump significantly when the cleaning cycle hit is probably what added to the surprise just how violent the cycle is!  I am very curious just how much wear and tear it places on the machine and the components.  The filter is unique to the Autoclean as well – very flexible to get the maximum benefit from the heavy thump the Autoclean cycle imparts.

Flexible Filter

I did come away with two thoughts: first, the autoclean is impressive for those that need it – especially those doing sanding of plaster for example, and second, when I heard there was an Autoclean version (and not that long after I got the CT36), I thought it was a shame to miss out on that. Not any more – I don’t need that sort of self-cleaning vac for the work that happens in my workshop.  The CT36, which is still one of the very latest models, is still my ideal solution.  If I was doing concrete grinding or cutting, plaster work etc, then sure – the Autoclean would be invaluable.

The Green Dream Thing

Had an interesting start to the morning, and very much the result of being part of “the new media”.   I was invited along to the new product launch for 2011 of Festool and Protool products and it turns out they are only about 15 minutes from home.

There will be more specific info over the next day or two resulting from the launch (I took plenty of photos on your behalf!) so stay tuned for that.

On arrival, we met the (surprisingly small) contingent in Melbourne – only about 5 others which rather amazed me for a city of 4 million. Not sure what all the others who were also there did – I only knew of one other who was specifically media (Connection Magazines).  So does that make me pretty much it for woodworking-focused media in Melbourne/Victoria?? (Or at least woodworking focused, and interested in the quality tool end of the market).

That is either really cool for Stu’s Shed, or really sad for Victoria!

The start of the day (after a bit of an informal chat, and a bit of a look at some of their naked tools) was a sit-down presentation in their training room, where each of the new tools was introduced (via power point).

Naked Tools

More Naked Tools

Full Metal Jacket....uh.....gears

The start of what makes a good tool – real bearings (not plastic fantastic), and metal gearing.

The training/ marketing centre is a bit like the retail marketing space that is created in the premium stores.

Getting to that room takes you right past the warehouse.  As much as they don’t think it is interesting, this is shelf after shelf of Festool and Protool: how could I not get excited (oh the possibilities for a small workshop represented right there!)

So that is where I was, and in the next article or two, I’ll cover what we were shown!

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