Festool in the House

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Ok, so it doesn’t have the same ring as Ali G, (and I suspect there are very few who even get the reference!  Oh well).

My Festool CT36 has managed to find its way inside, and it looks a bit out of place – when you get it in a small room, you realise just how large it is (particularly combined with the Oneida cyclone and Festool Boom arm).  If I hadn’t cut down the height of the boom arm by 6″ or so when I got it to fit under the shed rafters, it wouldn’t have been able to get through the doors either (without lifting and tilting the whole setup that is).

I have bought it inside as I am doing some patching and plastering, and wanted to sand without dust.

Speaking of dust, before I bought it inside, I gave the unit a quick once-over with compressed air, and emptied the bags.  Well that is not strictly true.

My Festool has the Oneida Dust Deputy Ultimate II on it from Professional Woodworker Supplies.

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Dust Deputy Ultimate II

I hadn’t checked it for a while (other than to quickly confirm if the bin was full or not), but certainly hadn’t checked how much carry over there had been.

The Ultimate II has a small tube that provides suction to the bucket, and as such means the bin can have a plastic bag for dust collection.  This is very convenient, and a significant improvement over the Ultimate (I). So I was able to lift this bag out, and it was full of the worst kind of dust that your parents warned you about.  Not the sort of dust you want to bring home to meet the folks.

The dust that had been collected was so fine, that if thrown onto an open fire (or ignition source), it would create a serious fireball.  It is all about the surface area of the fuel, and the abundance of oxygen.  Not the sort of stuff you want to be breathing.

So then I went and tried to empty the Longlife Festool dust bag.  I tried, but there was nothing to empty.  It had all be captured by the Cyclone.  If there was any carryover, it was too fine to see, or capture easily in the vac bag, and would have then been caught by the HEPA filter.  What was going in was definitely not coming out!

So bad news for the Longlife bag – with this system, you can stick with a disposable bag, and even that for a long time.  You don’t actually need the capacity of the large vac either if that isn’t as important.  It also makes emptying much easier, as you are not lifting off the whole motor to get access to the dust bag.  Not to say that the Festool vac is redundant – having a combination of autostart or direct power through ports on the vac, boom arm, combined power lead and hose, variable speed, HEPA filter etc etc, still sets the Festool Cleantex apart.  The Ultimate II just makes it even better.

It was a pretty convincing demo of the Ultimate II cyclonic dust separator.

Well I was impressed.

I Shot the Sherrif

“But I did not shoot no (Dust) Deputy”

As I demonstrated recently, I can fit (with a bit of a violation of a systainer) a Dust Deputy to the Festool Cleantex.  If you don’t have a systainer to do that to, or you prefer a commercial solution, or……you prefer being able to use a plastic bag to actually collect the dust, while still enjoying the benefits of cyclonic dust separation, then this is for you.

The Ultimate2 Dust Deputy, from PWS. On top is the familiar Dust Deputy, and below a systainer-like collection bin, that will lock to the top of a Cleantex using the standard connectors.

Dust Deputy Ultimate2

The Cleantex hoses fit straight onto the Deputy (as you’d expect).

And the point of difference with the original Ultimate: the plastic bag.  Much more convenient for emptying, and you can avoid the billowing dust when you do (which is a point of difference between this pre-separator and pretty much every other one I’ve seen on the market).

You can’t just jamb a plastic bag into the collection bin of other cyclone separators.  Give it a try if you don’t believe me!  Go on – I’ll wait 🙂

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Back yet?  So what did you find – bet it was the plastic bag sucked straight up into the vacuum port of the cyclone!

Now have another closer look at the front of the Ultimate2 and you’ll notice a little tap to the left of the handle, with a thin clear tube attached.

Vacuum Port

It is in the off position here when I took the photo, but what it is doing, is drawing a vacuum from around the outside of the plastic bag, allowing the bag to remain in position.  If there was air around the outside of the plastic bag, when a vacuum is drawn inside the bag, and container by the Cleantex, that air would try to follow taking the plastic bag into the vacuum tube.

So what stops the plastic bag being drawn into this port, blocking it?

Well inside the handle there is a foam insert, allowing air to pass through, but dispersing the flow so the plastic bag doesn’t get sucked in that tube.

To draw a vacuum in the tube, at the other end it connects directly to the port that connect to the Cleantex itself at the inlet.

There is no valve this end. The tube pushes straight in and is held firmly by the connector.

I’m still a bit mystified that there is enough air drawn through this tube to create a vacuum outside the bag that can cope with the amount of vacuum drawn inside the bag.  But I guess the people at Oneida have figured that out so I don’t have to think about it.

I did find the sealing around the lid was insufficient straight out of the box – too thin, and too short.  This problem was easily solved with a additional length of stickon dense foam (window seal/draught stop, from Bunnies).

As far as how well it worked – brilliantly.  I tried overwhelming it with large piles of dust, I tried large volume generation (such as surfacing with the Torque Workcentre), and it handled it all.  And if there was any fine dust that did get through, the vacuum’s HEPA filter dealt with that.  Not that I saw any evidence of dust getting through: the HEPA filter remained clean, at least to the eye, even after 2 days of surfacing redgum.  The dust from redgum is very distinctive, and dark, so if any had gotten through I’d expect to see it in a discolouration on the HEPA filter.

So that is the Ultimate2 Dust Deputy from Oneida: It will significantly extend the life of the HEPA filter in your vac (assuming you have one), makes emptying easier (instead of having to lift the entire vacuum motor off the top of the Cleantex to access the bag). And saves you significant money in bags for the vac.  The paper ones are expensive to keep replacing, and the long-life one (which is empty-able) is $375 for my Cleantex.  For an extra $22.50, you can have all the benefits of cyclonic dust separation, and not have to change your consumable bag for a VERY long time!

The Ultimate2 can be purchased here.  As far as I know this is the only supplier of the “2” in Australia.

(As to the lyrics, excluding my addition, before anyone gets their knickers in a twist that the line is wrong, I chose the Bob Marley version, rather than the Eric Clapton one!) 😉

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