Author Topic: Checking Inside CT Vacs  (Read 2493 times)

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Online GoingMyWay

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Checking Inside CT Vacs
« on: July 15, 2018, 06:24 PM »
The other day I noticed I was seeing a little puff of dust when I turned my RO150 to sand down a cutting board glue up.   I didn't think much of it - I thought maybe it was just some dust that had accumulated in the course 40 grit paper or something.  The overall dust extraction was still excellent and there was basically no dust when running the sander.

Friday I was cleaning up and using the CT26 to vacuum up some dust. The suction didn't seem as great as it once was, but there was still suction. When I put the end of the hose against my hand it pulled tight, but not super strong and the motor really sounded strained. I initially thought that there there might be a big chunk of wood that got stuck in the hose. I was going to jam a broom stick down the hose to see if there were any obstructions, but thought maybe I should check to see if the bag is full since that's a little bit easier. The bag shouldn't be full as I recently changed it for the first time and since I'm only an occasional hobbies I don't use the tools all that much.

I opened the top of the CT26 and to my horror I saw loose dust everywhere! As you can see the filter was completely packed with dust.



The dust mostly looks like it came from the cedar planters I made, but then again maybe it's hard to tell as wood dust might all look very similar.  It looks like the bottom of the bag wasn't completely clipped in.  Since it was my first time changing the bag I now know I need to be extra careful to make sure that the bag is completely clipped in.  The odd thing is that the bag wasn't completely empty - it had a fair amount of dust and chips inside so at some point dust was able to flow into the bag.

The pile of dust and shavings are basically what was inside of the CT26 that wasn't captured in the bag.

I banged the HEPA filter out as best as I could, being careful to not damage the filter media itself.  I also used a shop vac to try to suck out some of the dust and debris, but there appears to still be a fair amount of debris trapped in the filter pleats. 







The suction has improved and the motor sounds less strained after I cleaned the filter out.  Do you think it's ok to continue using this filter?  The only bought the CT26 brand new in October and it hasn't been used all that much - just to make cutting boards and the planter boxes and cut some plywood.

I feel like it's even harder to notice a loss in suction when the hose is primarily hooked up to a tool.  Even when using the hose freehand to suck up dust - it was still hard for me to tell if the suction was less or the same.

Has this ever happened to anyone else?  I guess in the future it's probably a good idea to periodically check the inside of the vacuum to make sure that the bag isn't full and/or that the bag hasn't come loose or blown a hole in it.

Do people periodically check inside of their CT vacs for instances such as this?
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Offline Jesse Cloud

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2018, 06:52 PM »
After an experience very much like yours, I put a recurring event on my calendar to "Check festool vacs".  Its just me in the shop and once a month is plenty often.  Don't want this to ever happen again - Yuck!
BTW, I bought new HEPA filters.

Online GoingMyWay

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2018, 06:57 PM »
I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who made this mistake.  It was a very yucky situation to open the vac up to see such a mess!  I had to bust out my respirator since I was worried about inhaling all of the fine dust.

I guess I will buy a new filter, but ouch - $100!
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Offline Dick Mahany

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2018, 07:02 PM »
OUCH !   That happened to me except that it was on a Ridgid vac.  The HEPA wasn't cleanable, but it only cost about 1/4 as much as a CT HEPA.  I'll be checking my CT36 first thing in the morning!

Offline DeformedTree

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2018, 10:39 PM »
Someone at Festool may be plotting a "vac vac" as we speak.  Failure to routinely vac your vac will void your vac warrenty.

Bonus points for someone to "MC esher" their CT vacs with 2 of them plugged into each other and see what happen when left running. Also be sure to plug one into the other.

Offline Joe Felchlin

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2018, 11:05 PM »
Hey Guys:
Why even let the CT “eat dust”? Those Dust Extractors are expensive.
So are those HEPA filters and bags.
I’m thinkin’ - Dust Deputy - Or if you can wait ‘til the Fall - Festool’s new CT Pre Separator. [smile]
Hey Jesse:
I passed by Placitas a month ago - And thought about you.
Hope it’s as cool and dry there as it is at my place - On the Divide (7,500’) outside Colorado Springs. [wink]
« Last Edit: July 15, 2018, 11:19 PM by Joe Felchlin »
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Online GoingMyWay

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2018, 08:27 AM »
Someone at Festool may be plotting a "vac vac" as we speak.  Failure to routinely vac your vac will void your vac warrenty.

The irony of ironies - a vacuum to vacuum your vacuum.

Hey Guys:
Why even let the CT “eat dust”? Those Dust Extractors are expensive.
So are those HEPA filters and bags.
I’m thinkin’ - Dust Deputy - Or if you can wait ‘til the Fall - Festool’s new CT Pre Separator. [smile]

I don't think I really generate enough dust to justify the cost of the a dust cyclone separator.  Most importantly space is at a premium so I don't really have enough room for a Dust Deputy.  The new CT Cyclone might be a little bit more space efficient since systainers can stack on top, but still it's extra space that could be used for something else.
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Offline ben_r_

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2018, 01:39 PM »
Thanks for posting this! Now I know I need to regularly be checking my CT vac.
If at first you don't succeed, redefine success!

Online GoingMyWay

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2018, 02:21 PM »
Great - that was kinda one of the reasons why I posted this.  I was hoping maybe it might help prevent others from making the same mistake as me.
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Offline Don T

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2018, 03:22 PM »
I recently had the same outcome as you but it was caused by the bag tearing. Still good to check on a regular basis. Thanks for the post.
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Offline Corey P.

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2018, 05:52 PM »
After reading this thread, I decided to pop my CT open and have a look.  It was fine, other than the bag was about 90% full, which explains my lack of suction as of late.  Replaced it and we were back in business. 

Thanks for the reminder!

Offline Alanbach

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2018, 08:27 PM »
I am sure that someone will note that this is not recommended but why dont you just take the filter outside and blow it out with compressed air?

Offline ben_r_

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2018, 08:29 PM »
I am sure that someone will note that this is not recommended but why dont you just take the filter outside and blow it out with compressed air?
LOL!!! Read through the thread...
If at first you don't succeed, redefine success!

Offline Alanbach

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2018, 08:49 PM »
I read that the OP “banged the filter out” and used a shop vac to attempt to clean it and although it improved things there was still much debis still caught in the filter. I did not read anything about compressed air. Just trying to help.

Offline RKA

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2018, 10:32 AM »
Well thanks guys!  This thread reminded me to go check on the CT.  It's been a while since I've changed out the bag and it was a giant brick!  And I carefully inspected the new bag for rips/tears/holes before I put it in.  What a mess that would create and a $100 hepa filter down the drain would not be my idea of fun!  I'll make it a habit of checking the bags from now on...not only in my Festool vacs but the house vacs as well!!
-Raj

Online GoingMyWay

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2018, 02:44 PM »
I read that the OP “banged the filter out” and used a shop vac to attempt to clean it and although it improved things there was still much debis still caught in the filter. I did not read anything about compressed air. Just trying to help.

Thanks for that suggestion.  I think @ben_r_ got this thread mixed up with this very similar thread.  I also got confused and thought for sure we had discussed using compressed air in this thread, but I guess it was all in the other thread.  I ended up taking someone's suggestion to use a leaf blower to try to blow out some of the dust.  I don't own a leaf blower so I hooked my shop vac up to the exhaust and used that to blow some air into the HEPA filter.  I have no idea how the PSI and volumes of air compare between the exhaust of my shop vac to a compressed air nozzle, but this seemed gentler.  After a few rounds of bang the filter, blow air, suck out dust, wash, rinse, and repeat I was able to get the filter pretty clean - a lot better than from just banging and vacuuming alone.  Only slight problem is that part of the side of the filter cracked.  I don't know if this means I've lost most if not all of the HEPA filtration, but I'm not really overly concerned either.  The suction from the CT26 seems to be back to the way it was brand new.







Well thanks guys!  This thread reminded me to go check on the CT.  It's been a while since I've changed out the bag and it was a giant brick!  And I carefully inspected the new bag for rips/tears/holes before I put it in.  What a mess that would create and a $100 hepa filter down the drain would not be my idea of fun!  I'll make it a habit of checking the bags from now on...not only in my Festool vacs but the house vacs as well!!

Glad to hear it!  I also opened up my shop vac to discover it was also full of wood shavings its filter was packed with dust also.  That's just has a regular shop vac filter in there so I wasn't really worried about it much.  It was pretty easy to bang out the pleats.  Now the shop vac's suction and exhaust has also improved a lot.
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Offline ben_r_

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2018, 02:53 PM »
I read that the OP “banged the filter out” and used a shop vac to attempt to clean it and although it improved things there was still much debis still caught in the filter. I did not read anything about compressed air. Just trying to help.

Thanks for that suggestion.  I think @ben_r_ got this thread mixed up with this very similar thread.  I also got confused and thought for sure we had discussed using compressed air in this thread, but I guess it was all in the other thread.  I ended up taking someone's suggestion to use a leaf blower to try to blow out some of the dust.  I don't own a leaf blower so I hooked my shop vac up to the exhaust and used that to blow some air into the HEPA filter.  I have no idea how the PSI and volumes of air compare between the exhaust of my shop vac to a compressed air nozzle, but this seemed gentler.  After a few rounds of bang the filter, blow air, suck out dust, wash, rinse, and repeat I was able to get the filter pretty clean - a lot better than from just banging and vacuuming alone.  Only slight problem is that part of the side of the filter cracked.  I don't know if this means I've lost most if not all of the HEPA filtration, but I'm not really overly concerned either.  The suction from the CT26 seems to be back to the way it was brand new.
Oops... Yea I messed that up. Sorry guys. Guess I wasnt paying close enough attention.
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Offline Alanbach

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2018, 04:18 PM »
Yea, apparently (at least today), I am not stupid, crazy and/or not paying attention😊😊😊! Cool!

Offline RKA

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2018, 05:22 PM »
@GoingMyWay
I wouldn't worry about that crack.  I think the rubber part around the perimeter forms the seal so the air has to go through the hepa before it can get out.  That cracked material just stabilizes the filter material but it should hold up just fine as long as you don't make this a habit.   [tongue]
-Raj

Online GoingMyWay

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2018, 08:53 AM »
Good to hear - that's what I was kinda thinking.  I'm going to be much more careful in the future  [big grin].
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Offline James Biddle

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2018, 07:12 PM »
Happened to me a few months ago.  The bag had come off the inlet.  I took it outside and used the Fein vac to clean out the remaining debris after dumping the bag. Then I blew out the HEPA with the compressor and it was good to go.  Yeah, I had to change the Fein bag too.

Offline jobsworth

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2018, 12:40 PM »
Good thing I found this thread. I noticed that my CT 26 has less suction than my CT22, a considerable amount less. So I happen to have a leaf blower Ill give it a try today and see if it helps.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2018, 12:44 PM by jobsworth »

Online GoingMyWay

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2018, 05:27 PM »
Happened to me a few months ago.  The bag had come off the inlet.  I took it outside and used the Fein vac to clean out the remaining debris after dumping the bag. Then I blew out the HEPA with the compressor and it was good to go.  Yeah, I had to change the Fein bag too.

I guess it's not that uncommon for the bag to come off the inlet.  It's one of those things I figure you wouldn't know to be extra careful unless you've experienced a problem like this or heard about it happening to someone else.

Good thing I found this thread. I noticed that my CT 26 has less suction than my CT22, a considerable amount less. So I happen to have a leaf blower Ill give it a try today and see if it helps.

How'd the leaf blower work out for you?  I wonder if there is much of a difference between the output of a leaf blower vs the exhaust of a shop vac.
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Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2018, 06:13 PM »
The leaf blower definitely has more arm output.  I have successfully blown out my filters for years.  I seemed to go thru a period of time with my CT-22 where I had bag issues when they were the paper type and would open up the machine to see quite the mess.  Tapping and blowing was successful for me.

Peter

Online GoingMyWay

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2018, 06:28 PM »
I suppose the ribs inside of the hose also adds resistance that slows down the air velocity.  Also the tip at the end would seemto make a difference.  The best I had to use was the crevice tool.  I think a proper tip could have also increased the velocity.

Using the shop vac as a blower was still definitely better than sucking alone.
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Offline Cheese

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #25 on: July 28, 2018, 06:49 PM »
This happened to my CT 22 a few years ago, the HEPA was a brick and every filter rib was packed with debris and was almost solid. After a few bangs on the bench, I realized that it needed a bit more handwork to loosen the debris. I took a small screwdriver with a radiused end and inserted into every filter rib and that loosened the gunk up. Then a couple of more bangs on the bench and some judiciously applied compressed air and it was cleaned.  [big grin]

Ever since then, I check the 22, the MIDI, the Milwaukee & the Fein every 6 months or so.

Online Distinctive Interiors

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #26 on: July 29, 2018, 03:41 AM »
I have a very well used CT11 (2002) that uses brown paper filter bags that I use whilst out on site. The bags are almost impossible to get hold of now and i have managed to find a few for sale New, still in the box but 2nd hand.
Unfortunately, the last set of 5 I bought seem to have weakened somewhat due to their age and a few of them have ended up with holes or small tears in them causing the sawdust to escape into my filters.......!

I adopted the same process as Cheese did using an airline and a thin blunt screwdriver to clean the filters.

I will now have to start using CT22 bags if I can't find any more CT11 bags.

I also have a Midi and a CT26 in my workshops, but they both have cloth bags and seem far more durable than the paper filter bags.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2018, 03:46 AM by Distinctive Interiors »

Online aloysius

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #27 on: July 29, 2018, 09:36 AM »
I have a very well used CT11 (2002) that uses brown paper filter bags that I use whilst out on site. The bags are almost impossible to get hold of now and i have managed to find a few for sale New, still in the box but 2nd hand.
Unfortunately, the last set of 5 I bought seem to have weakened somewhat due to their age and a few of them have ended up with holes or small tears in them causing the sawdust to escape into my filters.......!

I adopted the same process as Cheese did using an airline and a thin blunt screwdriver to clean the filters.

I will now have to start using CT22 bags if I can't find any more CT11 bags.

I also have a Midi and a CT26 in my workshops, but they both have cloth bags and seem far more durable than the paper filter bags.

Could you cut down, ever so carefully & slightly, a CT22 Longlife bag instead?  I've had an excellent run out of my own L/L bags (2 in the past 18 years) in my "22".  Or maybe it'd fit OK without mods.  They're a lot cheaper now than they once were, & can be rejuvenated yearly in a front loading washer with an old Dunlop Volley sandshoe or 2 to agitate it gently.
FOG-wit since '95:  Some say since birth...

Online Distinctive Interiors

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #28 on: July 29, 2018, 11:34 AM »
That's a good idea Aloysius..!

I believe other people have fitted CT22 bags in a CT11 as was recommended by someone from Festool. But the long life bag may solve my problem. I think the standard 22 bags will fit in the space but only fill up 1/2 way before emptying. I assume the long life bags are a bit bulkier so a modification my be necessary.

Either way, I will look and see how much the long life bag is.

Thanks.

Tim.

Offline jobsworth

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Re: Checking Inside CT Vacs
« Reply #29 on: July 29, 2018, 02:21 PM »
@GoingMyWay

first I used m CT 26 and a small nylon brush to clean the caked dust out of the filter, then used my blower to blowe what dust was remaining in the filter out.

 checked and I got about as much suction as my CT 26 does now. I gonna have to pick up a new filter eventually as Ive had this one since  bought the CT 26 Oh maybe 6 years or so ago.

I have to order a new plug/outlet for it anyway so Ill do both at once.

But its working like new now