Author Topic: Can you use a dust collector instead of a festool vacuum ??????? Festool virgin  (Read 6267 times)

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Offline donniec

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I purchased the ETS150/3 today. I didn`t purchase the vacuum though. I asked the salesperson if I could use my dust collector instead. He said I should be able to. I opened the gates just enough so it will pick up the dust. It seemed to work pretty good! I am wanting to know if this will harm the sander in any way.


                                                                      Thanks,
                                                                            Donnie


           Oh yeah, what a sander!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                            
« Last Edit: October 25, 2008, 11:49 PM by donniec »

Offline Steveo48

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My $50 shop vac works just fine with both my ets 125 and TS55.  I use drywall bags and a Hepa cartridge filter and get no visible dust.

Offline Dan Clermont

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Some people complain about swirl marks left behind by the Festool sanders. This is why the variable suction vacs are nice to have with a sander as you can adjust the suction to just lift the sander off the work piece

You may be able to do that with the dust collector by opening the blast gate up slightly but really can't comment on that as i am not familiar with your sprcific DC and how it is laid out in your shop

Dan Clermont
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Offline Jim Becker

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The problem with using your dust collector with small hand-held power tools like your Festool sander is that dust collectors are designed to move a lot of air at very low static pressure. Vacs more very little air at high static pressure. Static pressure is "suction". It will work but is not ideal for the situation. As someone else already mentioned, the variable speed control on the CT22 is also valuable, especially for sanding. You can dial in the lowest amount of vacuum that does the job so that the sander doesn't feel "sticky" on the workpiece, especially when you get into the higher grit numbers.
“Never raise your hands to your children, it leaves your groin unprotected.” - Red Buttons

Offline Dovetail65

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I used a collector for years. No problems ever. If anything it's simpler because the bag does not fill up so fast. I never use the variable suction on the CT's and find it useless. The Fein vacs do not have the variable speed and I never missed it. I have two CT 33 and always leave them on high, never get swirl marks, never have any problems with the Festool sanders.

The RO 150, ETS 150/3 and RS2 are my favorite sanders, with the CT's always used on high suction. I do sand more than a hobbyist and my bags and filters are probably filled faster than most which may be the reason I never need nor miss the variable suction.

I always hear "let the sander do the work"..I disagree. That statement is a big part of why swirl marks are created.

The user must guide the sander and get a feel for it. The user must use the correct paper and go down on grits with certain sanders and certain woods. The user must know when to push, pull, go back and forth fast or slow or use circular sanding motions. The user must look at the wood carefully as they are sanding and after they use each grit. I press on the sanders, I tilt the sanders ever so slightly. I get perfect results. The sander does not do this by itself and the sander does not do the work, the user does! Once you become part of your sander you can use a collector or a shop vac and get results anyone could get with the CT units, with no swirl marks.

The Festool sanders have a high learning curve to use this way. Once you get the hang of it you will know how to adjust your technique to work with your collector.

Don't rush out and spend a ton of money on a festool CT unless you have to have it. If you have a dust collector use the money on another tool. Using a dust collector definitley can not hurt the sander, it may increase the learning curve to get the results you want. It sounds like you already have a feel for it by reducing the opening of your blast gates.

I could not live without my RO 150. I could live without my CT's 33's

Nickao
« Last Edit: October 26, 2008, 06:48 PM by nickao »
The one who says it can't be done should avoid interrupting the person doing it.

Offline Peter Halle

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Nick,

Thank you for pointing out that there is a learning curve to the Sanders. there is a learning curve to any tool no matter what the brand and the cost. I would suspect that a dust collector would be superior to a ct based on cfm  Using the tools is the best teacher, and just like school you don't start at the top - you evolve.

Peter
The tools in my truck were talking the other day.  The Dewalts, PC's, Boschs, Makitas were not happy.  They also were in the minority.  Their complaint:  They felt unused and unappreciated since the Festools moved in.  I guess the truth hurts.

Offline donniec

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Thanks for the replies! I just can`t see spending money to get a CT if I don`t need to!(I don`t have it to spend anyways) That`s  money for sand paper or something else.
                 
                                                                     Thanks,
                                                                              Donnie

Offline EcoFurniture

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Some people complain about swirl marks left behind by the Festool sanders. This is why the variable suction vacs are nice to have with a sander as you can adjust the suction to just lift the sander off the work piece

You may be able to do that with the dust collector by opening the blast gate up slightly but really can't comment on that as i am not familiar with your sprcific DC and how it is laid out in your shop

Dan Clermont

I'm with you on that Dan! I just tried it out the other day: ETS 125 with the festool mini vac on the lowest setting gave me the best results. Turn it on high and you will get swirl marks--same with my rigid shop vac.
For rough work I think you will be fine with a normal vacuum, but not for finish sanding!


Offline ango1

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 :)
You can use a shop vac, provided u buy a router speed controller from Harbor Freight & turn it to the lowest setting.
Tried it briefly it worked. Don't know about the longevity of ur vacuum. Was told or read somewhere that the speed controller works only with universal motors. Originally bought it for sharpening chisels on pedestal grinder.

Offline Dan Clermont

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While at Festool School last spring we were told to turn on the sander and with the vac suction turned to the lowest setting increase the suction until the sanders "pitch" changes frequency. This is the point where the sander is lifting off the piece and should give optimal sanding performance with minimal swirl marks.

Perhaps I've attended one too many music concerts in my youth but I can't tell where that point is and my ears have never been able to detect a difference in pitch. I'd like to hear if anyone else out there can detect the change in sander sounds when it starts to float

Dan Clermont
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Offline Jim Becker

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As an aside and related to "swirl marks", if one does not clean off the workpiece between grits, the risk of this kind of blemish from broken off abrasive particles is greatly increased. A quick wipe down with mineral spirits or alcohol between abrasive changes can be considered a 'best practice' in this respect.
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Offline Brice Burrell

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  I'll add my 2 cents here. Dan hit the nail an the head there is a sort of a sweet spot for the vac suction for each sander/grit. If you are using a shop vac, dust collector or a Festool vac at full suction you aren't getting the most from your Festool sander.

  In part, I agree with Nick, there is a learning curve to using sanders to get the best possible results. Where we disagree is with the "let the sander do the work" term. Nick isn't necessarily using this term in its correct context. Letting the sander do the work is a reference to the user not putting excess downward pressure on the sander or using the sander's pad on its edge. Most Festool sanders (and sanders in general) require little or no downward pressure to achieve optimal results. Excess downward pressure or using the edge of the sanding pad can do a couple of things, first it generates heat. Too much heat can melt some finishes (like paint) instead of sanding them. You'll end up with a gummy mess on the paper/disc (we've all been there before) and you may use a lot more paper/discs to finish your job. Another thing excess heat can/will do is melt the hook and loop of the sanding pad, this greatly reduces the life of your sanding pads.

  Pushing down too much or excess vac suction on random orbit sanders can slow down or stop the rotation of the sanding pad. This can cause swirl marks. When the rotation is stopped or greatly slowed the rotation you've basically turned your RO into an orbital sander and that is a steep backwards. Festool has taken the time to work out the optimal ratio between the speed of the orbit and the rotation of the pad for our benefit, so I'd recommend letting the sander do the work.

  Most Festool sanders work best when the suction is fairly low, this is especially true of the orbital sanders. The RO sanders, this includes the Rotex sanders, will work well with the suction about half way. The Rotex sanders are powerful and will work with the CT vacs at full suction but not necessarily at their best. The goal is to find the amount of suction that collects virtually all of the dust, no more suction is needed beyond that.

As Dan mentioned there is a point when the sound of the sander changes as you increase the amount of suction. That change of pitch is the motor coming under a slight strain from the suction. Once you reach that point you should back the suction off a little. Increasing the suction beyond this sweet spot will have an insignificant or no improvement in the dust collection and can increase the chances of getting swirl marks.

  To find that sweet spot start with the vac turned down to its lowest setting, you'll notice the dust collection is the best. It's not just dust that is left behind there are abrasive particles that can cause swirl marks as move along between the material and the sanding disc. Increasing the suction until the sander sort of glides across the surface while collecting most of the dust is ideal amount of suction. This amount varies between sanders as well as fine and course grits. From there an increase can cause the rotation of RO sanders to slow or stop and orbital sanders to become unwieldy.

  Again, Nick and I agree, there is a real learning curve to getting the most out of your sanders and the results they produce. Give that some thought before you start mindlessly buzzing along with your sander. Good luck.
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Offline Dovetail65

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We all have opinions. I never adjust the Festool vacuum to less than full suction, ever. The Feins vacs do not have it and I get perfect results. I do not see how I can missing anything when the results I get can not be improved upon.

Maybe it takes less technique with a variable suctions machine. I learned with a Fein vac and maybe when I switched to the Festool CT my technique prevented the need for me to mess with the suction speed.'

The Festool RO 150 is my favorite sander, that's all I can say.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2008, 02:00 PM by nickao »
The one who says it can't be done should avoid interrupting the person doing it.

Offline Brice Burrell

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Nick, I'm sure you are getting great results, the question I have and I think you should look into yourself, can they be improved some way with variable suction? Maybe results just as good in less time, with fewer discs, less of a learning curve or across a broader range of applications? Here's an example of range of application, while your RO 150 can handle the full suction of the CT vacs, I know from experience the Festool orbital sanders work much better with low suction.
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Offline Dave Ronyak

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I purchased the ETS150/3 today. I didn`t purchase the vacuum though. I asked the salesperson if I could use my dust collector instead. He said I should be able to. I opened the gates just enough so it will pick up the dust. It seemed to work pretty good! I am wanting to know if this will harm the sander in any way.
                                                                      Thanks,
                                                                            Donnie
                                                         

Donnie,

There is another consideration that may not have been discussed before this joinder to the many other responses.  You need to confirm that choking down the air flow through your dust collector will not result in overheating of the dust collector.  I have a 2 1/2 HP Oneida unit and they sternly warn against running the unit without adequate air flow through the ducting because overheating of the motor will result.  A 27 mm or 36 mm hose that is further restricted by the holes in the ETS 150 and placement of the ETS on a workpiece is going to severely restrict air flow compared to the normal flow through an open blast gate and ducting, e.g through a table saw or planer.

Re the comments about having the ability to adjust the suction level, like Nickao I have obtained good results using a Fein Turbo II which doesn't have variable speed or suction, but when I am able, I prefer to use my CT-22 and adjust the its speed and thus the vacuum level as described by Brice B. and Dan C.   My work does not require the extreme precision that Nickao needs and achieves.   According to Festool's primary trainer, the ideal vacuum level is that at which the sander motor just begins to slightly drop in speed due to the vacuum.  As they stated, the sander should sort of float on the workpiece at the ideal vacuum level. 

Dave R.

Friends, family and Festools make for a good retirement.  PCs...I'm not so sure.

Offline Dovetail65

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I don't know Brice I am happy the way I work now. If I ever get results I do not like I will mess with the variable suction. After 7 months of using the sanders and festool vacs at a minimum of 2 or more hours every single day, I just have not needed it yet. I even tried today. The only thing I noticed is that I could not use the sander like a vacuum to get the dust off my table and it was a lot quieter, so I just went back to full power . After I sand I just float the sander over my table(right after turning the sander off) and if there is any dust, even with the sander on the hose, it acts like a vacuum. On low power I could not do that anymore.

In my experience it just makes no difference to me and I sand more than 99% pf people only because of the nature of my work. The sheer volume of sanding may be the variable that lets me get the results I do at full power, working with clogged filters, fuller bags and such.

I pulled out my 150/3 today because I had to do some finishing, man I forgot how great that sander is. So much smoother than the RO 150 and leaves a flawless surface.
The one who says it can't be done should avoid interrupting the person doing it.

Offline Jim Becker

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There is another consideration that may not have been discussed before this joinder to the many other responses.  You need to confirm that choking down the air flow through your dust collector will not result in overheating of the dust collector.  I have a 2 1/2 HP Oneida unit and they sternly warn against running the unit without adequate air flow through the ducting because overheating of the motor will result. 

Reduced airflow is not a problem for the dust collector...it's working less when there is limited air flow. The printed warning from Oneida is to not run the unit without duct work attached--even a short time without duct work can damage the unit. It needs that little bit of restriction to insure that the motor doesn't draw too many amps and overheat.
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Offline Jason White

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Yes, I do notice that the sound changes with some of my Festool sanders.  Not all of them, though.  Actually, is sounds like more power is going to the sander when you dial down the suction.  I imagine it has to do with the amp draw of the tool and vac combined.

The smaller palm-type sanders definitely work better with the suction setting on low (the green knob is pointing to the turtle instead of the rabbit).

Jason

While at Festool School last spring we were told to turn on the sander and with the vac suction turned to the lowest setting increase the suction until the sanders "pitch" changes frequency. This is the point where the sander is lifting off the piece and should give optimal sanding performance with minimal swirl marks.

Perhaps I've attended one too many music concerts in my youth but I can't tell where that point is and my ears have never been able to detect a difference in pitch. I'd like to hear if anyone else out there can detect the change in sander sounds when it starts to float

Dan Clermont
- Jason White

Offline Dave Ronyak

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I can definitely hear the change in pitch due to the suction slowing the sander down when using my ETS 125 or LS 130.  I usually turn the CT 22 to about halfway on the speed dial.

I attended the same event with Dan C. and witnessed the demo by Brian with an ETS 150.  There was a noticeable change downward in pitch as you crossed from too little suction into too much suction.  After crossing over into too much suction, while still running the sander and moving it across the surface being sanded, slowly turn down the vacuum until the sander begins to float on the surface and takes very little force to move it around.  Brian said that is the ideal setting to get the best finish.  He also said you will at first think this is not working very well because you don't seem to be removing material as fast.  But you are removing the material that needs to be removed and not digging any deeper than needed with the overall result, according to Brian of achieving a fine and final finish in less total time with less material needing to be removed.  It is a type of paradox.

Dave R.
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Offline Tom Bellemare

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Dave & Brice:

I completely agree about the suction.

I read and hear a lot of complaints about certain festool sanders being uncooperative or rough. I suspect that most of the time it is operator error.

If I'm trying to remove material (to get smooth) from a rough work piece, I'll go to a gear driven mode with pressure on the sander and rough grit. As soon as I get the piece smooth, I go to a random mode and go through the grits.

At that point, all I'm trying to do is remove the scratches from the previous, bigger grit and I don't want the sander to be pressed into the work. If the suction is too high, it is pressing the sander into the work! You can hear it with the sander because it is getting loaded and sounds just like it does when you press it into the work with your hand.

It also reacts just like it does when you press it into the work with your hand, JUMPY and harder to control.

If the DC is turned down with the sander running so that it sounds like it does with no DC, you have the DC set right.


Tom
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Offline donniec

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Well, I`ve been using the new sander for awhile. I open one gate for my sander that`s all. So far it`s working pretty well. The only thing negative is that I have worn out a hook and loop pad already. It should last longer than that. Could using my DC have anything to do with it?????

Offline Tom Bellemare

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The pads wearing out is usually a sign of a whole lot of use or heat build up while sanding.

Airflow helps reduce heat build up. Too much airflow causes the sander to suck into the work piece, which causes heat build up.

It's a balancing game, but if you set the airflow to the maximum flow without loading the sander, you should have the optimal set up.


Tom
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Offline Jim Becker

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Well, I`ve been using the new sander for awhile. I open one gate for my sander that`s all. So far it`s working pretty well. The only thing negative is that I have worn out a hook and loop pad already. It should last longer than that. Could using my DC have anything to do with it?????

This is a common issue for all sanders that use hook & loop...the pads degrade from heat. Heat is caused by friction. Excessive friction is caused by bearing down on the sander. Longest life comes when we let the sander to the work without pressing down too much. That reduces the heat. The pads will still become unsuitable at some point, but the best technique will prolong their life.
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Offline Forrest Anderson

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Well, I`ve been using the new sander for awhile. I open one gate for my sander that`s all. So far it`s working pretty well. The only thing negative is that I have worn out a hook and loop pad already. It should last longer than that. Could using my DC have anything to do with it?????


As Tom and Jim have mentioned, downwards pressure on the sander and airflow are two factors which cause the heat to build up on the pad, as is the speed you set the sander at.

Be aware that Festool supply high-temperature pads, and these should last longer. Their Support Knowledgebase says:


http://www.festoolusa.com/support/Support-Article.html?ArticleID=55

Q: How long does the 6" long life pad last? What is different between the normal 6" soft pad and the long life pad?

A: The long life sanding pad (491935) will last up to three times as long as the standard sanding pad. It has a reinforced edge and a distinct hook and loop design which is more heat resistant. It is recommended for the Rotex.


The Festool USA catalogue lists it above item as:

StickFix sanding pad. For demanding applications. 9 hole/Longlife. 491935. $36.00

The Festool UK catalogue lists them as:

Sanding pad. ST-STF-D150/8-M8 W-HT. For robust use with grit up to P 220, high temperature durability burr, Diameter 150 mm. Connecting thread M8. 491935

Note that this pad has an M8 thread, and is used for the ETS 150 and the old-model Rotex RO150 (with the mode change switch on the side of the machine)

Other high-temperature pads are available for the RO125, ETS125 and new-model Rotex RO150FEQ

Forrest

« Last Edit: December 21, 2008, 06:31 AM by Forrest Anderson »
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