Ok, so there are a lot of questions about the Planex and AutoClean. Rather than have 4 or more threads going with questions scattered everywhere, this will make it easier for me to find the questions and for you to find the answers.
If you have additional questions, please post them here.
Festool Planex Drywall Sander, 571579, $1000 USD, $1155 CAN
Festool CT 36 AutoClean (AC) Dust Extractor, 584014, $750 USD, $866 CANPLANEX QUESTIONSWhat are the advantages of the Planex over the Porter Cable drywall sander?
Here are some of them, there may be others.
- Variable suction, controlled on the handle, allows the Planex to support itself using the suction from the vac reducing fatigue
- Modular design so it can be short for hallways, medium for normal use, long for high ceilings
- A robust, sealed 2-speed gear box instead of their cable drive which is more likely to fail over time
- A locking mechanism that keeps the hose from falling off
- Sealed switches and dials that can can't be infiltrated by dust, resulting in failure
- Switches and dials that are large and all within reach while operating the machine, right at your fingertips
- MUCH, MUCH less expensive abrasives lowering total cost of ownership
- A three year warranty versus their one year
- A removable brush around the pad that can let you get right against adjacent surfaces
- A rubber handle, theirs is plastic and gets quite slippery when you have dust on your hands
- And... even better dust extractionIs there a package deal for the CT AutoClean?
Participating dealers can offer a CT AC package deals with discount savings on CT AC when purchased with any tool, including the Planex. See dealer for details.When will the Planex be available?
We are accepting orders from dealers now with an official introduction date of March 1st for the Planex and CT AC. Check with your preferred dealer for availability. I would encourage you to let your dealer know that you want one in advance to ensure they order enough.Does the variable suction dial on the Planex require the CT AC to function?
The vacuum control does not require the CT AutoClean, but other models of CT Dust Extractors cannot keep up with the quantities of dust produced by the PLANEX. Hence, the need for an automatic filter cleaning mechanism (AutoClean). The control on the Planex basically restricts air flow from the CT AC as needed. At the right setting, the PLANEX will virtually hold itself to the wall or ceiling, supporting its own weight.CT AUTOCLEAN QUESTIONSCan you use the standard (non-AutoClean) CTs with the Planex?
Yes, of course it's possible. The Planex needs a 36mm hose which is not included with the standard CT models. Also, we have found drywall dust to be (apparently) smaller than 5 microns allowing some dust to pass through the filter bag and into the "tub" and to the main filter. What this means is that you may not get the full bag capacity because of a reduction in suction. Also, your HEPA filter will likely get clogged with fine dust over time depending on the quantity of dust produced. The AutoClean (High Performance HF-CT 496172) filter will fit into a standard CT but without the automated cleaning functionality, I guess you would need to periodically stop, pull the filter, clean it through agitation and put it back in. A standard 36mm hose will not have the ability to use the locking mechanism that keeps the hose from wiggling loose. You can buy the AutoClean hose separately, which is lighter and more flexible than the standard 36mm hose (496972).Can I use the CT AutoClean for purposes other than with the Planex?
Yes, of course you can. It's a dust extractor. There is a dial on the front of the unit that control the frequency of AutoCleaning and has a setting for no AutoClean. So, it would function just like a regular CT. The standard filter is not HEPA and I currently don't have information on what level of filtration it does provide. You could install a HEPA filter into the unit, but it has not been tested for and should not be used for RRP
. You can use filter bags in the CT AC.What happens to the dust in the CT AutoClean?
The CT AutoClean is designed to be used with a plastic liner. It drapes over the bucket/tub and be easily disposed of. Again, the AutoClean can use standard filter bags but it's not recommended for drywall applications.Will the CT AutoClean hose work with all tools?
The CT AutoClean comes with a 36mm black, very flexible, lightweight hose with a flange used to lock it onto the Planex. It will not work with any tool requiring a 27mm hose, such as sanders. It will work on all tools that can use a 36mm hose, with the exception of the HL 850 which requires the hose to go on the inside of the dust port. The AutoClean hose will not go on the inside of the port because of the flange.What is the difference between the HEPA filter and High Performance filter?
The HEPA filter will capture particles down to 0.3 microns in size whereas the high performance filter does not offer that level of filtration. The high performance filter is tested to captured 99.9% of particles down to 1 micron in size. When comparing the two there are some distinguishing features. The HEPA Filter has very tight pleats, a brown seal on its sides, has "HEPA" written on it and is very rigid. The high performance filter has much larger and more open pleats and is very flexible to the point that it can be bent into a circle. In the photo below, the HEPA is on the left.WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
I have created a website that has basic information about the Planex and CT AC. Check it out here: Festool Planex Drywall Sander
. The site may be updated with additional information in the future but for now it covers most of the basics.