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JET Vortex Cone™ Dust Collector
Bringing the good kind of cyclone to your shop
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 5-20-2011
JET has been making potent dust collection equipment for a long time but their new DC-1100VX-CK Vortex Cone™ Dust Collector steps up the internal technology to increase its efficiency even more. Combined with the already tough JET components the Vortex Cone™ lets your filter breath better and longer which means you can work cleaner and longer.
The JET DC-1100VX features their exclusive Vortex Cone™ that creates a cyclonic airflow that helps separate chips from the fine dust particles. Knocking the larger chips out of the airflow prevents them from getting sucked up onto the filter element (bag or canister) where they can clog the filtering surface very quickly and reduce its efficiency. The vortex airflow also helps to distribute the chips more evenly in the catch bag where their mass increases the packing letting you work longer before having to empty the bag.
The JET Vortex Cone™ Dust Collector is a single stage unit (11” impeller) that is more than capable of handling your in-shop needs while maintaining economical operation. This type of unit also runs quieter which can be a welcomed trait in small shop spaces. The JET Vortex Cone™ Dust Collector (assembled) is 37”-long by 22.5”-wide and 72”-tall. It weighs (empty) 159LBS which makes the 4 full-swivel casters sound like an even better idea!
The JET Vortex Cone™ Dust Collector is powered by a very stout JET 1.5HP, 1PH, 115/230V (wired 115V). This motor sports a heavy cast iron case with integral cooling fins that keep the motor running cool to insure a longer life. The motor has permanently lubricated ball bearings and is rated as TEFC (totally enclosed fan cooled).
It is important to note that JET motors are rated using a continuous duty cycle which means that you get 1.5HP all of the time rather than the “Max developed” or “peak” ratings that remain common in the woodworking industry. The motor is controlled by an industrial grade pushbutton On/Off switch for a long life.
The JET Vortex Cone™ Dust Collector has an airflow @ 4" 1,100 cu. ft/min with a static pressure of 10½” of water and a velocity (4” tubing) of 12,571 foot per minute. These are very stout numbers that mean this unit will perform very well in virtually any shop.
At the heart of the JET Vortex Cone™ Dust Collector is the system that creates the cyclonic airflow. Mounted within the air 20”-diameter by 10”-tall separator tank the Vortex Cone™ is what causes the air to swirl at very high speed. That rotation uses centrifugal force to direct the heavier chips into the catch bag in the lower portion of the system. At the same time the much lighter dust (flour) particles can continue to follow the airflow upwards. All filtering elements use a layer of these fine dust particles to increase the filtering effect.
With the old non-cyclonic airflow some of the heavier chips would also rise into the filter element and get sucked against the sides. Those chips simply block the airflow which can quickly reduce the effectiveness of the dust collector which uses the airflow to work properly. The JET Vortex Cone™ Dust Collector system may sound simple, and mechanically it may be but determining the best angles along with the best size and contours surrounding the cone requires a bunch of design and engineering time to get right.
The JET Vortex Cone™ Dust Collector used in this review comes with the 2-Micron Canister kit that seems to be most popular with woodworkers these days. This canister filters 98% of 2-micron particles and 86% of 1-micron particles. It is important for you to know that many manufacturers simply rate their canisters (or bags) at the finest particle it can filter without regard to the percentage of those particles it actually filters. JET is sticking its neck out a little by giving you the actual figures in a world where people too often react to one or two lines of a label or story without trying to understand what they really mean. Suffice it to say that if the “other guys” filters actually worked this good they would put specific percentage numbers on their machines in very big letters.
The canister uses a paper filtering media that is pleated to dramatically increase the surface area available for the air. That results in much higher airflow numbers while still filtering very small particles. A large handle on the top of the canister turns a pair of “hands” that wipe across the pleated material inside. As the “hands” pass over the pleats they are flexed which knocks off excess dust to maintain consistently high flow capacity. You do not have to remove the canister, just give the top-mounted handle a turn or two now and then. With the JET Vortex Cone™ working for you that dust buildup is slowed but it is still a good idea to give that handle a turn or two before each big job.
The collection bag below the filtering media has a capacity of 5.3 cubic feet which may not sound like much until you pick up a full bag. The JET Vortex Cone™ Dust Collector distributes the dust and chips more consistently so the bag also fills more evenly. That means that you can go longer between emptying it! The plastic catch bags are mounted using a spring retention ring. This is a secure, tool free way of retaining the catch bag.
In the Shop
Using the JET Vortex Cone™ Dust Collector is about as simple as it gets. Use a good hose or pipe to connect it to your machines and it does the rest without a whimper. This has always been a very effective machine but adding the JET Vortex Cone™ has stepped that up even more. The JET Vortex Cone™ Dust Collector has plenty of capacity for virtually any woodworking shop that doesn’t run multiple dust-generating machines at once.
The JET Vortex Cone™ might be a little deceiving at first because the base machine was so good to start with. Having the fine dust separated from the chips keeps it working that well for much longer so there is far less of a performance degradation for you to notice. What you will notice is that the “just cleaned” performance just does not go away for a much longer time, if it does at all. In my testing I never really noticed the canister begin to load up even though I jointed boards down to nothing, filling the bag several times trying to get it to choke. I gave up way before it was going to.
At the end of the day I’d turn the handle on the canister and could see a good amount of dust fall off of the pleats but nothing excessive. Here again it is what we don’t see that makes the difference. With my older canister-equipped machine I can see some chips falling away from the canister when the handle was turned, with the JET Vortex Cone™ Dust Collector I have not been able to actually see any chips fall away. I expect that there are some chips someplace but not enough to impact performance at all. I even removed the canister a few times to physically look for chips and they just are not there. That is a good thing!
The JET Vortex Cone™ Dust Collector is a well-built machine with plenty of dust-inhaling power for virtually any shop. It easily handles the flow of debris from planers, table saws and jointers which lets you focus on doing good woodworking rather than emptying dust and chips.
With a street price of just $649.99 (5-19-2011) for the canister-equipped model shown here the JET Vortex Cone™ Dust Collector is as economical as it is powerful. I am hearing from a growing number of woodworkers who are becoming more aware of keeping the air in their shops cleaner and the JET Vortex Cone™ Dust Collector is a big step towards that goal.
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