Tool manufacturers, given my position here at the magazine, are high on my watch list so when JET introduced the new Vortex Cone Dust Collector (DC-1100VX), the hair stood up on the back of my neck. A cone shaped object suspended in the housing of the collector could improve dust collection by keeping larger particles from climbing into the canister filter of the collector thus clogging air flow. Who dreams this stuff up?
Obviously a person more intelligent than me because this design works.
This morning I spent about an hour assembling the DC-1100VX. The major difference between this unit and most others of this design is the cone. After the housing is attached to the supports, you add a metal strip to the top of the section then hang the cone from the middle of the metal strip down into the housing. That’s all there is to it. Hang the lower bag, attach the canister to the top and you’re ready to go.
After assembly, I needed dust. One area that always has a generous supply of dust is our table saw base – our table saw collector doesn’t quite suck, but it’s close. I rolled the new unit to the saw and emptied the base into the collector. (What you see in the photos was gathered only from the table saw base.)
I ran the collector another few minutes while I watched the dust tornado spin inside the disposable plastic bag (simple minds, simple pleasures), then I pulled the canister from the machine to evaluate the amount of dust inside. There was very little, but with a total run time of only about five minutes, I didn’t expect there would be much.
When JET released the information about Vortex, I watched the Ed Sanders and Johnny Littlefield video (click the video button). A second time through the video I thought I caught something. If you watch, right as Mr. Sanders shouts that the 20 minute run time is up, you can see that the dust tornado in his machine is spinning much higher than the waste in the Vortex collector. I decided to pull the cone from our unit and see what differences I could see, if any.
Immediately I noticed the dust caked to the underside of the cone. That meant there was a large amount of waste hitting the cone and that dust wasn’t traveling into the canister. With the cone out of the machine, I replaced the canister and flipped on the switch. Sure enough the tornado was much higher with the cone removed – I had found no film shenanigans. I let the machine run a few minutes before checking the canister for waste. I was amazed at the amount of crap that made its way into the canister. The cone does keep much of the waste out of the top section of the collector.
Even though the Vortex collector is an improvement over older designs, there are a couple things for which I will ding JET. The hose that connects the motor/fan assembly to the housing is thin when compared to other collectors I’ve seen or own. That hose takes a beating with all the dust, shavings and wood pieces that get sucked into the impellers, along with the occasional measuring tape I might add – I’ve had a more rigid hose fail on a different dust collector. Of course, I’ve used that collector for nearly 20 years.
Also these collectors are on wheels, therefore they are supposed to be moved around your shop. I use the above-mentioned hose to pull my collector around the shop – the machine never rolls straight when pulled by the 4” collection hose. The JET hose appears a bit weak to do this for long. Maybe a handle mounted on the housing would curb my bad habit.
Another feature that JET uses on its dust collectors that I dislike is the ring used to hold the lower bag in the housing. I enjoy how it snaps into position, it’s getting the ring out when the bag is full that miffs me. I cannot get the ring out without a small explosion of dust escaping the bag. That may be my technique, so if you know how to pull the bag out without dusting yourself, please let me know.
Overall JET has built the better mousetrap of dust collectors. I stand convinced.
Click here for a look at the technical specifications of each of the 1100 CFM Vortex Cone Dust Collectors from JET.