JET’s Vortex Dust Collector

When it comes to … well most anything, I’m a huge skeptic. I’m not a conspiracy theorist mind you, but I seldom believe what I hear or read. I have to be convinced.

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.

— Glen D. Huey

Click here for a look at the technical specifications of each of the 1100 CFM Vortex Cone Dust Collectors from JET.

16 thoughts on “JET’s Vortex Dust Collector

  1. Larry B

    Received an Email today from Monique Murray (Monique.Murray@waltermeier.com), Consumer Relations/Vise Tech at Walter Meier Inc. and was informed that Jet has no plans to market a Vortex retrofit kit for the DC-1100 or plans to sell the cone assembly parts. Those of us that own a Jet DC-1100 and purchased the retro Canister Kit will not be able to add the new Vortex Cone.

  2. Jack

    I would like to see a side by side shootout of a Jet Vortex, and the same unit with a Thein baffle separator put before the same unit.

    In both cases what I really want to know is how much fine dust is put in the filter!

    If an overkill shootout was done, compare a Clearvue vs other cyclone units too.

    I am guessing the real thing to do is to have similar dust (same quantity of fine dust and coarser chips) by weight. Then weigh the amount of the collected in each unit to use as a comparison.

    But then again, … all that is in my dreams…

  3. Katoom

    It would be a major benefit to those of us who own a JET dust collector for JET to make a retrofit kit available for the Vortex cone. It will be a shame if they don’t.

    About five years after JET came out with a built-in remote control for their dust collectors, they made a retrofit remote control available. I just bought one. I hope they don’t wait that long to come out with the Vortex kit.

  4. Tom H

    A cone can be easily fabricated from a piece of sheet metal. Cut out a circle, remove a pie shaped piece on one side(the smaler the wedge, the lower the slope), and fasten the two edges together with sheetmetal screws or rivets.

    I have a flat baffle in my collector now, which is only partially effective, and am going to try the cone shape.

  5. Charlie

    Some people in the Phil Thien website have been putting a baffle in their DC’s for awhile now already, I was skeptical at first also. Anyway, I’ve always thought that it was better to separate the dust wood chips and dust, plus anything else that might get sucked up before it reaches the impeller and filter. I have a 1 1/2 hp Delta 50-760 dust collector that I added an onboard side inlet separator too. I luv the setup, it works great, and I wouldn’t ever consider going back to a generic style DC such as the JET. Here is a link address to my Delta. http://www.cgallery.com/smf/index.php?PHPSESSID=bf3b82af538f292846de0d96a75f72ae&topic=451.0

  6. marco cecala

    I started using a trash can separator because of what a pain the bag R&R process is. Here is the best I have been able to come up with.

    Removal; Push the ring and bag in from the outside of the machine with the canister off. reach inside and help by gripping the ring. Pull to the center and twist. As the ring gets smaller bring the other hand in from the bottom and lower the ring as soon as it can clear the housing. Keep the ring flexed and pull it off the bag.

    Installation; Use 4 large metal binder clips from the office supply store. Clip the bag to the ring from the top 90 degrees apart. Flex the ring and place it in the housing. Push in from the bottom of the housing and remove the clips one at a time. I store the clips on the silver rotating bar on top of the canister.

  7. xMike

    You’ve mastered how to get the snap ring IN? Please share. I spend at least 5 minutes mumbling to myself that this can’t be THIS HARD before I get the ring to snap in with either no gap of plastic bag that has fiendishly escaped the “snap” of the ring or alternatively without a foot of the plastic bag shoved up inside, wasting 10 good inches of bag capacity.

  8. Glen D. Huey Post author

    I specifically asked a company representative about a retrofit and was told that as of now, JET has no plans to offer the cone assembly separately. The parts are listed in the manual so one can order replacements however, if you search the JET web site for those specific parts, you get “I’m Sorry No Search Results Found.”

    If I were in need of these parts to update my JET DC, I would wait a bit for the shine to wear off the new penny.

  9. CessnapilotBarry

    Jet offered a canister upgrade for existing machines when the cannister filter was released. It sure would be nice if the cone is offered as a retrofit kit. hint, hint…

    The guy who bought my DC would be thrilled!

      1. Glen D. Huey Post author

        tsstahl – if you, or anyone else for that matter, rig a salad bowl into your dust collector, please send me a photo that I can post. I do think you have an interesting idea, but I wonder about the science behind a cone vs. a bowl – how the size and shape of said cone/bowl influences the inner workings and air flow.

      2. dhess719

        I wonder if a cooking WOK would be closer to the cone shape than a salad bowl, it might also be heavy duty enough to stand up the constant air flow.

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