Author Topic: Is the CT-VA-20 cyclone worth it, for a hobbyist woodworker  (Read 1218 times)

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Offline DarrenB

  • Posts: 22
I share my garage with my car and other storage, so optimal dust collection is a must. I already have a CT26 and I'm wondering if the CT-VA-20 Cyclone will in any way improve suction performance, or if it is JUST to cut down on dust bag cost?
My main concern is to reduce the amount of dust, shavings, chips as much as possible inside the garage.

I'm not very frequent in my woodworking, so I don't fill up the standard CT bags, on a regular basis. But I do have a CS70 draw saw, CMS OF router table, a Makita planer, drill press, sanders etc... with a high potential of putting out large volumes of dust and chips, plus the occasional hand planing with wood chips on the floor.

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Offline ghhsolutions

  • Posts: 23
Re: Is the CT-VA-20 cyclone worth it, for a hobbyist woodworker
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2021, 04:35 AM »
It only cuts down on dust bag use. It definitely doesn't improve suction, if anything it could slightly reduce suction as you are introducing more chances for leakage with more connections.



Offline woodferret

  • Posts: 130
Re: Is the CT-VA-20 cyclone worth it, for a hobbyist woodworker
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2021, 11:12 AM »
I too don't fill up my MIDI bags all that often.  I find that unless I'm batch cutting with a TS or router, I switch tools way too often to finer stuff and this causes my collector (dust deputy cyclone) to fill up with a mix of bulk and too fine dust.  Emptying it is a hassle and messy.

Half the time now, I just suck directly into my CT and it's less of a hazmat scenario just dispose of the brick bag.

Online mino

  • Posts: 539
Re: Is the CT-VA-20 cyclone worth it, for a hobbyist woodworker
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2021, 06:14 PM »
Depends on your work volume and if you have an AC vac which you can use for wet process work like drywall etc.

For one, you stop thinking about the quantity of dust your process produces.

Second, if you have auto-clean vac, it makes vacuuming building waste or drywall possible at far bigger volumes than without - I simply do not need to worry damaging/using up my

I usually extract about five 35-litre (10-gallon) dump barrels before replacing the SelfClean bag on my CTM 36.

This makes one bag last about a year and saves about $40/year. Not a no-brainer but worth the peace of mind I do not need to worry about filling up bags.
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Offline lshj

  • Posts: 19
Re: Is the CT-VA-20 cyclone worth it, for a hobbyist woodworker
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2021, 11:13 PM »
I have a Oneida dust deputy before I purchased the CT midi. I fixed the dust deputy to a 1/2" Baltic birch plywood, and cut the plywood to match the dust extractor. It works very well. I don't know festool has the dust deputy, but the Oneida dust deputy only cost $99, significantly cheaper and works very well to me.

Then I realized that I should buy the CT MINI instead of MIDI, same power but 2 inches shorter.

I initially thought that I could easily remove the dust deputy and also use it with the wall mount Ridgid shop vac. Then I thought what's the point still using the Ridgid shop vac? So I just used the CT MIDI with dust deputy as a regular shop vac for all the dirty cleaning now without worrying too much what it sucks in there.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2021, 11:34 PM by lshj »

Offline tsmi243

  • Posts: 126
Re: Is the CT-VA-20 cyclone worth it, for a hobbyist woodworker
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2021, 10:37 AM »
Dust Deputy is fantastic.  The only real benefit to the Festool is the package- it's not as tall, and it fits a systainer stack. 

The short baffle style separators (Festool, Dustopper) really can't perform as well as a tapered cyclone.  I doubt there's any amount of engineering that will make it happen.  If you want the best separation, you have to deal with the height.

Offline Rick Herrick

  • Posts: 588
Re: Is the CT-VA-20 cyclone worth it, for a hobbyist woodworker
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2021, 11:46 AM »
Dust Deputy is fantastic.  The only real benefit to the Festool is the package- it's not as tall, and it fits a systainer stack. 

The short baffle style separators (Festool, Dustopper) really can't perform as well as a tapered cyclone.  I doubt there's any amount of engineering that will make it happen.  If you want the best separation, you have to deal with the height.

I would agree with this based on my experience.  When I first used the CT-VA-20, I did not use the tall, clear bucket because I wanted the extra space.  All was going good until I noticed a degradation in suction.  I checked my vacuum bag and it was chock full, almost bursting.  Hmm, I empty the top portion weekly so why isn't it working?  I talked to FT support and they said by not have the height of the clear bucket, you are losing the cyclone benefits, which made perfect sense.  So my clear bucket is installed and I haven't seen any issues with my bag filling up.

Offline lshj

  • Posts: 19
Re: Is the CT-VA-20 cyclone worth it, for a hobbyist woodworker
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2021, 12:22 PM »
Dust Deputy is fantastic.  The only real benefit to the Festool is the package- it's not as tall, and it fits a systainer stack. 

The short baffle style separators (Festool, Dustopper) really can't perform as well as a tapered cyclone.  I doubt there's any amount of engineering that will make it happen.  If you want the best separation, you have to deal with the height.

I totally agree.  The tapered shape dust deputy really takes a lot of air space and is quite tall, not that pretty but I believe it works better than the square shaped dust deputy from festool.  The tapered cyclone has the air flow in a spiral pattern that makes a better dust separation. My Oneida dust deputy is quite high once it sit on top of the dust extractor, so I just used one plastic bucket (the Oneida package came with two bucket stacked together) and bolted to the plywood, and seal any potential gaps with silicone. It works very well and no noticable air leakage. To make it fit the systainer stack is an easy job for most of the woodworkers. The 1/2' plywood is just the right thickness that matches perfectly with the systainer clamp. 

The festool dust separator does look a lot prettier and not that tall.  But paying extra $300 is mainly for the aesthetic look of a plastic box, but not improved function.

Offline woodferret

  • Posts: 130
Re: Is the CT-VA-20 cyclone worth it, for a hobbyist woodworker
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2021, 12:42 PM »
If you're ever bored and want to pretty up the dust deputy, I saw that someone stuck it in a macpak large/x-large and put that on top of another macpak.   [tongue]  You can use beat up tanos/festool boxes just as well.

Offline Bertotti

  • Posts: 256
Re: Is the CT-VA-20 cyclone worth it, for a hobbyist woodworker
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2021, 09:02 AM »
I did the dust deputy thing with my ct 26. Built my own off the cyclone. I liked it so much I bought the 4" version for my shop dust collector. They just work if you build the container right, ie no air leaks and proper hole dimensions. I emailed Oneida thinking a 5" would be better but they were honest and told me no not with my system. So I trust their products and knowledge.
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Offline Coen

  • Posts: 1118
Re: Is the CT-VA-20 cyclone worth it, for a hobbyist woodworker
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2021, 01:43 PM »
It's a pure calculation between bag costs and Cyclone costs. You can calculate when it breaks even... and then you are still stuck with emptying that thing... or using the plastic bags. Add up what that pain is worth to you.

Oh, I've worked with CT-VA-20 recently when drilling some 55mm holes and at one point a piece of stucco that went through the D36 hose just fine blocked up the cyclone.

At 300 bucks... I can buy like 125 CTL midi bags for that... that's gonna take me a while to fill up. So I'll pass on the cyclone. Plus the midi will fit below the CS 70, but not with the cyclone on top, and space is at a premium too for me.