Commissioning the Festool Cooltainer

I don’t know if it is an indication of my drinking habits (not much), or the current weather patterns (too hot to even get out to the shed), but since getting a Festool Cooltainer from Ideal Tools during the October Wood Show, it has taken until yesterday before I finally commissioned it!

Festool Cooltainer

Festool S3 Systainer - Cooltainer is bigger!

The Cooltainer is based around the S4 Systainer, but instead of being a tool storage, it is lined with polystyrene insulation to turn it into an esky!  Talk about a stylish esky, it fits seamlessly into a sophisticated workshop.  Of course it stands out somewhat in my workshop given I don’t have any other Festool tools (yet). So my Roving Reporter came around with a 6 pack, and so we finally gave the Cooltainer a commissioning while we got a few bits and pieces done around the shed.

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About two 1/2 years ago, I decided to investigate dust extraction air flow, and come to my own conclusions about the effects of pipe length, pipe type (comparing PVC pipe with standard flexible dust extraction pipe), bends, junctions and diameter changes. I’m sure this has been done before ad nauseum, but there is one thing to read about it, and another to do the investigations yourself.

My first design of an anemometer took a 4″ diameter PC fan and as is the case with DC motors, you can use DC power to turn the motor, or, if you turn the motor, you produce DC current.  So my idea was to stick the fan into the airstream, have it turned by the airflow and measure the current produced.

It kind of worked – I had a blast gate, multimeter, and of course, the fan.  Driving the fan at different speeds did produce a measurable difference in current (I can’t remember, but I suspect it was different voltages), but it wasn’t as accurate as I wanted, nor could manage the low airspeeds I wanted to monitor, so the project was abandoned.  However, the concept has remained in the back of my mind, and so it is getting resurrected.

I picked up a commercial anemometer today, so I could rediscover the investigation.

Commercial Anemometer

Commercial Anemometer

It can measure from 1 m/s up to about 30 m/s (or from about 3.6km/hr up), so I’m hoping it is sufficient for the task. It will also mean that I will be able to monitor the pipes downtrack, so I an detect if they are starting to become clogged with sawdust.  The same applies to the air filtration unit – it will allow me to know easily if the filter needs cleaning.  Of course this is very much finding ongoing justification for having an anemometer once the investigation is complete!

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