You’ll never know how valuable and time saving this new product is until you actually use it. Well, you don’t actually “use” it because it’s totally automatic! Once set up and getting familiar with the options, I couldn’t be happier. That’s because I no longer have to open blast gates when I go to a piece of power equipment, and I no longer have to remember to close a blast gate when I’m done. Here’s what the blast gate looks like hooked up to my planer.
I’m a big fan of all the iVac accessories. I started with the iVac switches a couple of years ago that automatically turned on and off my Rikon 1hp dust collector. Below is one of the original switches, which has been relegated to my shop vac that’s hooked up to my router table and chop saw with 2.5″ lines and manual blast gates. iVac doesn’t have blast gates for 2.5″ yet but if they did I’d get them.
More recently iVac came out with the Pro line which accommodates the blast gate shown above. After having difficulty sourcing them, I found them on the Lee Valley website at an introductory price. It was between $200-300 for a two blast gate setup if I remember correctly. Nowadays they are available most everywhere, and sometimes on sale. You simply plug both the dust collector and machine power cords into the switch, and viola, when you turn on the table saw, on comes the dust collector and the gate opens.
When the table saw is turned off the dust collector continues to run and shuts off after the lines are cleared, then the blast gate closes. The optional blast gates work in sync with the equipment and the dust collector.
What a time saver, and dust saver, and I can focus on woodworking instead of having to deal with turning on and off a dust collector and opening and closing blast gates! For a small shop like mine this is a dream, and for a larger shop it accommodates up to 4 iVac Pro systems, each capable of handling up to 8 tools.
Below are 2 iVac Pro 220v Tools that control the dust collector and blast gates for my Grizzly GO490X 8″ jointer and Saw Stop table saw.
There are numerous ways to customize the entire system to your needs, from setting the delays for the dust collector and gate closure, to even making sure that one gate is always open when your dust collector is on. There is a remote switch, and the customer service has been very good.
The only issues I had are the plugs on the 220v switches and tools had to be replaced to fit the 220v outlets I had installed in my shop. In order for iVac to get UL/CSA approval they had to use NEMA 6-20 plugs and receptacles. A quick trip to Home Depot fixed that and I replaced the plugs with plugs compatible to my outlets. Also, for a short period of time I had issues with the blast gate not staying open during the entire time a Tool was on. I was told there can be interference in the wireless signals from the various components with wireless phones, etc. This happened only a couple of times many months ago but I’ve had no problems since.
iVac was willing to swap out the Tool for the dust collector which was out of warranty for a very reasonable price but the problem resolved on it’s own and has not happened since. Another small annoyance is that you have to run 120v power to the blast gates via a small gauge transformer wire which is easy to snag and pull out from the blast gate. But the signals between the Tools, Switches, and blast gates are wireless digital rf.
Jump in with both feet, and get both the iVac Pro system and blast gates, you won’t regret it.