CamVac 386-5 or Axminster AW118CE

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5 Oct 2014
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Sunny Glasgow
I'm buying a dust extractor and am caught as to whether it should be the cam-vac, or the axminster.
The axminster is the big dual system, priced at £800, and the Cam-vac is £480

I was initially favouring the Axminster, but now I'm thinking maybe the cam-vac would be the better extractor. Basically its a lot smaller, considerably cheaper and I think pretty much is going to do the same thing.
I need it for mainly the planer/thicknesser, and bandsaw, and of course powertools like sanders and routers.
Its the planer/thicknesser that im more interested in knowing if the cam-vac has the oomph needed.

I think the axminster is ideal if i had a bigger workshop, maybe connected to a system, and the cam-vac would be more suitable really for my smallish workshop and what im actually doing. The Ax one is pretty bloody huge,which is why im thinking the cam-vac would be better given my workspace is only about 120 sq feet, it would take up a fair bit of room.

I'm also intending to buy an air cleaner(record power version) so i think the combined 0.5 micron on the camvac and the 1 micron on the air cleaner should pretty much leave me with a healthy dust free environment.

So does anyone own a cam-vac extractor, namely the 386-5 and do you use it on a planer/thicknesser ?

Capabilities - need explaining if anyone's worked it out.
Axminster extractor is 1400 cubic meters/hour - Which is fine for anything ive got
The cam-vac 108 liters/second
I have no idea how one equates to the other, or even if you can equate it, given the axminster is a HVLP
I also like the fact on the cam-vac you've 2 independently switched motors, so for powertools etc you only need the one switched on.

Any info or review anyone has would be much appreciated.
Got a good testing vid here, the 3 motor cam-vac over the standard chip collector.
Even taking into account the one im thinking of having 2 motors, I think it would still come out on top.
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Also. Has anyone experience of the wall mounted model ?. I'd heard those types with the internal cages has a collapse problem, and maybe werent such a good idea. I like the higher capacity though. but i dont want to set myself up with problems from the off.
I have a Record Power DX 4000 which I think of as a less industrial version of the CamVacs, it is a twin motor version and can certainly suck.

I guess the main difference between the ones you are looking at is the CamVac can also be used with a smaller hose and power tools where the Axi is really just for use with machines that have a 100mm outlet.

A bagged version would be nice, with my Record all the dust just ends up in the barrel which you have to dig out, not half as nice as just swapping over bags.
With the HVLP machine you will be actually seeing about half the claimed airflow. They test with only the blower and no filtration or duct/hose then add to round up to a nice sales number. Also with a HVLP system a 100mm duct draws about 760m/hr at most and usually less with any length of duct or hose. Theoretically the Cam-vac, because of it's higher static pressure can flow some more but there isn't a lot of room in it for the debris collected. Cam-vacs have only been for sale here for a few years and we don't have much real world experience with them. You'll have to dig through the sales dung and ultimately decide which compromises are best for you.

I’ve got one of the smaller, 2-motor CamVac units (336-4 iirc). Very satisfied with it. I use it connected to fixed 63mm duct, with table saw, router table, sander, drill press, and also with hand-held power tools. Plenty of suck. I’d guess with a planer, you might want to use a 100mm duct, but that would be pretty straightforward.
Hello mate, I have the Axminster model at home, and I'm very happy with it. Only use it for planer/thicknesser. For small stuff, like sander, I am using shop vac from screwfix, and combined with small cyclone, to spare me the bags.

I can't really comment on the other extractor, but because it's small, it also means it will be full pretty quick. I have build a boxed drawer for collection for my axminster, instead of the bag, which is kinda rubbish and small. The two stage is very noticable. There is hardly anything collected in the bag under the filter since I bought the machine. And I've been through many full drawers so far. For me, the two stage was the primary target. Secondary was the filter itself.

Any questions about it, let me know


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I have a compact twin motor camvac (can check model number later if needed) and whilst it’s great at sucking, the bin fills very quickly and it’s a mess opening it up and emptying it when it’s full. I’m toying with a separator but in hindsight I should have bought bigger. The exhaust ducting/noise moderators work very well if that’s a consideration in your workspace.
Hi Triton, I have the 386-5. Regarding airflow i don’t think you can equate the airflow of HPLV to LPHV systems.

I can tell you that I use the CamVac all day - I have a quick cuff system and and can easily switch it between my Sabre 350, Table Saw, Thicknesser, and separate Jointer/Surface Planer. It is outstanding - quiet and very effective. Clears everything and excellent filtration. Only downside is capacity but I find the emptying rather therapeutic 😀

I use a seperate shop vac for hand tools and cleaning.

I have never regretted getting the CamVac and would not swap it for anythin. Hope that helps.
I have a twin motor wall mounted canvas, made just before record bought them. I have a dust deputy on the floor directly underneath it. With the separator there is no issue in collapsing bags or mess.... providing I empty it frequently when using the P/T. I have it in a room adjacent to my workshop which is great for noise reduction. It works fine for me and I use it for everything from PT to sanders. I never use it in one motor mode, even with the smaller hose to the Domino or sanders. I am happy with it but I have no experience of the Axi.
Also. Has anyone experience of the wall mounted model ?. I'd heard those types with the internal cages has a collapse problem, and maybe werent such a good idea. I like the higher capacity though. but i dont want to set myself up with problems from the off.
Hi Triton,
I have a single motor wall mounted Camvac, although it is the older version with a 63mm outlet rather than the newer 100mm style and it is mounted on a freestanding pedestal rather than a wall. Works fine with my JWP-12 ’lunchbox style’ thicknesser provided I am sensible with the cut, especially on wider boards where more waste is produced.
The dual motor version would be nice but the single motor works just fine with no hint of any collapsing issues (surprises me this is a thing as the cage is quite heavy duty - maybe newer ones are thinner).
Only issue I have probably affects anything without a proper cyclone is the suction reduces after using the sander as the fine dust clogs the bag.
To get round that, I have another 63mm outlet vac (WAP Aero if you need to know) which can blow. From time to time and particularly after a lot of sanding, I connect this to the Camvac exhaust, put the Camvac inlet pipe outside to disperse the fine dust and blow for a couple of seconds to clear the Camvac bag.
PS If you do go with the Camvac - someone on here posted a silencer for the exhaust using plastic pipe lined with acoustic foam. It inspired me to make something similar although mine is an mdf box open at one end with a couple of baffles in it lined with acoustic foam.
I recommend it.
Cam Vac will do all you want (though you may want a larger volume model?), the Axminster will not do the likes of sanders which is the problem material. Respirable fine particulate (sanders) is the issue, a planer spiral is non respirable and just an inconvenience. Hooked on wood video and comments excellent.
I have Camvac from when it was an independent company. Before it was bought out by Record.

What I know for certain is that the filters block quite badly, and the main cloth bag needs to be washed on a regular basis. Suction drops off pretty badly if you don't.

I ended up bolting a passive cyclone to the side of it. This seems to trap the vast majority of stuff with hardly any ending up in the Vac itself. There is therefore no drop off in suction.
Cyclnoe attachment are an excellent idea for CanVac (and many other vacuums if compatible). They take the load off the filters but don't forget that a blocked filter is one that has done / doing it's job, the ones we should worry about are the ones that pass the dust through. A blocked filter is one at end of capacity not necessarily a poor one. The square box room scrubbers are an excellent compliment also. I think the biggest challenge re the CamVac is getting the right size for your workshop and the challenge always changes according to what we build. For many years a family member thought his sander didn't produce much dust as little was in his vacuum. When I attended with a Festool vac and sander it was a different story. Fine particles are dangerous, long planer curls are an annoyance (and can be very large volumes) but we expect our vacuum systems to deal with both!
Hi folks. I am seeking a bit of advice and I did not want to create a new thread, as my question is on a similar subject. Recently I become the happy owner of the iTech 260s planer/ thicknesser but the shop vac/ cyclone combo does not provide the necessary suction for that size of the machine. Would Camvac 2 motor unit be sufficient for it? Does anyone own a CV 3 motor unit to share their thoughts on whether it is worth the extra money upgrade? The only downside of the 2 motor Camvac I have managed to find is related to its inability to work simultaneously on the table saw with a second smaller hose (32mm I guess?) attached to the crown guard - that proved to suck nothing. The other is would be the size of the dust bin but I think I can manage with emptying on regular basis. As usually floor space is limited (single car garage) and the use is occasional hobby-learner, a mix of handheld power tools, table saw, router table, pt, bandsaw.
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