Review By Dean Bielanowski  GMC Website - http://www.gmcompany.com


GMC WVC50 1Hp Dust Extractor

Review
By Dean Bielanowski

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Please note: Since this review was published, Global Machinery Company (GMC) has gone into receivership and is no longer operating. As such, spare parts or technical support cannot be obtained directly through them. Their website at www.gmcompany.com appears to still be available online and offers some product information and manuals but contacting them will receive no reply. Note that OnlineToolReviews.com does not work for GMC, nor do we offer any support or spare parts for their products.

As I have mentioned in various other reviews on this website, and I will continue to do so, dust extraction equipment should be high on the list of priorities when setting up a workshop. If you are planning on using stationary woodworking machines like table saws, jointers, planers or lathes (to name just a few) you will need a high volume, low pressure dust collector. These are different to your standard low volume, high pressure home or shop vacuum systems. A low volume vacuum system simply wont cut it for extraction of dust and debris from large stationary machines. Dust extractors not only help to keep the workshop environment air a little cleaner, but also help collect dust at the source, saving you plenty of cleanup time later.

GMC have several vacuum and extractor products in their lineup. We looked for a portable unit to move between several machines, and the WVC50 model seemed to be the most suitable from their lines. Let's see how it stacks up in the workshop.

Out of the box
Everything was in good condition out of the box. A good start! Some assembly is required and this will take you about 30 minutes to complete. Essentially, you need to attach the outlet that the dust bag attaches to, the carry handle, and the four swivel castor wheels to the base of the unit to make it mobile. All fasteners are provided, but you will need a screwdriver and a couple wrenches to complete the assembly task. Full color instructions are provided which are easy to follow and everything went together very well. As usual, the GMC manual included is of good quality.

Tech Specs & Feature Discussion
We'll start with the motor. Onboard is a 1Hp motor (750W to be exact). It is an induction motor which is quieter than a universal motor, however, even these motors can generate some noise once they get up to full speed. But they are not loud enough to require ear protection to prevent hearing damage, but like most power tools and machines, don't expect silence either. In general terms, the size of the motor (in Hp) often directly relates to the volume of air the unit is capable of moving. Higher horsepower units generally move larger volumes of air in a given time period, but impeller design or other design mechanics may also play a large role in determining actual air flow rate. In terms of CFM, the manual and website mention different values. The website mentions 470 CFM whereas the manual mentions 900 cubic meters per hour, which calculates back to about 529 CFM, so I am not sure which value is actually the correct one, but we'll assume the actual CFM is somewhere in between these two values. Assuming it's the middle of the two values at 500 CFM, this unit does not move as much air as some other 1 Hp units on the market. Many 1 Hp units will deliver a minimum of 600 CFM, with better designed units capable of 750 CFM on a 1 Hp motor. Impeller and overall design obviously play a role here.

The impeller on the WVC50 is actually constructed of hardened plastic. This may pose an issue for some woodworkers. Personally, I do prefer metal impellers as they are generally less prone to damage, however, the WVC50, priced at just AUD$99, is about half the price of the next cheapest 1Hp units, so I'm guessing cheaper materials were used to keep prices down to appeal to the budget tool buyer. The impeller casing, extractor base and carry handle are metal construction however. The 100mm dust inlet to the impeller has several tapered fins leading into the unit. These fins should block any large objects from entering the impeller casing that could cause damage to the impeller blades themselves. I have been using this unit for at least a month, and so far no problems with the impeller suffering from any damage, but I'm not going to suck up a large wood block and risk causing damage just to prove that point. Rarely do you get large objects being sucked up if the unit is connected to a large port woodworking machine, and most machines only product dust and finer debris. The miter saw is one tool where large offcuts could potentially be sucked up the easiest. The four-bladed impeller does seem well balanced but obviously the design of the impeller/casing is not as efficient as some other units which deliver a higher CFM.

The fan-cooled induction motor also features cooling fins which help to dissipate heat from the motor and casing more efficiently allowing the motor to run cooler, which should extend its life. On top of the motor sits the switch case and switch buttons. Simple stuff here... the green button turns the extractor on, the red button turns it off. As simple as it needs to be, and should be. Each switch has a clear rubber cover to prevent dust entering the switch compartment and causing problems.

In terms of mobility, the unit weighs in at 17.7 kgs. Light enough to comfortably carry short distances around the jobsite or workshop. Of course, you also have the castor wheels as well, so you can roll it around, which is much easier on your back. The is no locking lever on the wheels however, so you may need to contain the unit if it starts to tip toe away, but on a flat surface it didn't really move at all in use for me.

A 30-micron, 85 liter capacity dust bag is included in the kit. 30 micron is the rating of the bag material, meaning the bag will filter dust particles down to 30 microns in size. This is a fairly standard rated bag included with most similar budget range extractors. There are websites around that will say you need minimum 1 micron bags to really reduce your risk of dust exposure, and these sites offer valid information. Ideally we would all love 1 micron bags on our extractors, however, these bags come at a price, and simply do not fit in with the price point of these types of units. You can purchase these as after-market accessories, but you might be paying more than the cost of the extractor itself for them in some cases. Dust extractors will reduce the amount of airborne dust and debris around you, but they are not high-grade air filters or air purifiers. A workshop might also include a ceiling hung "air cleaner" which has much finer filters to filter the finer dust particles in the ambient air in the workshop. A well set-up workshop will have a combination of machines designed to collect dust and filter air at a number of levels. The bag is of course re-useable and even washable, but it should be emptied when it becomes about half to three quarters filled. Allowing it to fill up too much will reduce air flow and the extractor's effectiveness. Use standard dust safety precautions when emptying the bag to prevent self-exposure, and you should contain the dust in plastic or other suitable bags for disposal to help prevent exposure to others in the rubbish removal chain.

Included with the package is a 3m extraction hose. It is an interesting design actually. It is collapsible and extendable, much like those bendable drinking straws you might be familiar with. See my photo of the hose in the right hand column. Each end has a 100mm diameter connection point, but the majority of the hose length actually has a smaller diameter. The inside of the hose also is ribbed like the outside, and ribbed hoses are known to be not as efficient for air flow than smooth-walled hoses or extraction pipes. In fact, the hose was the first thing I put back in the box. I would recommend using a smoother-walled hose that you can buy from good woodworking stores. It will provide better performance and is probably not as prone to implosion, although we did not suffer from any using the included hose is our testing. The walls of the supplied hose are much weaker however. Again, the hose seems to be a victim of the reduced price tag. The hose is easier to manipulate than a standard hose however, as you can make some bends in it relatively easily, but I'd still recommend a better hose to use with this unit if you end up buying one. Hose clamps are provided to allow you to secure the hose to the extraction port, and to your machine's dust extraction port.

Another interesting inclusion is the two-pronged connector designed to attach to the extractor hose and reduce the outlet diameter for use with hand-held power tools that have smaller diameter dust ports. In fact, two power tools can be connected at once, however, you will require smaller diameter hoses to attach between the connector and your hand-held power tools (these are not included). A small included cap can be used to close off one side of the adaptor to allow only one power tool to be connected if needed. I think in the absence of a dedicated low volume high pressure vacuum system, whether it be a dedicated shop vac or even the household vacuum cleaner, this setup can be of some benefit, although reducing a high volume, low pressure extractor down to such small diameters does hurt performance markedly, and performance will not be as good as a general low volume, high pressure vacuum cleaner or vacuum extractor can offer. Like the issue with micron ratings, you really need two separate extractor types in the workshop to get the best result for dust extraction over a wide range of tools. This power tool connector offers a compromise, but it is not really ideal.

That about covers all the features and inclusions of the WVC50 extractor.

Use and Conclusion
Despite some of the shortcomings off this tool, it can be useful as an extractor/cleaning tool on a number of woodworking machines. What follows assumes use of a better dust hose with the WVC50.

I found the extractor to work well with any tool that produces fine, light dust, such as on the router table, the band saw, and my oscillating spindle sander. On machines that have a larger cabinet space, the WVC50 does seem to lack air flow rate to be effective, such as on my table saw. On the jointer, which generally produces larger shavings and debris, the WVC50 did quite well. It seemed to collect as much as my other 1Hp extractor which has a higher CFM rating. My jointer is a 6" jointer and I was making fairly light passes on 5" wide boards. I'd suspect that on larger jointers where much more wood is being removed at one time that it may struggle due to the lower CFM rating. This was a little more evident when I hooked it up to my 13" planer/thicknesser. When making a full depth pass (3mm) on some softwoods, the extractor struggled to keep the debris flowing, eventually blocking up my dust port. This is perhaps not a direct weakness of this particular unit, my other 1Hp extractor struggles with this task also, but my larger 2Hp (1200CFM) unit handles it with ease. My point here is that these smaller units are not ideal for every tool or task in the workshop. They have limitations, so don't expect them to perform every extraction task required in your shop. If you want a unit to handle everything, go for a minimum 2Hp unit, larger if you can afford it. For machines like drum or wide belt sanders, you need the big units to handle them.

But, we come back to the price issue again. At just $99 you cannot expect performance of a unit that cost two or ten times the price, plus this is one of the cheapest dust extractor unit of its type on the market. This unit is ok for extraction tasks that do not require a lot of air flow. But given my testing of this unit, I would only recommend this unit for smaller bench type tools. I'd imagine it would work well for benchtop jointers, benchtop sanders, smaller bandsaws and on power tools like a router (if it has a well designed dust catching system to begin with or on a small sander). If you have larger machines, you need something bigger than this unit can provide. If you cannot afford anything bigger or better then the WVC50 is better than having no extraction system at all but you must understand its limitations, but if you can afford $200 or so, go for a comparable unit that has a minimum of 650-700 CFM and a metal impeller. In the end, you need to buy the tool that fits your requirements. If the WVC50 fits yours, grab it. If not, look elsewhere.

For what it's worth, we didn't experience any operational issues with this unit during our test period, and it worked well within its limitations.

I won't give this particular unit a recommended this time around, simply because it is a tool that is not going to suit everyone, and when it comes to dust extraction, you really need a good quality extraction system to help keep your air and your lungs cleaner.

The GMC website can be found at www.gmcompany.com and you can contact them to find out whether this product is available to you in your local area.
 

GMC WVC50 Photos
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The WVC50 Extractor


Standard 100mm inlet port. Note the fins to stop large objects entering and striking the impeller.


1 Horsepower, fan and fin-cooled motor.


Four-bladed plastic impeller.


Standard on/off switch box with rubber dust protection covers.


Wheels add mobility.


Various parts included...


The included dust collection hose is an unusual design.


Dust collection bag and user manuals.

 

 

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