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GRIT Automation - Dust collection automation system

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Review by RyanGi posted 04-16-2022 08:19 PM 2361 views 4 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
GRIT Automation - Dust collection automation system GRIT Automation - Dust collection automation system GRIT Automation - Dust collection automation system Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’ve newly installed this system and haven’t been using it long, but I wanted to put out some information about what I think is a game changer for my shop, and maybe for yours too.

I found GRIT Automation randomly while surfing through Facebook woodworking groups. Actually, their name came up as a reply to a post, nothing more. I did a little research on GRIT and actually had a hard time finding out much about them. It turns out they’re a newer company, but they’ve been working to perfect their product for about 5 years. I got in contact with them and we started an excellent dialog about their dust collection automation system. They use a proprietary mesh network that allows all their devices to communicate cleanly and quickly, and what’s best is that they communicate wirelessly over the system’s own ad hoc network. What this means is you don’t need to have internet access in your shop for this system to work! Their user interface is simple, despite the amount of background technology at work, and even folks that aren’t particularly tech savvy shouldn’t have a problem setting up. And, while the system can be accessed through a smart phone or tablet, once it’s set up you don’t need to use your phone for anything. Turn on a machine, or flip a manual switch, and the correct gates open and the DC turns on. That’s it! The blast gate actuators are servo driven and the brackets are designed to fit multiple sized gates, with replaceable arms to make it all fit right.

Install for my small shop (12 gates, 10 triggers, Mag Switch for the DC, air filter controller, and Hub) took about one long day to complete. Once I got a feel for the process, it went very smoothly and, keep in mind, I was integrating this into an already established DC ducting system so there was extra work just getting access to some parts of my system.

I’ve got my shop DC divided into three zones, which means each tool has a zone gate and a local gate at the tool that needs to be actuated when the tool is in use. This used to mean walking back and forth to a couple gates for each tool. Now, I just turn on the tools, the right gates open, and the DC turns on after a preset delay to allow the gates to be fully opened. When the tool is powered off, the DC turns off after another preset delay to allow the lines to clear. The current gates stay open so there is no more action needed if I want to use the same tool again, as in multiple cuts. This is great for the miter saw!

Another thing I really like about their system is that it was designed not to need additional wall receptacles to power the system. The machine triggers feature an inline plug, so it plugs into the wall and the tool plugs into it. What’s more, there is a low voltage power take off from all the triggers to allow you to daisy chain together several devices and power them all…again, without an additional receptacle. And since the system communicates wirelessly, the devices daisy chained together don’t have to be associated with each other at all. So Trigger A and Gate A don’t have to be physically connected.

The system uses a central hub to communicate. The hub can also be used to lock out everything associated with the system as a safety. The user interface looks and acts like an app, but it actually a web portal that you save to your phone or tablet for access to the various menus for set up and configuration. Each device within the system can be configured with various different criteria. Triggers can be associated to more than one gate allowing for local gate control as well as zone control for each tool or trigger. There are configurations for DC on/off delay to allow gates to open before the DC powers up, or lines to clear before turning off. There are also various other customizable features to make the system do what you want it to do. While it’s technical, it’s also very well laid out and easy to understand. The one piece that I needed help on was integrating the Mag Switch into my Oneida Supercell. I reached out to GRIT and they contacted me by FaceTime and walked me through the entire process while I did it…which took all of about 5 minutes, minus the friendly chit chat.

GRIT offers both Machine Triggers as well as Manual Triggers so, if you want to have a gate just for a shop clean up hose that’s not associated with any specific tool, you don’t have to open the app to turn it on, rather just flip a manual switch (which can also be carried as a wireless switch on your belt or apron) and you’ll be ready to sweep the shop.

The system is designed to be scalable and can include multiple Dust Collectors and a variety of other devices such as a particulate sensor that automates your shop air filter, a variety of different sized blast gates, 110v 220v 220v50a and 3 Phase triggers and controllers are all available, and the system can be expanded to include RFID access and tracking. I understand this RFID is being used by a couple Universities for their shops, and would also be useful for large or industrial shops I’d imagine.

For those that ARE more tech savvy, you can set up machine maintenance intervals and warnings, and there is a full suite of analytics to show how much and how often machines are being used. You can track users via RFID and allow or restrict their access to specific machines.

I created a couple videos and posted them on YouTube if you’d like to see more about it.

Unboxing and DC discussion – https://youtu.be/w0nmFWDueH8
Install and Setup video – https://youtu.be/xuJiZCarYWg

On a personal note, I’ve had several discussions with the folks at GRIT and they clearly know what they’re doing. They’re knowledgable about their own product, of course, but they’re actually real woodworkers who are passionate and understand how a shop actually works. I’m told they’re working on more whole-shop integration devices and I expect to see more from them in the future!

If you want to check them out, more info is available at GRITautomation.com

-- Ryan/// I like chips...and sawdust...but mostly chips...with vinegar




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RyanGi

336 posts in 493 days



20 comments so far

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EarlS

5510 posts in 3804 days


#1 posted 04-16-2022 09:38 PM

Very interesting – how does their cost compare to I-Vac?

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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Redoak49

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#2 posted 04-16-2022 09:59 PM

Interesting but what is the cost? Very expensive…..

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RyanGi

336 posts in 493 days


#3 posted 04-16-2022 10:04 PM

GRIT is a little more expensive. Their gates are cheaper ($100 regardless of size, but you have to provide your own gate…so about $10 cheaper total if you have to buy a gate?), but their machine triggers are more expensive $120 vs $75. And GRIT can accommodate 2.5” gates, which I’m not sure iVac will.

But there’s obviously a lot more tech built into the GRIT devices, so to me it’s understandable. Especially with the limitless configurability and the available data coming from the GRIT devices, assuming that’s of value to you.

-- Ryan/// I like chips...and sawdust...but mostly chips...with vinegar

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pottz

25762 posts in 2441 days


#4 posted 04-16-2022 11:49 PM

ryan this sounds like something ive been looking for,i didn’t really like the ivac system at all so this needs more of my attention.ill check out your vids and the company website. so tired of running around opening and shutting gates,or forgetting to.i dont mind a higher cost if it does what i want.im pretty low tech so this sounds like my kind of system.thanks for this review.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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RyanGi

336 posts in 493 days


#5 posted 04-17-2022 12:08 AM



ryan this sounds like something ive been looking for

Pottz I think it might be. I’m impressed not only with their product but with the support they offer as well. Let me know if you’ve got any user questions. I don’t have a ton of time on the system yet, but I’ll answer what I can!

-- Ryan/// I like chips...and sawdust...but mostly chips...with vinegar

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pottz

25762 posts in 2441 days


#6 posted 04-17-2022 12:22 AM


ryan this sounds like something ive been looking for

Pottz I think it might be. I’m impressed not only with their product but with the support they offer as well. Let me know if you’ve got any user questions. I don’t have a ton of time on the system yet, but I’ll answer what I can!

- RyanGi


thanks man as soon as i have time im gonna really check this out. i was not impressed with the ivac system at all.and support is a defiinite consideration.worst thing is you spend hundreds of dollars and no one is there when you need help.thanks bud.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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EarlS

5510 posts in 3804 days


#7 posted 04-17-2022 12:31 PM

I’m with Pottz. Very interesting and I want to get something that will work.

When I bought my Supercell, I couldn’t use the I-vac system, or at least I couldn’t figure out how to make it work. Your picture with the control module on the Supercell starter caught my eye.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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RyanGi

336 posts in 493 days


#8 posted 04-17-2022 01:06 PM



Your picture with the control module on the Supercell starter caught my eye

You’d have to get the full explanation from the folks at GRIT but as I understand it, it’s basically a relay that adds or subtracts power to an electromagnetic in the starter and that’s how it turns on or off…so you don’t have to physically touch it.

They’re adding a maintenance scheduler to that unit (for your DC) based on hours and (maybe?) backpressure against the filter so you know when it needs cleaning. Don’t know about that yet, but it sounds like an awesome option!

-- Ryan/// I like chips...and sawdust...but mostly chips...with vinegar

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pottz

25762 posts in 2441 days


#9 posted 04-17-2022 05:01 PM

ryan have you had any issues with the gates getting clogged with dust and not closing fully.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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RyanGi

336 posts in 493 days


#10 posted 04-17-2022 05:49 PM



ryan have you had any issues with the gates getting clogged with dust and not closing fully.

- pottz

I haven’t, but then I haven’t put a ton of dust through it yet. I also have self-cleaning gates. However, my system did used to clog (since some of it is 2” ABS as ducting) so I altered my old gates to make them self-cleaning and that fixed it. With the new gates I installed being self-cleaning from the getgo, I don’t suspect there will be issues.

-- Ryan/// I like chips...and sawdust...but mostly chips...with vinegar

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pottz

25762 posts in 2441 days


#11 posted 04-17-2022 07:32 PM


ryan have you had any issues with the gates getting clogged with dust and not closing fully.

- pottz

I haven’t, but then I haven’t put a ton of dust through it yet. I also have self-cleaning gates. However, my system did used to clog (since some of it is 2” ABS as ducting) so I altered my old gates to make them self-cleaning and that fixed it. With the new gates I installed being self-cleaning from the getgo, I don’t suspect there will be issues.

- RyanGi


ok so this is used with the gates we provide.half of mine are self cleaning now but the plastic type.ill probably switch to metal if i go with this system.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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RyanGi

336 posts in 493 days


#12 posted 04-17-2022 07:47 PM

Yes, you provide the gates and they need to be metal to work with the system. I had all plastic gates before this so I bought metal ones in (small) bulk on Amazon and they work just fine for a reasonable price per unit.

The added benefit is that I got to do all the build up of the gates on a workbench, as opposed to trying to do it on already installed gates or pulling down the gates only to put them back up.

Most of mine (8 of them) are 2.5” gates (I’ve got four 4” gates too). If you watch the videos I posted you can see the build up process. Much easier to do on the bench than on a pre installed gate, although I did a couple of mine that way and it wasn’t too terrible.

-- Ryan/// I like chips...and sawdust...but mostly chips...with vinegar

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pintodeluxe

6542 posts in 4270 days


#13 posted 04-17-2022 08:38 PM

I’m a big fan of these types of systems. I’ve used Grngate and iVac, and both work very well.
It completely changes the workflow in the shop.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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AMicheal

1 post in 35 days


#14 posted 04-17-2022 10:08 PM

GRIT Automation is really good. We’ve used both GrnGate and iVac, moderate-size installations (10+ tools each) and neither can compare with GRIT. GRIT solves the dust gate problem with 1-to-1 tool/collector or Many-to-1 tools to collector. That’s just the start for us. The level of management detail is crucial even getting just turning on the collector. E.g., what current draw starts the collector? For tools like a SawStop, they draw current for their circuitry even with the motor off. How long to run the collector after the tool stops? Every tool can be separately configured in the GRIT app if you need to.

Other GRIT components we use: RFID cards to allow people access only to authorized tools. Reporting. Usage logs. (Who was the last one to use that bandsaw? Which of the planers gets least use?) These can be used to trigger maintenance as well—i.e., lube every 50 hours of run time.

We currently use GRIT to control about 35 tools and 8 dust collectors. Tools are 120, 240, 3 phase. They include nearly every woodworking tool: miter saws, CNC routers, SawStops, drill presses, sanders, ... We have both 4” an 6” gates.

I agree with the well-thought out details like not requiring an additional power outlet. I agree that the people are knowledgable woodworkers themselves and know their product!

We have about 20 people using tools in our shop. Nobody can forget to open or close a blast gate, or use a machine that they are not supposed to be using.

Can’t recommend GRIT enough for any size shop.

-- { ___ pithy saying about the joys of woodworking ___ }

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pottz

25762 posts in 2441 days


#15 posted 04-17-2022 10:12 PM



GRIT Automation is really good. We ve used both GrnGate and iVac, moderate-size installations (10+ tools each) and neither can compare with GRIT. GRIT solves the dust gate problem with 1-to-1 tool/collector or Many-to-1 tools to collector. That s just the start for us. The level of management detail is crucial even getting just turning on the collector. E.g., what current draw starts the collector? For tools like a SawStop, they draw current for their circuitry even with the motor off. How long to run the collector after the tool stops? Every tool can be separately configured in the GRIT app if you need to.

Other GRIT components we use: RFID cards to allow people access only to authorized tools. Reporting. Usage logs. (Who was the last one to use that bandsaw? Which of the planers gets least use?) These can be used to trigger maintenance as well—i.e., lube every 50 hours of run time.

We currently use GRIT to control about 35 tools and 8 dust collectors. Tools are 120, 240, 3 phase. They include nearly every woodworking tool: miter saws, CNC routers, SawStops, drill presses, sanders, ... We have both 4” an 6” gates.

I agree with the well-thought out details like not requiring an additional power outlet. I agree that the people are knowledgable woodworkers themselves and know their product!

We have about 20 people using tools in our shop. Nobody can forget to open or close a blast gate, or use a machine that they are not supposed to be using.

Can t recommend GRIT enough for any size shop.

- AMicheal


thank you for sharing for experience with this.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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