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JesusWasACarpenter

Cordless RO Sander- Ryobi issues- Need Council

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Hello all, my first posting here. I started woodworking professionally, part-time, about 9 months ago. Originally a hobby, I started with my business from an existing Ryobi tool collection, developing along that collection as I have gone along, to stay in the same series/batteries. I'm also a bit partial to the brand, as I have always had a good experience with them, and prefer their design/egornomics over other big-box lines. I currently use their RO sander, with their largest 4AH battery. It's a powerful combo, and sanding time is about 15-20 minutes on the one 4AH battery. I then have another 4AH on a Super Charger ready to throw on when the first dies. I typically don't sand much longer than 30 minutes at a time, so it's a good combo. Power is strong. But below are my issues: 

1. VIBRATION. It's a rough sander on the hands. I have drummed for years, and so perhaps my hands are more sensitive due to prior abuse. 

2. Sander keeps breaking. Runs like a CHAMP for a month or two, then I get this metallic grinding sound as it runs, similar to a baseball card on a bicycle wheel, and I know it's on it's way (quickly) out. I then have another day or two, before it's toast. I'm on my 5th one now. Fortunately, it's a free swap, as they break before 3 months of (every day) use. Home Depot will swap it out in store if you have had it 3 months or less, with no additionally warranty purchase necessary. Essentially, they return the old one, and give me store credit to buy a new one. It's so bad now, I set a calendar reminder from the date of the purchase, just so I can swap it out before 3 months is out. Last one broke 1.5 months in. I do this for convenience, being that the sander is awesome until it breaks, and sans the time needed to get a new one, its not costing me anything else. It''s also got awesome dust collection, paired with a powerful vac. 

I pair the sander with a RIGID 6.5Hp Smart Cart. I found the vac to be a great purchase, and a middle-ground price between a standard shop vac and a dust-extractor. The vac port on the RYOBI sander matches up well with the Rigid pro-hose diameter (I wrap the Ryobi vac port with about 3-4 layers of painters tape to make the connection snug and then the hose won't slip off). The vac paired with an RZ mask + a WEN air filtration system is a winning combo in terms of dust control. 

I don't want to leave the Ryobi RO sander, but my hands are killing me due to the vibration + weight. I need the 4AH batteries for power, the compact ones are lighter but not enough power. 

I've thought of going pneumatic as I know the air RO sanders are lighter and easier on the hands, but been researching the specs for a compressor needed to run a pneumatic sander shoots the price above a reasonable means for my (still somewhat small) business. I don't want to go FESTOOL yet. I"m just not ready, financially. 

Any thoughts? Anyone else run into the same issues with the Ryobi RO sander? I love the rest of the Ryobi tools, even for daily use! Bandsaw and Drill Press, especially, have been great. I'm hard on the tools, and they are stressed likely beyond their intended standard/hobby use. 

I have tried the corded model, but the combo of toting the cord and the vac hose around the perimeter of a larger piece like a table is a real hassle. The best combo I've had is the Ryobi cordless sander + the Smart Vac + (2) pro-hoses connected together (had to purchase a second hose to get the proper length for my shop). With that combo, I can get around my small shop 12x16 shop with ease. I use thick gloves to limit the vibration, and drum on a practice pad before and after to ease my hands. But, doing so puts me back at Home Depot every three months for a new sander. 

Open to any suggestions anyone may have. Maybe it's worth it to purchase a second type of battery charger + batteries for a better model/brand cordless electric sander. But it would need to: (1) Be cordless and awesome like the Ryobi is (until it breaks); (2) Have excellent dust removal with a cylindrical dust port; (3) be low vibration; (4) not break.  

Pics below of my shop, to give an idea of space and operation. I build (mostly) farmhouse tables, barn doors, rustic pieces, etc... as this is the prime market currently in my area. Sorry for the long post, and thank you for any help you can give. -Daniel (FB.com/JWAC123 ; www.JWAC123.com)

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By professionally, you mean that you are working in the shop with your quite deep Ryobi set for an 8 hour work day? 

If so, I'm sorry to say but I think the frustrations you're encountering is the tooling. Those are hobby grade tools not made to be used how a professional would need to.  To get the pro grade tools that you can sand with all day without tiring much less run a sander 3 hours a day for years, it'll cost ya.

 

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I have this Bosch I got a few years back, vibration is minimal, dust collection when hooked up to a shop vac is more than adequate. But it is corded if you're looking for a cordless one.

Bosch

I'd be interested in doing a teardown and seeing what the point of failure is, sounds like a bearing or perhaps some teeth on a reduction gear.

 

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Ryobi tools are great for the price point & target market, which is the home handy person who will use the tool for a couple of hours a month. For professional or heavy use, they are crap. Once you use some good, professional quality tools, you'll see what I mean.

The Bosch ROS65VC is a 6" sander, very smooth, and compared to the Ryobi, you'll be amazed at how powerful it is. It is bulky, but that's because of the anti-vibration housing.

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15 hours ago, Brendon_t said:

By professionally, you mean that you are working in the shop with your quite deep Ryobi set for an 8 hour work day? 

If so, I'm sorry to say but I think the frustrations you're encountering is the tooling. Those are hobby grade tools not made to be used how a professional would need to.  To get the pro grade tools that you can sand with all day without tiring much less run a sander 3 hours a day for years, it'll cost ya.

 

13 hours ago, lewisc said:

+1 on what Brendon said.

I'll just leave this here: https://www.festool.com.au/products/tools/sanding-polishing

Sanding sucks but these make it feel a little better as well as lasting the distance. I've only used the ETS 150/5 but it's much better than anything else I've used.

Thank you both for your reply and insight. I"m sorry I did not specify more on hours/use. Yes, I do work professionally, building custom projects for clients + items for sale within our consignment/antique store booth. I have a full-time day job. I woodwork in the evenings/early-mornings/weekends, daily. Daily use is about 3 hours per day, on average. So, I would certainly not consider this full-time professional woodworking. Perhaps semi-pro is a better term. 

Agreed on Ryobi being a hobbyist line, and I do understand I"m using the tools beyond their intended intensity/frequency. Couple thoughts on that, however: 

1. I've found Ryobi to be a solid line of tools, perhaps even as good as "pro" grade big-box lines such as Milwaukee, DeWault, etc... 

2. Appears Ryobi is stepping up to some fairly high-grade tools of late, with their Brushless line. The 7 1/4" brushless circular saw I recently purchased, for instance, seems very pro-grade to me. So, perhaps they are pushing more in this direction? Maybe not...

All in all, if I were to make woodworking my primary source of income, I would begin to work towards Festool, or similar grade, equipment. Perhaps one day! If this will be the case, I foresee their being a slow add-on of Festool pieces until I reach that crossover point.  

In the interim, with my current workload and overhead, I'm stuck "in the middle", and just trying to make the best of that. Does that make sense? I'm trying to make this Ryobi phase stretch as long as I can, as I just don't see purchasing Rigid/DeWault or similar as a sensible thing, when I'd rather go for Festool if I were going to make any upgrades. The jump from Ryobi to anything between it and Festool-grade seems like an un-wise move. BUT...for the sander, I may have to. As an example, in this month's pro-contractor news mag at Home Depot, they did a review of many cordless RO and belt sanders. I was reading it yesterday, and thought "how applicable!". Anyway, they actually rated the Ryobi better overall than the Ridig RO cordless. They deemed the Rigid unpredictable in it's motions, and hard to control. Yikes. It should be better than the Ryobi, which got great reviews for power/dust control, minus being bulky and having lots of vibrations, the author said. Sounds familiar... :P

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You don't need Festool.

Just get a Bosch, Dewalt or Makita with a cord... they cost about $60-70.   It'll last for several years.

Don't try to prove to yourself that Ryobi is just as good as the more expensive stuff.   They're not.   Ryobi is a homeowners grade tool meant for occasional use.   Or for contractors who leave their tools on the job and frequently have them lost or stolen.   Functionally they work fairly well, but they don't invest any time on longevity or ergonomics.

And don't buy cordless tools unless you need cordless.   A cord is universal.

 

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If your leaning towards a festool some day in the future and you can get a new royobi every 3 months. Stick with the royobi. Yeah it has vibration and it breaks and you have to replace it .... so what! Their is light at the end of the tunnel, save your pennies for it. Don't buy another stop gap and wast the $75 or $100 that you could put towards festool if that's what you want. You can buy recon festool sanders for $195 -$250 for the ETS sanders a different stop gap is almost half way there.

The poor man pays twice .... and stays poor.

I'll leave you with this. It's reliable I've used it and had good luck. When you get the cash this will save you in the 20%-30%.

https://www.festoolrecon.com/

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I want to echo what Minnesota Steve said about Ryobi.  I moved from a similar grade sander to a Bosch 5" ROS.  The difference between the two is night and day.  The old sander's vibration was awful, which definitely meant it wasn't good for extended use.  The Bosch sander has very minimal vibration to the hand, allowing for many hours of comfortable use.  The thing I noticed is that the final finish of my projects very noticeably improved, simply because the ergonomics of the tool allowed me to properly work up the grits.

And I also want to second the idea of cordless vs. corded tools.  Unless you have a specific need for a cordless tool, go corded.  The only cordless tools I use in my shop are my drills.  Think through your work area on how you will work around a cord and a hose.  Make modifications to the work area if it doesn't work for you today.  I made some changes to my bench to allow for easy hookups of the electric and the hose for my sander, and I can tell you, it makes a BIG difference.

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Thank you all for the advice. I appreciate it, certainly still learning a ton. Glad I joined here and woodtalkonline.com this weekend. Will research here and I"m sure I'll learn much from all of your experience/wisdom. 

At my last "swap out" I went for the Ryobi corded, which was same cost. I've been using it for a week and the cord drives me bananas. I had thought of creating a dedicated shop hose and electrical taping a cord to it, handing it down from the rafters, for sanding. I'll try that, see if it makes a difference. 

This week, while the cord has been a hastle, it has been nice having the steady power of the the corded model vs. the steadily weakining cordless. Still rough on the hands. I'll look for an upgraded model. And I'll certainly check out that Festool recondition site. Thank you for that!

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I'm in the same "not able to justify Festool" boat (so far). But my advise is go corded for most of your sanding, with a DEDICATED vac. Strap the hose and cord together, or get some braided cable sleeve to feed them through together. Making a dedicated sanding machine this way is one of the best things I ever did for my shop space. And I'm still using a $19.99 HF special ROS that just won't die, no matter how hard I try.

For the record, I also have a Kobalt 24volt cordless ROS. Brushless, and the 2ah batteries give me a good 30 minutes of run time. I assume the Ryobi you mentioned uses a brushed motor?

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I,m not familiar with the Rigid dust vac you have but if it doesn't have an adjustable suction it could be burning up your sanders. If it sucks your sander down to much it could be putting an excess of load on the motor. You really only need enough suction to pull the dust away. Just a thought.

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20 hours ago, JesusWasACarpenter said:

1. I've found Ryobi to be a solid line of tools, perhaps even as good as "pro" grade big-box lines such as Milwaukee, DeWault, etc... 

In my experience working in a pro shop, my Ryobi drill/driver combo held up just fine compared to the bigger brands, but that's a drill.  Ryobi is a hobbyist brand as stated, though. 

If you're considering pneumatic, the 3M pneumo sanders I've used were great, aside from the lack of DC ports on them.  But the exhaust blows away any dust.  Pair it with an inline valved blower, and it's a great sander.  But you'll need air cleaners, as it won't collect the dust, just blow it around.   Not great for a small shop.

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Rigid vacuums are a great value; cheap, powerful & they go forever. They are noisy though. For variable suction, it's easy enough to rig up a bypass valve in the hose fitting.

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I drilled a row of holes around one end of the hose fitting to reduce the suction. I found a plastic plumbing pipe that just fit over that fitting after I cut a slit in it. The holes were drilled through both pieces, you could rotate the outer sleeve to control the suction.

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