JohnG

Another ROS Thread

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Here’s the deal. I hate using my ROS. I have the Ridgid 5” corded sander and it was purchased for a home project when the budget was tight, I haven’t replaced it because it hasn’t broken. It’s not comfortable to hold and is awkward, especially if the shop vac is connected. 

5” vs 6”

Is there anything to this other than the obvious fact that 5” will fit in some areas that the 6” won’t, but 6” will sand large areas faster? I have a decent supply of 5” pads but am not opposed to switching to 6”. I can use the 5” pads for hand sanding or for using on my current sander if I ever pull it back out. Is there much benefit to keeping both stocked for a hobby woodworker?

Brand/Price Point

I know that you get what you pay for. Is there a big difference between the $60 sander I have and a $150-200 sander (say, one of the Bosch models)? I know Festool (and maybe Mirka) is regarded as the ultimate, but $750-1k+ (sander + vac) is tough to swallow, especially when I have other tool upgrades in mind. 

Models

When I go to the Festool and Bosch sites, there are a bunch of models of seemingly the same sander. Are there a few main options that I should be looking at? 

 

Do I need to just accept that ROS usage will be miserable until I pony up for a top tier sander and vac? Or is there an acceptable middle ground than I can reach? 

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6 inch is great and I've never noticed it not getting into corners. You can also use attachments on the pads that make it a much more versatile tool. Nothing round is going in the corner. 5vs6 makes no difference of that. I'm still going to have to touch it up.

I can't tell you that You would be miserable, but if I had to go back from my 3 ft Sanders, I would be miserable.  A grand IS a lot of money for a sander and vac. The VAC with hepa filtration with be your go to for every tool so in my mind, that gives it a haircut, the Sanders are a lot nicer to use. I don't hate sanding now, I just get bored. 

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I just upgraded from a $25 harbor freight ros to a $60 dewalt, so I can't say much regarding brand specifics.

FWIW, my main concern was getting a dust port that was simple to attach to my vac hose. HEPA filters and pre-filter bags are available for Shop Vac and other brands. I do like the variable speed on my cordless sander, and the brushless motor. I don't know which, if any, corded sanders offer brushless tech, but the lack of brushes to wear out is a big benefit in my book.

BTW, mine are 5". Just because 6" is hard to source locally.

 

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3 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

I don't know which, if any, corded sanders offer brushless tech

Festool's ETS EC series of sanders are brushless and corded but there's that price point thing with Festool.  The ETS EC 150/3 and 150/5 are $501 each. 

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After 15 years of using a 5" sander, I got a Bosch ROS65VC because I wanted a smoother, more powerful sander. I've had it for a couple of years & since then I've only used the 5" Dewalt a couple of times. The Bosch is sooooo smooth and dust collection is very good with the attached filter (keep it clean) & near perfect with a vacuum connected to it. There hasn't been a single time when I needed the smaller 5" to get better access. You can get a 5" pad for the ROS65VC so that would allow you to use the rest of your 5" discs.

You don't need to get a $400 Festool vacuum either. Sure, they are very nice, but they don't do any better a job than a $100 Ridgid vac with a HEPA filter. I'm not knocking those that have chosen them, it's just that if there are budget issues there are other good choices.

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13 hours ago, JohnG said:

5” vs 6”

6" every time no questions asked.

So the different models are easy to explain. Each sander has a pad size in mm and a stroke. The stroke is the diameter of the circle the pad vibrates in. For festool the 150/3 is a 150mm pad and a 3mm stroke. a 125/5 is a 125mm pad and a 5mm stroke. 150 = 6" 125 = 5"

ETS is their finish quality sander line the ETS EC is their brush-less line the Rotex is their version of a belt sander.

Mirka is similar with the model XYY being the sander size in inches and the stroke in mm so a 625 is a 6" sander with a 2.5mm stroke and a 650 is a 6" sander and 5.0mm stroke.

What do you want?

Well 6" as i said before it's better in every way and as far as getting in corners it's not any worse than a 5" rounder sander.

Stroke is tricky. A larger stroke will remove material faster but also takes a tad more power from the sander so you are more likely to over power it. This means that a finer stroke will keep the random orbit motion  a hair bit better and leave a bit higher sanding quality with the cost of removing material a bit slower. Insight in to my decision making process. I bought the 150/3, 6" disc and 3mm stroke. I almost always use a smoothing plane or card scraper on a surface for heavy removal. I don't own a disc in a lower grit than 180. I use my sander for the final sanding right before finish so quality is important and i didn't want to compromise. If you use your sander for heavier stock removal maybe look at the 5mm. The quality isn't good vs bad it's more good vs better.

As far as brand and budget. I can't tell you much there. I used to hate on the price of the festool sanders. I bought an ETS 125 and it was a bad experience. The sander is under powered and small so it reinforced the dislike of festool. Then i tried the ETS EC 150/3. I was sold after about 5 min. I bought one and will only regret that i didn't buy one sooner.

The Vacs are awesome. I know there are HEPA attachments for other vacs but the auto on feature is awesome and the design of the vac allows you to stack stuff on top of them and it becomes less of a annoyance in the shop. Everything that the major shop vacs got wrong festool got right. Lower center of gravity so it doesn't tip. Bigger wheels so it rolls over things instead of getting stuck. disposable bag system that is easy to use and works. I  dump the dust out of the bags a few times before i throw them so the cost isn't that high. I've been running the same bag for 2 years now and i turn out a fair amount of projects. The festool sanders are OK but the vacs are where it's at.

 

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5" vs 6" is a big difference in the area of the sanding pad. 6" is 50% bigger than a 5" sander.

And that's why you always order the largest size pizza.

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Oh sanders and vacs pop up on this from time to time. If it's the route you want to go sign up for the email list and be prepared to act fast.

https://www.festoolrecon.com/

They sell 1 tool at a time until stock runs out and then move on to the next item. They are all reconditioned items and i've bought a few things from them with excellent results.

The discount is right around 25% which generally beats used prices on craig's list, facebook ect.

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43 minutes ago, legenddc said:

5" vs 6" is a big difference in the area of the sanding pad. 6" is 50% bigger than a 5" sander.

And that's why you always order the largest size pizza.

Things are always more understandable when they can be related to pizza.B)

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I have the Mirka Ceros, expensive but worth every cent. I have no dust to worry about and sand without a mask (that's just me so don't hate). Over the years, I have gone through so many cheap sanders, its not funny. Really makes the process more enjoyable. I have plenty of power to run 60 grit all day long if need be. Ceros has different speed settings to handle any sanding need. I have the 5" pad and only once...wished I had the 6" for sanding a bunch of flat hallway doors. Other than that a 5" disk is fine, plus the abrasives are cheaper for a 5" disk.

If you're remotely thinking going better...do it. Only hurts once and cheap out on another shop machine to keep in budget. You'll be glad you did, trust me. I work from a basement workshop and dust is always my concern and money well spent. 

-Ace- 

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1 hour ago, AceHoleInOne said:

I have the Mirka Ceros, expensive but worth every cent. I have no dust to worry about and sand without a mask (that's just me so don't hate). Over the years, I have gone through so many cheap sanders, its not funny. Really makes the process more enjoyable. I have plenty of power to run 60 grit all day long if need be. Ceros has different speed settings to handle any sanding need. I have the 5" pad and only once...wished I had the 6" for sanding a bunch of flat hallway doors. Other than that a 5" disk is fine, plus the abrasives are cheaper for a 5" disk.

If you're remotely thinking going better...do it. Only hurts once and cheap out on another shop machine to keep in budget. You'll be glad you did, trust me. I work from a basement workshop and dust is always my concern and money well spent. 

-Ace- 

Ooh man that thing is so nice. I played with one used in a buddys body shop and was blown away at the flawless performance and is way easier in hand than my ETS ec.

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I"m slightly jealous on the ceros as well. I haven't had a chance to play with one yet but i have a feeling it's going to hit all the good points of the ETS EC with the added benefit of being smaller and easier to use. In the end festool is just a bit easier to put hands on in person.

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Another vote for the Mirka Ceros, I have used one, smooth vibration free great sander. I’ve always used a 5 inch sander so maybe I don’t know what I’m missing but if I ever pull the trigger on one it will be the 5 inch Mirka for the reasons @AceHoleInOne mentioned. 

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is just picked up a Rotex 125 before the prices go up, and got to use it for the first time this morning to start finish prep on my tool cabinet.  I already have the ETS 125 which puts a great finish on, but is useless for anything that is remotely rough.  After about 2 passes with the Rotex, I am glad I spent the money.  I can see this combination being perfect for what I need.  The Rotex just works, and makes me dread sanding a lot less...

I went with 5" because I already had the ETS and figured they could share paper, and I really don't work on anything really big.

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On 4/29/2019 at 8:20 PM, Brendon_t said:

6 inch is great and I've never noticed it not getting into corners. You can also use attachments on the pads that make it a much more versatile tool. Nothing round is going in the corner. 5vs6 makes no difference of that. I'm still going to have to touch it up.

...

12 hours ago, drzaius said:

... There hasn't been a single time when I needed the smaller 5" to get better access. ...

11 hours ago, legenddc said:

5" vs 6" is a big difference in the area of the sanding pad. 6" is 50% bigger than a 5" sander.

And that's why you always order the largest size pizza.

Looks like 6" is the way to go. I'll probably keep my current sander regardless, and can use up my current 5" pads between that and hand sanding.

12 hours ago, Chestnut said:

[long post]

Awesome info, huge thanks for that!  I also appreciate your input on ETS vs ETS EC. I like the lower profile look of the ETS EC but wasn't sure if it warranted the price difference. Sounds like it does for sure. Your post also reminds me that I need to take the time to get my #4 really sharp and use it more.

I do have a domino so I have also been casually thinking about the festool vacs. My Ridgid vac works OK, but it's so loud and is far from enjoyable to use.

10 hours ago, Chestnut said:

Oh sanders and vacs pop up on this from time to time. If it's the route you want to go sign up for the email list and be prepared to act fast.

https://www.festoolrecon.com/

They sell 1 tool at a time until stock runs out and then move on to the next item. They are all reconditioned items and i've bought a few things from them with excellent results.

The discount is right around 25% which generally beats used prices on craig's list, facebook ect.

I do subscribe to their email list and occasionally check the site without the email notifications. Part of the reason for this thread is when I would see a sander show up on the recon site, I would try to quickly find out if it was the one I want, only to get bogged down in comparing every detail of the different sanders. I usually gave up and thought "I'll figure out which sander I want later" and never did.

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