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Thread: Festool 150/5 random orbit sander review

  1. #1

    Festool 150/5 random orbit sander review

    Lots of you will remember that I recently acquired a Festool 150/5 random orbit sander and a CT mini vaccuum. I built an order of doors and drawer fronts and I thought I should report on my impression of the tools.

    First of all the vaccuum. It really does a great job of getting the dust. I mean all of it. I could see little to no dust moving during sanding. It keeps the surface clean and free of dust that impeeds the sandpaper making contact with the wood. It also keeps the sanding disc free of buildup. I actually got to wear a sanding disc out rather that pitch it due to the buildup. Even the worn out disc is still sharp enough in the center to do some more work but it wore out on the edge as do other ro sander papers and I didn't want to damage the pad. I also like the tool actuated vaccuum. I do not care for the vac hose, it hangs on the edge of the table and drags as I work. I did suspend a bungee cord from the truss directly above the workbench and hung the hose in the air about 1 ft above the bench and I was pleased with that arrangement. I just wasn't going to be able to get along with it dragging across the bench's edge.

    The sander is a very well engineered machine with features that work well with what I do with it. Most of the work that I need a ro sander for is to sand out drum sander cross grain marks on rp doors. This sander has a 5mm stroke, larger than anything I have ever used before. It is amazing to me how well the tool did it's thing and the speed is awesome. The sander also has variable speed that I found handy for easing the edges on the back side of the doors that I was doing today. Full speed is a bit agressive for easing edges but turned way down the sander still works very well and is much easier to control the amount being taken down. I noticed my hands and arms were not nearly as tired today as usual but that may have been because I did a mid sized order (27) instead of some of the bigger jobs (60 last weekend)I have been getting lately. After I got the durned vac hose up out of the way I really enjoyed using the sander. I can sand a door with it in much less time than I could when I was using the Dewalt 5" ro sander. I did not like the heat that came off the sander in the area just above the pad and just below the hand grip. I have been holding my other sander around the outside and tried to do the same thing with this one but had to find another place for my hand to go. Maybe I'll like that this winter. Oh well everything new has to be gotten used to.

    I want to claim false advertising on Festool when it comes to their sandpaper. It was advertised that you should be able to get up to 30% more use out of their paper. I want to tell you what they claim is wrong, wrong. PLEASE READ ON. Last weekend I did a big order of doors (60) and used 12- 5" discs when doing the finish sanding using the old dewalt 5"er. Today I did 27 doors and used 2- 80 grit and 1 -120 grit disc. The 120 and the second 80 have still got a lot of mileage left on them. There is NO BUILDUP of wood dust pitch on the worn out disc that I finally tossed out because the edge was breaking down. These discs last longer than they say they do. Of course at 38 cents each they should be good but I expected to spend more than $1.14 on sandpaper for 27 doors. Only big complaint that I have is the cost. Nice tool, big expense. It is worth it? Probably. I just love new tools.

    Thanks Bob Marino for putting me onto the right tool for the job.
    Just keep working on it. It'll give up and do right after a while.

  2. #2
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    Good review, Jim. And BTW, if a sanding disk costs about thirty eight cents and it lasts 5 times as long...I can live with it! (a good part of the reason that they last so long is that center hole...it deals with the trash that usually builds up and burns on the disk with other sanders)
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    I like my sander. But do hate that darn hose dragging around.
    I'm not getting the mileage out of my paper like you are. But I'm doing the whole doors. Not just the rails like you are. My drum sander is down right now, and I've rearranged things in the shop, and haven't found a satisfactory place to plant the drum sander yet.


  4. #4
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    I got one and absolutely LOVE IT!!!! I also have the 125, 5" ROS and only have about 20,000 miles on it as of right now. I keep trying to break them by using them heavily, but no dice. Prior to my Frestool sanders? I would go through PC 333 sanders like they were used tires. So now.....I got me a new set of high milage radials...called Festool.!!!
    Thanks & Happy Wood Chips,
    Dennis -
    Get the Benefits of Being an SMC Contributor..!
    ....DEBT is nothing more than yesterday's spending taken from tomorrow's income.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the review Jim. I like your suggestion about holding up the hose with a bungie cord and will definately try it.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Clardy
    I like my sander. But do hate that darn hose dragging around.
    I'm not getting the mileage out of my paper like you are. But I'm doing the whole doors. Not just the rails like you are. My drum sander is down right now, and I've rearranged things in the shop, and haven't found a satisfactory place to plant the drum sander yet.
    Oh, I do the whole door too not just the rails. Sorry to misslead you on that. Just that the bulk of the work is on the rails on the cross grain scratches.
    Just keep working on it. It'll give up and do right after a while.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Peacock
    I got one and absolutely LOVE IT!!!! I also have the 125, 5" ROS and only have about 20,000 miles on it as of right now. I keep trying to break them by using them heavily, but no dice. Prior to my Frestool sanders? I would go through PC 333 sanders like they were used tires. So now.....I got me a new set of high milage radials...called Festool.!!!
    I was looking at that one in the catalog that they sent me when the other sander arrived. Nice tool!!! I wanted to find out if this one is worth the money before I ordered another but I think that one may be my next purchase.
    Just keep working on it. It'll give up and do right after a while.

  8. #8
    Jim,

    You mentioned that it sands quite aggressively. It's not too aggressive for most fine sanding tasks? I would love to buy a Festool sander, but I'll only be buying one. With 4 or 5 models to choose from, it's hard to decide. So what I'm getting at, will the 150/5 handle a broad range of sanding chores buy simply slowing down the variable speed? Or is it too much for smaller projects?
    Go Big, or Go Home... He who has the gold, makes the rules

  9. #9
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    Scott, I think you'll be happy with the 150/5 as an all-purpose tool. Between the VS and your own skills at judging where things are, I don't believe you'll find the tool to be over agressive. the 5mm orbit is "more agressive" than the 3mm orbit of the 150/3 that I use, but what "more agressive" actually equates to really only comes into play when you are using very coarse grits, IMHO. Sanding is mostly a "touch" thing for me, at least...
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
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    Apropos of the grumbles about the sander hose getting in the way....

    I too have a 6" Festool ROS, although it is an earlier model. I run it with a Fein vacuum. I've worked out a way to deal with the hose. I hold the sander's handle in my right hand, and wrap the hose and the power cable around my right arm going up to my shoulder, and across my shoulders to the vacuum, which sits to my left. It is harder to explain than to do. The upshot is that the hose moves with with my body, and I don't spend any effort managing it. The only downside is that it makes me look like I'm losing a fight with a python.

  11. #11
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    I do the same as Jamie...put the hose and cord over my shoulder when sanding at the bench. I actually don't find it too cumbersome doing it that way.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. #12
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    I find masking tape the power cord to the hose helps.Halsey

  13. #13
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    Dennis---I will be getting either the 5" or 6" model, am wondering what the difference is other than the 6 would presumably work faster due to the increased srface area. I have the Rotex 125, so sharing discs would be a great benefit. The difference in price is substantial, so I'm curious about any differences in performance.

    Dan
    Eternity is an awfully long time, especially toward the end.

    -Woody Allen-

    Critiques on works posted are always welcome

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Buxton
    Apropos of the grumbles about the sander hose getting in the way....

    I too have a 6" Festool ROS, although it is an earlier model. I run it with a Fein vacuum. I've worked out a way to deal with the hose. I hold the sander's handle in my right hand, and wrap the hose and the power cable around my right arm going up to my shoulder, and across my shoulders to the vacuum, which sits to my left. It is harder to explain than to do. The upshot is that the hose moves with with my body, and I don't spend any effort managing it. The only downside is that it makes me look like I'm losing a fight with a python.
    I tried the over the shoulder thing, but it gives me the creeps.

    Think I'll try the bungee cord thing like Jim. I have a truss above where I use the sander the most. Guess I just despise cords, hoses, etc. I've worked around cords and hoses all my life and literally hate extension cords and hoses. Just something thats in the way, and something to trip over.

    I like Halseys idea about tieing the sander cord to the dust hose. I think I'll use velcro straps though. This sander doesn't stay in one place. It's all over the shop. Guess I could get 6 more sanders? Lol

    Steve


  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Forman
    Dennis---I will be getting either the 5" or 6" model, am wondering what the difference is other than the 6 would presumably work faster due to the increased srface area. I have the Rotex 125, so sharing discs would be a great benefit. The difference in price is substantial, so I'm curious about any differences in performance.

    Dan
    Dan,

    I primarily use the 125, 5" ROS. It's not as aggressive, lighter, and smaller so using it is a real snap for me. Beside that....when sanding veneer's....it a lot easier to control how much comes off with the 5" ROS. The 150/3 is basically the same as the 125....but I really like the 125 because of less weight, smaller footprint and I can get it in tighter places that I can the 150.

    If I had to put a percentage on how much I use the 125 vs the 150?

    The 125 gets used about 95% of the time.
    The 150 gets used the rest of the time. If I have some "hogging" to do with sanding....I break out the 150/5 and get busy......

    Now don't get me wrong here....the 150 will do the same as the 125.....with the right grit that is. But I just really like the 125. BTW, did I happen to mention that I really like the 125?
    Thanks & Happy Wood Chips,
    Dennis -
    Get the Benefits of Being an SMC Contributor..!
    ....DEBT is nothing more than yesterday's spending taken from tomorrow's income.

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