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Thread: Small diameter ROS sanders?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Small diameter ROS sanders?

    I'm looking at small-diameter random orbit sanders, which I would use to sand concave furniture parts -- like scooped-out chair seats, and sculpted back rails. I think my sanding problem is the same as a turner sanding the inside of a bowl, hence the post here. I don't have a big compressor, so I'm only considering electric sanders. I see three 3" random orbit sanders. Festool and Mirka have sanders in the $500 range. Metabo has one for a bit less than $150. Am I missing any other possibilities? Does anybody have experience with these small sanders?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Flower mound, Tx
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    I have a 3 Mirka Ceros ROS. It performs exactly like the 5 or 6 which I believe are the best sanders. Of course they no longer make the Ceros sanders.
    I use my 3 for leveling lacquer finishes prior to buffing with an air powered buffer.

  3. I use my Festool RTS 400 with a couple of soft pads for round things when I need to and it works well. Perhaps someone with one of the linear Festool sanders made for that purpose like the 130 would be better.

  4. #4
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    Apr 2009
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    Palm Springs, CA
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    950
    I reluctantly purchased a Festool RO90 due to cost for the same uses described by above. It has turned out to be an excellent although somewhat limited use tool. The 90mm sanding disks are unique to Festool although one can also get sand paper for more reasonable cost from Klingspor.

    The tool has three modes of sanding and the forced orbital is surprisingly powerful and capable of sculpting. The random orbit mode performs well however the tool is not balanced and definitely requires two hands to operate. The third mode, delta action, has been useful for sanding into corners such as on recessed panel doors and is a nice feature however I wouldn't use that as a big purchase factor as a dedicated delta sander would be substantially better for those applications. Dust collection is excellent.

    Although the RO90 has been a very useful tool and is very well built and powerful, if one mainly needs random orbit motion only, this wouldn't be my first choice as it would be much nicer to have a balanced one-hand sander, especially if used for long periods from a fatigue perspective.

    For sanding turnings, I typically use 2" or 3" sanding pads in a close quarter Milwaukee drill but that's far from random orbit.

    One nice feature of the Festool is that there are several different backing pads available that offer different hardness which are useful on curves.

    IMG_2721ec.jpg
    Last edited by Dick Mahany; 10-29-2019 at 9:59 AM.
    Dick Mahany.

  5. #5
    IMHO, for sanding seats and curved crests, you can use a 5" sander. Many sanders (like my Ceros, and I'm sure the Deros) have aftermarket soft or medium pads available. You can also get foam "soft interface pads" that attach to your existing ROS. I buy mine from 2Sand.com.

    If you really want a smaller ROS, you can use a right angle drill (I use a $40 Neiko from Amzn on my bowls), and get mandrels (2" or 3") that will accomodate H&L discs (2Sand sells these as well). The issue with the drill is that it's not random orbit, so you have to be careful with swirls. However, the mandrels come in different edge profiles which can be useful for maintaining the line where the scoop starts on a chair. In fact, for the edges of the scoop, the non-random sanding can be easier to control so you can keep a crisp line.

    However, IMHO, the 5" are better on furniture because it blends out highs and lows from the shaping stage. I would also consider purpose-built or gooseneck scrapers for the rear part of the chair scoop.

  6. #6
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    I know you said you don't want to consider pneumatic but I bought a PROS Mini at Woodturnerswonders. It uses 1", 2" and 3" pads. It requires 3CFM @ 90psi so not a really big compressor. So for the price of some of the electric sanders referenced here you could buy a compressor and this sander for the same price or less. (I happen to have a California Air Tools 10020C. Very quiet! 5.3 CFM @ 90 psi. It's about $350 and the sander about $100)

    BTW - have found the ROS is great for higher grits but rotary sander better for rough sanding.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    Strongsville OH
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    Arbortech sells a contour grinder that fits on an angle grinder. It seems to work well. So does my Metabo. The Arbortech is the only one at 2 inch diameter

  8. #8
    I would thing the standard electric angle drill would do fine. A variety of pads to use to fit just about any shape.

    robo hippy

  9. #9
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    Nov 2009
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    Peoria, IL
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    Metabo SXE400 2 Amp 3-1/8-Inch Random Orbit Sander


  10. #10
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    Jan 2007
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    Ottawa, ON Canada
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    1,276
    I have this sander from Arbortech

    https://www.arbortechtools.com/ce/on...ontour-sander/

    and the Metabo 3" ros. Both do what they are supposed to do.
    Grant
    Ottawa ON

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    Cambridge Vermont
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    500
    I bought one of those cheap detail sanders from Harbor freight that comes with the triangle sanding pad. It's hook and loop. My plan is to take one of the spare sanding pads and turn it from a triangle to a circle so I can use 2" round sandpaper discs on it. I don't know how well it will work but it was cheap.

  12. #12
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    Thank you all for your many suggestions. They give me much more to sort out -- which is good!

  13. #13
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    Oct 2008
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    Does it HAVE to be ROS? As others have already said, maybe just a drill and the small 2 or 3" pads will suffice. I been using mine for years. Well, not the same pad, but the system for years.
    Now the triangle sanding pad detail sander does bring yet another possibility.....

  14. #14
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    Nov 2009
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    Peoria, IL
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    I don't know anyone sanding furniture parts with a disc sander. How do you get rid of the circular scratches you get when you use a disc sander on your parts?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    FL
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    242
    Try searching "3 inch random orbital polisher" on amazon

    I wonder if you can use these with a sanding disc.
    https://smile.amazon.com/ZOTA-Polish...s%2C164&sr=8-4
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