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Thread: Almost embarrassed to ask - ROS sander and abrasive question....

  1. #1
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    Almost embarrassed to ask - ROS sander and abrasive question....

    My 15 year old PC sander has bit the dust (mid project, mind you), so now I'm shopping for a new sander. I've run the searches on here and see that the Festool are overwhelmingly recommended. I'm just not sure if budget allows for it at the moment. I also see several people speaking highly of the Bosch ROS65VC, which is within budget. My application is mostly finish sanding after assembly, typically 120 grit and up. The embarrassing part is that I've never really given much though to what I've used for sanding. I've just bought the 8 hole sanding disks at the local borg store and gone about my merry way with my PC sander. I can tell you a couple thing I've always detested about the sanding process - 1) my hands vibrate for hours after I'm finished, and I hate that; 2) I typically hook up my sander to my plumbed dust collection, which at best has only been moderately successful (not to mention the cumbersome hose....); and 3) I go through sandpaper like it's toilet paper. I've just never looked at what different abrasive options are.

    So, I guess my questions for the group are -
    - if using the Bosch (or any other non-Festool), is there a brand/type of sandpaper that is better than what I've been using that will last longer and be worth what I'm expecting to be more $$ (I'm anticipating that to be an overwhelming 'yes')?
    - While I would love the Festool system with dust collection, if I were to go with a Festool is there any reason not to use it with my regular dust collection system? I'm pretty sure the answer is no, but wanted to check.

    I'm really trying to come to a justification of the Festool, but the cost of the sander and outfitting all of the sandpaper is way more than I'd like to spend on an unexpected replacement.
    Clark Harbaugh

  2. #2
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    I originally used a pair of PC sanders. They left my hands numb in a very short period of time. That is the primary reason I bought my Festool 150/3...and the excellent dust collection was a bonus. I can literally sand for hours without any numbness or pain. The moral to this story is that if this is a tool you're going to use frequently, want it to be comfortable and effective, and you want it to last, buy Festool, higher end Bosch, Mirka, etc.

    For dust extraction, your big DC isn't the right tool. Dust collectors operate by moving large amounts of air at low (negative) pressure which in turn, moves the dust and chips. That can't happen through a small hose. Vac based extractors operate at high (negative) pressure and will function well through a smaller hose. You do not need to buy a Festool extractor to use with their sanders. You'll want the hose or at least a proper hose adapter, but you can use any vacuum for them, from an el-cheapo generic shop vac to something better and quieter. You'll want a means to reduce the vacuum as you move up through the abrastives to finer and finer to avoid "sticking" the tool to the workpiece. That can be done passively with a bleeder on the hose or with a "dial it down" feature on better vacuums. These things apply to any ROS, BTW.
    --

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

  3. #3
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    Any sandpaper made in China is garbage. A quality paper will outlast it by five to one or better. I like Mirka brand made in Finland. Old computer floppy disk cases hold the 5" disks nicely. Folks wear the gel bicycle gloves to reduce vibration.
    Bill D

  4. #4
    I've got the Bosch ros65vc, and when I bought it I also made the jump to the mirka abranet system. It amazes me how little dust is produced now, even without running the shopvac on it. Before I used the mirka gold discs, but I'd go through so many, especially with how fast they loaded up and I couldn't get them clean. With the abranet discs, I'll use one basically until I catch an edge and rip it. I recently did a king size bed and got through the whole project with just one disc of each grit.

    I also considered the festool, and while everyone who has one loves it, I couldn't justify it for the price jump over the Bosch.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the info. Great, so now I'm not only buying a sander, but also some sort of dust extraction....

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Clark Harbaugh View Post
    Thanks for the info. Great, so now I'm not only buying a sander, but also some sort of dust extraction....
    A regular wet-n-dry vac will work for dust collection on your sander. There are some low cost things you can add to a vac to have it turn on when you turn on your sander, and to slow it down if the suction if to much. If you decide to go that way I can tell you more about those extras.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  7. #7
    It is a different sort of sander but I have and recommend the Bosch DEVS 1250. It has a turbo mode that is very aggressive but it also has a normal random orbit mode. That is also faster than many due to the 5mm orbit. Dust collection is pretty good using my Rigid shop vac pulling through a dust deputy and a Bosch 5 meter hose. I use the same vacuum and hose with my Festool Domino and DeWalt track saw. I also have an auto on switch on the shop vac. My setup is not nearly as nice as a Festool dust extractor but it does the same job.

  8. #8
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    I'll second what Jim said about the 1250. I call Turbo mode: Beast Mode. It beast mode it's about as aggressive as a belt sander, but in regular mode is a really nice finish sander. Mirka Abranet mesh disks, and a big Shop Vac with yellow Hepa bag leaves little to be desired in a ROS.

  9. #9
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    That Bosch is basically a Festool Rotex, at half the price. I have an RO90 which is good for small stuff, but Ill be buying a Bosch for hogging bigger stuff to compliment my ETS EC 125.

    Id suggest the Bosch as a do all sander. And since your paper sucks, might as well start buying good 6 paper.

  10. #10
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    just a little side-step on this discussion -
    mike - what are the add-ons for a shop vac as a dust collector?
    thanks, jerry
    jerry

  11. #11
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    look at 2sand.com for choices of sanding media, Klingspor is another one, lots and lots of choices out there
    use a dust deputy or a CV06 Mini System

    which is what I use and really like

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by jerry cousins View Post
    just a little side-step on this discussion -
    mike - what are the add-ons for a shop vac as a dust collector?
    thanks, jerry
    To control the speed you use one of those "router speed controls". They're available on Amazon and many other places. To start the vac when you turn on your sander, the automated vacuum switch is a good solution. There's a cheaper version but this one allows you to turn the vac on with a switch which is nice when you want to use it to clean up some stuff.

    Add a HEPA bag to your vac and you have the equivalent of a Festool vacuum at a much lower price.

    Mike

    [The router speed control is designed to work with universal motors, which is what is in a shop vac.]
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 05-19-2020 at 11:10 PM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  13. #13
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    Regarding what sandpaper to use - I got all the grits of the blue Festool 6" sandpapers when I got the vacuum and the Festool RO sander.
    I've since switched over to Klingspor, which seems to me to be just as good.
    It was convenient for me to do so, I get my regular sandpaper from Klingspor and so I just added on the 6" discs.

    One odd thing about the Festool discs is that the 240 grit seemed to wear out strangely quickly, even the 320 would have life in it for long after the 240 was just polishing. I'm guessing I just happened to get a rouge lot.

  14. #14
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    I use a Festool125 sander, as Jim said my hands don't go numb when using it.

    It has great dust collection, Mike has given you some tips on how to use a modified shop vacuum, I can't be bothered and simply bought the Festool Midi vacuum, light, quiet, compact. Wound up buying a second one for the house because Diann liked it so much.

    I use the Mirka Abranet paper, works great...........Regrds, Rod.

  15. #15
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    Another ROS sander you might consider besides the Festool, Bosch, and Mirka previously mentioned is the electric AirVantage ROS (also comes as a pneumatic version). It comes as both a fully self-contained sander as well as a version with a separate power source (similar to the discontinued Mirka Ceros). It is a less expensive alternative to the Festool and you may find it more reliable as well. I also use the Mirka Abranet sanding discs on both my Airvantage Standard series ROS (the one with the separate power supply) and my Festool ETS EC 150/5 and the discs work equally well on both sanders and last much longer than more conventional sanding discs. Dust collection is outstanding with these discs and I just use a Rigid shop vac from Home Depot with the addition of a cyclone separator. Both of these sanders are great at virtually eliminating vibration.

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