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Thread: Festool ETS EC Decision 5mm versus 3mm stroke

  1. #16
    I have the 150/3 and never found it that slow but i have never tried the 150/5 so I canít compare in any case if it is your only one then i would go with the 150/3 unless you were doing some type of production sanding at 120g or lower and didnít require the finer orbit. I have never felt the need to go to the 150/5.

    however now that I type this i wonder if the 150/5 is the better choice if you final sand by hand which i do, I usually orbit to 180 or 220 then quickly hit it by hand the same grit to git rid of the squirrel marks, it only takes a few extra minutes (or a lot!) and i find the sheen is more evenÖ

  2. #17
    I have both the 150/3 & 150/5 and use them in tandem. The 150/5 handles grits from 120 on down. Any grits over 120 gets the 150/3. It's worked well over the years.
    ďTravel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness..." - Mark Twain

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Kensington, Maryland
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    255
    I have the 125 and the 150 Rotex. While I like the Rotex for heavy stock removal, in ROS mode I really prefer the 125. It is smaller, lighter, easier to control, and produces less vibration and hand fatigue. Itís just a joy to use. I got the Rotex after I already had the 125. If I had to part with one of them it would be the Rotex.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    Posts
    946
    The biggest difference I have seen between a 3mm stroke and 5mm stroke has been on dense hardwoods. I did a bench with hard maple a few years ago with a 150/5 and I could never totally get the sanding scratches out. I started over a couple of times and it got better, but the bigger swirls still showed up. Probably user error, but I went through the grits and used a light hand. The finish was one that amplifies the sanding scratches too. I have had much better success with the 150/3 and have not had the issue with seeing scratches in dense wood. Sort of wish they would make a 150 with a 2mm stroke like the taller ETS 125/2...
    Man advances just in proportion that he mingles thought with his labor. - Ingersoll

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Western PA
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    1,097
    Ive decided to go with the 3mm stroke, but now i have to find the dang sander!! I foolishly didnt realize Festool was out of stock across the country.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Phoenix AZ Area
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    2,503
    I'll chime in. I first got a Rotex 150 and quickly added an ETS 150/3. This combo was suggested by Bob Marino and I was really happy. I only use the Rotex on coarse grits, maybe up to 150. IMHO it's two handed only and awkward and heavy but since getting it I've never used a belt sander. I decided when the ETC EC150 came out to evaluate 3mm or 5mm orbit and in testing the Rotex against the ETS150/3 I felt I needed to go to higher grits with the Rotex to get rid of visual scratches so went with the ETS EC150/3 for this reason when I upgraded.

    Last input, I find I am able to get flatter surfaces with the 150 sanders than I can with the 125. Sold the 125 I had.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Northern Illinois
    Posts
    760
    I would say that the surface from my ETS125 (which I think is a 3mm stroke) is marginally better than the resulting surface from my ETS150/5. Marginally is the key word. If you're getting a new 150 and don't already have a 125, I'd go for the 3mm. It will, in the end, give a slightly better surface for finishing at any one grit. Sometime I use my ETS150/5 for coarser sanding and then the ETS125 for the last grit or two.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Northern Illinois
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    760
    Actually I checked and the ETS125 has a 2mm stroke which is why it's a great finish sander. However, I still don't really notice my difference between the ETS125 and ETS150/5. I do sometimes sand with one finer grit sanding with the 150 but that usually yields the same as the 125.

  9. Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dwight View Post
    I have no Festool sanders so far but I do almost all my sanding with my Bosch 1250 DEVS. It has a 5mm stoke, I believe, and also what Festool calls their Rotex mode. I sand to 220 grit and do not see scratches in finished projects. My goal in sanding is to do it as quickly as possible and that dictates 5mm stroke, not 3mm. On the other hand, if you like to sand and want more time doing it, 3mm would be best. Maybe somebody can see a difference in the results but I cannot.

    I'd like to have a sander with the motor over top of the pad (instead of the right angle grinder shape of my Bosch(reviewed) and might have to buy a Festool to get the 5mm stroke I want. The non symetrical mass of my Bosch makes it sand more heavily on the side of the pad where the motor is. I often use it one handed which contributes to the effect if I am not careful.
    Hi and sorry for the question, what are the most useful sanders from Bosch(except your model)? 1250 DEVS is for $400 atm, bites a lot

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Atlanta
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    1,151
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank McGuire View Post
    Hi and sorry for the question, what are the most useful sanders from Bosch(except your model)? 1250 DEVS is for $400 atm, bites a lot
    useful for doing what ?

    Smoothing out rough hewn beams?
    Prepping tabletops for a new top coat ?
    Sanding in the corners of stair treads.
    Flattening a drywall patch ?

    The 1250devs has been discontinued for some time now. The price you saw is the “ I really gotta have it “ price ; as the orig. selling price was sub $300. It’s been replaced by the GET75 & 65. They are $300.

    The ROS65VC is also a good Bosch sander. It is being phased out by the GEX33 &34.

    Those are the Bosch gems along with a long since discontinued belt sander. The other models are meh; and while less expensive than rivals , don’t deliver the same quality and performance. Not the value of the above mentioned models.

    If you’re looking for a quality 5” palm sander , get the Festool ets125 for 200 bucks and get to sanding. Sell the carry case and you’re in the 125-150 range.

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Western PA
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    1,097
    Now that someone resurfaced my thread, i will provide an update. I purchased an ETS EC 150/3 in July. I kept my 150/5 ETS for a couple weeks to directly compare the two. The low profile and brake on the EC are both fantastic features. I appreciate the upturned dust port too. Now for the disappointing bit. The 150/3 is CONSIDERABLY slower at material removal. The EC is supposed to draw more watts, so i thought the added power would offset the shorter stroke. It does not. It does provide a noticeable better surface finish at a given grit, but its something the ETS 150/5 would do at the next grit up. For example, 150 grit from the 150/3 is visually equal to 180 grit from the 150/5. I currently use the Rotex 150 more often for the lower grits and level a panel/glue up. You do not want to sand with the 150/3 at 80 or 100 grit, you will be old and gray before the job is done. On my larger table tops and island tops of the last 6 months, i rotexed them with 80, 100, 120, 150 and then water popped the grain followed by 120, 150, 180 with the EC. I started using Rubio in this period of time, which is why i didnt take the grits higher. My one issue with the Rotex/150/3 combo is the rotex leaves some pretty heavy swirl marks. If anyone has used a rotex in rotex mode, it pigtails the heck out of the surface. The 150/5 tackled those pigtails easily. The 150/3 needs to backtrack a grit to catch up. In the end, its an expensive and nice sander, but I would be a sad woodworker if that were my only horse in the stable. Comparatively, the ETS150 is a bit of a bargain now. Other than its height, it is a great sander and like $200 less than the EC.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    60,618
    A 3mm orbit isn't going to be as aggressive as a 5mm orbit...
    --

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

  13. #28
    Patrick,

    A few months ago I switched. I sold my older 150/5 and 150/3 and replaced them with the newer ETS EC 150/3 and 150/5. Festool holds value so well, that I sold them for more than I paid!

    Anyway, the newer sanders are better IMHO. The brake is amazing, the lower center of gravity makes it easier to keep even pressure on the surface and it is lighter so less fatigue.

    I, like some said, use the 150/5 on lower grits to remove drum sander scratches and then move to the 150/3. I can see the scratch pattern difference and I cannot fully remove them consistently with using the 150/5 ONLY.

    Serf prep sanders (and the copies -Ekasand - and others) are a new thing to the mix for me. They are very useful on details and panels. I am really liking the 3x4 version.

    PK
    PKwoodworking

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Western PA
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    1,097
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    A 3mm orbit isn't going to be as aggressive as a 5mm orbit...
    Correct, and my point is the 5mm stroke can make up for its less refined stroke by stepping up to a higher grit. In other words, I canít find a reason to ever purchase a 3mm stroke sander.

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