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Thread: compact random orbit sanders for turners?

  1. #1

    compact random orbit sanders for turners?

    Since I got into turning a few years ago, one of my biggest frustrations has been sanding. I currently use an angle drill with 2 and 3 inch Abranet disks (easy to unclog when sanding wet wood) but I still struggle to get out all the scratches and wind up with a really clean finish, especially in the tight transitional curve in my bowls. I've always loved using random orbit sanders for flat woodworking, and have been looking for something similar for turned work on the thought that it may help me avoid the problems I keep having, but the only compact ones I can find (i.e. that can be used with 2 or 3 inch disks) are pneumatic. I don't have an air compressor and don't want to invest in one, especially as it appears that I'd need a pretty high capacity (and expensive) unit to effectively power a sander. Is anyone aware of a small electric random orbit sander that i could use for turned work?

  2. #2
    There's this https://www.autogeek.net/griots-orbital-polisher.html# and this https://www.metabo.com/us/enus/tools...al-sander.html

    I don't know if either is compact enough to do what you want. I use the Grex http://www.grexusa.com/grexusa/products.php5?id=AOS368, which like my Sioux close quarter drill allows getting down in the transition zone, but is an air hog. If there is an electric ros in that configuration I want one.

    This https://www.arbortechtools.com/us/co...random-sander/ is an attachment for an angle grinder. Could be useful.

    I do use my 5" Festool ros on exterior surfaces.
    Last edited by Kevin Jenness; 01-17-2022 at 12:41 PM.

  3. #3
    Take a look at the Metabo SX E 400
    https://www.metabo.com/us/enus/tools...earchparam=400

    it appears Kevin beat me to it.
    Last edited by Dwight Rutherford; 01-17-2022 at 12:38 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    My method

    Bill, I'm afraid the best I found are pneumatic, very compact and work extremely well.

    That said, you might try dropping the power sanding completely. What is your procedure for smoothing? I quit using disks on rotary drills may years ago because of the scratches, the clouds of dust, and the difficulty of preserving fine detail. The way I work now I can usually sand by hand although I do use the 1",2",and 3" disks on my two pneumatic random orbital sanders. When I use the ROS it is almost always at an extremely low RPM, almost like hand sanding! (BTW, I do have a 5hp/60gal compressor but when used at slow speed these sanders don't take a lot of air pressure and volume as when running wide open. If you like I could test with a couple of compact air compressors I have here.)

    - Follow final gouge cuts with negative rake scrapers to get out all the gouge marks and refine the surface as needed.
    - Use hand scrapers to remove the NRS marks and get very close to a smooth surface.
    - Sand by hand (and/or with the pneumatic ROS).

    With this procedure I can usually start with 320 grit or finer. I have some "easy to sand" pieces that were only touched with 600 grit paper, including this small dished platter made from eastern red cedar:

    penta_platter_cedar_IMG_7434.jpg

    If you haven't tried NRS+hand scraping, you might want to look into it. It's not difficult and not even particularly time consuming and I think I get a much better result. I've written about this often and can try to find some old posts or write something new if you are interested.

    Some of the NRS I've ground and a few of the hand scrapers:

    scrapers_neg_rake.jpg scrapers_small_thompson.jpg scrapers_favorite_IMG_7870.jpg

    NRS_IMG_7515.jpg

    _scrapers_IMG_7818.jpg _scrapers_IMG_7827.jpg _scrapers_IMG_7289.jpg

    JKJ


    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Bell View Post
    Since I got into turning a few years ago, one of my biggest frustrations has been sanding. I currently use an angle drill with 2 and 3 inch Abranet disks (easy to unclog when sanding wet wood) but I still struggle to get out all the scratches and wind up with a really clean finish, especially in the tight transitional curve in my bowls. I've always loved using random orbit sanders for flat woodworking, and have been looking for something similar for turned work on the thought that it may help me avoid the problems I keep having, but the only compact ones I can find (i.e. that can be used with 2 or 3 inch disks) are pneumatic. I don't have an air compressor and don't want to invest in one, especially as it appears that I'd need a pretty high capacity (and expensive) unit to effectively power a sander. Is anyone aware of a small electric random orbit sander that i could use for turned work?

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    I use a small pneumatic but I do agree with John, I've had good results with hand scrapers. They can be ground to handle particular shapes.

    I mount the bowl in a carving stand thats threaded for my chucks - much better access to the interior. This is the one I use.
    https://trentboschtools.com/product/...-1-14-x-8-tpi/
    Last edited by Richard Dooling; 01-18-2022 at 4:26 PM.
    Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.
    - Churchill

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Dooling View Post
    I use a small pneumatic but I do agree with John, I've had good results with hand scrapers. They can be ground to handle particular shapes.

    I mount the bowl in a carving stand thats threaded for my chucks - much better access to the interior. This is the one I use.
    https://trentboschtools.com/product/...-1-14-x-8-tpi/
    For those not familiar with them: The carving stands are the greatest things for sanding off the lathe!! (Also good for carving but I don't do as much of that.)

    I used to turn the lathe off and lock the spindle, then lean over to sand by hand. Besides being hard on the back and neck, it was much harder to see scratches and defects! The carving stands put the work right in front of you at a comfortable height where you can direct good lighting. If I had to give up my carving stand I'd probably just quit turning!

    I tried the Bosch and it was very quick to operate. But I ended up buying this one instead:

    https://bestwoodtools.stores.yahoo.n...aandfipow.html

    carving_stand_IMG_20171111_162052_024.jpg

    It's somewhat similar, but with one major design difference. The lower handle keeps the tilt angle constant. The second, upper handle that locks just the rotation around the chuck axis - that's what made me decide to buy this one. I find the axial rotation good for working my way around a platter or bowl with the upper handle loosened, holding the sander in one hand and rotating the piece with the other hand. The collar can hold the banjo at a set height If I loosen the banjo lock to rotate the whole thing.

    sanding_IMG_20171212_094330_319.jpg

    carving_stand_IMG_7422.jpg

    I usually use it held in the banjo just like the Bosch. The second picture is of a student using a 3" pneumatic palm sander. This one (from Woodturners Wonders) lets me limit the air flow with a control on the side so I can run it at a very low speed without without having to hold the trigger just so.

    The third picture shows it in the bench mount with it's own locking lever - I fastened that mount to a board to hold in a vise but don't use it much.

    The Grex is what I use for 2" and 1" disks. With the shaft extensions it will reach far inside of something fairly deep. But I have to control the speed by hand for a low speed. Maybe I should just add a valve or regulator downstream.

    grex_ROS.jpg

    JKJ

  7. #7
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    I have the Bosch but would like to have the second lever for raising and lowering the work. Having to loosen two set screws while holding the piece would be much easier with handle. I also have the Metabo and find it somewhat too large on some smaller bowls.

  8. #8
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    I see the advantage of separate handles for tilt and rotation but don't find the single handle too inconvenient. If I had it to do over I would opt for two handles.

    Dave, you got me thinking and there's plenty of handles and knobs with threaded posts. I don't know why I didn't think of this before. Doh!
    Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.
    - Churchill

  9. #9
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    I have tried the GREX on a smaller compressor and was very unhappy with it. You really need a gigantic(?) compressor to make it work. My compressor couldn't keep up with it.

    I took a different approach to get a random orbital sander for my bowls and such. I have a Ridgid 5" random orbital sander but 5" is too big to be useful. I took off the sanding pad and turned an adapter that screwed into the sander so I could use my 2 and 3" foam sanding pads. The 3" pads work nicely on bowls larger than 12". The speed of the sander can be turned down to 1000 RPM and that helps. The 2" pads are OK but for smaller bowls the size of the sander limits it capability. I've attached a photo so you can see how it looks. The standard pad from the sander in in the background.

    IMG_1070.jpg

    I agree with John K Jordan's process and follow it when I can. My normal sanding process is to turn my bowl in a scroll chuck or a vacuum chuck and at 24 RPM. I have an old 1750 RPM sump pump that I hang from the ceiling and us a flex line to hold the sanding pad. I wish the sump pump could be slowed down but for now this works. Previously, I used the angled drill and there were two problems with it. First was the ear splitting noise and holding it to sand was very tiring for my hands. Lately I am finding that I am doing more hand sanding with the lathe running at 300 - 600 RPM.

    Cheers,
    David

  10. #10
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    Another vote for the Metabo. A great tool and easy to use.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Dooling View Post
    I see the advantage of separate handles for tilt and rotation but don't find the single handle too inconvenient. If I had it to do over I would opt for two handles.

    Dave, you got me thinking and there's plenty of handles and knobs with threaded posts. I don't know why I didn't think of this before. Doh!
    Curious with what you come up with. Please share if you do.

  12. #12
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    I use these cheap chinese knockoffs, like https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1. I have a small 1-1/2 HP 20 gallon California Air Compressor to run it. No real issues using it. Compressor does run near constantly when in use but it keeps up for turning projects.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Gilbert View Post
    I have tried the GREX on a smaller compressor and was very unhappy with it. You really need a gigantic(?) compressor to make it workÖ.
    I do have a large compressor (5hp, 60 gal) but one thing to consider - I donít think itís needed for the way I use the pneumatic sanders. I never use the sanders wide open (and never with coarse disks).

    I only use them at a very low speed which doesnít use much air. When I get time I want to try sanding with a small portable compressor. if it works OK that might be good to take to a club demonstration.

    (I may actually have some time tomorrow! I promised to help someone move but I just found out I didnít have to. Yippie!)

    JKJ

  14. #14
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    For you guys using pneumatic sanders, what do you do about dust collection?

  15. #15
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    I have Woodturners Wonders mini sander and just have the DeWalt 15 gal. vertical compressor. I can run for a good while before the compressor kicks in and it will keep up with the sander. I tend to sand a little and stop to check the work so there's time for the compressor to catch up anyway.

    Similar to the one John mentions, this ROS has a valve that lets you optimize air flow.

    Jamie, when I'm sanding on the lathe I have a pretty decent dust collector with a 4" hose positioned right next to the bowl. I also have an ambient air cleaner and wear a good mask.

    Dave, there's a bunch around and I believe the post is 5/16 x 18. I have not checked the quality but there's a couple on this page:
    https://www.woodcraft.com/search?q=5...&button=search

    I plan on cutting the post down to the minimum needed. I think that for most of what I do just the top set screw will suffice.
    Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.
    - Churchill

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