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Thread: multiple Festool sanders?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    multiple Festool sanders?

    A few years ago I purchased the Festool ETS125 REQ sander, it was the "Blue" sustainer model for $99. I also have the small CT SYS Festool dust extractor that is dedicated to only the sander.
    I was thinking of getting another sander, either the Rotex 125 or the Rotex 90. The 125 has the benefit of using the same 5 inch paper as the ETS125, but the Rotex 90 will fit into smaller areas....both offer the different pad rotations.My question/concern is will either of these sanders make the original ETS125 finishing "obsolete"?
    Better to match paper size or get the smaller diameter pad? The ETS125 has a 2mm sanding orbit while the Rotex 125 has a 3.6mm sanding orbit. would the sanders be "duplicating" what each one does?
    Any input or ideas would be great....Thanks in advance for your replies....

  2. #2
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    I dont think so. I have three festool sanders, and i think they each have a use. I have a RO150, ETS EC 150/3, and a RO90. The RO150 leaves a crap ton of swirls and pigtails, which is why the ETS EC 150/3 is definitely not duplicating/redundant.

    The RO90 is super specialized, in my opinion. I only have it for maloof-esque chairs.

  3. #3
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    If you want a Rotex to compliment your existing 125mm sander, get the Rotex 125. The Rotex 90 is really a "specialty" tool that excels in heavy stock removal/shaping in tight spaces, but it's not a good machine, IMHO, for general purpose sanding. If you stick with the 125mm size, you'll be able to share abrasive media. This is exactly why I have a 150/3 and a Rotex 150. Same abrasives. (I rarely use the Rotext...)
    --

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    I've got a Rotex 125, an ETS 125 and a Rotex 90.

    The Rotex 125 is for heavy sanding. The ets is for finish sanding. The Rotex 90 is for detail sanding with the triangle pad or pieces too small for the ETS to do well. Each sander has its purpose.

    Cliff
    The problem with the world is that intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.
    Charles Bukowski

  5. #5
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    Mar 2016
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    Millstone, NJ
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    Originally I had a ets ec 125. Then I got the 99$ one(which I later sold. It was nice to have a spare but not as comfortable as the EC) Then I add the RTS which I like for small stuff and edge sanding. I then picket up a rotex 150 for material removal on end grain(I end up making a bunch of end grain cutting boards every year) Then on a whim I bought the mirka. It is more comfortable than the ets ec and it has a 5&6" pads(bought mine from england) I sold the ETS EC.

    Regular sanding it I reach for mirka.
    End grain boards, very rough wood, or epoxy I reach for the rotex with (40,60,80,120 depending) then at 120 I switch to mirka with 120 and up
    RTS 400 is nice when stuff is small

  6. #6
    My 90 sits for months, even years between uses. It's just too small, yet also too bulky to be useful for anything but the most oddball of tasks.

  7. #7
    I currently have both ETS EC 150-3 and RO 150. Rotex for rough work or sanding up to ~120 grit. ETS EC 150 for everything 120/150 and above. The ETS EC is a Cadillac and very smooth. Mirka looks nice but I think I would hate the paddle trigger for longer sanding sessions or sanding in any position except flat.

    Used the $100 Pro 5 / ETS 125 as my only orbital sander for a handful of years and that was a bit slow and painful. Ended up getting a barely used RO 125 at some point and eventually sold it to upgrade to all 150 size sanders and stick to just one size of sanding discs. Typically use Mirka auto or Abranet or sometimes Festool granat.

    If you like the feel of the ETS 125 then yes an RO 125 will be a nice complement and speed things up some, though the RO is a heavier and bulkier sander than not really a one handed sander. Once I got the ETS EC 150 with the much lower motor / housing / center of gravity among other things, I found it really hard to pick back up the ETS 125 and sold it used for more than I paid for it new after using it for 5+ years...granted normal price is ~$220 and not $100 promo price.

    Not sure what I would use an RO 90 for and it would hurt buying yet another size of paper.
    Still waters run deep.

  8. #8
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    Jun 2022
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    I have the ETS 125 as well as the RO 90 and RO 150. I had to get both of the Rotex sanders for a specific purpose.

    The ETS 125 is a very nice finish sander, but man it takes forever to remove material.

    The Rotex 90 is a very specialized tool and I would only recommend it if you absolutely needed that tiny 3.5" pad. It does well at taking off material and such, but the area behind the pad gets clogged with sawdust very easily and you have to remove the pad and clean out that whole area frequently. It's a specialized tool only if you need a very small sanding pad with some suction.

    I have tried using the RO 90 with the delta pad in corners and it was not that effective. I think it's mostly due to balance of the unit and a larger sanding stroke. It's extremely hard to use one handed, so you can't use it to sand small items unless they are clamped down. If you have to do corners on small pieces, I would recommend just getting the DTS 400 (which also has the small 2mm stroke).

    So, you have the ETS 125 right now, which is a very nice finish sander, but sucks for taking down material such as glue joints and uneven edges. If you want to keep with the 5" sanding pad size, then Rotex 125 is a good choice. But keep in mind that the Rotex is going to be a 2-handed tool (when used in Rotex mode). Rotex mode needs the wood to be clamped down to prevent movement and you have to use the tool in 2-handed mode.

    If you don't want this type of tool setup, I would recommend going with the ETS EC 150/5. It is well balanced and can be used with one hand (meaning you can use your other hand to hold the material). It actually is faster in removing material than the bigger Rotex 150 in random orbit mode due to it's giant 5mm stroke.

    So, ultimately it depends on how you want to use the tool. The 150/5 random orbit is extremely effective at taking away material, but you do need to use the 6" sand paper. However, it's definitely a one hand tool. The Rotex 125 shares your 5" size, but it is hard to use with one hand (impossible when in Rotex mode). If you're trying to strip paint off large objects and need fast removal or "time is money", the Rotex is the way to go. If you are just looking at weekend or hobby work, I would go with the ETS EC 150/5 as an additional sander.

    One thing. The ETS EC are very quiet. All the rotex sanders (including the RO 90) are loud and noisy. I have to use earmuffs when working with the rotex for any length of time. This is not the case with the ETS EC.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2021
    Location
    Redmond, OR
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    I own 2 Porter Cable right angle random orbit sanders and a FEIN right angle random orbit sander. I also own 3 Porter Cable 505 half sheet sanders. Why? Because I hate sanding!

    At my sanding station I can sand an entire side through all the grits without ever changing paper. Then I can rotate the project to the next side and go through all the grits again without changing paper... etc. I find it a lot faster than sanding the entire project with a single grit before changing paper and then sanding the entire project with the next grit. Also if I find a place I missed or scratch something I can start at the needed grit and quickly go through the finer grits.

    I don't own any fancy Festool or Rotex sander and I purchased all of my sanders used but I can sand a project much quicker than I could when I only had a single sander and was constantly changing paper.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    LI, NY
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    First ..Sorry for not responding quicker to all the replies/posts...Had some internet provider and time issues.....But thanks to all for your great responses....I like the idea of keeping only one sand paper disk size... less expense, more convenient. so that would take the Rotex 90 off the table...
    but I did not realize the Rotex 125 was a two handed machine..because of weight and size I'm guessing... ...
    so to throw in another option...The ETS EC125? Does not have the 5mm sanding orbit...smaller at 3mm but slightly larger than the ETS125 at 2mm.....enough of a difference? would it be too close in performance to what I have now?...Hope all had a safe weekend....

  11. #11
    Yes, in my experience, the practical difference between a 2mm and 3mm stroke is not enough and the 5mm stroke is the way to go on the 1st, Lower grit sander for efficient material removal if youre going to have a 2 sander approach.
    Still waters run deep.

  12. #12
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    The handle design of the Rotex 125 is "easier" to one-hand than my older Rotex 150, but it's still more of a beast than the ROS-only sander(s). For me, one-hand is important because of controlling both the material AND the hose.
    --

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

  13. #13
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    Jan 2010
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    I consider my Rotex a beast. I rarely use it. Just vibrates too much. On the other hand, my 150/3 is my go-to sander and I love it.

    A couple of years ago I bought the RTS-400. I find I rarely use it because it takes forever to sand anything. Just too small a stroke, even though I thought its small form factor would be useful.

    So basically, I own 3 of them, but just really only use 1 - The 150/3.
    - Its not that Im so smart, its just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  14. #14
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    Alan, you and I seem to have the same two sanders. And nearly identical usage patterns.

    I will say that I'm considering something like the RTS to get into corners once I get my shop up, but the jury is still out on that.
    --

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

  15. #15
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    Jun 2022
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillip Mitchell View Post
    Yes, in my experience, the practical difference between a 2mm and 3mm stroke is not enough and the 5mm stroke is the way to go on the 1st, Lower grit sander for efficient material removal if you’re going to have a 2 sander approach.
    That is what I was thinking, but I did not have any practical experience to back it up. Generally, if you just wanted only one sander, the ETS EC 125/3 would probably be an okay choice. It's like a compromise between a finishing sander and a material removal sander.

    The Rotex sanders have two modes, the "rotex" mode and the "random orbit" mode. When using Rotex mode, it is absolutely a 2-handed tool. When using "random orbit" mode, you could use the 125 with one hand if your sanding job is flat on a work table (by gently holding the handle and letting the sander glide over the surface using gravity to hold it down). If it is at an angle or vertical, it becomes very awkward to use the Rotex sander one handed.

    My 5" ETS 125 will use 120, 220, 600, 800 grit paper. My 6" Rotex RO 150 uses 24, 40, 80 grit papers. So there is no overlap between the 5" and 6" sizes.

    Just the other day, I had to pull out my Rotex 150 to take down a section of an edge about 3mm for the piece to fit into the project. The material had to be clamped down, but the rotex took off the material quickly. This would be practically impossible with a 125/2 or 125/3 (maybe after 5-15 minutes of sanding, lol).
    Last edited by Aaron Inami; 06-28-2022 at 12:59 PM.

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