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Phil Pascoe

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Does anyone use a compressed air sander on woodwork on a regular basis? What are the pros and cons? I'm thinking of the lower to middle end of the market gear, not stuff costing £100s, and I'm not really interested in being told electric ones are better, cheaper to run etc. just the practicalities of an air one.
 

shed9

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I'm looking at air sanders at the moment, potentially moving away from electric. I've just invested quite heavily in a heavy duty compressor system so moving to air makes sense for some tools. That said, the one thing that is causing concern and stalling my switch is the dust collection advantages of electric units. Most electric units have dust collection ports but these are not as common on pneumatic.

I'd also be interested in how this thread plays out.
 

Rorschach

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I have limited experience and I don't use one any more.

Pro's, can be pretty quiet (on a good one) and vibration is lower (there is vibration but the lower mass makes it more comfortable). Very lightweight to move around. Very little to go wrong so they are reliable, even cheap ones.
Con's, cheap ones use a LOT of air so you need a big compressor (which then makes a lot of noise if you have a chaire a room with it. Dust extraction is usually not great (if it exists) and the exhaust air makes a big mess that you don't tend to get from an electric machine where the exhaust adds to the extraction.

For me I prefer electric but I can definitely see air powered being an advantage if you use one for hours every day and can invest in a good one plus good compressor in a separate building.
 

novocaine

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I have an pneumatic sheet palm sander that I use fairly regularly. I don't remember it being overly expensive but it is older than salt so can't really recommend anything new.
Dust collection doesn't exist on it, but a vacuum near by works fine.
Because it's air driven it does blast fine dust in to the air as the exhaust is right by the work. worth noting really.
I wouldn't suggest going over to nothing but air tools, they have their uses (short head drills are great, so are impact and recip saws), but some stuff is just garbage, I wouldn't bother with an air driven circular saw :).
 

AJB Temple

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For me, by far the most important thing about sanding, is dust extraction. I also want my kit to be mobile. I don't want to breathe the stuff, but as importantly the finish is compromised if the dust is not sucked away efficiently. I know you have installed a compressor system Phil and as air tools are cheap there is no harm in trying it.
 

shed9

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Any experience on here with the Mirka air sanders? I appreciate they are not in the budget crosshairs of the OP but wondered if dust extraction can be matched, albeit with the relative price hike.
 

RobinBHM

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Any experience on here with the Mirka air sanders? I appreciate they are not in the budget crosshairs of the OP but wondered if dust extraction can be matched, albeit with the relative price hike.
they are excellent.

I used to get them on offer from mirka dealers when they had an offer on. You could get a number of boxes of abranet and a free sander

like this: £240 for air sander with 5 boxes of abranet ace

mirka do 2.5mm, 5mm 10mm orbit options -most people would choose a 5mm

I used them in a joinery company they are quietish and work well

to be honest I bought a £15 150mm dia air sander off ebay and that worked pretty well too.
 

shed9

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Thanks for that RobinBHM, this is appreciated. I'm already using Festool ETS and RO sanders so this is reassuring. One of my main aims is dust collection so will look at this further.
 

frank horton

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just work out the cost of a 3hp compressor running, if not constantly but often.....
the little screamer's comps wont last anyway even if you + the neighbours can put up with the noise......
3 hp motor on start up is around 5-6hp.....only seconds tho.....suppose if ur electric is free not to worry....hahaha....
all that air moving about just lifts the dust and keeps it airbourne.........and you can never get rid of it however hard you try.....
gave all my fancy air sanders away apart from an in-line shuttle sander for body work.....
I have a few Makita sanders (electric) if I bought now might go battery but only high end gear, Milwaukee etc....
My sanders have to do wood and body work.....
see my diy workshop air filter........on a photo in this forum somewhere......
 

RobinBHM

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Thanks for that RobinBHM, this is appreciated. I'm already using Festool ETS and RO sanders so this is reassuring. One of my main aims is dust collection so will look at this further.
I actually used a henry vacuum with the mirkas -they work very well. I used the mirka vacuum hose which is actually tapered which helps a bit, I also had the mirka auto air switch, so when you start the sander the vacuum turns on.

I think you can buy clips which join the airline and the vacuum together.


Air sander use a lot of air. I used a 40 cfm compair hydrovane compressor with a 300 litre tank and air dryer that ran the whole factory on a 22mm ring.

Air sanders take up to 10cfm so you need a decent compressor -we could run 3 plus spray pump all together.

dont use really long air small air hose to get to the sander or it will hunt for air.
 

Phil Pascoe

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I've just looked at PCL APT720 150mm Air Random Orbital Sander

Irrespective of quality etc. I wonder why the consumption of this one is 99 litres per minute when the Mirka of the same size and speed uses 485 litres per minute? A difference is understandable but that difference is massive. I have a half decent compressor but it would struggle with 485.
The Mirka deal is good, but a little out of the price range, besides which I haven't enough life left to use all those discs.
They work out at about 17cfm !
 

Doug B

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Any experience on here with the Mirka air sanders? I appreciate they are not in the budget crosshairs of the OP but wondered if dust extraction can be matched, albeit with the relative price hike.
I used Mirka air sanders when I worked at a furniture workshop they really are excellent, the shop had down draught benches which had slats in the top they removed any dust generated, they work really well & worth considering if going down the air sander route.
 

Droogs

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Many years ago I worked on a contract to refurbish all the Jubilee line carriages. i sanded all the paint off the doors for 40 carriages using air sanders and the only con and it is a big one is that you get really sensitized fingers to cold. My fingers used to go numb using the sander and I had to get some of the little hand warmers to put inside my gloves to be able to work all day.

Years later I am still aware that my fingers tend to seize up when its cold now
 

Inspector

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I have a Dynabrade 6" random orbit palm sander. 3/16 orbit I think. It doesn't have dust extraction but there are attachments to allow either the air exhausting to remove the dust to a bag or a complete vacuum setup. Dynabrade is an industry standard and they have enough air tools to boggle the mind. Not cheap but they last a long time under heavy use. They have repair parts for all their stuff that a user can replace so you don't need to send them off to a tool repair outfit unless you want to. They are being copied so cheaper versions abound, probably what you are looking at. I have no idea how they stand up. I wear ear protection, anti-vibration gloves (Impacto air gloves) and a respirator. I also sand outside or at least will until I rig up a downdraft/backdraft table. Been saying that for years. :rolleyes: At about -20C the oil in the tool gets too cold and it slows to a stop and takes a while to thaw out so I try not to sand when it is that cold. You have to remember to put a few drops of air tool oil in it when you use it. If you don't you'll rapidly wear out the motor vanes and seals and kill it. Mine has a PSA pad but I believe they can be had with Velcro as well. If you do go the air route you will find it easier to use if you have a short thin hose at the tool and/or a swivel knuckle to make moving it into different positions easier. Fighting a stiff hose can get tedious. I can't say how they compare to electric because when I got mine there weren't a lot of sparking ones around. I saw no need to get one as long as my big compressor (5 hp, 80 gal tank) is working. I don't do site work either.

Pete
 

doctor Bob

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I run mirka air sanders off a 250L compressor, I like them, we can have 2 or 3 running at the same time hence big compressor.
 

Spectric

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Hi

Air sanders were the norm in most auto body workshops and dust not an issue as a lot of wet sanding, in a woodworking enviroment they could create dust clouds but they are good tools.
 

doctor Bob

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What else do you run off your air Phil, I use air as we always have a constant source, the speed sander, the edgebander, the dovetailer, pin guns, etc all require air, so running a few sanders extra is a cheap option as the compressor is always loaded, if you are running a compressor just for a sander I'm not sure.
The experts recommend air for commercial and electric for smaller workshops but thats just the economics of it, for me the advantages are, lighter, less bits to break, lot cheaper, and with a good collection set up no difference in dust levels.
 

TheTiddles

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You can now have an air drill, treat yourself, once you’ve used one any battery drill just isn’t the same

Aidan
 

Phil Pascoe

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I run only a detail sander and an airbrush, though I have a drill and a few other small things. Most of the work would be done outdoors, and I would never do enough with a sander to worry about the economics of running it. I might lash out on a small Mirka or even a DeWalt (I already have batteries). I have an ancient but efficient Makita half sheet, so I'm not talking bulk removal, but I bought a quarter sheet Metabo which screams like a banshee and is a nightmare to put paper on - that's the one I'm debating replacing.
 

Endy

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Does anyone use a compressed air sander on woodwork on a regular basis? What are the pros and cons? I'm thinking of the lower to middle end of the market gear, not stuff costing £100s, and I'm not really interested in being told electric ones are better, cheaper to run etc. just the practicalities of an air one.
I just bought one and it has a dust removal port, check our Air Fixkit 6” on Amazon, its pretty quick at removing material and in its self fairly quiet, however; the compressor is noisy.
I am in the process of moving home but one of my first tasks in the new workshop will be a soundproof box for the compressor.
 
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