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Geared sanders eg. Rotex

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skeetstar

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folks I am contemplating buying a Rotex or the equivalent Bosch or Makita.

I already have a festool ETS something.. an ROS with a 5mm orbit.
I fancy the Rotex because I've seen reviews that suggest that in geared mode it is capable of removing quite a bit of stock.. somewhere between an ROS and a plane. This makes it a very attractive tool.

I've also seen reviews which suggest that switching from ROS mode to geared mode is like going up a grit in sandpaper.. that would be no use to me, I can do that easy enough with my current kit.

Soooo anyone got any view as to how agressive geared mode is? I dont want to buy one of these things and find that they are only marginally better than what I already have.

Thanks in anticipation.
 
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AJB Temple

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If you want to shift a lot of material, isn't the answer coarser grit plus possibly higher speed. I use a Mirka and I can shift a LOT of material with 40 grit and max speed. It does not destroy the wood. Then I go to 80 and so on. It is pretty much the only powered sander I use these days.
 

Jonathan S

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I have a ETS EC and a rotex......yes the rotex will remove stock quickly especially with 40 grit, it's probably on par with a small belt sander.
 

Nelsun

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With most ROS you can stop / slow them rotating through too much pressure... good luck doing the same in Rotex / geared mode. You can do the same work with a ROS, but it just takes longer.

They're great for taking painted surfaces back to wood (Saphir paper is great for that) and quickly sanding rough stuff. The ability to flick between geared and RO modes is also a luxury. As far as the Festool ones go, having options to change the pad from hard (for keeping things flat and not dipping into edges) to soft (to follow gentle contours) is great when needed. The same types of pads are available for their normal ROS as well though.

The RO90 is great for smaller things and the delta head is a definite feather in its cap, but you wouldn't want to use it on larger surfaces; that's where to RO150 comes in... or the RAS180 if you want to make your belt sander blush!

IMHO it comes down to what you're sanding and how long you want to spend doing just that. You can do the same with the right paper on a ROS... a geared sander will just do it way faster.
 

Doug71

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I have a Festool Rotex 150, it is a great bit of kit but mine doesn't actually get that much use, not in geared mode anyway.

99% of my sanding is done with a 4" Makita belt sander, the Rotex gets used in ROS mode for finer stuff like veneers.

I got the Rotex when I had to strip the paint off loads of trusses which it did brilliantly. Now it only gets used in geared mode if I am making for example something a bit arty out of scaffold boards where the wood doesn't want to be truly flat.

It does what it does really well but if you are aiming for dead flat I would always choose a belt sander.
 

skeetstar

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Thanks to all who replied. On balance it sounds like the Rotex would be worthwhile
I use a lot of recovered wood, and getting old hard paint and varnish off can take ages. So I might well go for it, thanks again.
 

craigsalisbury

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im soo late to this and assume you have already made a purchase, just to chime in, the rotex can also be used for buffing out with the polishing pad in rotex mode. its a wee beast to handle if you get the 150 in geared mode. if doing smaller stuff, the RO90 is also very good.
 

skeetstar

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Well I bit the bullet and bought a Rotex 150. Absolutely delighted with it. It really removes stock, far faster than I thought it would. Agree with you Craig it is a beast to handle in geared mode... deffo need both hands. So I am a happy chap. Thanks all for the various bits of advice
 

sometimewoodworker

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Well I bit the bullet and bought a Rotex 150. Absolutely delighted with it. It really removes stock, far faster than I thought it would. Agree with you Craig it is a beast to handle in geared mode... deffo need both hands. So I am a happy chap. Thanks all for the various bits of advice
I have one as well. In geared mode with high grit or sponge pads it can give a mirror finish. It’s only downside is the weight and that it is a little motor heavy
 

Doug71

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The Rotex can be a handful in geared mode, especially with a rough pad in but it is a great bit of kit.

The only thing you have to watch out for is the plug-it leads have a reputation for burning up on them, if it does you need to replace the lead and socket on the tool but it is easy to do. Mine did it, I thought it was the brushes going but it was the lead connection. Some people get them hard wired because of this although Festool have slightly changed the plug-it connector which is meant to cut down the problem. Lots online about it if you google it.
 

Ollie78

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For reference.
Triton do a rotex copy. I bought one for a quarter of the rotex price. Its pretty good really its quite beast in geared mode and quite heavy, it removes tons of material though. I tend to use it in non geared mostly. Never found any sandpaper that lines up with the holes but I use abranet anyway.
 
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