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Sander choices, Mirka / Festool / Other

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wobblycogs

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I'm in the market for my first decent sander and I can't decide between them. The plan is for the sander to live mainly in the workshop where it'll eat all manner of different types of wood at various levels of roughness from gnarly to rubbing down for the final finish. With any luck there's a fair bit of furniture to make in my future so mixture of smaller areas with some larger flat surfaces. I do some house restoration as well and I'm sure it'll be pressed into service there eating paint and plaster occasionally - my current experience of sanders and plaster isn't a happy one though so I'm loathed to feed my new machine that. I can only afford / justify one sander so it's going to have to be best all rounder I can afford.

I have a couple of bits of Festool (domino and belt sander) which I think are great and I'm sure there will be more green in my future (TS55 I'm looking at you :D ) but I can't say I'm all that impressed by the Festool sander offerings. Ok, that's not really fair, they look good but it seems a lot of people use a Rotex 150 for initial sanding and then switch to a ETS for finish sanding which puts it well outside my budget. I'm not all that keen on the feel of the Rotex in my hand either.

The Mirka CEROS / DEROS seems to be well liked but I get that little voice saying "you're doing something silly" every time I think about buying it. I don't know why, I think abranet is one of best products going and the CEROS / DEROS are well liked by people that have used them. I would probably go with the DEROS 5650CV as it has swappable 150 /125mm pads which I think would be useful. The separate transformer of the CEROS doesn't really bother me but it seems the DEROS is as good and doesn't need it. The thing I really like about the Mirka range is the ergonomics, it just feels right to have my hand over the centre of oscillation.

Does anyone have any experience of both? I'm open to suggestions to look elsewhere as well. I've got a few bits of Makita and Bosch Blue as well and both are fine if not quite Festool quality.

Cheers.
 

n0legs

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Tested all of the Mirka range and all are excellent.
My own is a Mirka air powered ROS and when it finally dies I'll be getting the Deros. I like the air powered a lot but it would be nice not have the compressor running.
 

RobinBHM

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I have just bought the 150mm mirka ROS, which was £199+vat with 5 boxes of abranet discs. I dont if these sort of deals are available with the electric sanders.

Ive never tried the electric version, but I understand they compare well with air, especially the dc version.

Ive just ordered a mirka air switch, so Im interested to see how well the sander is extracted and how much of an irritation the extraction and air pipe are when sanding.
 

petermillard

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Don't forget that there are two Festool 150mm ETS sanders - the 150/3 and 150/5 - with 3mm and 5mm orbits respectively; the 150/5 is a great general purpose sander, aggressive enough with lower-grit abrasives to strip away layers of paint, and gentle enough with P320 for final surface prep. There was a new model out last year with a brushless motor (ETS EC) so you may still be able to get the older model for a discounted price if you check around.

That said, it's hard to argue against the Mirka Deros with the dual pads as a good cost-effective solution, assuming a 5" option is useful for the work you do. Haven't used one, but I don't know anyone who's bought one and regretted it.

Cheers, Pete
 

wobblycogs

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I think the one thing most people would agree on is the air powered Mikra is great but I can't afford a compressor anywhere near big enough to run it (and then there's the running costs of a several horse power compressor as well).

Looking around about the cheapest place for the Deros seems to be Rest Express, I just fired off an email to them to see if they have a physical shop - by a stroke of good fortune they are just 20 minutes down the road from me. Talking in the region of £500 for the most appealing package which includes 200 pieces of media.

I'm not sure how useful the 5" option will be, I think it's one of those things that I'll find a situation where it really comes into it's own and I feel it was well worth the money.

Update... for some reason I'd been skipping over the ETS-EC but now I'm tempted. It looks very much like the Mirka but it's Festool, bit eye wateringly expensive though.
 

petermillard

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wobblycogs":3trm84js said:
.Update... for some reason I'd been skipping over the ETS-EC but now I'm tempted. It looks very much like the Mirka but it's Festool, bit eye wateringly expensive though.
It's about £360; rest express have the Deros bundle at £370, admittedly that comes with the 5" pad as well, but not miles apart. The older ETS 150/5 can be had for around £270, FWIW. I like the range of Festool abrasives, but you can use Abranet with an interface pad if you wanted to.

HTH Pete
 

Mr T

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I am very happy with the Ceros in my workshop. Previously I used a Festool, can't remember the model number. I find the Ceros better on a few counts; it's virtually dust free, it cuts well with no whorls, especially with Abranet, and the ergonomics are good. If you can get a deal with a Sustainer all the better as the egg box it comes in is shocking!

Here's a little review I did shortly after I got it http://www.christribefurniturecourses.com/index.php/review-mirka-ceros-650cv/

I have no experience with the Deros.

Chris
 

custard

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Sanders? It's all about dust extraction.

If you've already got a Domino then I assume you've got some sort of dust extractor that attaches (a Domino is designed to be operated only with dust extraction), so why not carry on with a Festool sander which will then be "plug and play"?
 

wide74

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I've tried Dewalt, Mirka and the Festool and I have to say the Festool is by far my favourite. They are great at dust extraction and if you buy the 125mm or 150mm you can still use mirka abranet discs which are cheaper than the Festool stuff and the extraction is second to none. I still use my dewalt ros for sanding rough stuff like plaster etc. but as soon as it comes to anything remotely 'precision' I automatically pick up the Festool. On a side note air powered or power pack sanders are a pain if you have to move around all the time.

Sanding is a chore. ....... buy the best sander and vacuum whichever path you choose or spend unhappy hours covered in dust! :)
 

powertools

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As a serious hobby woodworker and earning a living as the local handyman there is no way I could justify spending £100's on a powered sander but I did buy the Mirka hand sanding kit with a range of Abranet pads and dust extraction and although it was quite expensive it has been good so I would suggest that if you are happy to spend a lot on a sander go with the Mirka system.
 

Mike.S

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petermillard":26qmi60o said:
Don't forget that there are two Festool 150mm ETS sanders - the 150/3 and 150/5 - with 3mm and 5mm orbits respectively;
The Metabo SXE450 (which I have and recommend) has a button to switch between a 3mm and 6mm orbit - no need for 2 sanders! Connects to my Bosch vacuum with little dust escaping.

I'm also a big fan of Mirka, so would definitely consider their CEROS/DEROS offerings. Unfortunately, my use/budget doesn't justify their purchase but I've consoled myself with their hand version (80x230) which, combined with Abranet (rolls more economical) and my Bosch vac made easy work of flattening my plastered walls.
 

wobblycogs

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Thanks for the advice everyone.

I have the Mirka hand sanding kit and I think it's brilliant, it was one of the reasons I looked at their powered sanders.

I was pretty much set on the deros but over night I've been having a look at the ETS EC and I must admit I'm now very tempted. Custard sort of hit the nail on the head a couple of posts up. Although I have a domino I don't have a proper extraction system for it, I currently use a Henry and tape, but I've been meaning to get a better set up for a while. For a little more than the deros bundle I can get the ets ec + hose bundle which would also fit the domino (and maybe the belt sander). I have a feeling the convenience of the Festool system will win this battle in the end.
 

adidat

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I have the 150mm rotex which i use a couple of times a week, a fantastic sander! and its got 3 years warranty!

adidat
 

jimmy rivers

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The new Festool ETS EC is on my shopping list.

I have considered the CEROS but always been held back because of the separate transformer and therefore thought of more gubbins and cables cluttering up the benches. Mirka's Abranet is excellent, we use it for hand sanding applications with the extractable sanding blocks which do a great job at de-clogging the net. If you decide on the Festool and perhaps an Abranet backer/pad saver?...Let us know how you get on :D If you have a 'boom' style set up then the extra £'s on the hose kit is not really necessary imho

Peter does a good review of the ETS EC here...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zphGmjTlUo4

Cheers Jim
 

wobblycogs

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Advice threads like these almost never seem to get a final post and I'm always left wondering what the OP chose to do. So to avoid frustrating anyone finding this thread I thought I'd report back that I went for the Festool ETS EC 150/5.

I don't have much experience with good sanders but I've got plenty of experience with bad sanders and I would happily put the ETS in the excellent category. The dust extraction is unbelievable, in fact it's so good when when sanding a flat surface I suspect it might actually be improving the over all air quality. I saw a post where someone had complained that the dust extraction was poor because it didn't capture all the dust when he'd sanded the edge of a piece of 20mm MDF. I tried that exact experiment and as you'd expect not all the dust was captured but the vast majority was in fact I was very impressed how well it did.

This will probably come out wrong but the machine is heavier than you expect. By that I mean it's very dense, when you first pick it up you expect it to be the same sort of density as other power tools and it's not, there's clearly no spare space inside the case. In use you don't notice the weight though and you could comfortably use it upside down for extended periods. The shape fits the hand comfortably and the on off button is easy to reach. The speed control dial is recessed a little too deeply for my liking but that's a very minor complaint.

So far I've only tested the sanding on bare wood but it's been excellent. I'm finding at the moment that I'm generally using one grit down from what I would use by hand e.g if I'd use an 80 by hand I use a 120 with the sander. This is simply because of the speed of material removal. I bought a range of grits and I've tried then all out, the highest I have is a 220 and the finish it leaves is like silk.

If I had to pick fault there are two things that bug me. The plug-it connector and the hose adaptor are slightly too close together. I prefer to plug the hose in first because it requires a bit of a push but then the plug is tricky to twist, the other way around isn't much better. The other issue is that when the hose and lead are attached the sander doesn't sit flat on the bench. The problem here is that it tends to bend the pad and I suspect over time it would leave a permanent bend. Not the end of the world as the pad is consumable but I'd like to get as much life a possible from it.
 

davin

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Hello there.
Coincidentally I received my Mirka 150mm deros on Friday.
So far so good. I have been umming and aahing (?) for a while, but a rep bought one to my workshop and I went for it.
I have been using a Dewalt for a few years, but I have noticed that the weight of the machine is starting to make my finger joints ache. Some days I may be sanding for 2/3 hours.
I used the Mirka today and it's so smooth and quiet, but the greatest asset to me is the lightness.
I picked up my old dewalt after using the Mirka and I knew that I have done the right thing.
The festool must be about the same weight as my old machine. Ok maybe the weight helps to level out humpy boards, don't know. will let you know.
As an aside, my Milwaukee 18v drill/driver that I bought last July just packed up today. £350 on a new sander, now need to buy a new drill as well. You can't win. Lets see what Milwaukee after sales is like.....

Davin (proud Finn, now the owner of a bright yellow Finnish Mirka sander>>>)
 

Ed Bray

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I have a number of Festool Tools and I too have had issues with the plug it cord being too close to the dust extraction port. This is particularly relevant on the RO125 and even on the TS-55 Track Saw it doesn't have enough clearance. Strangely enough the smaller RO90 doesn't seem to suffer as badly in this regard.

What I discovered was that with the hose plugged in first the plug it attachment itself was too smooth to be able to grip with just finger and thumb and especially when new (when the socket is particularly tight) it is a pipper to fit the plug in. With the RO125, the position of the extraction port makes that particularly difficult even without the hose attached.

What I did was buy a couple of rolls of Ice Hockey Power Tape (I knicked the idea from Rob Cosman and have used it to good effect on all my screw up clamps) like this: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/400851526126? ... EBIDX%3AIT and a couple of layers of that on every plug it plug body makes them all very easy to fit with great grip. I have also tried other Hockey Tape, but it doesn't work as well as the power grip whether on your clamps or on anything else you need good grip.
 

petermillard

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I've found attaching the Plug-its left-handed makes a big difference, though its obviously much easier if you fit it before fitting the hose.
 

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