The hardest dust for me to breathe is the fine stuff that comes out of the orbital sander. I have used the Porter Cable Model 333 for about 10 years now, and have done a lot of sanding with it. I am sure there are better, more expensive sanders, but I like it, at least so far.
Here is a photo showing my collection.
The one I bought two years ago (gray one with yellow tinted lacquer overspray on it) is now dead, but I keep it around for parts
The sander from 10 years ago (black one) is still going strong, only needs a new belt on the bottom pad stabilizer. If the new one only lasts as long as the last one I bought, this will be the last P/C sander I buy. I already made that decision on P/C routers a year ago, but that is another story, and I hate to spoil my chances of a corporate sponsorship, ha!
The new sander has a bigger more awkward body than previous versions, and I don't feel that the dust collection canister works as good as it did on the previous two sanders. It comes with a new o-ring design that leaks dust like a sieve. Why can't they just leave "good enough" alone? I figure it must be "management's fault."
Anyway, I decided it was time to get a new sander last week, and so I bought the new one shown here, as it was cheaper than the Dewalt, and I thought it would last longer than a Ryobi.
Why P/C gave me the real nice plastic case to go with it is beyond me, just something else to store somewhere in a small shop. I say, "save the plastic next time."
The sander does work great so far, except that it has a lot of dust that shoots out of the o-ring connection to the hard dust canister. I had high hopes that the new, bigger and more awkward style canister would work better on this new body, but it doesn't. After a dusty 5 minutes of sanding with it, I decided to convert it over to the vacuum system I used on the last sander.
About 3 years ago, I looked at the Fein sander in a photo and purposed to figure out how to connect my shop vacuum up to the Porter Cable. You would think the wise folks at Black and Decker- P/C would figure out how to make this adaption easy for us, but they don't.
Since I spent some cynical years arguing with management as an engineer, I'm sure the engineers had a solution they were trying to use, but either marketing wouldn't allow it, or Management said it would cost too much, but I'm just guessing. So, the P/C sander has to be rigged up to a vacuum on your own.
As I was converting my new sander to the dust collection system set-up this week, I decided to take some photos and show what I did.
It is simple and inexpensive, I just bought a Shop Vac brand "Universal Adapter", and cut everything off of it except the one diameter section that fit on the back of the sander dust tube.
Then, I bought some inexpensive black flexible hose, I think it is called Sump-Pump hose at places like Lowe's and Home Depot and connected it with the "Universal Adapter" section to the sander dust tube.
On the opposite end of the hose I added a 2-1/2" to 1-1/4" Shop Vac brand adapter with a hose clamp, hooking it easily to the standard 2-1/2" vacuum hose.
Honestly, (I'm not getting any money from this-but I would accept some) there is no visible dust when I am using the sander and running the vacuum at the same time.
As I was writing this tonight, I saw that I needed a photo of the "Conversion Unit" end of the vacuum hose and a shot of the industrial vacuum I use, so I will add that another night, I'm tired and headed to bed.
Conversion Unit, 2-1/2" to 1-1/4"
Shop Vac Catalog Number: 906-85-00
Here is a link to the universal adapter that I used to make this work:
Don't breathe that dust,
(copyright 5-31-2007 M.A. DeCou, photos and text protected)
-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com