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Porter-Cable 390K ROS

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Review by TheDane posted 12-30-2009 09:28 PM 5659 views 1 time favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Porter-Cable 390K ROS No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

The Porter-Cable 390K 5” variable speed low profile Random Orbital Sander is a quality tool that delivers great performance.

The low profile makes this sander much easier to control than other, taller sanders. The motor used is a constant response motor, which keeps it from bogging down regardless of the amount of pressure you put on it. The 390K is the most aggressive sander I own (I also have sanders from Milwaukee, B&D, and Craftsman) in terms of the material it will remove, yet it has the least amount of vibration, and is the easiest to control. When compared to my other sanders using the same grit, scratching left by the 390K is negligible and almost undetectable.

And when turn it off, there is no ‘spin-down time’ waiting for it to stop, which speeds up disc or workpiece changes.

I have never used it with Shop Vac or dust collector, and have always found the built-in dust collection to be quite adequate (caveat: I do about 90% of my sanding outside).

The 390K is not cheap, but a wise man once told me “If you buy a quality tool, you may cry the day you pay for it, but if you buy a cheap tool, you will cry every time you use it”.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"




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TheDane

3864 posts in 2353 days



21 comments so far

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richgreer

4524 posts in 1764 days


#1 posted 12-31-2009 01:17 AM

Thank you for the review. Recently, I participated on a panel that was asked to review and opine on different tools offered by Black & Decker, Delta, Porter Cable and other brands they own. I remember trying out a series of random orbital sanders and, yes, there is a difference. Some sanders do little more than vibrate. Others do an effective job of removing material and providing a smooth finish. It does make a difference when picking out a sander (or any other tool). I like the wise may saying – it is so true.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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newTim

554 posts in 2296 days


#2 posted 12-31-2009 06:43 AM

Hey thanks for the review. I bought one of these when my old PC stopped working. Probaly due to last year’s cutting boards. Anyway this one really works great, even on endgrain. I thought it was working pretty good but it is hard to know how a tool compares to others. The vacuum hookup is my one big gripe on all these tools. You’d think they would make a hose connector that clicks on or is more secure. The Delta/PC tool’s sanding ports are just not compatible, even with their own stuff. I use a Fein vacuum and have to jam a PC hose in the port.

-- tim hill www.newcalshop.com

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Chris Wright

534 posts in 2171 days


#3 posted 12-31-2009 08:36 PM

I really liked this sander when I first saw it last year at IWF. I think I’d prefer it over a Festool.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

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Chris Wright

534 posts in 2171 days


#4 posted 12-31-2009 08:37 PM

I really liked this sander when I first saw it last year at IWF. I think I’d prefer it over a Festool.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

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TheDane

3864 posts in 2353 days


#5 posted 12-31-2009 09:08 PM

Everyone that has Festool products says they have a great line of tools, and if I depended on my tools for my livelihood I would surely consider Festool. But as an amateur with a limiited budget, Festool is way beyond what I can justify.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1797 posts in 1881 days


#6 posted 01-01-2010 10:47 AM

I bought the one down from this one, I like it but every time I turn it off I’d like to throw it aginst the wall!!!
Sometime earlier in the year (before I bought the one down) one of the wood magazines did a review of orbital sanders including the 390, your right every time I use my sander I could kick myself in the ass for not
paying the extra 40 bucks.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

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TheDane

3864 posts in 2353 days


#7 posted 01-01-2010 05:41 PM

Bob—I know what you mean. When I was getting ready to finish Christmas gifts, I loaded different grits in my sanders (they are all 8 hole H&L), and my Milwaukee drove me nuts waiting for it to spin down.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View JJohnston's profile

JJohnston

1586 posts in 1981 days


#8 posted 01-02-2010 04:54 AM

I’m on my second one of these. The first one shocked me (!) several times, and finally quit after one particularly nasty one. I thought it was static from the shop vac, but apparently not. The local PC/DW service center gave me another one, and it hasn’t shocked me. It’s quite a step up from my previous sander, a 1/4 sheet vibratory type. I found I had to get a female/female connector to fit it to my shop vac hose (Ridgid).

-- "Sometimes even now, when I'm feeling lonely and beat, I drift back in time, and I find my feet...Down on Main Street." - Bob Seger

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3675 posts in 1854 days


#9 posted 01-02-2010 06:20 PM

Gerald
Thanks for the review, I am in the market for one of these, and I thought I would pay a little more and try to get a good one. I am using an old 1/4 sheet Hitachi that won’t die. I am due for something a little easier to manipulate.

Work has been killing me lately, hard to get much done. Was hoping today and tomorrow I might get a little shop time, but it looks like a busy day in the hospital. Oh well. I think I will order one of these when I get back from Hawaii. Let me know how it holds up.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View mtkate's profile

mtkate

2049 posts in 2015 days


#10 posted 01-24-2010 05:42 AM

Recently, I have also been receiving small shocks from this sander – when my skin gets close to the dust bin after a few minutes of sanding. I figured it’s just static from the buildup? I am using the thing vanilla – no attachments to dust collectors. Just wondering if this is really a defect.

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Jim Bertelson

3675 posts in 1854 days


#11 posted 01-24-2010 07:10 AM

Kate
Sure sounds like static electricity. You are up north, and I assume using it indoors. Static electricity is a big deal here in Alaska, mostly in the winter, when the air is very dry due to heating up cold outside air. Ground yourself periodically and see if that helps. I have destroyed electronic devices from the static. I have signs around my computers to not wear socks, since we don’t wear shoes inside. It might be your shoes, socks, floor or whatever, and the sander and its motion. That doesn’t sound like a tool problem. Look at static first, tool second.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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mtkate

2049 posts in 2015 days


#12 posted 01-24-2010 07:26 AM

That certainly sounds right. I have been making a point to stop and ground myself (touch something) while sanding which seems to help.

I am definitely using it indoors… though today you would think we were having a spring thaw.

Thanks for the feedback.

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TheDane

3864 posts in 2353 days


#13 posted 01-24-2010 04:42 PM

Sounds like ESD (electrostatic discharge).

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View JJohnston's profile

JJohnston

1586 posts in 1981 days


#14 posted 01-24-2010 06:20 PM

Well, I don’t know, but I can tell you that when mine was shocking me, it was up near where you hold onto it, not at the back – BUT I could also feel static all along the shop vac hose. I don’t feel either with the replacement. The shocks also got steadily worse until the “big one”, so that’s something to look out for.

-- "Sometimes even now, when I'm feeling lonely and beat, I drift back in time, and I find my feet...Down on Main Street." - Bob Seger

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mtkate

2049 posts in 2015 days


#15 posted 01-24-2010 06:34 PM

JJohnston – was hoping you were still following the thread. Did they tell you the possible root cause for it? I still think it’s ESD but just in case – I want to watch out.

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