ROS - The size of the orbit

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 01-01-2011 07:05 PM 912 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4541 posts in 3071 days

01-01-2011 07:05 PM

I own a dual mode Festool sander (RO 125). This sander has taught me something and raised a question in my mind.

The sander has taught me how much the size of the orbit affects the work the sander does. With a large orbit (5 mm) the sander becomes a very aggressive remover of material, even with higher grit paper (120). With a smaller orbit (1 mm), the sander leaves a very nice, smooth finish, even with the same 120 grit paper. I’m very impressed with how much orbit size affects the sanders behavior.

The question is, “Why don’t conventional (one mode) sanders put more emphasis on orbit size?” In the specifications, I rarely see mention of the orbit size. I can envision owning 2 convention, single mode, ROSs – one with a larger orbit for aggressive material removal and one with a finer orbit for fine finishing.

It seems like most conventional ROSs are designed for some “middle ground”. I see market potential for the company that markets multiple sanders with different orbit sizes.

As a consumer, I think people should be paying more attention to the orbit size of the sanders they are buying (if they can figure out what they are).

I know that Bosch is now marketing a dual mode sander. My question is more focused on single mode sanders.

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

4 replies so far

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3538 days

#1 posted 01-01-2011 07:42 PM

I have a ridgid 6” and it had 2 orbits. An 1/8” and 1/4”. I love that sander. And you’re right, I thought nothing of orbit until I bought this one. Then FWW did reviews on ROS and they covered this issue some too. Not too sure why the other Mfg don’t emphasize orbits though….

-- Childress Woodworks

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4541 posts in 3071 days

#2 posted 01-01-2011 08:04 PM

I did not know that Ridgid made a dual mode sander. That’s probably because I very seldom go to HD.

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

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Steven H

1117 posts in 3056 days

#3 posted 01-01-2011 08:24 PM

I took a look at Festool finish sander the only difference is the pad sanding stroke and power. Not all single sander are the same, you have to look at the power and sanding stroke. It seems that 3 AMPS is the standard power, but the stroke is not.

Porter cable and Dewalt have 3/32 (3 AMPS)
Milwaukee 5” has 1/16 (3 AMPS)
Makita 5” has 1/8 (3.0 AMP)
Bosch 5’’ Palm Grip has 3/32’’ (2.2 AMPS)

ETS 125
5/64” (2 mm)
200 watts / 1.67 amps 120 v AC

ETS 150/3 EQ

1/8” (3 mm)
310 watts / 2.6 amps 120 v AC

ETS 150/5 EQ
3/16” (5 mm)
310 watts / 2.6 amps 120 v AC

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13603 posts in 3337 days

#4 posted 01-01-2011 08:34 PM

i used the festool dual
some time back
the aggressive orbit is not a complete circular
but a series of scallops
the smooth is a complete orbit overlapping

as the tool is slowing down
look at it in both modes
(up side down)
you should see what i mean

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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