6 inch orbital sanders. Need advice.

My biggest problem with belt sanders is their weight and their need for two hands. I've never used a 6 inch orbital sander but they look like they might be a good choice to replace the belt sander. Anyone using these big orbitals?
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On Sun, 19 Oct 2003 12:00:46 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahooo.com wrote:

An orbital can not really replace a belt sander. An orbital sander is closer to a finishing sander than a belt sander. I don't see any hand-held machine that can replace a belt sander--sometimes you just absolutely NEED a belt sander. Belt sanders usually require two hands on for best control. The weight is acutally a good thing--it helps with the sanding.
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I don't know. I have one of the larger Porter Cable right angle type orbitals that takes either 5" or 6" disks, depending on the pad and counterweight currently mounted. Don't have any idea of the model number, as I'm not close to the tool, but it was well over $100 some years back.
I have used it quite a bit for renovation projects on my old house. Used it sand old oak hardwood floors, first in a 10'x4' closest, and more recently in a 6'x6' bathroom. Both spots were a bit too small for a typical drum type floor sander, but the PC orbital did the trip. Used custom cut, blue zirconia 36 grit disks, that I made up from some belt stock bought from a local abrasives vendor. Turned the sander up to its max setting, screwed in the helper handle on the side, and really leaned into the job. Worked like a charm, although I received a full workout in the process. Then, worked up through 50, 80 and 120 self adhesive disks before starting finishing. For the smaller bathroom, I did try my recently purchased Porter 3x21 belt sander, but found the belt clogged up too quickly from the old finish. The orbital was far quicker in this application.
Have also used the PC orbital outside to feather old paint on my siding clapboards. It has taken every bit of abuse that I can dish out and has never complained. Wish all tools were this good. On the downside, there is no provision for dust collection. Either wear a mask or go into respiratory distress. ;-)
Uh yeah, I occasionally use it for fine finishing work.
David Glos
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On Sun, 19 Oct 2003 12:00:46 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahooo.com wrote:

    I use one. I have had good experience with it. The experience you have will depend on what you're using it for.
    Belt sanders and ROSs sometimes overlap in their uses but are not completely interchangable. They are two different machines for two different uses.
    If you expect a ROS to take material off with the same speed as a belt sander, you will be disappointed. If you expect a belt sander to do as smooth of a job as a ROS you will be disappointed.
    To get a better answer to your question, you need to tell us what jobs you want the sander to do.
    BTW, a good 6" ROS will require two hands most of the time also.
            Peter
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ACK.

There's this Festool Rotex 6" ROS which combines preliminary sander, fine sander and polisher. I never used it but it gets excellent comments, for example http://www.festool-usa.com/portando/artikel/artikel_weiterleiten.cfm?id25 http://www.woodshopdemos.com/fest-14.htm

I have a Festool ES 150/3 6" ROS and use it with one hand all the time. It's an great tool!
Feel free to contact me for any specifics.
Regards,
Christian
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