Old sander broke. What do I want?

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I'm not a real woodworker, but every once in a while I build a shelf unit or some other "box with face frame" level of project. Up until last week I used a palm sander that I've had for maybe 15 years. It was nothing special, but seemed adequate for my low level use.
It died.
I see a lot of these random orbit units, mostly 5". They seem to all use hook and loop paper. I have questions.
Is the 5" size too small? It's no smaller than my palm sander was, but if I'm buying something new anyway...
Is hook & loop the only option, or are there decent sanders that use regular paper? Which do you prefer?
Are there any particular models you recommend? I'm hoping to get something for under $100.
Thanks in advance.
Greg Guarino
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Palm and orbital are really different animals. The orbital will take off more material but with a light hand it can do generally the same job as a palm and is therefore more versatile.
Hook and loop is the way to go. The pad portion on th sander can be replaced after it wears out. Your other option is the stickem variety and not good. No one has invented a way to use regular paper on a round orbital yet that I have seen.
All things being equal, go for the most amps you can get for the dollar.

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SonomaProducts.com wrote:

You must be a young whippersnapper... All round (random) orbitals used regular paper discs held on with a non-setting adhesive that came in a tube shaped much like a smallish toothpaste tube. Strangely enough it was known as sanding disc adhesive, and available at any place that sold the discs, sanders (air powered) or pads. You spread the adhesive on the pad, waited for it to dry to medium tack and pressed on the paper. The adhesive would last through several paper changes mostly depending on how long between changes. Working as a bodyman and painter in an automotive body shop, I probably went through a few thousand discs before I left the industry. During normal days, you might make it a couple of days before having to clean off the adhesive and reapply it, but it was certain to change on Monday morning. The pads were a sort of canvas like material before the advent of PSA type discs. Still have one around here somewhere... Back in the day, the popular brand was Devilbiss (like for spray guns) and then Rodac took over for a while. [sigh] So much for the trip down memory lane.
If you really want to experience it like we "usta do", get some spray contact cement like 3M 77, spray a standard PSA pad with some, spread it out with your finger and wait for it to tack up, then press on the paper. Trim around the edge to make it round if you don't have any disc shaped (non PSA, non H&Loop) around and you're off to the races, so to speak. How to get it off? Well, if you do it soon enough, it will pull off just like PSA. If not, you just whip out the torch, fire it up and briefly heat the surface of the paper (it will typically turn brown, or black if you over do it. Fairly quickly, while the adhesive is still warm, pull off the old paper and apply new. You can keep this on for quite a while before you need to replace the adhesive...
Oh, you ask, does it work with PSA also? Yep, you betcha. Got some old PSA paper that just doesn't want to stay on? A quick spray, spread and wait cycle and the paper will stick until you want it off!
However, to answer the original poster's question, which sander to buy is dependent on how long you want it to last. Which pad is how much time you want to invest in changing discs. With H&L, you can whip through the grits pretty fast, and re-use them without major problems. With PSA, you either need a separate pad (and/or sander) for each grit you use, or you need some place to stick the discs to when you change grits. Not all that convenient, and the pressure sensitive glue on the back of the discs gets contaminated with sawdust and the like, so they don't work for more than a change or two. Personally, I use H&L with a 5" pad for 60 through 150 grits, and have dedicated units with PSA pads for 180, 220, 320 and 400 grit. As I'm doing turning, I don't need random action heads and just use Milwaukee angle drills as the units, and built up sponge padded heads with naugahide surfaces for the PSA pads. Works quite well.
For flat surfaces, an ancient random orbit air sander with (now) 5" pad, down from the 6" I used in the bodyshop days, and all is well.
--Rick
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"Greg Guarino" wrote:

5" will get a lot of work done.
If you are an ocassional user as you suggest, it will certainly be acceptable.

Your choices are H&L and PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive).
H&L paper is slightly more expensive by a small amount.
Personally, I prefer H&L since trying to keep a PSA surface clean is more of a PITA than I am willing to accept.
Lew

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Agreed on all of Lew's points. The stick 'em discs suck. If you forget once to take it off, you'll spend more time cleaning the pad than sanding your next project. Going with an outfit like:
http://www.stockroomsupply.com /
It is possible to stock your sandpaper needs for years to come pretty darned cheaply.
About 15 years ago I bought a Sears Industrial 4.5" model and quickly converted it to H&L. About a year ago, I replaced the pad. It runs every bit as it should and does a great job. I think all of theirs are H&L and 5" these days.
Ed
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"Ed Edelenbos" wrote:

Very pricey.
Lew
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Where do you buy?
Ed
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"Ed Edelenbos" wrote:

Klingspor.
Buy boxes of 100/grit/box.
Have them shipped UPS.
Lew
PS: Sometimes need to buy more than one box to meet minimum order.
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Ah... I don't need anywhere near that quantity. For what I need, Stockroom is fine. And, sometimes more time is spent trying to save money than money is saved. (If that makes sense.)
Ed
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The absolute best one ? MILWAUKEE ! I've got a DeWalt and a Porter Cable and they don't come close . Incredible as it seems , the MILWAUKEE cost $69.00 and comes with a case .
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On Mon, 30 Mar 2009 18:01:35 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Gene Tracy) wrote:

...I'd say Milwaukee simply on the basis of every other product of theirs that I own...goooood stuff. That said my 5" ROS broke down the other day (it's a Porter Cable and has been worked to death...RIP, it did a good job!) and I ended up combining a couple of trips and stood in front of the Home Depot display. I walked out with the Rigid (for 69 bux)...curiosity drove the purchase (I know Rigid makes a pretty decent product, so was reasonably sure the sander wouldn't be *bad*), got it home, hooked it up and was pleasently surprised...at least I know it's a step or two above my dead PC. I like the ergonomics and the speed adjustment was a nice, new (to me!) touch. Takes 8 hole paper but I've been using universals for awhile so that was no prob...
cg
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The Home Depot Ridgid line is spotty at best. For instance, their 6" ROS, the 2610, was made by Metabo in Germany and is an excellent sander. It was superseded (improved????) by the 6" 2611, which by all accounts sucks canal water. They look very similar, but it is another typical example of some MBA in some engineering dept came up with a 'better' way to make an extra few dollars per sander by sending the job off-shore. Conversely, Sears Craftsman had a router built by Bosch which is a good router, not cheap, but a good piece of equipment. You just have to learn to flip over rocks and see what crawls out from under.
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Hear hear on the Milwaukee products. Porter Cable is a mere shadow of its former self, mostly inferior stuff these days. DeWalt is also highly overrated in my opinion. Both those brands meant something 20 years ago, now they're marketing companies. The spot those guys filled back then are now handled by the Festool, Fein, and Milwaukee brands, with a few others. True professional grades. I absolutely love Milwaukee routers... especially the big fella.
I wonder how much money I have spent figuring some of that out. The other day, I was at my old shop, and looked at the 25-year old Porter Cable production router. All cast, big heavy brute. Then they were replaced with the 'new 4.2" motors, and they weren't so great anymore. Then they dropped another couple of plasticized notches. Now they're good for 6-months to a year. Not 3-5 years. (Keep in mind these run all day.)
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Isn't Milwaukee primarily build overseas now? That's what I was told and it played a large part in my buying a number DeWalt cordless tools. My previous cordless drill (a 12v model bought about 15 years ago) *was* a Milwaukee and was a decent tool.
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Greg Guarino wrote: ...

...
I'd recommend the 5" for casual/occasional use.
I'm partial to the PC although I don't like the new revisions as well as those of roughly 10 years ago. But, if you only use it occasionally for relatively short periods at a time you'll probably not ever observe the primary problem of the pad "brake" -- it's just an o-ring around a fixed stud. W/ continuous use the friction heats the sucker to the point of discomfort and fries bearings early. I remove it first thing on a new one.
As opposed to the other two earlier posts, I prefer the PSA for the bulk of the work although if one changes grits frequently H&L has some advantage. Again, for light/infrequent use, the cost of abrasive is probably of no concern but H&L is roughly 50% more than PSA and w/ heavy use it adds up.
I keep about three and have both H&L and PSA pads for at least two of them so can simply switch at a whim depending on what am doing at the time.
Overall, they're basically throwaway items -- if at all possible go to a place and handle them; comfort and feel and convenience of on/off switch is a biggie. I personally haven't found any other that is nearly as comfortable ergonomically as the PC and its knockoffs. Many of the others are taller, have sharper corners, lousy switch designs or other pita details...
--
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"dpb" wrote:

If you pay a 50% premium for H&L, somebody saw you coming.
I use 6" on a Bosch 3727 and last time I bought paper, 60 grit and finer was less than $25/100 (std box) for H&L.
Maybe you need to find a new source.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

Klingspor, typically. Been a while since needed to reorder I checked--seems closer than I recalled at the moment; about 25-30% differential. Not huge unless use a lot as we were when prepping the barn...
--
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"dpb" wrote:

I use Klingspor.
100pc/grit/box are less than $25/box for 6" H&L.
The only exception is 40 grit which is maybe $26-$28/box.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote: ...

...
I've never found a catalog number for H&L for more than 50/box at Klingspor (nor for Mirka from Woodworkers Supply or others as well) -- that's part of the problem making the price differential ime.
It does seem that the differential isn't as great as was from a number of years ago when were going thru so much, though...hard to believe that was 5 years ago now--where _does_ the time go??? :)
--
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"dpb" wrote:

That's retail.
They have an industrial section if you order as a business.
Lew
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