Random Orbital Sander Questions

Hey folks,
Got a few questions here about upcoming ROS purchase.
1) Variable speed: I noticed that this feature pushes the price close to double a fixed speed ROS. Is it worth it? When is it useful?
2) Hook & Loop or self-adhesive: What's the diff? Which is preferred?
3) 5-hole or 8-hole: What's the diff? Which is preferred?
I appreciate you insights here.
Thanks,
codepath
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Personal preference. Some people like the feature and some never use it.

Hook & Loop is by far more expensive than PSA "self-adhesive" IF you do a lot of sanding. If you are one that does not wear paper out very often and like to change grits often this may be your best choice. H & L is reusable. PSA is done when you remove it. If you find that you go through several pieces of the same grit paper before changing grits, the PSA is the better choice. There have been numerous complaints from many that use the Hook & Loop for long periods that the pad tends to melt with a lot of use and has to be replaced. Typically Hook and Loop is about 50-100% more expensive than the PSA paper. I prefer the PSA.

Normally the preferred one is the one most readily available or the cheapest. Some of the hole configurations tend to be hard to find and the price thends to be higher.
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I'll only speak to the hook/loop and 5/8 hole issue. I couldn't go back to a self stick if I had to. The H/L makes changing grits a breeze. I use a 5 holer and seem ok to me.
Vic

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the current model Ridgid variable speed. I prefer the variable speed, and find myself using it quite a bit, especially when sanding plywood or generally where you don't want to cut to much.
In general, I like the Ridgid a lot more than the PC, which broke after about 6 months of use.

Hook and Loop, but I find that it doesn't take long to wear these things out and can't really imagine going back and re-using an old one. So I'm gonna switch to PSA.

performance difference. I sometimes use old 5-hole paper with my 8-hole Ridgid and the reduced dust collection isn't a big deal for me.

I wouldn't buy another PC sander. I'd buy the Ridgid again without regrets. Matt

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WOW......I never thought I'd live to hear a statement like that :-) I feel quite faint.........I'd better lie down for a bit!
--
Jon Down
http://www.stores.ebay.com/jdpowertoolcanada
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Wasn't for me - went with a PC333 refurb for $39.

H&L for the weekend warrior when you're switching grits. PSA is more like a "one shot" deal and cheaper for production shops.

Depends on whether you ask PC or (Bosch, DeWalt, everyone else..) :) The only reason to pick 8 hole would be if you buy a lot of sandpaper at WalMart - they stock the 8 hole variety...
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Take a look at the Porter-Cable 733X series of sanders. They have the variable speed feature, dust pickup and a polishing head option. FWIW, the polishing head option works great for APPLYING the liquid wax, Not buffing it out! Get a cheap Harbor Freight buffer for that. I've used mine on my full-sized van and it really speeds the process up. I've noticed that the dust collection system adds a little hassle to the sanding given the stiffness and bulk of the vacuum hose. Use one of those Sears gagets and the vacuum will run only when the sander does. I only wish the PC had one of those brakes that slow the disk down which would prevent swirl marks when the sander first touches the wood.
Good Luck!

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That's because you are supposed to start the sander when it is already in contact with the wood. :-)
Jon~
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According to the descriptions of PC sanders at http://www.portercable.com/index.asp?eT7&p '68 all four 5in sander models have pad-control brakes.
PWɮTLMAN 4 wrote:

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wrote:

I didn't get the variable speed, although it may be useful to slow down sanding. I selected the single speed due to the cost difference. My belt sander has variable speed and I really like that feature, but belt sanders are much more aggressive than ROSes.

re-stick better, change faster, than the adhesive type. I'm not sure how the adhesive types can be re-used--perhaps stick the disks to wax paper?

Not much.

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PSA cannot be reused.. But I always see someone posting that PSA is slow to change... I have been using PSA since 1988 and cannot see how H&L is faster and I have used both. I simply tear a disk off a roll and put it on the sander. When it is worn out I pull it off. No problem. Is that too complicated for some people?
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SNIP

While it *might* be considered *complicated* for some people, I made an 'adapter' that lets me use BOTH on my PC 733X. Got a 12x12 sheet of H&L material from Klingspore. Cut out a 6in circle of 1/4in hardboard and sealed both sides & edge with water-based poly. A couple of coats. Glued the H&L to one side . . . and Bob's your uncle !!
Now, if I want to try {or need to use}PSA, I simply apply the 'adapter' as if it were a H&L disk and slap the 'Adhesive' disk on.
I like the Variable speed function because I use the sander for both HEAVY, course, material removal, and 'intermediate' preparation sanding. For 'final' prep, or finish sanding, I use a 1/4 sheet 'jitterbug' or a simple backing block, etc.
Regards & Good Luck, Ron Magen Backyard Boatshop
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