Festool Owners Group

FESTOOL DISCUSSIONS => Festool Tool Reviews => Topic started by: Neal W on June 26, 2017, 08:55 AM

Title: Festool RO150 (the older one), first real experience....
Post by: Neal W on June 26, 2017, 08:55 AM
I purchased an older model Festool RO150 Rotex sander eariler this spring.  It had minimal use by its previous owner.  This past Saturday and Sunday I had a chance to put it through it's paces on the cabinet project I'm currently building.  Primarily I used it to sand the drawer boxes and door and drawer fronts in preparation for finishing.  My impressions.

1.  Rotex Mode

Good grief, hold on for dear life this thing will get after it and then some.  You had best make sure whatever it is you are sanding is clamped down and not able to go anywhere.  That plus 120 flattened things out quite nicely and very quickly.  It will eat and eat some more.  Used it with the hard pad, too, I'm sure that makes a difference.  I've used low end belt sanders in the past and this thing will keep up with one of those and then some. 

But this is why I purchased it.  I needed something that was aggressive and would remove material and even out surfaces, and it does just that.  I was just surprised how much effort I had to use to just hold on.  Early on it wanted to skip and bounce, but I soon got it under control, turned the speed down a little bit and things went well.

2.  Random Orbit Mode.

It handles very well.  It is a little "tail heavy" which requires you to put more pressure on the head of the sander to keep it level.  It handles much differently than my ETS 150/3 which is so easy to control and so smooth to operate.  But it was easy to use in the Random orbit mode.  By the time I got through the 220, the sanded surface was wonderful.

The end result was exactly what I wanted.  Went from 120-150-180-220 to prep for finish (drawer boxes will be polyed, doors and drawer fronts will be painted black).  It made for relatively quick and efficient work. 

All in all I am very pleased with this sander.  (Of course, I have not had a bad or even underwhelming experience with a festool product, yet.)  It was money well spent.  (my only gripe is that it isn't in a T-Loc Systainer, just don't like the old style). 

Side note, the granat paper is wonderful too.  Seems to last forever. 
Title: Re: Festool RO150 (the older one), first real experience....
Post by: magellan on June 26, 2017, 09:06 AM
I have the Rotex 150 E also.  I purchased mine in 2004.  It has proven well over the yrs.  I would buy another tomorrow if this one goes.  Great machine.  Although I hope it doesn't.  Enjoy the power of the new to you 150
Title: Re: Festool RO150 (the older one), first real experience....
Post by: leakyroof on June 26, 2017, 09:50 AM
Congratulations on your Rotex.  Yes, a handful in Rotex mode, but worth the effort. I think the smaller 5"/ 125mm sander is harder to control in Rotex Mode than the 150 model, but that's just me... [embarassed]
Title: Re: Festool RO150 (the older one), first real experience....
Post by: Jim Metzger on June 26, 2017, 06:06 PM
I would suggest you learn to control / balance from the rear, at the hose connection, rather than pushing down on the front. It is a fantastic sander.
Title: Re: Festool RO150 (the older one), first real experience....
Post by: T. Ernsberger on June 26, 2017, 09:06 PM
I had a ro150e for years and it was a great sander,  I sold it when I got a really good deal on a ro150req.  On ly major difference is the ro150e is 500w where the ro150req has 750w.
Title: Re: Festool RO150 (the older one), first real experience....
Post by: SS Teach on July 28, 2017, 11:37 PM
I just spent 7 hours with mine in the warm California sun. I started in beast mode with 40 grit. Had to use both hands. Worked my way up to 220. But the redwood boards are beautiful. Hooked up to my CT it was dust free. It's a pleasure to use. You're right it's money well spent. But I can say that about all my Festools. I borrowed a friends 125 for a week bouncy bouncy. I let him try the 150. His comment was "I gotta get one of these.
Title: Re: Festool RO150 (the older one), first real experience....
Post by: aloysius on July 29, 2017, 12:22 AM
I've had mine about 20 years or so.  I believe it's format (150mm) is the pick of all the Rotex family.  Yes, sometimes it's difficult to control.  Atop a ladder stripping weatherboards it's downright dangerous, with the papers slipping between the boards & wrenching the tool from the operators grip!  Feathering the speed and juggling the pad & paper selection helps, but doesn't eliminate the characteristic.  The later version offers pad edge protectors to alleviate this, but in doing so effectively precludes access to those board interfaces.

If you think that the RO 150 is a bit of a handful, the smaller iterations are worse.  The smaller pad footprint of the 125 & 90 make the jumping phenomenon more pronounced, which when combined with the tall profile & "compromised" ergonomics of the RO 90 in particular makes for an all but unusable tool that will behave erratically & unpredictably in rotary mode.  To try to minimise the damage wrought by this particularly nasty little beast one requires a two-handed death-grip and much less aggressive abrasive grits that obviously won't perform the required task as efficiently.  For delicate work like multipane windows in situ, staircase renovation or valuable antique or delicate furniture it's all but useless, ironic considering this is supposedly the tool's forte!  The 150 by contrast, when setup to perform at its best, requires a much less tiring & more efficient, looser two-handed stance to control which is less likely to damage substrates.

The RO 150's best features are its excellent dust extraction & pad system, with the 3-way combo of soft, medium & hard densities providing an appropriate degree of resilience for most contingencies.  The 2 keyways on the shaft & beefy M8 grub screw offers positive & secure location:  the later model with bayonet pad fitting will eventually loosen its pad grip.  One operator I know was so frustrated with his pads regularly falling/vibrating off his machine that he needed to resort to the extreme measure of gluing his pads on!  The downside of a screwed pad is that the grub screw will over time allow minute dust & resin into the screw threads, which with time & heat will effectively "seize" the screw into its thread, creating a type of artificial "Loctite".  Occasional loosening & retightening the grub screw eliminates this phenomenon.

The pad format allows interchange between other Festo/ol (ETS) pads & other brand's products too, meaning that you're not restricted to the Festo/ol 9+ hole sandpaper system, and that you can also use (with appropriate pad protectors to save your velcro hooks) the brilliant Mirka & DeWalt Abranet & Webrax discs too, plus generic 6-hole papers such as may be found at any half decent hardware store.

Aside from the pad protectors, I feel that the change to the newest style Rotex was actually a step backwards in design.
Title: Re: Festool RO150 (the older one), first real experience....
Post by: Neal W on July 31, 2017, 10:11 AM
Thanks for the input.  The more I use it the more I like it.  It is becoming my "go to" sander for the larger surface area projects.  Don't know if I've even had the ETS 150/3 out of the box since I've started using the Rotex.
Title: Re: Festool RO150 (the older one), first real experience....
Post by: aloysius on July 31, 2017, 08:28 PM
I'm sure your ETS is a superior fine finishing sander to the Rotex. That super-fine 3mm eccentricity would also be better for intermediate sanding between finish coats too, whereas the Rotex could be a mite too aggressive for grits > 240.