Author Topic: ETS EC 150/5 vs. 3. Would a smaller grit size compensate for a larger stroke?  (Read 3124 times)

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Offline c_dwyer

  • Posts: 111
Hi All:
A quick question: I’m closing in on having enough for an ETS EC 150. I like the idea of having a finer stroke (3mm) to avoid the swirlies, but also wondering if I can get the same result with a 5mm stroke and simply go one or two grit sizes smaller in the papers. Perhaps this would allow me the versatility of removing a little more material when I need to on the coarse end without having to go the Rotex 150 route, which I can't afford both.

Any thoughts or advice? The critters I typically work with are oak, maple, walnut and occasionally bubinga, and sometimes vertical/overhead work.

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Offline Dovetail65

  • Posts: 4594
    • Rose Farm Floor Medallions and Inlays
If you can only have one sander get the 150/5  and just do as you say with finer grit sandpaper.
The one who says it can't be done should avoid interrupting the person doing it.

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 3988
If you can only have one sander get the 150/5  and just do as you say with finer grit sandpaper.

Me too.
I use the Mirka screens, and sometimes papers... A step finer seems right, but I cannot tell in quantifiable terms. I just know that when I get my eye right next to the wood it is very smooth after a 320grit.

Offline Nat X

  • Posts: 231
Not really. Whether or not you'll notice the difference in your application is a question only you can answer.

Offline RDMuller

  • Posts: 254
If sanding (scratching) finishes during the finishing processes is significant part of what you want to do, I would go with the 150/3 and use the reverse logic --- use courser papers to imitate the aggressive 150/5.  I have both only because I bought the 150/5 first.   

Also remember you can buy wonderful variety backs of papers from dealers online -- Tom Ballememere is one who I believe I used several years ago.  Tell him what you are trying to do  (more finishing, less rough sanding) etc.  and he will do a great job of giving you a mix. 

Offline bkharman

  • Posts: 1939

Also remember you can buy wonderful variety backs of papers from dealers online -- Tom Ballememere is one who I believe I used several years ago.  Tell him what you are trying to do  (more finishing, less rough sanding) etc.  and he will do a great job of giving you a mix.

Unfortunately we lost Tom almost 2 years ago. I am not sure in Bob Or Shane does packs like that but worth checking in with them. There is a sticky post on the dealers area to reach out.

Cheers. Bryan.


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Offline PeterK

  • Posts: 950
Oh my!  :'(
I had no idea Tom passed on. Was wondering about his postings. Such a great contributor here. Truly sad.

Offline Shane Holland

  • Festool Dealer
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  • Posts: 10127
    • The Tool Nut's Festool Store
I would also suggest getting the /3 rather than the /5 if you're most interested in the surface/finish quality. You can compensate for the smaller stroke to some extent with lower grits. Just remember the deeper the scratches, the longer you will need to spend on higher grits to remove them.

Shane
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Offline SRSemenza

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  • Posts: 8011
  • Finger Lakes Region, NY State , USA
If going with one, I too would get the /5. I am not sure that going a grit finer will actually make up for the stroke difference. But in the coarse direction I have found that at some point (somewhere below 80) the size of the grit starts to overwhelm the size of the stroke and reduce effectiveness.   You can get very good finish results with /5.  I personally think the /5 is more all purpose than the /3.  If you will be doing a lot of between coat sanding and not much below 80 grit then maybe /3.

Seth

Offline c_dwyer

  • Posts: 111
Thank you everyone, good points in either direction. Just to summarize, that was 3 recommendations for the 5 mm stroke, 2 recommendations for the 3 mm stroke, and 1 recommendation for it doesn't matter (whatever gets you there...).

True, I might not even be able to tell the difference, so a 5 is probably where I'll land.
Thanks again everyone!

Offline Grakat

  • Posts: 208
Hi there,

I got a 3mm stroke but my plan was to also get the Rotex, which has a 5mm stroke in non geared mode. So between the Rotex and my ETS150/3 I think My bases are covered.  [big grin]
Regards
Graham

Festool ETS150/3, TS55, CT26, DF500+ Domino set, PS300, HKC55

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 3988
Thank you everyone, good points in either direction. Just to summarize, that was 3 recommendations for the 5 mm stroke, 2 recommendations for the 3 mm stroke, and 1 recommendation for it doesn't matter (whatever gets you there...).

True, I might not even be able to tell the difference, so a 5 is probably where I'll land.
Thanks again everyone!

I was one of the /5 people.
Just again today I was using it.

But it is not like either is ill suited to either task.
It somewhat like arguing whether better the Ferrari is better than the Lamborghini...
I would not lose any sleep over it, but it is 66% better ;)

Offline ben_r_

  • Posts: 794
Since I pretty much only use my RO sander for finishing work the 150/3 was a an easy pick. Since purchasing I have never felt the need for anything more. Im glad I went with the smaller stroke.
If at first you don't succeed, redefine success!

Offline RussellS

  • Posts: 183
Since I pretty much only use my RO sander for finishing work the 150/3 was a an easy pick.

Agree.  I have the 3mm stroke sander.  I only use my random orbital sander for smoothing and finishing work.  I have a belt sander with various grits for grinding.  Use a different tool than a random orbital sander if you have to grind, smooth rough surfaces.  I've never believed one tool will do everything on earth the best.

Offline Eddy N.

  • Posts: 2
What I try to understand is the difference between them. Here is why:
when I have 2 machines, 1 with a 3 mm stroke and 1 with a 5 mm stroke, and both machines have lets say 180 grit (with the same pressure for comparising and the same amount of time), the scratches they will make are equal in depth, only the 5 mm stroke machine will make longer scratches. Right? To me it looks like because the machines have an Random Orbit, in the end there will no difference in scratch pattern due to the random orbit..... The only difference to me looks like that the 5mm stroke machine will reach that stadium quicker then the 3 mm stroke machine. Is this the right conclusion?

Who can help me out here?

Offline ben_r_

  • Posts: 794
What I try to understand is the difference between them. Here is why:
when I have 2 machines, 1 with a 3 mm stroke and 1 with a 5 mm stroke, and both machines have lets say 180 grit (with the same pressure for comparising and the same amount of time), the scratches they will make are equal in depth, only the 5 mm stroke machine will make longer scratches. Right? To me it looks like because the machines have an Random Orbit, in the end there will no difference in scratch pattern due to the random orbit..... The only difference to me looks like that the 5mm stroke machine will reach that stadium quicker then the 3 mm stroke machine. Is this the right conclusion?

Who can help me out here?
Yep, thats how I understand it.
If at first you don't succeed, redefine success!

Offline Steven Owen

  • Posts: 253
Don’t over think it too much until you find a customer that’ll tells you to “take it back” or “I’m not paying you because you used a 5 mm stroke to finish this table”. 

Most people can’t tell unless they have two boards with the same finish to compare.

I’m buying a 5 mm for my primary sander.  I have already bought the ETS 125 for the higher grits. 

ETS-EC/ Mirka Deros 5 mm for 80-180 grits.  ETS 125 2mm stoke for the 220 - 400 plus grits. 

You have some more affordable options from Bosch and Festool for 220 plus grits.  There’s no reason to stress out on the orbit size.  There is no one sander solution. 

I’ll probably add the DTS 400 for edge sanding.  I don’t like using random orbitals on edges less than 1 1/2 inches wide.  It’s hard to the spinning sander stable on narrow edges.  Orbitals are a better fit for edge sanding.

Orbital sanders can be used for end grain; block and shooting hand planes deliver vastly superior results on fragile end grain over powered sanders.   

You can also use a card scrapper for the final finish after using the 5 mm sander up to 150 grit.
 

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 3988
What I try to understand is the difference between them. Here is why:
when I have 2 machines, 1 with a 3 mm stroke and 1 with a 5 mm stroke, and both machines have lets say 180 grit (with the same pressure for comparising and the same amount of time), the scratches they will make are equal in depth, only the 5 mm stroke machine will make longer scratches. Right? To me it looks like because the machines have an Random Orbit, in the end there will no difference in scratch pattern due to the random orbit..... The only difference to me looks like that the 5mm stroke machine will reach that stadium quicker then the 3 mm stroke machine. Is this the right conclusion?

Who can help me out here?

A real professional and craftsman/woman will tell you that the 3-mm is preferred.

I have a 5-mm orbit DEROS and it looks stunningly good, but I almost always stop ~320. (Occasionally a bit higher). It may also depend on the wood you are using.

So IMO The 5-mm is not a bad way to go.
(I already have more sanders than I would prefer to have - but they all have a use.)
Sort of depends on what you are sanding (material and shape) as to what is a good sander and what is optimum.

Here are some more options for a smooth surface:
1) if it is mostly finish work, then get the 3-mm... (And know that it goes a bit slower on the lower grits)
2) I often use the "vacuum hosed Mirka hand block" to sand with the grain in the 240/320 range, which is usually something on the order of 1/2 minute per square meter.
3) get a scraper for finish work to 'bridge' from the 5-mm to smooth finish
4) get a hand plane, or scraper plane, to 'bridge' across.
5) use a linear sander when possible. (I.e. Belt sander for flat pieces like veneered panels)

Offline Tom Gensmer

  • Posts: 618
  • Residential Remodeler in Minnesota
This is a question I'm struggling with myself, so I'll pile on.

For my application, I may need to lightly sand ~700 lineal feet of 1x6 Maple once it has been passed through a thickness planer with a Byrd Shelix head. I already own a RO-150, but for this quantity of medium-->fine sanding I'd prefer something lighter but still in the 150mm pad size.

My painter has requested I deliver the material sanded to 150, so I plan on experimenting with whether I can go straight to 150 off the Shelix, or if I need a lower grit or two.

With the above information, would I be better off with the ETS EC 150 /3 or /5, sanding raw hardwood in the ~120-180 grit range?
Thanks!
CT-26, CT-MIDI, CT-36 AC, C-18, RO-150, RO-90, OF1010, OF-1400 (x2), MFK-700, MFK-700EQ/B, EHL-65, DTS-400, LS-130, MFT/3 (x2), MFT/Kapex (x3), CMS-OF, Sprinter full of Systainers

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 3988
...
With the above information, would I be better off with the ETS EC 150 /3 or /5, sanding raw hardwood in the ~120-180 grit range?
Thanks!

When I compared two sanders on an old pine bench, the difference in speed seemed linear with 1/(RPM*orbit).

I was comparing a 2.2 orbital with a 5-mm random orbital... The 5-mm took 60% of the time of the orbital, but it also is a lower RPM.
(The orbital also had some "piggly wigglys" left behind)

Have you considered a makita belt sander with the sanding frame that limits depth and using 180?
« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 07:50 PM by Holmz »

Offline Steven Owen

  • Posts: 253
This is a question I'm struggling with myself, so I'll pile on.

For my application, I may need to lightly sand ~700 lineal feet of 1x6 Maple once it has been passed through a thickness planer with a Byrd Shelix head. I already own a RO-150, but for this quantity of medium-->fine sanding I'd prefer something lighter but still in the 150mm pad size.

My painter has requested I deliver the material sanded to 150, so I plan on experimenting with whether I can go straight to 150 off the Shelix, or if I need a lower grit or two.

With the above information, would I be better off with the ETS EC 150 /3 or /5, sanding raw hardwood in the ~120-180 grit range?
Thanks!

If you’re pushing the wood through a Planer it’s gong to better to start at 80 grit.  The Shelix cutters are known for having a tiny amount of snipe.  You’ll have to start at 80 grit.  Unless you have a high end Planer, it would be very hard to start at 150 grit.