Author Topic: Sander orbit - /3 or /5  (Read 1661 times)

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Offline ss

  • Posts: 9
Sander orbit - /3 or /5
« on: October 03, 2017, 05:59 PM »
I think I've narrowed down my choice of a new sander to the ETS EC 150, but I'm struggling to find understand what would make me choose between the /3 and /5 orbit size.

This will be my only sander, and it's for evening and weekend use rather than professional.

The primary function will be for finishing cabinet surfaces and edges before painting, and for smoothing between coats of paint. Quality of the end result (particularly given my probable lack of much sanding skill or experience!) is the most important consideration for me.

Any advice gratefully received!

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Offline ben_r_

  • Posts: 1142
Re: Sander orbit - /3 or /5
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2017, 06:33 PM »
Finishing you say? Go with the 3mm stroke. Ultimately they will both do the same thing. The 5mm will just do it a little quicker/"rougher". If youre going to have just one and you want to also use it for any finishing work, the 3mm will be perfect.
If at first you don't succeed, redefine success!

Offline c_dwyer

  • Posts: 142
Re: Sander orbit - /3 or /5
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2017, 08:02 PM »
Hi there @ss welcome to the FOG! I posted a similar question last month, and this thread might help you decide as well.

http://festoolownersgroup.com/festool-tools-accessories/ets-ec-1505-vs-3-would-a-smaller-grit-size-compensate-for-a-larger-stroke/msg521117/#msg521117

Good luck!

Offline aloysius

  • Posts: 321
Re: Sander orbit - /3 or /5
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2017, 08:36 PM »
A finishing sander is just that:  perfect for that final whisk of abrasion just before & between coats of lacquer, paint, oil or wax.  It would be frustratingly slow for just about any other task, however, irrespective of the coarseness of grit used.

Coarser sanders with bigger orbits will finish, but as previously stated will require finer grits for similar results to a finisher.  It will, however, be much, much faster in performing just about all other roles.

If you really must have just one sander for a multiplicity of tasks, then perhaps as an alternative Metabo's SXE 450 Turbo might uniquely serve your needs.  On its smaller orbital setting (2.8mm) it will be one of the finest finishing random orbit sanders available, whereas on the wider setting (6.2mm) it will perform all other duties faster than most of its peers, the Mirka 150/8mm & Rotex type tools excepted.

It has standard hardware store type 6 hole pads available in addition to Festo style 9 hole equivalents & multi-hole versions for specialised Abranet & Webrax type abrasives too, in a variety of OEM& aftermarket densities.  As an additional bonus, all kit including both tool & consumables are available at a mere fraction of any Festool equivalent/s.

Every user, including commercial & educational establishments, that I've spoken to literally sings it's praises.  Extraordinarily adaptable & diverse capabilities in a single tool.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2017, 08:44 PM by aloysius »
FOG-wit since '95:  Some say since birth...

Offline SS Teach

  • Posts: 285
Re: Sander orbit - /3 or /5
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2017, 08:51 PM »
Welcome to the FOG. Only one Festool sander?  That's what I and many others thought in the beginning. I ended up with 5. It just happened. A new project cropped up and another sander appeared. Welcome to the slippery slope, good luck and enjoy your new  sander(s).
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Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3600
Re: Sander orbit - /3 or /5
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2017, 03:57 PM »
I still use my ETS-EC 150/5 for finishing tasks, and it produces a satisfactory finish.  It's only when I'm going super high grit (400+) that I find the 3mm stroke makes a noticeable difference.

The advantage of the 5mm sander is that it will serve you well for ordinary sanding tasks beyond just finishing, whereas the 3mm can be a bit slow when doing large surfaces.  But as has already been mentioned, many people have said they only want one sander, and most of those people end up with another systainer pretty quickly.
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Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 4010
Re: Sander orbit - /3 or /5
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2017, 05:28 PM »
I don't have an ETS/EC 150 but the DEROS is much the same in a 5-mm stroke.
Both are great.

In my experience you would be better off with the 3x8" Mirka hand block for the edge work. It has a vacuum attachment and does way better than a using random orbital doing some gymnastics effort like on a balance beam...

It also works for a linear finish touch on panels.
Festool has a similar hand block, and the longer model works best for edges.

Offline ss

  • Posts: 9
Re: Sander orbit - /3 or /5
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2017, 03:22 PM »
Thanks to all for your thoughts. Very helpful. (And thanks for the "so you think you're only buying the one, do you?" - you may well be right!)

Offline Steven Owen

  • Posts: 409
Re: Sander orbit - /3 or /5
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2017, 03:29 PM »
I still use my ETS-EC 150/5 for finishing tasks, and it produces a satisfactory finish.  It's only when I'm going super high grit (400+) that I find the 3mm stroke makes a noticeable difference.

The advantage of the 5mm sander is that it will serve you well for ordinary sanding tasks beyond just finishing, whereas the 3mm can be a bit slow when doing large surfaces.  But as has already been mentioned, many people have said they only want one sander, and most of those people end up with another systainer pretty quickly.

Have you used your 5 mm for sanding between finsh coats?  Do you find it too aggressive?
Festool CT Midi, Festool ETS 125, DF 700 Domino Coming Soon

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 4010
Re: Sander orbit - /3 or /5
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2017, 06:11 PM »
I still use my ETS-EC 150/5 for finishing tasks, and it produces a satisfactory finish.  It's only when I'm going super high grit (400+) that I find the 3mm stroke makes a noticeable difference.

The advantage of the 5mm sander is that it will serve you well for ordinary sanding tasks beyond just finishing, whereas the 3mm can be a bit slow when doing large surfaces.  But as has already been mentioned, many people have said they only want one sander, and most of those people end up with another systainer pretty quickly.

It depends...
Finish coats of what?

Usually the /5 is used, asI have move away from the 1/2-sheet for the finish work.
I have been using the Mirka hand pads and with the screens - going with the grain, as they have been handy for between coats on varnish. Basically I can follow an edge like a ski in a track.

Have you used your 5 mm for sanding between finsh coats?  Do you find it too aggressive?

Offline Steven Owen

  • Posts: 409
Re: Sander orbit - /3 or /5
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2017, 06:26 PM »
I still use my ETS-EC 150/5 for finishing tasks, and it produces a satisfactory finish.  It's only when I'm going super high grit (400+) that I find the 3mm stroke makes a noticeable difference.

The advantage of the 5mm sander is that it will serve you well for ordinary sanding tasks beyond just finishing, whereas the 3mm can be a bit slow when doing large surfaces.  But as has already been mentioned, many people have said they only want one sander, and most of those people end up with another systainer pretty quickly.

It depends...
Finish coats of what?

Usually the /5 is used, asI have move away from the 1/2-sheet for the finish work.
I have been using the Mirka hand pads and with the screens - going with the grain, as they have been handy for between coats on varnish. Basically I can follow an edge like a ski in a track.

Have you used your 5 mm for sanding between finsh coats?  Do you find it too aggressive?

For outdoor furniture, Marine varnish is the finish of choice. 
Festool CT Midi, Festool ETS 125, DF 700 Domino Coming Soon

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3616
Re: Sander orbit - /3 or /5
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2017, 06:45 PM »
For sanding cabinet edges a 5" sander would be better and for sanding between coats the smaller orbit would be better.

Unless productivity is most important I'd go with a 125/3 sander.

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 4010
Re: Sander orbit - /3 or /5
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2017, 07:04 PM »
...
For outdoor furniture, Marine varnish is the finish of choice.

Righteo.
I use the 5-mm, but only because I have it and am not eager to use the Bosch.

For the last job it was edging, and I used a sander for the first few coats, and then the hand pad between the last 3 coats.

Even for large cabinets once the surface is prepped and the coats begin, the sanding between the coats seems pretty minimal. I am not interested in getting anywhere near the edge of such a peice, so I would be using a 230x115-mm hand block with a screen.
Usually the 230gr seems to work for going between the first few coats.

As the varnish flows out, can one actually see the sanding that took place below?

Offline Steven Owen

  • Posts: 409
Re: Sander orbit - /3 or /5
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2017, 07:43 PM »
...
For outdoor furniture, Marine varnish is the finish of choice.

Righteo.
I use the 5-mm, but only because I have it and am not eager to use the Bosch.

For the last job it was edging, and I used a sander for the first few coats, and then the hand pad between the last 3 coats.

Even for large cabinets once the surface is prepped and the coats begin, the sanding between the coats seems pretty minimal. I am not interested in getting anywhere near the edge of such a peice, so I would be using a 230x115-mm hand block with a screen.
Usually the 230gr seems to work for going between the first few coats.

As the varnish flows out, can one actually see the sanding that took place below?

It depends on the wood being used with Marine varnish.  Cedar, Mahogany, and Cherry absorb the first 3 coats like a sponge.  The varnish loves the these woods and sanding marks are not easily seen even with a poor technique.

Douglas fir in the middle.  Spruce gets used for fire pit wood.  I’d never use it for outdoor furniture.

White Oak, IPE and Cyprus are the hardest woods to varnish in the first 3-4 coats.  You have wet sand the coats at 320 -400 to prevent stripping too much Varnish on the first 3-4 coats.
Festool CT Midi, Festool ETS 125, DF 700 Domino Coming Soon

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 4010
Re: Sander orbit - /3 or /5
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2017, 08:04 PM »
Jarrah is somewhere between mahogany and cherry.
I used 120 screens and went with the grain before the first thinned coat.
I can imagine that pigtail here would be dire and seen through a clear coating.

Then the first few coats using a 120 screen still.
After each coat the stuff flows out and disolves into the previous layer. (Not dissolving in, like lacquer, but if it has not been to long it still 'links'.)

Between later layers I used 180 screens. There is no evidence of any sanding marks between layers that I can see. Zero!

I cannot imagine the need for wet sanding unless it was on a car... The stuff flows out like honey.
In the real world - a sag, or some errant winged creature, would create a need for sanding the top layer.

But that would be the exception - rather than the rule?

Basically I like the surface to be sanded linearly (with the grain) for the bottom (starting) base wood surface. Hence the hand block, after any machine sanding work.