Author Topic: Why are orbital sanders still marketed?  (Read 2203 times)

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Offline Naildrivingman

  • Posts: 289
Why are orbital sanders still marketed?
« on: July 20, 2017, 06:52 AM »
I'm wondering what is the virtue of the oscillating sander?  RO sanders are superior and if one doesn't go the FT route, they are affordable. I own one and it has more dust on it than inside my dust collector.

I honestly don't know what an oscillator is for.

Thanks,
Chris
« Last Edit: July 22, 2017, 08:10 AM by Naildrivingman »
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Offline Rip Van Winkle

  • Posts: 270
Re: Why are oscillating sanders still marketed?
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2017, 07:28 AM »
Random orbit sanders can be more likely to produce swirl marks.

Orbital sanders are nice for less agressive sanding.

Orbital sanders can be better for sanding next to walls.

Triagular pad orbital sander can get into corners, something a round pad random orbit sander can't do, with the possible exception of the one Festool sander with the adapter.

Random orbit sanders have a round pad. For certain sanding tasks like automotive work, a very long rectangular pad is far prefered for proper surface finishing.

Offline John Broomall

  • Posts: 45
Re: Why are oscillating sanders still marketed?
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2017, 01:28 PM »
We might get tangled in some terminology here but oscillating (orbital) sanders were marketed as being more aggressive than linear sanders. Some tools had a mechanical switch so you could go back and forth between the two modes. When the ROS came along it was marketed as having the aggressiveness of the orbital with the fine finish characteristics of the linear. I have examples of all three and generally speaking, the marketing was accurate. The ROS will leave swirl marks (pig tails) in the lower grits, especially if you move it too quickly but it is the best all around tool for sanding especially with good dust collection.

Offline Naildrivingman

  • Posts: 289
Re: Why are oscillating sanders still marketed?
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2017, 05:40 PM »
Glad I asked. Here all along I thought the orbital sander was the one that lady the swirl marks. I have seen swirls with an RO, but I thought that was due to too much down force.
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Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 3879
Re: Why are oscillating sanders still marketed?
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2017, 06:38 PM »
I'm wondering what is the virtue of the oscillating sander?  RO sanders are superior and if one doesn't go the FT route, they are affordable. I own one and it has more dust on it than inside my dust collector.

I honestly don't know what an oscillator is for.

Thanks,
Chris

Superior

How does that joke go about telling the <enter culture of choice> guy to ' in the corner, after putting him in a round room.'?

It is similarly difficult to stuff a round pad into a square corner.

If you think a random orbital us superior try the RS2, and the uva115s is superior to the R2Se. It is a 450w /22000 RPM sander.

In many ways the random orbital is preferable being lighter and more aggressive and just seems to be funner to use. But the 1/2-sheet uva115 has super low vibration and is quieter.(I have not tried the RS2 but conceptually it is close to the same.

1/2-sheets also have a bigger footprint so the ripples that follow it will be generally less, and one gets a flatter surface (as opposed to smooth). It seems logical to use it as a finish sander, but for anything that is not flat it is better to use it first from 60-180 and then switch to a random orbital for making it shine after it is flat.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2017, 11:58 PM by Holmz »

Offline antss

  • Posts: 1277
Re: Why are oscillating sanders still marketed?
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2017, 07:18 PM »
@Naildrivingman -  is this what you're asking about ?

I used mine yesterday, and I think no one has even talked about this.  Lots of discussion about hand sanders though.

Offline Naildrivingman

  • Posts: 289
Re: Why are oscillating sanders still marketed?
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2017, 10:05 PM »
@Naildrivingman -  is this what you're asking about ?

I used mine yesterday, and I think no one has even talked about this.  Lots of discussion about hand sanders though.

No, I should have said orbital sander.
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Offline aloysius

  • Posts: 165
Re: Why are oscillating sanders still marketed?
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2017, 11:17 PM »
An interesting discussion.  I've had a few orbitals over the years: an old Oz-made B&D that was supposedly switchable from true orbital to linear actions.  In reality there wasn't much discernable difference between modes.  Its successor was a super-smooth electronic V/S Elu, which was both smoother & more aggressive @ the same time.  Yet in terms of the actual work performed (i.e. abrasion) they were, due I suspect to their smaller (1/3 sheet) pads & orbital character, woefully slow.

I finally succumbed to temptation & purchased a super-aggressive 1/2 sheet Festo RS1C second hand.  Being reduction gear driven (as opposed to direct drive) & with a substantially larger platen, it was much more aggro in use, more vibratory and much faster.  The half sheet platen made it better, as Holmz has already said in regard to his Mafell equivalent, for flattening surfaces, but its 5mm of eccentricity tends to leave noticeable & difficult to remove semicircular striations, particularly with coarser grit papers.  I was spending more time removing swirls with finer grits than I was on the actual task.

For flattening larger areas, a carefully applied belt sander, especially if fitted with a sanding frame, is the way to go.  Linear striations will still be a problem, minimised by careful grit & belt selection & initial sanding @ 45 degrees to the grain followed up in subsequent finer grits parallel to the fibers.  Follow up with a bigger random obit for a final smooth.

Whilst excellent if slow @ flattening edge-jointed planks on tables & benches, a big 1/2 sheet orbital becomes pretty unwieldy on smaller tasks.  I've had a lot of window stiles & rails, glazing bars, doors & complex mouldings to strip.  Festo/ol's Duplex LS130 promised much, but actually delivered little either.  In use, it makes even a slow 1/3 sheet orbital seem speedy in comparison.  For stripping paint in mouldings & bars, a combination of Skarsten & Bahco Carbide scrapers, a carefully applied Metabo LF 724 paint stripper & baby SXE400 random orbit and appropriately shaped hand pads with 90 & 45 degree corners and even paper wrapped around dowel rods will comprehensively outperform that stupid little LS130.  Even a RO90 doesn't like these narrow profiles either:  its poor balance and "large" size in comparison to conventional deltas & small Random Orbitals makes it just too much of a handful, and difficult to control in delicate mouldings.

In comparison with the alternatives most standard orbital sanders seem pretty irrelevant these days.  I don't think I've felt the need to use one for 20 years or more.  I ended up giving mine away.  Too slow, too messy, too "scratchy".  The only advantage they have over the alternatives is the cost of papers:  you can buy rolls of painter's paper dirt cheap in comparison to discs which can be readily punched on the hole template once clamped to the sander.  A mere fraction of the price of expensive velcro backed papers & discs.

For me the purchase 2nd gen. Rotex RO 150 made all these orbitals instantly redundant.  In combination with a pair of delta sanders (Festo Deltex & Bosch GDA280) taking care of all those otherwise impossible to access nooks & crannies, and a couple of Metabo SXE400 80mm dia. mini random orbits for the concavities & curves, it has revealed the orbit sanders' weaknesses.

Random orbitals have the advantage of speed, aggression, smoothness & swirl free performance that are common characteristics of all orbitals that I've either owned or used.  In just about every possible criteria except the cost of consumables standard rectangular orbital & linear sanders are struggling for relevance these days.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2017, 11:22 PM by aloysius »
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Offline Naildrivingman

  • Posts: 289
Re: Why are oscillating sanders still marketed?
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2017, 10:05 PM »
I get the need for a corner sanding feature and with an RO that is impossible. For corner sanding, I detail with my Fein Multimaster, then go after the field with an RO.

I have a Porter Cable 3x21 belt sander that is 30 years old and still going strong. That is my first choice for wide open sanding followed by the RO for finishing.

My primary RO now is the Rotex 150.  The PC 3x21 and the Multimaster round out my sanding needs but I was curious if others have suggestions for a 1/2 sheet orbital or linear and if it's even necessary.

Thanks
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Offline Dovetail65

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Re: Why are oscillating sanders still marketed?
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2017, 10:19 PM »
I'm wondering what is the virtue of the oscillating sander?  RO sanders are superior and if one doesn't go the FT route, they are affordable. I own one and it has more dust on it than inside my dust collector.

I honestly don't know what an oscillator is for.

Thanks,
Chris

I think you may want to  change the word oscillating to orbital as of course there is a need for oscillating spindle sanders and even oscillating drum sanders.

I really dont believe you meant to use the word oscillating.

« Last Edit: July 21, 2017, 10:23 PM by Dovetail65 »
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Offline Naildrivingman

  • Posts: 289
Re: Why are oscillating sanders still marketed?
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2017, 08:10 AM »
Dovetail, you are correct.  I did mean to say orbital. I have corrected the title. Thanks.
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Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 3879
Re: Why are orbital sanders still marketed?
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2017, 09:48 AM »
@Naildrivingman the uva115e is exceptional. I have not tried the R2S Festool.
The uva115e is 2.2-mm orbit so not overly aggressive and from memory it removes material about 2/3 the rate of a 5-mm random orbital (Mirka DEROS), with its 450W and 22000 RPM.

Whether it fits in with ones work flow is another question... Oddly I find better a pre sander for a random orbital, rather than a finish sander...

A plane and scraper may do as good or better for making a flat surface and a smooth surface?

But I like the machine and I recommend it.