Tell me about the sander that changed your life
It’s been a while since I’ve treated myself to anything for the shop, and I’ve been thinking about upgrading my sanding experience.  I currently have a Rigid 2610 6”, a  Porter cable 5” model 343 and A Rigid R2501.  My shop is in my basement, so any time I sand it’s connected directly to my shop vac… which makes things a bit tippy and awkward, especially with the Rigid 6”.  A big part of being awkward has to be the solid plastic adapter and 2.5” shop vac hose.  It’s bulky enough I have to use 2 hands to keep it flat.  I should probably get a smaller ID hose to go from the shop vac hose to the sander, and I hear that the cubitron sand paper is a game changer by itself.

If you’ve had experience with a higher end sander, or better yet several different ones, I’m curious about which models you like, why, and what’s worth the money.

I hear great things about the Mirka and 3M Xtract sanders.  I don’t see myself getting a Festool, but I guess I’d consider it.  I almost pulled the trigger on a MAXXT sander on Amazon when it was on sale last week, but missed the deal by 10 min.
Yes, downsize your hose to 1-1/2". Mine is a Fein hose on a Fein II.

Festool 150, which I have always had a PS pad on it, due to the cost of H&L discs.


I miss the days of using my dinghy with a girlfriend too. Zack Butler-4/18/24

The Revos apparently are designed to clamp railroad ties and pull together horrifically prepared joints
WaterlooMark 02/9/2020

I have the Rigid 6" ROS as well.  I found that if I suspend my shop vac hose about 5-6' off of the floor, it makes all of my ROS's handle much better.  My shop vac sits under my table saw wing and about 10-12' away from my bench.  I hang the hose from a bungee cord at about the midway point, leaving enough slack to allow freedom of movement, but taking the weight off of the sander.
If you are going down a river at 2 mph and your canoe loses a wheel, how much pancake mix would you need to shingle your roof?

I made a boom arm attachment for my vac system and it has been a great addition to my shop. The one below is the one I got. My favorite sander is the Bosch 5" VS hook and loop, it's been my go-to for many years. I've since upgraded to a festool sander/ vac combo. It is REALLY nice, but also REALLY expensive. If you have the $$, get the festool. If you're on a budget, the bosch and a black friday shop vac will get the job done. Either way, get a boom like this and thank me later- I stole this idea from YouTube so if you do a search over there you'll find lots of variation on home-made boom arms.
I'm not sure you would call it high end, but the Bosch ROS65-VC was a huge step up for me.  VC stands for Vibration Control and it meets that standard admirably for me.  I've used it for several hours straight with no tingling hands after.  You can buy it in 5 or 6" version.  The good news, both pads fit so I have both.  To be honest, I think it's more balanced with the 6" pad, but I have used it several times with the 5" with no issues.  It has excellent onboard dust collection, but also comes with an adapter for use with an extractor/shopvac. 

It is the only sander I've had where I can sand across faceframe joints with zero swirl marks.  I rarely hand sand flat surfaces anymore, the sander is that good.  

I'd put the Bosch on par with a Festool - for far less money.  Mine is now at least 5 years old and has never given me a problem.  

The 5" Festool that came out a few years ago at a $99 promo price has been my favorite, bar none...Not sure I would consider it life changing, TBH...
Festool Rotex and ct22 dust extractor.
I was using a DA air sander and a PC "speedblock".

Made sanding enjoyable when the dust disapeared.

(03-10-2023, 01:50 PM)brianwelch Wrote: The 5" Festool that came out a few years ago at a $99 promo price has been my favorite, bar none...Not sure I would consider it life changing, TBH...

Same with me.  Love that sander and $99 price couldn't be beat.
I have had a Porter Cable 7335 for decades. It  changed my sanding world for the better. Still works but has been upgraded to a new 3M Xtract Electric Random Orbital Sander coupled with a Festool CT36E. I lnow that this is a pricey setup but the dust extraction is amazing. The 3M sander is much lighter and easier to handle with less vibration. Hooking up to the dust extractor and using the auto on/off setting I no longer need to think about turning on the dust collection system. I now seem to have less fine dust in the shop.
I generally use a Festool ETS/150/5 random orbital or a Festool RO/90. I have an old heavy metal Craftsman 1/2 sheet sander that I purchased recently at a garage sale complete with a stack of sandpaper for $10. All three of these sanders have their uses but for flattening large panels that 1/2 sheet sander is a beast and gets the job done quickly. I then go over it with the 150/5 in higher grit papers. I was sad to see that Festool discontinued their big sander but for $10 I didn’t shed any tears.
Any free advice given is worth double price paid.

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