random orbital sander suggestions? And vacs?

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    Hi everyone,

    Can you share your thoughts on your random orbital sanders? I would like to get one that accepts 5″ hook and loop pads and a vacuum attachment.

    About the vac attachment: I have a fairly powerful home vac that I would like to dedicate to this project. Would that be good enough?



    I like my Porter Cable random orbital. Its 5in hook and loop with 6 holes. The bag comes off and can be fitted with a vac. A home vac is probably a bad idea since most have small filters for fine particles and would clog up fast collecting fine saw dust. A small shop vac would be better suited.


    Buy a good sander, and it will last this project and more.  Go cheap, and buy it about 3 times for just this project.  Makita, Dewalt, Mirka, Festool…  Go with one of those and you should be good.  Stay away from Harbor Fright crap.  Your vacuum should be ok, anything is better than just the dust bag on the end of the sander.  You’ll still have a fine coating of dust on the surface even with the vacuum, but it should limit what is put into the air, if you use a good filter bag in the vacuum.

    I love my Festool sander/vac setup.  Their 5″ ROS sander is the most reasonably priced in their toolkit.


    A Bosch RO520VS (now RO520VSC), $70 or so in the big box stores, has served well on my build. It came with (and the “-C”  model does also, per the Bosch website) a “VAC002” adapter, which connects perfectly with the hose end on my purchased-for-the-project Vacmaster 4 gallon shop vac. It’s quieter than the sander, so not a howling monster, but it keeps the disc and surface being sanded clear of sanding debris. It has a HEPA filter on the exhaust, which helps reduce the amount of dust that gets into the shop air. I bought a spare hose so I could zip tie the sander cord to one and leave it semi-permanently attached, leaving a hose available for vacuuming jobs. Don’t waste money on the crummy sanding discs sold at the big box stores; Indasa Red Line Rhynogrip discs are available online in the 8  hole pattern that matches the Bosch pad. The slight premium in price (around $22/box vs. $15) is more than offset by the much longer useful life (and time saved in not having to change a disc after sanding a square foot of okoume or epoxy). I have had good service from a distributor in the Northeast that has a flat shipping charge of $5 for orders  over $50, free shipping for orders over $200.


    Thanks everybody. I ended up going with the makita sander that can be used with both hands.

    I wonder how powerful the vacuum needs to be to be good enough? Several people have told me to get dust collectors but that seems like a big price for one item. I will be building in my garage which I am cleaning for this project.


    You won’t need a dust collector just for an orbital sander. Any shop vac should be fine. I recommend using a dust separator with your shop vac. It can help capture a lot of the dust before it gets into the vacuum and the filter so you don’t have to clean the filter as often and it will help keep the suction strong. I use an Oneida Dust Deputy (https://www.oneida-air.com/dust-deputy) but am about to make a Thien Baffle dust separator (DIY solution with many plans on the net).

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