ETS EC 150 Festool Brushless Sanders

Hi All,

Recently released in Europe Festool’s new  sanders the ETS EC 150/5 and ETS 150/3 are sure to be a hit when they reach the Australian market. With the latest in EC brushless motors these sanders have a host of new features to make the onerous task of sanding quicker and easier.

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Some of the new features are a vibration sensor which automatically adjusts the sander speed when not under load to protect the user from excess vibration, constant speed under load, and a suction detection system which stops the sander if the dust extractor hose comes out, (this feature can be deactivated if you’re using a dust bag).

The new sanders have a height of 113mm including pad, compared to 185mm on the old ETS sanders and a weight of 1.2 kg which is 600 grams lighter than the old ETS sanders

Have a look at the video below to see the ETS EC 150 in action and watch for a cameo appearance by Blair, one of the principals  of Festool Australia

Please watch this space and as more information comes to hand I’ll post it here

Be safe and have fun

Cheers

Bryan

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The Festool CT 17E Extractor

Hi Guys,

I’ve finally had a chance to put pen to paper and complete my write up of the new CT 17E extractor.

It’s one of the Protool to Festool conversions and has evolved from the Protool VCP 170E. I found to be an excellent and highly efficient machine and to date has performed all the work I’ve expected of it with no hiccups at all.

Click on this link  The CT17E Extractor to read my full review of this awesome little machine.

One of the best features of this machine is the price. at under $450 (AUD) with a 36mm hose and cleaning set it’s an absolute bargain. Click Here to check out the CT 17 on the Just Tools website.

In all honesty, if you’re on a budget an want a small fully featured extractor for under $500 you cant go past this!

As always, thanks for reading and feel free to post any questions of comments.

Be safe and have fun.

Cheers

Bryan

 

Fitting an I.A.S module to a CT26 Extractor

Hi Everyone,

The opportunity came up last week for me to fit a IAS module to a CT26 extractor so I thought, as it’s a very uncommon request i’d take some photos to show you  how it’s done. For those of you who are scratching their heads and wondering what the hell i’m talking about, let me take a moment to explain.

The IAS, (integrated air supply)  module is part of Festool’s pneumatic sanding system and allows you to hook up a air operated sander to your CT 26 or 36 extractor for tool actuated pneumatic sanding. Once the module is installed you can decide on wether you go the hole hog and use the Festool IAS adapters and hoses  which connect to the LEX range of Festool Pneumatic sanders or simply connect an airline to the port on the extractor and use the the standard CT hose to connect to your non Festool air sander.

The beauty of the Festool system lies in the IAS hose. It is a complete unit which incorporates a central air line in which is surrounded by another hose which removes the excess air. Both of these hoses are encased in a 36mm antistatic hose which removes the sanding dust from the sander.

My client had been given a LEX 150/7 sander so he opted for the whole Festool setup.

Have a look at the photos for the set up process.

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Whilst primarily designed for the automotive industry my client, who’s a furniture finisher is using the sander with a great deal of success as a coarse sander to cut back rough surfaces on timber slabs  prior to finishing with his electric sanders.

If you’re thinking of going this way just keep two thing in mind; firstly, for air sanding operations you need a big air compressor. The module does not turn the extractor into an air compressor, (and yes i’ve been asked on more than one occasion). The second thing to take into consideration is the cost. it’s bloody expensive.

As always guys, thanks for reading. Your questions and comments are always appreciated.

Be safe and have fun!

Cheers

Bryan

The New Festool Oiling System



Festool Oiling System

Hi Guys,

I’ve finally had a chance to have a play with the new Festool Surfix  Oiling System  and I must admit that I was very happy with the result.  It’s perfect for the serious DIY user to get a taste of  traditional oil finishes and I’m certain the quality of the finish will appeal to more seasoned woodies.

If you follow the link above it will take you to the PDF handout I wrote which breaks down Festool’s “unique” instructions into a more user friendly format.

I tested the oils on Baltic Pine and Redgum using both the Festool method which recommends leaving the oils to sit on the workpiece for 6 to 8 hours, and my own method in which I sand up to 1500 grit with an ETS 150/5 , then wet burnish in the oil.

If you want more info on wet burnishing oil finishes either place a comment or send me an email and I’ll write a post detailing the method.

As always your comments are appreciated.

Cheers for now

Bryan

 

How to get the most from your Rotex, (Part 2)

A Hard Burnished Wax Finish.

To protect and preserve the work, I usually apply a wax finish to the piece. I’m not a fan of varnish or lacquer style finishes as I feel they can give the finished piece a “plastic” sort of look when they’re completed.

The wax I use and recommend is Gilly Stephenson’s cabinetmakers wax. It is a combination of beeswax and carnauba wax in a gum turpentine base. From my own experience I’ve found that beeswax, on its own, never thoroughly dries and can become sticky and attract dust, and carnauba wax, on its own is tough to work with. The cabinet makers wax from Gilly Stephenson ticks all the boxes for me as it is easy to use, polishes up beautifully, and is very realistically priced.

The method I use to apply it is detailed below.

Sand your workpiece up to 1200 or 1500 grit using the method described in “How to get the most from your Rotex, (Part 1)
Put your sander aside but don’t remove the sanding disc
Use a soft cotton cloth and apply a thin coat of the wax to the surface. Rub it evenly over the surface making sure there are no lumps of wax. Remember to only use a thin layer. You can apply more coats as you go Once the wax has been spread over the surface leave it aside for about ten minutes.

Now, the next stage is the enjoyable part.

Grab your Rotex and double check that it’s on speed 1 as well as in Rotex mode. Place the sander on the workpiece, turn it on, and slowly and steadily work over the entire surface of your project. The small amount of heat that your creating is sufficient to open the pore of the timber and let the wax in, while the 1500 grit abrasive smooths and distributes the wax evenly over the surface.

Don’t overwork the surface: just a few minutes should do it.

When you’ve finished this stage you need to grab a paper napkin; yes, you read it right, a paper napkin. When I was teaching for Festool, and I knew I had a sanding workshop coming up the first thing I’d do would be to head down to the local McDonald’s and grab a handful of their paper napkins.
So, now you’ve got your napkin, place it on the workpiece, then put your Rotex, (with the 1500 grit abrasive still on it), on top of it. Double check that you’re in Rotex mode and on speed 1.
You should begin to see the shine develop very quickly. The paper towel equates to about a 6000grit, (approx) abrasive and cuts back the surface beautifully.
You can repeat the process and add as many layers of wax as you like. The more layers you have, the more vibrant and lustrous the finish but I recommend that you leave at least 24 hours between applications.
Try this finishing method on some offcuts of a few different species of timber. By doing this, you’ll create a “library” of finished samples which can really add the ‘wow’ factor to any presentations you give to potential commission clients if the future. What it also does is give you more practice with the sander so you can become more familiar with, and refine your technique on the sander.

I hope this article helps you in working with your Rotex and achieving better finishes that you’d previously thought possible. As always, please post a comment or send me an email if you’ve got any questions.

Cheers,
Bryan.

How to get the most from your Rotex, (Part 1)

How to get the most from your Rotex, (The Basics)

Okay, so you’ve done. You’ve bitten the bullet, spent the bucks, and now, sitting on the bench in front of you is possibly the best sander thus far to emerge from the melting pot that is European power tool engineering.

So; now what?

The first thing you probably want to do is whack a sheet of paper on it and sand a piece of wood until it’s paper thin. If you need to, go ahead, but make sure to clamp down your work first; there’s not much worse than being hit in that tender part of the anatomy by a piece of Rotex propelled timber.

Once you’ve got that out of your system, let’s start by having a good look at your new machine. Hopefully the salesman you purchased the sander from fully explained all the functions to you, but in case he didn’t, let’s start from scratch.

The Rotex 150 is a dual mode sander with an aggressive, gear driven mode, (Rotex mode) and a random orbital mode with a 5mm orbit.
You switch between these modes by pressing the green button on the top of the machine, down & to the left When the button.

is in the upright position the sander is in the Rotex mode.

To test this, make sure the power is turned off, then turn the base plate with your hand. You should feel some resistance and hear a “growl” coming from the sander. Now, push the top button down and to the left. This puts the sander into the random orbital mode. Turn the base plate again so you can feel and hear the difference between the two settings.

You’ve probably noticed the small green button on the right side of the Rotex just above the base plate. This is the spindle lock, and it’s used when we need to change the base plate because it’s either worn out or you need to switch to a pad of a different density for a specific application.
It’s a bit of a bugger to change, particularly the first time, but it will get easier to practice.
To use this function, first make sure the Rotex is unplugged, then put the sander into the Rotex mode.

Hold the sander upside down in your left hand so that your left thumb can depress the spindle lock button. Depress the spindle lock button with your left thumb and turn the pad anti-clockwise with your right hand until you feel the spindle lock engage, ( the spindle lock button will depress an extra couple of millimetres).

Continue holding the spindle lock and turning the pad anti-clockwise until the pad comes off.
To put on a new pad, depress the spindle lock, put the pad on the machine and turn it clockwise until you feel it drop into position and the locking mechanism begins to engage. Once this happens, grip it firmly and turn it clockwise until it locks. Now put the machine down and give your hands a shake. Told you it was a bit of s bugger to do; but trust me, it will get simpler with practice.

At the rear of the machine just above the plug it lead is the variable speed control for the sander and the green button on the inside rear of the “d” handle section releases the dust extractor port so you can polish the car without running the risk of it accidentally banging into the paint surface.

Using the Rotex.
Now, whatever your project, having a good understanding of how to use the functions of the sander will always help you to achieve the best finish possible on your work.

Rotex and Random Orbit Modes
One of the most common questions I field when showing people the Rotex is, “how do I know which mode, I should be using?”
Well, the simple answer to this is that you should always use both modes. Let me explain.

The Rotex mode will, with coarser papers, raise the grain while the random orbital mode cuts the grain back. From experience, I’ve found that if, for instance, you’re starting with 60 grit, whack it into Rotex mode and sand your work then stop, put the machine into the random orbit mode and sand it again. It’s important not to try to change from Rotex to random orbital mode while the tool is running; it’s like trying to change gears on your car without depressing the clutch.

Then change up a grit to 80 and repeat the process. As you progress through the grades, getting finer and finer, you’ll see the surface start to develop. It’s really important that you feel the wood with your hands as you’re sanding. Getting a good feel for the timber will help you gain a greater understanding of how a surface develops.
Continue sanding with 120, 180, 240, and 400 grit abrasives, being sure to repeat the Rotex, then random orbit modes

Sanding speeds

To achieve the best result results in your work, speed is another crucial factor to consider. The main things you have to remember are, the coarser the paper, the higher the speed.


Coarse paper on slow speed tends to dig in and ‘bite’ the work, which can lead to scratches and swirls that can be bloody hard to get out. Coarse paper on high speed tends to ‘skim’ over the work, and while it may take a little longer, you’ll achieve a more controlled result.
When you start sanding and are using, a 60 grit paper begin with the sander on speed 6 and use the Rotex, random orbit method as described above. As you start moving into progressively finer grades, gradually begin to lower the sander speed. Use the chart below as a rough guide for sander speed related to sanding grit.

Sanding grit. Speed
40. 6
60. 6
80. 6
120. 5
150. 5
180. 5
240. 4
320. 4
400. 3
500. 3
800. 2
1000. 2
1200. 1
1500 & finer 1

This chart is a suggested range only and results can vary depending on the type of timber that you choose.
The transition point when sanding is 400 grit. This is the stage where you stop sanding the timber and start burnishing it. From 400 up you’ll begin to see the surface of the wood develop and become smoother with every sanding stage that you complete. Don’t forget to feel the timber as you sand it so that you become more familiar with how each sanding grade contributes to the overall finish. Keep using the Rotex / random orbital sanding technique until you pass 1000 grit. From experience, I’ve found that when you reach 1200 grit switch to using the Rotex mode only. You should begin to see the timber surface begin to develop a lovely lustre and the surface will start to shine. This happens because the super fine grits that we have been using are burnishing the timber surface and closing the pore of the wood which gives us this glass-like finish.

That’s it for part 1 of this post, in part 2, I’ll go thru how to apply a burnished wax finish to your piece.

Cheers for now

Bryan

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