“ Brand: Bosch / Type: Sander „
We are renovating a part of the apartment and endless sanding is needed on various places. The choice is simple either use sanding paper and "sand" your arms till death or use the machinery. Naturally we opted for the machinery. Reckoned this kind of buy is never "wrong" since such things come always come in handy.
I always imagined these will be much more expensive but to my surprise this one came at around Euro50 (it was on promotion), I see it is £49.99 on Amazon.co.uk at the time of writing (sumer deal) which is trust you me a bargain for this machinery!
Some things need to be clear, I am no physical worker. I mean I do have stamina and all and do love sports but sanding, painting or anything related is a pain for me, the noises, the dust, the stench... However working with this one was more than tolerable I must say.
Firstly this one is really lightweight - 2.2kg to be exact but in all honesty it feels like a lot less. The handle is very easy on the hands (even the small soft hands I posses) and after hours of working with this one (without gloves) there were no blisters.
Operating the sander is quite simple, you do not have to be a rocked scientist to plug it in the electricity (how awesome would it be if it were cordless???) and pressing the on button. Magic! You can also regulate the speed. Naturally before the use you need to attach the sanding sheet - and this is jet another effortless job because of Velcro. It is easier than tying your shoes - if you ever had Velcro shoes (now or when you were a kid) you know what I am talking about. You just press the sanding sheet on the sander and it will stick (and not fall off until you remove it). You get 1 sanding sheet with the sander, additional can be bought in a store and come fairly cheap (example from Amazon.co.uk £2.87 for 10 Silverlines sanding sheets).
Firstly I sanded a few wood surfaces to get them ready to be repainted - the sander moves smoothly, it is very quiet and does not vibrate a lot - so it is easy to use for longer periods of time. If you make circular motions not much force from your side will be needed, the machine will do most by itself - what more do you want. I did not have to apply additional pressure for this kind of work and the surface was sanded evenly. Love it.
Next thing on the menu was the wall. It had quite a few cracks and they needed to be sanded. I remembered we once used a sander in the past somewhere and that there was lots and lots of dust so I equipped myself with safety mask, safety goggles and one time use safety clothes (the only size they had was XXL, mind you I am S) I looked horrible but well prepared! So I started the sander and started fighting those nasty cracks. I needed to apply some pressure to do this though, the machine did not slow down when I did. After a few minutes of sanding and sweating in my not so breathable protective gear I realized there was almost no dust. It has a built in dust extraction (it's a sander vacuum cleaner hybrid heh heh) and this one seems to work. I got rid of the gear and enjoyed the rest of the sanding.
Dust gets stored in the back "dust storage compartment" that needs to be emptied. The instructions on how to empty it were simple but I did struggle a bit twisting and turning it to open. Closing it was a bit of a struggle to, but once I got the hang of it I was on the role.
To draw the line - cheap, effective, dust free what is there not to like!
Now we recently sanded our stairs and hallway, and to do it we used a surprising number of sanders: a belt sander, a Mouse-type, one you fit onto the end of your drill, a tiny Dremel one and this, the Bosch Random Orbital Sander. It was my favourite as it wasn't as noisy as our belt sander and yet it covered a good sized area with great results quickly. We had been intending to hire a big sanding machine from somewhere for the hallway, but somehow we did a little bit to get started, and next thing we knew, we'd done most of it!
The sander is from Bosch, which is a well-known brand, and it comes in the Bosch livery of green. It feels well-made and sturdy. It's ergonomically designed, so it's comfortable to hold and use.
It's really simple to get started with this sander. You can buy ready-cut circular sanding sheets to fit it in various grades, from coarse to fine, from most good DIY stores. For a 10-pack you'd expect to pay £3 or less. You simply align the sanding sheet with the velcro-like circular surface of the sander and press it on, and you're ready to plug in the beast and go. Its power lead is about 2 and a half metres in length, so it allows you quite a lot of range.
The sander has a clip-on dust collector, its "micro filter system", under the handle, which reduces mess considerably. I still prefer to wear a face-mask when sanding, as a fair bit does get into the air while sanding despite its best efforts. But compared with the other sanders we used, this one was significantly cleaner and the sawdust in the air isn't really noticeable in the same way. You might see a faint shimmer in the sunlight, but nothing like the clouds of the stuff some sanders produce. The micro filter system fills almost solidly with sawdust, so you have to remember to empty it out before it gets too clogged up, as it's a pain getting it shifted if you leave it too long. You press in the clips at the side to release it, and shake out the dust into your bin, then simply push it back into place. It's not at all awkward, unlike the one on the belt sander we were also using.
The sander weighs about 800g, and can be used with one or both hands. Normally you would hold it by the handle in your right hand, and use your left to hold the top to guide or apply pressure. It turns on using a two-button safety system, although it's not one that requires you hold a button once you've got started to keep using it. You have to make sure you turn it off properly and allow time for the disc to stop moving before putting it down or trying to change sanding sheets. A few times I've put it down before it's stopped completely and it's juddered briefly on the floor. No harm done when you're actually sanding the floor, but not so good if you weren't!
It makes a low level rumbling in contrast to the belt-sander we have that pretty much screams the place down, but it's still reasonably loud and I think it's best to wear ear-defenders, especially if you're going to use the sander for any length of time.
You can adjust how quickly the disc oscillates, from 15,000 to up to 24,000 rpm, using the dial-switch on the front of the sander. This motion system is what gives the sander its name: the disc spins and oscillates to create an "eccentric rotation", which covers the area you're sanding more effectively, and hence "Random Orbital".
I like using this sander as you can see really well where you've been and you know it's doing a good job. I replace the sanding sheets regularly, probably sooner than they need to be strictly speaking, because the results with a fresh one are so much quicker and more satisfying. It sands evenly, as long as you keep the pressure even, and it handles flat and curved surfaces well. If you press down too much on it, you can slow the spin, but you can easily tell when you're doing that and stop. You have to look out for stray nails, as if you've missed one you can rip up your sanding sheet and possibly damage the sander.
The only thing I don't like about it, is it won't fit under our radiators, its top is that bit too high, so it won't let you get in under there. It gets into most corners and crannies pretty well otherwise. Clearly it can't get all the way into right angles, being circular, but it gets close. Also, I do find that I get a case of the fizzy hands if I use the sander for too long - although it doesn't vibrate hugely (and again beats our belt-sander by miles), it can't absorb all the vibration itself, so some does travel into your hands and arms.
It is recommended for sanding and polishing wood, metal and plastic, although I can't comment on its performance on materials other than wood, as we've only used it on our floors and stairs.
I'm very happy with this piece of equipment, I feel in control of it and happy that it produces good results reliably. It's currently available online from Amazon at just under £50, although I have a feeling we paid a bit less for it when we bought it from Focus a couple of years back. I think it's a good quality product from a well-known DIY tool brand, and think it would suit most people looking for a decent sander.