It's not often that something quite revolutionary comes along, and when I get to be a part of it, and I can see firsthand just what a game changer it can be, it makes it even more compelling and so it is with this new 3M Random Orbital Sander. In my experience, this is the perfect mid priced sander that will give outstanding performance equally, and often even better, than any of the higher prices professional sanding systems.
Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/jWXekCXBmcc
A few months ago I had the opportunity to make a video for the 3M company on their new Xtract Net Sanding Discs. Of course, like everything else I ever take on,t the first thing I need to do is test out the product to see if it is everything the manufacturer claims. In my case, I was everything and more. The 3M sanding disc convinced me within a few days of using them just how superior they were to anything I had ever used ... so when I heard they were coming out with a new sander, I couldn't wait to see it ... and here it is ...
This new 3M sander is not like most sanders I have used. First of all, the paddle on top is not a new concept, this form of activation switch is common in the automotive industry for sanding vehicles before painting them but in woodworking, it is extremely rare and I instantly fell in love with the idea, it is so comfortable to use, the sander feels like an extension of your arm.
As I began using this sander and comparing it with others on the market, I could see just how well this sander fit into the existing sander line-up and where it fits with competitors. This sander is not an inexpensive sander, but based on the fact that this is the one tool in your workshop you will use on EVERY project, it could arguably be the most used tool, so that's important to think about.
Many of the sanders on the market today for smaller shop users are corded or cordless and have a button somewhere on them and are based on an elevated architecture, many of you probably have one of these random orbital sanders already ... I have 2 of them, they work fine for what they do, but many woodworkers are looking for more.
The next level up is often a huge jump in price because now you are into what I think of as "commercial sanders", which often have specialized hosed, usually, come with some unique vacuum system, and may even have some unique sanding discs or papers and for these, it's not very hard to get yourself up to the $1,000.00 or more, price range.
This is why this new 3M Xtract sander has a perfect fit above the basic, less expensive random orbital sander, but nowhere near the price of the much expensive sanders because this sander, you use your own vacuum system whether that be a shop vacuum or your dust collector. Of course, if you absolutely want your own dedicated 3M vacuum system, you can get that too if you have a dedicated sanding room. Either way, the 3M sander uses one of the standard hose connectors that can connect to these vacuum systems so you don't need to invest in yet another vacuum system.
You can see more about this sander at the Woodworkweb Affiliate link at Taylor Tools HERE
As I began using this sander, between the 3M Xtract sanding discs and the sander itself connected to my dust collector, I could see no visible signs of dust, and that in part is due to all the holes in the base of the sander that helps to draw all the fine dust into the collector.
And right below is the other reason this sander works so dust free, can you see the housing that surrounds the base of the sand and how it forms its way right into the outlet where your extraction hose will plug into. The whole sander is designed around getting dust away from the user.
It did take me a moment to figure out just how this sander works. I plugged it and touched the paddle, but it did not spin. That is because when you first plug the sander in, it goes into what I call a "ready" mode and you can see that by all the little red lights on the handle as shown below.
In order to use the sander, you will want to pick a speed, which in most cases of sanding is nearer to the highest speed, and you do that by touching the little Plus or minus buttons on the base, doing this will adjust the lights up or down and indicates the speed that the discs will be spinning.
To activate the discs, you simply touch the activation switch and the lights turn from red to green, which means NOW when you touch the paddle the sanding discs will now spin and you can begin sanding. You can also adjust the speed of the sanding discs with the plus and minus buttons when the lights are green.
And of course, the 3M Xtract discs that is recommended to be used with this sander are all hook and loop design, so easy to take off and easy to put on. As a side note for those who have not watched my video on these discs, one of the first things I noticed was that with the new 3M Xtract sanding disc in almost every case I could go UP a grit size from what was formerly using ... that's how effective I found these sanding discs.
Proof of how well the 3M Xtract Net Sanding disc works, was the first time I tried them on wood that was burned when it came out of the table saw. I was completely taken aback by just how quickly these burn marks could be sanded away ... AND it was with a finer grit than I would normally use. Remarkable !!
One other item I noticed ... my good friend (and master electrician) Tony, told me years ago, you can always tell a good quality tool because they are the ones with longer (and often thicker) cables. And this 3M sander has a 16-foot cable, which means you can sand in all sorts of contorted positions or inside nooks and crannies and STILL have cable free ... that was a nice bonus.
If this sander is something you might want to learn more of, or even purchase one you can do that through the Woodworkweb Affiliation with Taylor Tools
3M 5" Xtract Sander
If you haven't already tried out the 3M Xtract sanding disc, you can purchase them as well
Here are just a few of the listings for 3M Xtract Sanding discs - please make sure these are the size and quantity you are looking for