The Festool 571810 RO 150 FEQ Rotex Sander

Last week 20 KMS Tools employees went through the Festool 101 training with instructor Steve Bace.  Let me tell you, this guy really knows his stuff.  He has a history in the solid surface industry, so sanding is his specialty.  In less than 5 minutes he took this old beat up cutting board and refinished it to look like new.  It was very impressive to say the least.

The Festool RO 150 FEQ is the most impressive dual-mode sander I’ve ever seen.  It shares similarities to the Bosch 1297DEVS being both a standard random orbit sander, as well as a gear-driven grinder/sander hybrid…but that’s where the similarities stop.  With its unique Jet Stream pad design, powerful 1HP motor, MMC electronics, enclosed gear unit, stick-fix sanding pad & front edge protector, this thing is remarkable.

The Jet Stream pad design solves the one major problem with standard random orbit sanders; inability to effectively cool the surface of the sanding pad which causes particle build up/clumping as well as melting of the sanding pad.  The RO 150 draws air onto the centre of the sanding pad, which is also the hottest, which in turn enables proper vacuum to remove particles from the sanding pad.  This all contributes to a sander that’s efficient with time and money.  It’s not cheap having to replace not only sand paper because of abuse and melting of the substrate, it’s also expensive having to replace melted hook and loop pads.

With a 750 watt (1HP) motor, this sander has no problem powering through the toughest surfaces, especially when in gear-driven mode.  Having this extra reserve of power combined with the MMC (Multiple Material Control) electronics, means that when a conventional sander would normally bog down at low RPM’s, this sander will automatically boost the power going to the motor, keeping the set RPM no matter the load.  MMC doesn’t just mean constant speed, it also means that if you were to overload the sander, which would damage the tool, these electronic will shut the tool down, protecting it against overheating and cooking the windings.

The gear drive mode on this sander is what really sets it apart from your standard sander.  It’s basically like taking a random orbit sander’s ability to give a clean finish with the stock removal ability of a grinder.  With both the random orbit and spinning action, it makes a belt sander look like a toy.

The stick-fix sanding pad is not a typical hook-and-loop design.  It’s smooth to the touch because of its low profile and doesn’t create pad/abrasive shuffling like conventional hook-and-loop systems.  You are getting the best of both worlds here with the fast pad changes of a hook-and-loop system and the firm grip you’d expect in a PSA system.  The nice difference with this over a PSA system is that you don’t have to spend hours peeling off sand paper while worrying about stuck on particles ruining your finish.

I could go on and on about this sander for hours but what you really need to do is come into your local Festool stocking KMS Tools and try it out.  We’d be more than happy to tell you more about this sander as well as let you give it a whirl.