American Painting Contractor Magazine


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AMERICAN PAINTING CONTRACTOR • October 2015 13 From the Field dust extraction at the vac so the tool isn't drawn too hard to the surface being sand- ed. Failure to do this with the orbitals can make them feel "jumpy" because they are lightweight and trying to overcome the surface turbulence caused by strong vac suction. Additionally, some users have observed that orbitals can feel "tippy" because the height of their housings can be a challenge to balance and keep smooth on the surface. The new design of the EC 125 eliminates some of these performance obstacles in the critical area of user experience. It is one thing for tools to be great for 10 minutes on a benchtop, but in real life, we need them to be great in our hands all day long in a variety of awkward task situations — sometimes, it is necessary to sand for some very extended periods. The performance difference seems to be related to the fact that the fresh air intake in the new design allows the EC 125 to breathe better on the surface, which means the extraction does- n't need to be reduced so much, resulting in less of the fine residual surface dust that contributes to swirls left behind in the sanded surface. There is considerable cause and effect in sander design, and, no doubt, design enhancements affect price points. The ETS EC 125 rings up at $385, which is $190 more than the ETS 125 and $95 less than the RO 125. This new sander falls close in price to the RO 90, which currently sells for $430. REDUCED VIBRATION For those new to the Festool lineup, the sanders and dust extractors (and abrasives) are designed to work together as a system. The sanders basically inhale fresh air from the perimeter of the base pad and pass the fresh air to the center of the abrasive pad on the surface being sanded to assist with drawing dust out smoothly through the holes in the abrasive disc and out to the port located on the back of the sander where the extractor hose attaches. The dust ends its journey when it arrives in the bag located inside the extractor. Better design of the fresh airflow at the sander pad makes it possible to turn up the dust extraction with less of the surface vibra- tion that users had experienced with the old ETS 125 (and the small orbitals as a group). When vibration occurs during sanding, it is transferred to the hand and forearm of the user. Reducing vibration during power sanding is a good thing for all involved in the process: the tool, the surface being sanded and the user. RANGE OF TASKS With its evolved and well-balanced design, the ETS 125 EC is strong across the 5" sander power band and particular- ly well-suited to tasks calling for the upper mid-range of power. At higher abrasive grits, the ETS EC 125 can float in fine finish applications that require no swirling and a smooth finish. It wants to be moving fast at higher grits. At the same time, while not as powerful as a Rotex, it can still do low-grit sanding for multiple layer material removals. The EC 125 handles these tasks very well, with excellent dust extraction, but not as fast as a Rotex. An

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