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The Ridgid sander is easy to control but moves the workpiece a bit. To measure the sander’s aggressiveness, Engel sanded a poplar board for five minutes and measured how much wood was removed. The Ridgid sander removed eight grams of stock over the five minutes and the same amount when a vacuum was attached.
In addition, Engel sanded clear Plexiglass to compare the sanders’ scratch patterns. The Ridgid sander had a good scratch pattern. Engel found that the machines with the most uniform scratch pattern tended to be the most aggressive. With vacuum attached, the sander collects 73% of external dust.
Reviewed by Tom Begnal on 2/1/2004 when the tool won Best Value
As part of a new line of power tools, Ridge Tool Co. has introduced the Ridgid R2600, a 5-in. soft-start random-orbit sander. Its 3-amp permanent-magnet motor has a variable-speed feature that lets you adjust the speed of the spinning disc from 7,000 rpm to 12,000 rpm. As the disc spins, it moves in 3/32-in.-dia. orbits to create the random-orbit pattern that keeps sanding scratches to a minimum.
The permanent-magnet motor, usually found only on cordless tools, impressed me in a couple of ways. Compared with other random-orbit sanders I’ve used, the Ridgid R2600 ran with surprisingly little vibration. Also, no matter how much downward force I applied, I couldn’t bog down the motor when it ran at full speed. Granted, we don’t operate sanders while sitting on them, but I came away with a sense that the motor had plenty of power to spare.
The R2600 accepts both hook-and-loop and pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) sandpaper discs. Using 80-grit paper, I sanded maple, cherry, and butternut boards. Under close examination, swirl marks were hard to find, and they showed up only on the soft butternut. Any vestiges of those marks disappeared after further sanding through 220-grit paper. Only the slightest amount of dust showed up on the board, and the dust collector filled quickly, evidence to me that it worked pretty well.
This is a solid, serviceable sander at a low price. Dust collection was about average, and the dust port accepted either a vacuum hose or the easily removeable bag. The top grip was excellent, but the waist was too squat and bulky for comfort.
Pros: Price, dust collection, pad brake, 12-ft. cord, case with both hook-and-loop and PSA disks included.
Cons: On/off switch was prone to accidental contact; variable-speed dial is recessed too deeply.
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