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Tool Addicts

A Lean, Mean Sanding Machine: Festool's New Combination ROS/Detail Sander

comments (17) March 1st, 2011 in blogs

Tom Tom McKenna, Managing Editor
thumbs up 23 users recommend

The RO 90 DX is a small sander with lots of potential.
Its a small sander that packs a punch, with the ability to sand aggressively or fine.
Its also an aggressive detail sander, able to reach into tight spaces.
The RO 90 DX is a small sander with lots of potential. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

The RO 90 DX is a small sander with lots of potential.

Photo: Courtesy Festool

Today Festool has started selling its new model of Rotex sander, the RO 90 DX. This little sander, like other Rotex models, can be switched from rotary mode for aggressive sanding to random-orbit mode for finer jobs, allowing you to dial in the tool for the job at hand.

What makes the RO 90 DX stand out is that you can replace the 3 1/2 in. dia. pad with a triangular-shaped pad (they call it a delta shape), transforming this tool into a detail sander than can reach into tight spaces. What's more, you don’t need tools to make the switch. You can even use the aggressive mode with the attachment, giving the tool an advantage over other detail sanders on the market.

The versatility comes with a price, though. The RO 90 DX will sell for $375. We’ll get the sander into our shop and give it a go. For details and videos of the new sander, visit Festool’s website.

posted in: blogs, tool, woodworking, festool, RO 90 DX, sanders, random orbit, rotary

Comments (17)

shavemaker shavemaker writes: My cousin works in a specialist tool shop. He has always said 'The second hardest thing in my job is getting someone to buy a Festool. The hardest thing is to get an existing Festool owner to buy anything else."
Posted: 6:22 am on March 13th

woodpuppy woodpuppy writes: Does anybody out there have any experience in comparing the festool circular saw, I think it is the ts55 with any of the new competition on the market. Makita and I think Dewalt have a saw that is similiar to the festool. I am wondering if anybody that has used the festool saw switched over to any of the other brands and how they like them????
Posted: 6:26 pm on March 11th

Mike157 Mike157 writes: oh and I do have the smaller track saw, couldn't understand why they sold the bigger one, now I know. I also can't stand that if I'm reaching and my finger slightly slips on the trigger I have to wait for it to almost completely stop before it will let you start again. This introduces vibration into the blade and screws up a 45 degree rip everytime.. conclusion: smart ideas,good quality but far from amazing and now they're just like hilti, a few unbeatable tools and a majority of regular crap masqurading as amazing.
Posted: 1:22 pm on March 10th

Mike157 Mike157 writes: I am totally over Festool at this point. They had me at hello with the track saw. Genius idea and for a feild carpenter/contractor like myself, priceless. But quality? eh. Better than most, but way overpriced. Especially on accessories, they want your first born. To fully equip a kapex puts you well over 2k, I could have two bosch's and a makita for that. The track saw lacks power tremendously, and completely bogs down at some points. I don't know if my motor is shot or this is some safety/rpm feature gone awry. I bought a replacement rubber for the track which fell off after a week and yes i cleaned it thougholy. The vacumn accessory kit was the last straw, I forget what I paid but forgive me the rage confuses me. The floor attatchement is completely useless. The 'systainers'??? Are we serious?? Plastic boxes for hundreds of dollars?? oh they click together? oh thats amazing i'll buy?? please, they had a few good ideas, quality is better than average but far from amazing. I actually had a heated email exchange with someone at festool over the kapex, I could not understand for the life of me why the crown supports on the kapex tilt down slighlty and are not adjustable. Cutting crown is my most prized talent and I go to extremes to ensure all my supports are in a parallel line with the bed of the saw. Oh and I forgot the fancy tables... no thanks!
Posted: 1:16 pm on March 10th

Mike157 Mike157 writes:
Posted: 1:06 pm on March 10th

jadvn1976 jadvn1976 writes: I've owned a TS-75 Plunge Saw for several years now and recently bought the the 6" ETS 150/3 Sander with a CT-26 Dust Extractor from my local dealer. I love both of these tools but to agree with the first comment on the corrugated hose. It easily gets caught on edges which is very annoying. For my next project I might think of wrapping the tube in vinyl to stop this from happening.

Outside of that I've really enjoy the quality of these tools compared to some of the more generic brands although I still own bigger box brand tools that are also fine (Dewalt hand drill, grizzly jointer) which are fine for what I use them for.

I am not a professional but rather a hobbyist with limited space so I also like that festtool systainers stack so I can save space when I'm not using them.
Posted: 6:13 am on March 10th

mzechel mzechel writes: I'm going to throw in two cents here too... I was on the fence about buying tools of this price. However, I was also sick of dust all over the basement and I was tired of buying big-box-class power tools that break (i.e. my Dewalt ROS variable speed broke after 6 mos). Soooo, my first purchase was the 1400 router and CT26 dust collector. Nice solid router product. Now, do dust chips escape? Well, I was running out dadoes with the guide rail and it caught damn near all the chips. Then I was routing out a rabbet and with the dust scoop attached, it did a fairly good job catching chips on the downclimb (but, lots of chip-out) but no so much chip collection on the upclimb.

I then bought the 6" ETS 150/3 sander. Dust control awesome. Not a drop got away. Vibration control... Not so much. My hands needed about 2 hours to stop tingling.

Pet peeve: Now here, in my opinion is a blunder. The hose on the dust collector is corrugated. Why is that a problem? Imagine this hose dragging off the router as your pushing up a dado and clunk it gets caught on the edge of your workpiece... push... clunk.... push... clunk... You get the idea. The same thing happens when you have the hose dragging off the sander.

Are these things overpriced? I can't say yet. German labor is expensive though a lot of the parts they use are "imported" (read: made in China). I'm a stickler for precision in tools and reliability. So far, Festool has both these but don't expect the tools to give you any special favors (if you know what I mean), they're not that good...
Posted: 8:50 am on March 8th

MGWOOD MGWOOD writes: As a professional woodworker I will say that I don't know what I would do without my domino... I use it everyday and I do think that it will be remembered as one of those few truly revolutionary tools. I have no idea how it could have registration issues... If you are needing to go to Youtube to learn how to use it that might be the beginning of the problem.
I also recently picked up the 1400 router as well, great router, great dust collection. There is nothing cheap about Festool tools... high quality stuff with a nice warranty. If you are a garage shop weekend hobbyist I could see how you might think that Festool is overpriced, if you use the products everyday to earn a living they are worth every penny.
Posted: 8:44 pm on March 5th

BStev BStev writes: I own 6 Festool products and with one exception they are fantastic and far better than anything the competition sells. No way is one RO the same as another RO, I wish I had bought my Rotex years early. Yes, they cost a lot; no all of their tools aren't worth buying but the ones that are are worth every penny. The one exception is the Rotex sander, I wish I had bought just the regular RO sander rather than the Rotex, it's just to big for me and and RO I have used is much smoother in operation.

Not sure what registration problems you could have with the Domino, make a line and plunge, not very hard and not hard to add your own lines to the base or fence if you need more. Been using mine for years and never had an issue lining things up.

On the other hand why do you need a corner sander like this new one, I don't get it. How much sanding into corners can you really do, I don't think I have ever had a need for this tool. A mini RO doesn't seem overly useful either especially with the Rotex aggressive mode. Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.
Posted: 9:38 am on March 4th

Richinsd52 Richinsd52 writes: Actually Mouppe, most of the Festool bashing I've read comes from Festool owners like myself. I don't own a festool Sander, but neither my Kapex or my Domino are particularly exceptional in quality. I have a Bosch 6" sander which annoys the heck out of me every time I use it. The disk grab will rip the thing out of your hand if you're not hanging on tight, especially if it's connected to a shop vac. I've been considering the Festool 6" RO but have been so disappointed in my previous Festool purchases, I've pretty much disregarded it as a choice. I know this, I won't ever buy another Festool product without personally trying it first. Not many dealers are set up to demo the products, at least not in this area.

As an actual owner, the name Festool does not overly excite me. I'm not saying they're bad tools. They are in fact good tools. They are however, seriously price inflated for what they are. You're right, price does not equal value. Just because a tool is triple the cost of other fine tools, does not mean it's the best in quality or function. In the end, I suppose as long as people are willing to drop the bucks, it works for Festool.
Posted: 6:04 pm on March 3rd

mouppe mouppe writes: Same old festool-bashing on every forum. Don't you guys every get bored of writing the same old stuff?

You get what you pay for. Most Festool owners don't consider their tools overpriced, because they can see the superior quality first-hand. It's people who have never picked one up and who just see the price who complain about them.

There's a difference between price and value. It's also why used festools go for 80-90% of the original price, and why most festool users own more than one festool.

Dean, not all RO sanders are the same. Look at the dust extraction, the differences in strokes, the vibration of the tool etc.

Anyway, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

Posted: 8:23 am on March 3rd

Richinsd52 Richinsd52 writes: Dean2 - I happen to agree. I have a Festool Kapex and a dominoe Joiner and frankly they are rediculously over priced. The dominoe, while it is a good idea and a useful tool is lacking in registration lines and diffucult to adjust with any accuracy. The casting is pretty cheesy for what should be a precision tool. It's very poorly documented from the factory. I find myself learning more about the tool from Youtube than from the manufacturer. Festool should provide a better instruction for the price they command. The registration guides which are depicted as metal in their instructions have been replaced with plastic. They give you spare guides, probably because they know they will soon break and need replacement.

The kapex, does have some nice features but it's mostly plastic as well. Out of the box it neeeded subsatntial tweaking to get it set up correctly. Not to mention, you're stuck with a proprietary blade hole size which inreases the cost of useage substantially. I bought it because at the time, it was the only slide saw that could be placed against a wall. For the hefty price tag equaling two of any other quality slide saw, this sucker should be made of titanium. It's not!

Festool is OK stuff but not great stuff. I don't feel they are a good value at all. They've built a reputation as being the most expensive in every category simply by price fixing. You don't always get what you pay for. I'm not a bargain basement buyer by any means. I've spent a great deal of money on quality tools and for the most part I'm pleased with my purchases. Lie Nielson for example is well worth the price. Festool is not. Just my opinion.
Posted: 9:47 pm on March 2nd

tjk3 tjk3 writes: Not all random orbit sanders are the same. I replaced a Dewalt 6" RO sander with a 6" Festool RO after reading Fine Woodworkings review. The difference was night and day. The Festool tracks with finger pressure, the disc will not grab and jump like the Dewalt did and the dust extraction is near perfect. I spend less time sanding and get better results so the price difference quickly disappears.
Posted: 3:27 pm on March 2nd

Tom Tom writes: The most sound tool advice I've ever heard is to buy the best tool you can afford.
Posted: 10:01 am on March 2nd

Hennie Hennie writes: Agreed, the Festools line of products is expensive, but you get what you pay for; I've been using Festool products for the past 12 years now, no breakages, no problems, just solid day-after-day reliability and accuracy.
Posted: 1:12 am on March 2nd

GrenadaBarefoot GrenadaBarefoot writes: I will be the first to admit that I will pay for the best tools I need/want but the Festool line of tools just seems to be way out there on price. Look at their Systainer boxes, lets face it they are just plastic boxes, A good Plano tackle box does the same thing for alot less money. If you prep'd your wood before assembly you don't need to sand in the corners and a random orbit sander is a random orbit sander regardless of the brand name!
Posted: 8:30 pm on March 1st

4_me 4_me writes: I think the Festool line of tools are overpriced.
It's amazing to me that with much of the country out of work,companies don't seem to mind getting every last cent out of their products, rather than giving a break to buyers who might possibly be able to afford some of these products.
Posted: 6:26 pm on March 1st

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