Bosch Bosch ROS65VC Review

The three most important features to look for in a random orbital sander are ergonomics, surface quality, and dust control. The Bosch ROS65VC delivers - with satisfaction - on all three counts, and then some.

Bosch ROS65VC

Bosch 5" Random Orbit Sander with Vibration Control



The three most important features to look for in a random orbital sander are: ergonomics (is the sander easy to handle and control?); surface quality (will I get surfaces that are consistently smooth and swirl-free - ready to be finished?); and dust control (how effective is the sander at minimizing dust on the work surface and in the air?) The Bosch ROS65VC delivers - with satisfaction - on all three counts, and then some.
 
This new generation Bosch sander is unique in that you can purchase it either with a 5" backing pad (ROS65VC-5, which I tested) or with a 6" backing pad (ROS65VC-6). You can also purchase it as a kit with both pads, or you can buy various pads separately (see the chart at the end of this review).
 
Either model comes with a removable front handle, dust canister, vacuum hose adapter, 5mm pad wrench (which you also use to attach the front handle) and one P120 sanding disc.
 

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The ROS65VC-5 with it's accoutrements - pad wrench, vac hose adapter, front handle, P120 sanding disc, dust canister
 
Both the rear pistol grip handle and the top of the sander are nicely padded, lightly textured (for a better grip), and comfortable to hold for long periods of time. The front handle is quick to attach, and with it removed you can sand close to edges and corners. I like the large spring loaded trigger, which you can grasp with two fingers. A large trigger is also better if you wear gloves when sanding.
 
The lock-on button is conveniently located so it can be quickly activated with your thumb. While holding the rear handle you can easily rotate the variable speed dial with your index finger. I like to start the sander at the lowest speed setting, with the pad resting on the work surface, and then increase the speed to the level required for the work at hand. 
 
The ROS65VC has a 3.3 Amp motor that delivers from 5,500 to 12,000 orbits per minute - more than adequate for any sanding (or polishing) task you're likely to encounter on hardwood, softwood, veneer or metal.


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Large trigger and lock-on button
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Easily reachable variable speed dial
All power tools generate some level of vibration. If you only use the tool for a few minutes at a time, then vibration might not be a big issue. However, on tools that we tend to use for extended periods of time, like sanders, vibration can be a literal pain - in the hands and forearms. This can be exacerbated if you have a tendency to hold onto the sander tightly. After thirty or forty minutes of continuous sanding your hands can start to feel numb.
 
Bosch has come up with an innovative, and effective way of suppressing vibration on the ROS65VC. The Bosch 'Vibration Control' system separates the body (or shell) from the motor housing.
 

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The body (or shell) has its own housing
 

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The motor housing is fully enclosed, and covered with  eight foam pads that serve to dissipate vibration
 
Eight dense foam pads on the motor housing dissipate vibration. This design doesn't eliminate vibration, but it does work quite well - the ROS65VC certainly is the smoothest operating sander that I've used. For anyone who does a lot of sanding, the Vibration Control system would, in my view, justify the purchase of this sander. However, Bosch has a couple of other features worth noting.
 

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The Pad Dampening System consists of a damper ring - with the holes in it - which reduces no-load speed (backing pad removed in this photo)
 
On the bottom of the sander, right above the backing pad, is a rubber damper ring that serves to reduce no-load speed. What this means is that when you're not applying any downward pressure on the sander, there is minimal pad rotation. This helps reduce swirl marks on the work surface, resulting in a smoother, better looking finish.


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Soft hook & loop backing pad
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The ribbed dust port 
The ROS65VC comes standard with a high-performance soft microcellular hook-and-loop backing pad, which is good for general purpose sanding. It's the same density you find on just about all random orbital sanders. However you can purchase a 6" hard pad (which works best with coarser grit sanding discs when you need to remove a lot of material) and a 6" extra soft pad (for sanding or polishing contoured surfaces). Replacing pads is a simple matter of unscrewing a securing bolt with the supplied Allen key. 
 
Dust control is crucial when sanding, as the dust is especially fine. Wearing a respirator goes a long way in keeping dust out of your lungs. However, you don't want fine dust settling all over your shop.


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Paper micro filter is quick to remove and empty
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The cannister attaches securely onto the dust port
The ROS65VC has a farily efficient dust management system. It comes with a hard shell dust canister that contains a removable paper micro filter - the filter has a screw-off cap. This makes it very easy to empty the canister, which is something you should do after every sanding session. Gently tapping the micro filter against the soft edge of a waste container dislodges most of the dust.

Better yet, connect the sander to a shop vacuum. The ROS65VC comes with a connector that accommodates both 1-1/4" and 1-1/2". While I found that the dust canister works fairly well, using a shop vac is, by far, much more effective. There is a slot at the top of the dust port on the sander - this enables you to control the level of vacuum suction by varying the amount of the slot that is covered by the hose.


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Suction control slot enables you to control the level of vacuum suction
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Comfortable to use, the ROS65VC is a stellar performer
At just over 5 pounds the ROS65VC is hefty. However, because of the low level of vibration, it's easy to control. The top of the sander is just over 3" wide, so people with small hands might find it an awkward grip, preferring to grasp the rear handle.
 
The 3.3 amp motor delivers rotation speeds from 5,500 to 12,000 orbits per minute, and when matched with sanding discs of the appropriate grit can handle just about any sanding task. The sanding pad has a short orbit size of 5/32" that is ideal for producing swirl free finishes. 
 
In use I found the ROS65VC to be a stellar performer. Easy to control, minimal vibration, and good dust pickup (excellent if you connect to a shop vac).
 
Tips for getting the best out of your Bosch ROS65VC sander:
 
  • Connect your sander to a shop vac, or empty the dust canister frequently.
  • Change sanding discs frequently - as soon as you notice pills forming (pills are those small spheres of compressed dust that stick to the surface of the sanding disc).
  • Periodically remove dust from the surface you're sanding, using a rag, brush, vacuum or compressed air, otherwise trapped grit will cause scratching and swirl marks.
  • Start with the finest grit that will do the job; progress through grit sizes sanding just enough to remove scratches from the previous grit - P100, P120, P150 and P180 is a good progression to follow.
  • Let the sander do the work - if you feel the need to apply downward pressure change to a coarser grit.
  • Place the sander on the work surface and then start it at low speed.
  • Keep the sander pad flat, particularly at edges of a board.
  • Lift the sander off your work piece smoothly and evenly, and then turn it off.
Models and Accessories
ROS65VC-5 - 5" model$279.99
ROS65VC-6 - 6" model$289.99
ROS65VCL - Kit with 5" & 6" pads and storage case$349.00
RS038 - 5" soft pad$ to come
RS6044 - 6" extra soft pad$ to come
RS6045 - 6" soft pad$ to come
RS6046 - 6" hard pad$ to come
KEY FEATURES:

  • 5" pad (accepts 6" pads)
  • 3.3 Amp motor
  • 5,500 - 12,000 orbits per minute
  • 11,000 - 24,000 orbital stroke rate
  • 5/64" orbit offset
  • Vibration control system
  • Pad dampening system
  • Soft microcellular H&L backing pad
  • Micro filter dust canister
  • 1-1/4" - 1-1/2" dust port
  • 13' flexible power cord
  • 5.3 lbs
  • 3 year warranty
  • Includes: Removable front handle, dust canister, vacuum hose adapter, 5mm pad wrench, P120 sanding disc
MANUFACTURER:Bosch
AVAILABLE AT:Tool and equipment suppliers nationwide
RETAIL PRICE:$279.99
MADE IN:Switzerland
December 2011
Author: 
Carl Duguay
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