Skil 5" Random Orbital Sander - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

A capable sander for DIYers and hobbyists with a good dust pickup system and an attractive price

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Skil 5" Random Orbital Sander



The Skil 7492-01 Random Orbital Sander is targeted at home owners and DIYers. It features a 2.8 Amp motor that delivers 12,500 orbits per minute. The 5" platen has a standard 8-hole configuration that uses hook and loop sanding discs, which are available just about anywhere (the sander comes with 3 discs to get you going). The body of the 7492-01 looks to be made of a high impact ABS plastic, with a rubber over mould grip and rubber inserts around the motor housing. The rubber grip and inserts, along with the light weight of the unit (just over 3 lbs) makes the sander reasonably comfortable to hold, even for extended periods. At 6 1/2" tall, I found it to be reasonably well balanced. The rocker style on/off switch is located up front, easily accessible with a fingertip.



There is a pressure control indicator, located on the side of the sander, which gives you a visual indication of how much downward pressure you are exerting on the sander. As you apply downward pressure on the sander, the lights glow from green to yellow to red. When the light glows red you know that you're exerting too much pressure and need to ease off. Eventually you'll know intuitively how much pressure to apply for different sanding applications. I think that the pressure control indicator is a useful feature for anyone who hasn't used an ROS before. It takes the guess work out of trying to deduce how much pressure to apply. I found it worked quite well.
 

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Rocker-style on/off switch
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Pressure control indicator
The 7492-01 has a pad brake that helps prevent scratches by reducing free spin when you remove the sander from a work piece. Note that this brake doesn't instantaneously stop the pad from rotating; it takes about 12 seconds for the pad to stop rotating. In use, it's always a good idea to keep the sander constantly moving; if you stop moving the sander you'll likely over-sand in that spot, creating a micro-depression. Some users turn the motor off before lifting the sander from the work surface; others simply lift the sander up (this is where the pad brake ostensibly kicks in). Regardless of the way you 'lift off', you'll want to start the sander before you bring it in contact with the work surface.
 

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Very good dust collection
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Cannister easliy removed; ready for a 1 1/4" vacuum hose
The see-through dust canister on the 7492-01 is equipped with a non-replaceable micro-filter. It's very efficient, but requires frequent emptying, as the canister itself is quite small. Fortunately, you can hook a 1-1/4" dust hose to the sander. The canister easily disengages from the sander, and a half dozen sharp raps will dislodge most of the dust. You could then clean it out further with compressed air. If the filter becomes damaged (wet or clogged with a gummy residue) you'll have to purchase a new canister.



I prefer to hold a sander with two hands, and not by the grip alone. The grip on the 7492-01 is fairly small, forcing you to grasp the body of the sander; if you're right handed, you'll end up obscuring the pressure control indicator lights. A bit of an annoyance, though it becomes a moot point once you know how much pressure to exert when sanding.


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In use, the 7492-01 did a commendable job on a couple of large ash panels, using 180 and then 240 grit discs. I found that it sanded aggressively, in part because of the 1/4" oscillating orbit. It is somewhat on the loud side (94.7 dB no-load, 90.9 in-use), and it vibrates more than professional grade sanders (as you might expect). The 6' power cord is too short; in just about every situation you'll need to use an extension cord. But then, just about every manufacturer uses short cords.



Notwithstanding these points, I think that anyone who needs a sander for intermittent use will find the Skil 7492-01 a capable sander. It
 does a good job, uses standard sanding discs that you can get anywhere, has a very good dust pickup system, and comes at an attractive price.

KEY FEATURES:


  • 2.8 amps
  • 12,500 opm (no load)
  • 5" 8-hole platen (hook and loop)
  • Pressure control indicator
  • Pad brake
  • Clear micro-filter canister
  • 1 1/4" vacuum hose port
  • 1 year warranty
  • Includes 3 sanding discs

MANUFACTURERSkil
AVAILABLE FROMTool and equipment suppliers nationwide
RETAIL PRICE$39.99
MODEL #7492-01
MADE INChina
Carl Duguay, January 2010
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