Dewalt Random Orbital Sander – D26453
Price (varies alot) from £75 to £199
I had been doing quite a bit of research on the net to try to find a sander that I could use on the car for rubbing down the paintwork. There are lots out there to choose from but I havent really come across any specifically for the weekend mechanic. Yes, there the professional body work tools that costs hundreds and the real cheap and nasty £20 DIY own brand specials.
The basics requirements I have learned and come to understand is that you need an orbital. This is so you avoid the predictable side to side or up and down action of most sanders. This would not be a particular problem on the woodwork side, but on car body work little scratches can be seen a mile away. Taking that in mind, that narrowed things down quite a lot, it was going to be orbital, but what? I have used a few sanders in my time on various household projects and they were good but a little cumbersome, so size and quality was an issue.
The quality side was sort of narrowed down to the big names, Draper, Bosch, Black and Decker, Dewalt etc. I had not seen many reviews for the products based on the auto bodyshop role, so I narrowed them down even further: the Bosch GEX 150AC or the Dewalt D26453 were the final choices. The bosh has a more trigger style grip where as the Dewalt is palm fitting. Both were similar in power and the Bosh was capable of running slower and a lot faster, but again not many mentions on cars. Dewalt it was as the reviews I saw elsewhere said it was a good buy.
What did I find and did I like it? Read on…
Whats In the Box?
Not a lot – There is the main tool, and a dust bag, book of words (instructions) and the one year warranty card. Oh, and a generous single sanding sheet. That was sarcasm, not aimed specifically at Dewalt but all makers of this type of tool, you spend god knows how much on it then you have to buy the discs to make it work. This has always been a little bug bare of mine.
Whats it like to use?
Well I was little open-minded about this and hoping for a lot. I wasn’t disappointed. I first turned it on and as it says there is a slight pause to the start-up and speeds up to the setting you want it to be. On my headlight buckets I had previously filled some dents and digs. with the Dinitrol filler, time to sand it down. The Sander spins the base plate but also moves on a random cam. I’m not sure how it does it but its good. I put a 80 grade disc on and placed it on the filler and started it up and pressed down. Savage, it ripped into the filler big time, much too much so in fact. Lucky This was on a fairly thick part of the filler so it didn’t cause me any problems. This sander will remove pretty much any coating from anything! I found I had to go down to a 180 grade and be more gentle with the motion and let the tool do its own thing, with no pressure from me. Now it was working brilliant and more than I was expecting. I worked down the down the grades to the P400, to a nice smooth finish on the filler.
The palm fits over the top and the other hand can be used around the trunk of the tool to guide it. The venting is just above the disc, so the hand in this position makes it easier to guide it and does not obstruct anything.
There is a little dust bag that is spring-loaded inside to hold it in shape that is supplied with the tool. This is a very quick connection and just twists onto the port at the back of the tool. I was sanding for a little while and checked the inside, there it was catching the real fine powder. I’m not sure how it will cope with wood dust etc and I expect it would be emptied a fair bit because it’s not that big. For what I want, where we are only talking microns of paint to be removed and the odd couple of millimeters of filler, its spot on.
The action of the tool is easy to use, there is very little vibration and feels well-balanced. The adjustment of the speed if quite accurate and there is none of that, roughly there will do. The variations of speed are very definite and precise. I did try the load test as well where you press it down to put a load on the motor. The motor did compensate to keep a constant speed and I expect it will on the car based jobs. How it will cope with the discs biting into wood under a very pressure I’m not so sure. When pressure was applied the random orbit will make light work of any job and I could not see any swirling patterns. The secret I have personaly found on car body work is a little pressure and let the discs do the work. I purchased some Draper ten discs packs of quite a range of grades. They all fitted fine and they held in place fine and they worked fine, they did not fly of the pad even at max revolutions. I found that at full speed it was too much on the heavier grit papers, so I slowed it down, The P60 & P80 I bought I doubt will ever be used on the car, anybody wanna buy a couple of packs? Anyway to change the discs over was a breeze, it’s a simple case of slap on and rip off. Only have to make sure that you get the correct number of holes if you want the exhaust part of the tool to work properly.
It produces fantastic results, there was no lines or swirls from the sander. The weight of the tool seems enough and to force weight down on the body filler only seems to churn it up on the heavy grit papers. I was well pleased with I could achieve with it. After a while using it, it still remained quiet and I did not feel the urgent need to keep swapping hands to hold it. The tool is fairly heavy and I expect on a vertical sanding job it will certainly have to be two hands to hold the pressure on flat, and then the other hand to guide it.
Fantastic tool. This will make light work of any job you want, around the house as well as the car. This will save hours of elbow aching work and make the final rubbing down with the ultra fine grit papers by hand a lot easier to deal with. I deliberately waited a while and after a few uses before I decided to review this product, to make sure it was fair review.
The grades of disc seem to come in P40, 60, 80, 120, 180, 220, 320, 400. Now I think that’s enough but maybe a P1000 would be nice to wet and dry the area before the last blast with a P2000 grades.
If you want an orbital palm held sander – you won’t be disappointed with this buy, at lower end of the price market it seems to cheap to be honest and you should be very wary of the cheap and cheerful. The price I paid is in no way an indication that it cheap and nasty.
Make no mistake, this is a top quality product that you know will last and give great performance. Why? Because Dewalt pride themselves on their reputation. So far – it’s stands up well for me. I do like their tools.
None really, but, if you class the fact that this sander is round by default and that you can’t get into tight corner spaces due to the circumference of the sading pad area, then that is a down side yes. Those tight areas will have to be done with a more traditional & standard sanding methods I’m afraid. But, I will take that, as the time saved using this tool more than makes up for a little bit of hand sanding.
I have seen this for as little as £75 and as much as £199. The price variation is stupid in fact – to get the best purchase price you must shop around. I did just that and got mine for the £75, and that’s a massive £125 of Rrp. The money I saved bought me a bag for it, packs of all the sanding discs as well as a clear storage box to put them all in as well.
The fact that the USA spec of the tool has a bag with it sort of grates a little on me this side of the pond. Such a great tool deserves a bag where ever you live., Are you reading this Dewalt? So for the tool alone it gets top marks and the money I saved I bought a bag for it anyway, I can’t complain I guess.