Sanding Question

This is kind of an update on a past post I submitted stating that I didn't like my Festool.  I'm actually using a different Festool now and so far..I'm loving it!  I'm using the ETS 150/5 and have the ETS 150/3 on order.  Here is my question.  Will I get a better shine if I sand with a random orbit motion or a rotary motion?  I notice that my polishes are not as brilliant as they used to be.  I ordered a sander with a smaller sanding stroke to do the finish sanding, hoping that will take care of the problem.  It dosen't seem like it should make a difference but I'm seeing one.  It is so different sanding with the Festool than the Milwaukee that I can't even compare the two.  After I polish my boards, I can see the sanding pattern underneath the shine from the orbital motion.  This is after sanding with 800 grit sandpaper.  I have 1200 and 1500 grit on order to see if it solves the problem.  Now I'm wondering if the scratches that are showing are actually underneath the gloss.  Anyone have any insights on this?  I have to say that I have no burn throughs using the Festool but I do still need to hand sand the rails.

To me, it sounds like you’re not getting the rougher grit scratches all the way out. But I’m sure others will have much better insight.

The Festool ETS series sanders are not combination motion, so you only get random orbit. My rep let me try these, and my opinion is that these are not suitable for sanding fiberglass. Both the short and long stroke ETS models are designed for fine sanding of wood; the ETS150/3 is for sanding veneers. The RO 150E is the one I have, and it is about 200 watts more powerful than the ETS series, and still isn’t great for first pass sanding of hotcoats due to the speed and 6" pad size. Coarse paper on an underpowered sander will always leave swirls and scratch patterns.

If you insist on using these sanders, I recommend that you first use an adequate rotary at 80 and 120. If you still see scratches, go to 220. At this point, you made enough dust anyhow so using the Festool is kinda a waste.

Thanks for your input Pete. I actually started out with the Rotex 150E. It really dosen’t work well for me, at least for the initial sanding. The ETS 150 has a speed of 6,000 to 10,500 opm. My Milwaukee which does a great but messy job, only goes up to 6,000 rpm…I understand what you are saying but as far as the rotation speed goes…I’m not quite buying in. I really Really want this to be able to work, and I think it will. Right now there is just so much experimenting to do and at the same time, I have 16 boards to get sanded so I may revert back to the Milwaukee, just to move things along a bit. The feel of the ETS 150 is great. I can rail sand with one hand and get no burn throughs. Instead of taking 30 minutes to sand a complete longboard, I think it takes more like 45 minutes but with little to no mess. I do have high hopes!

By the way…has anyone heard from Tom Sterne?