Pros: Dremel quality, variable speed, easy profile/paper change.
Cons: Top gets too warm for comfortable holding
My first profile sander was a Porter-Cable single speed profile sander. I was never happy with it, so when I had an opportunity to sell it, I jumped. I took some (note just some) of the money I got for it and got the profile sander I use regularly now.
Dremel Contour Sander 6000
Those who follow my tool reviews on Epinions know I have great respect for the products Dremel makes. I certainly don't have all of them, but I use many. The Dremel Contour Sander 6000 is now among them. It has the same Dremel quality and innovative design as their rotary tools and their scroll saw.
This is how Dremel describes it on their web site:
The Dremel? Contour Sander is a compact, lightweight sanding tool that provides ultra-smooth results on a number of surfaces and materials. Use it to sand those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, deep grooves, intricate carvings, curved moldings, thin slats and more. With multiple contour shapes and variable speeds, it has the power and precision you need to virtually eliminate hand sanding.
- A wide variety of available sandpaper, contour shapes and detail pads sand a range of curved, angled shapes and larger surfaces.
- At under 2 lbs., this tool is designed for hours of comfortable use with precision control.
- Variable speed settings (4,000-8,500 strokes per minute) give you all the power and control you need to complete a variety of sanding tasks.
- Exclusive quick change accessory release lets you quickly change from contour to detail pad without extra keys or wrenches.
- Long-lasting, reusable sanding tubes slip easily over all contours and can be rotated 360? for longer life.
- Easily replaceable motor brushes help sander perform longer and operate more efficiently.
Tool Weight..................1.75 lbs.
Strokes Per Minute......4,000-8,500
Variable-Speed Contour Sander Tool
10 sanding contours
3 sanding tubes
3 sheets of Hook & Loop Sandpaper
Detail Sanding Pad
Convenient storage case
The smooth plastic case fits well in the hand. The variable speed works smoothly. The off/on switch is conveniently located at the top front of the body. Changing profiles is easy and intuitive. Changing grits is equally easy. The detail pad is hard plastic, slips easily into the sander, uses hook-and-loop paper, and has a soft pad to allow a little give. The user replaceable brushes, a standard on all the corded Dremel tools, is a nice touch.
In addition to the 10 contours that come with this kit, a package of eight additional contours is available. There is plenty of space in the typical Dremel hard plastic case to store the extra contours. There is also an extension detail pad available. This pad is designed to stick out to the side of the sander, allowing access to tight spaces like the leaves of shutters. It uses the same sandpaper as the regular detail pad. I have not tried the dust collector accessory and cannot comment on it.
Compared to the Porter-Cable this replaces, use is simplicity itself. When sanding profiles, select the correct profile, slide a sanding tube of the proper grit over the profile, slide the base of the profile into the holder which rotates into the loading position with a flick of the red plastic release lever on the side of the body, rotate the holder back into the tool until it locks with a noticeable snap, and then use it. Reversing the procedure allows quick change of profiles or sanding sleeve grits.
Using the detail sander attachment is just as easy, except instead of sanding sleeves, diamond shaped pieces of hook-and-loop sandpaper are used. The short stroke of this sander allows it to be used right up to corners.
The back of the body is designed to be held in one hand, much like a barrel grip jig saw. Guide the sander over the material to be smoothed or shaped, watching angles if you are working on edges. This sander is surprisingly aggressive. If you are trying to break the edges of a board, it will quickly sand a groove on the side or top of the board if you aren't careful.
The variable speed is nice to reduce this aggressiveness when a lighter touch is needed. The sanding sleeves can be rotated around the profiles to allow use of all the surface of these rather expensive (about $3.00 for 4 or 5) sleeves. The sleeves will also clean up with a rubber sanding belt cleaner. The sleeves are made to fit all the profiles so seem a little loose om some of the smaller ones. In practice this isn't a problem.
There are a couple of things I am not completely happy with. First, the top of the body gets warm quickly. For me, at least, best control is achieved by gripping the barrel with one hand and guiding the sander with the other placed on the top. This can only be done for a short time due to the heat generated.
The range of grits on the sandpaper, available only through Dremel dealers, is limited to 80, 120, 220. Rolls of sandpaper with pressure sensitive adhesive can be used on the profiles but not on the detail sander. I have used the rolls for my Porter-Cable with success.
A minor gripe is the stiffness of the cord. It tends not to smoothly follow the sander movements and sometimes pops into the way.
Not a complaint, but an alert, is that it takes practice to handle the profiles while sanding. This is true of all profile sanders.
For the money you won't find a better or more aggressive sander for doing profiles. For someone into crafts, occasional furniture refinishing, or light woodworking, this could be the only sander you will need.