December 4, 2007

Proxxon Oscillating Detail Sander - Review

proxxon.jpgWe're big fans of the Fein MultiMaster. In our opinion, it's one of the best tools to come around in a long time. And we thought that it stood alone, with no other tool like it. We've been hearing about the Bosch PMF 180 E Multi, a similar tool that's available in Europe and may or may not be coming to the states, but what we didn't know about was the Proxxon Delta Sander. It's the Mini-Me of the MultiMaster and we were lucky enough to get a chance to test one out.

The basics of the tool are the same as the Fein. There's the oscillating head with interchangeable blades, sanding pads, files, scrapers, and polishers. If you're familiar with the Fein, then all the controls will be familiar to you. The accessories change out the same way, with a little hex key, and there's a little dial to control oscillation speed.

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As far as power is concerned, the Proxxon doesn't come anywhere near the Fein. The Fein is capable of 12,000 to 21,000 OPM, while the Proxxon has the much smaller range of 3,000 to 10,000. So the fastest speed of the Proxxon doesn't even get to the slowest speed of the Fein. Because the Proxxon has such a different rate of speed, it can hardly be compared to the Fein. And in actuality, the Proxxon isn't trying to be the same tool.

proxxon_sanding.jpgEven though we were warned by the good folks at Proxxon that their tool isn't up for the kind of heavy-duty work that the Fein is, we immediately took it out and started aggressively sanding down a swollen mahogany door jamb. We were way too rough with the tool and after a bit, the housing around the head rattled loose and almost fell off. We don't see this in anyway as a bad reflection on the tool as much as a bad reflection on our own poor judgement for working the thing so hard. So, yes, what Proxxon told us is correct: their tool is not meant for heavy duty, construction site work. Once we screwed the head back together, we softened our touch and allowed the Proxxon to work at it's slower pace. It still accomplished the task at hand, it just took a lot longer. It was a job meant for the Fein, not the Proxxon.

With its slower rate of speed and its smaller body the Proxxon establishes itself in a realm all of its own, and this realm is a place called, "The World of Insane Attention to Detail." If you can believe it, the Proxxon makes the Fein seem bulky, awkward and clunky. If you're building a scale model of the boat from Master and Commander and you're going to build it in a Pepsi bottle, this is the tool for you.

When there's just a 32nd of an inch to remove or just (literally) a hair to sand down, that's where this tool gets really impressive. The amount of control is astounding and the delicacy of it is unreal. When it came to minutiae, we could do anything we wanted with the available accessories.

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proxxon_small_blade.jpgAnd speaking of accessories, Proxxon offers a lot of them. They've got sanding pads, polishing pads, cutting blades, files and, or favorite, the smallest plunge cut blades you've ever seen, one of which has a blade width of 5/16". If you own a MultiMaster, you'll be happy to know that the blades and accessories from that tool can be used on the Proxxon, but honestly, they'll seem too large for what you'll be doing with the Proxxon.

Storage is no problem either because Proxxon sells the tool with a fantastic unmolded plastic case. We stuffed it with a ton of blades, the tool with the cord, and still had some room left over.

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For the detail-oriented hobbyist or the precision woodworker, this tool should go hand in hand with your Dremel rotary tool. It can deal with precision tasks like nothing you've ever seen before.

The Proxxon Delta Sander sells for about $120-$130. If it's something you're going to use, it's definitely worth the price. It comes with four sanding pads, one sanding fleece, and a couple felt polishing pads.

At Garrett Wade, Minicraft, and ToolsAndMore.us

Read More in: All Reviews | Oscillating Tools | Power Tools | Sanding

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at December 4, 2007 5:50 AM

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