RTS 400: Sporty Orbital

Written by on April 15, 2012 in Power Sanders, Tools with 5 Comments

Festool RTS 400 Dust Extraction Demo

Short video demo with Scott Burt showing the absence of airborne dust with a RTS 400 inside a cabinet enclosure during finish sanding tasks in preparation for primer and paint. Festool sanding is noted for capturing dust at the source (the surface), so that it cannot become airborne – a quality that painters and homeowners appreciate. 

Ultimate Orbital?

RTS 400

Into dustless power sanding of drywall patches and skims?

If you think about all of the square 1/4″ palm sanders you have dinged into dumpsters in your life, investing in more sophisticated sanding tools becomes more palatable to consider. The RTS 400 is a more refined, rectangular incarnation of everything you probably wished your old quarter sheets could do, and at the end of the day, it doesn’t leave your arm vibrating to a sad state of numbness. And no more ringing ears or claw hand at night.

The RTS 400 is best suited to interior tasks, and it does them with a smoothness that we have not seen in other orbitals that didn’t bear the same manufacturer’s badge. In other words, Festool puts out sanders to solve problems by category, with no single sander intended to solve every single problem. What that means to painters is you can select sanding tools that are easily matched to multiple types tasks. And the tasks that the RTS 400 best matches up with are interior, fine finish based.

A Trim and Cabinet Grade Specialist

RTS 400

An interior specialist. For cabinet grade and more…

Having used this manufacturer supplied tool on the job for over two years now, there have probably not been more than a few occasions where it ever made on appearance on exterior painting tasks. Its short stroke and finish sanding personality make it too much of an interior specialist to be considered for rougher exterior work. That said, it is lightweight enough to stick 60 grit on and do overhead exterior soffet or porch ceiling sanding with all day long.

The RTS 400 is a $235 tool that will not disappoint. Where Festool sanders pay their way on jobs is in their ability to work reliably and dust free. In other words, this is one of the first sanders that we have been able to run IN our spray booth, for in between coat sanding prior to final finish. No more lugging stuff to a prep area, and no more cleaning up after prep tasks. Turnkey operation.

The key to the system is the dust extraction. Pair the RTS 400 sander with a Festool CT Midi HEPA certified dust extractor ($485) and don’t look back.

 

Scott Burt

Scott Burt is a contractor and freelance writer whose column "From the Field" has appeared in American Painting Contractor magazine (www.paintmag.com) since 2008. His writing and projects also appear in other print and digital venues. This site is an extension of Scott's publication work, and he encourages readers to leave comments and questions about articles published here. Hope to hear from you!

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