Ridgid Six-Inch Random Orbit Sander, R2610
This device has been superseded by Ridgid’s R2611 version, which has subtle improvements involving dust collecting and orbit-range selection. Certainly the R2610 version being reviewed may still be available used from some sources, and some Home Depot stores may even have new models still on hand, hopefully at a discount compared to the replacement version.
This unit is, as the title says, a six incher, which gives it a bit more coverage than typical five-inch models. It offers two orbiting ranges: ¼ inch and 1/8 inch, with the latter being more for fine work and the former being for serious wood removal. The motor has variable speeds, running from 4,000 to 10,000 oscillation/revs per minute. The motor draws 3.8 amps, and the unit weighs in at 6 pounds. The front handle can be adjusted to two different locations to suit the user, and the on/off trigger can be locked in the on position for longer work sessions. The lock is quickly disengaged by pulling the trigger a second time. The discs are attached to the rotating pad by means of a Velcro-style hook and loop surface. The speed changes are made via a dial, but the orbit diameters require a bit of specialized work that is decently explained in the manual. Supposedly, the replacement model has simplified this procedure. However, once the unit is set up to go the two should be pretty close in terms of performance.
The R2610 comes with an adaptor that lets you hook it to a 1.25- or 2.25-inch vacuum hookup, and it also has a rather goofy dust-collector bag that has thankfully been replaced with a more conventional bag with the newer version. However, for serious use one should forget about any bag and just hook the thing to a good dust-collecting system.
The three photos show the tool as well as two shots of my own dust-collecting rig. The collector is a GMC job and all it has to do is blow dust out into my “natural” back yard. The small hose was cannibalized from a discarded vacuum cleaner. The home-made junction attached to the bench can swivel as required. The only downside to this arrangement is that the GMC dust collector cannot really pull a lot of air through that small hose and the bleeder holes in the sander, so every once in a while you need to disconnect the main hose from the adaptor and let the collector blow the buildup in the bigger hose out into the yard. A more powerful collector might not have this problem, but I have the GMC and will stick with it until it quits.
I like this sander and have used it to smooth the surfaces of eleven solid-wood, six-panel doors I installed last year (I used a palm sander to get into the panel corners) and also to refinish our dining room table (I have pictures of this on this site) and two tables at my sister in laws house. It handled all those tasks well.