MIRKA® Abrasives Introduces the DEROS Tool to North America
Today’s refinishers and restorers utilize an interesting mix of both traditional as well as modern tools and materials. In the well-equipped shops it’s not uncommon to find vintage hand planes, chisels and carving tools together with ultra-modern power equipment, devices and chemicals. All these tools and materials are utilized to bring the past alive through refinishing, restoration and preservation of objects from bygone eras.
One practice which appears common among professionals is to remove and/or apply the least amount of material possible for achieving the specific goal at hand. A keen knowledge of traditional practices together with current techniques is vital in the field of restoration and preservation. Although as part of these procedures abrasive products and sanding equipment are commonly deployed, they are specially selected and utilized in a highly precise manner.
MIRKA® Abrasives has introduced the DEROS tool for general availability within North America. DEROS, the short name for Direct Electric Random Orbital Sander, is another in a series of recent innovations by MIRKA® Abrasives. In 2014 the DEROS tool was released to Europe; while winning the distinguished Red Dot product design award, the tool rapidly gained popularity among fine establishments specializing in refinishing, restoration and historic preservation. Astute craftsmen and artisans have chosen the DEROS tool because it provides a number of distinctive features not found in other sanders.
So what makes this sander so special? We’ll explore the details shortly but first let’s summarize a few primary features making this tool ideal for the most delicate tasks.
The DEROS tool has a powerful environmentally sealed brushless motor with integrated microcomputer-based signal processor for extremely precise speed, torque and braking control. The patented motor coupled with the highly advanced control technology is nearly 100% efficient while delivering up to 350 watts, nearly ½ horsepower, of motive force directly to the sanding pad. The motor delivers an unsurpassed frame-size to power ratio. The DEROS tool with brushless motor is the first to eliminate the need for an external power supply while providing an extremely low vibration level (3.4 m/s2) as compared to market standards.
MIRKA®DEROS offers numerous ergonomic design features focused on even the smallest of details. The optimized ergonomics make it comfortable to grip and easy to use. Its symmetry is well-balanced for added support and control. The longer body with slender profile provides the option of one or two-hand operation for a relaxed and controlled grip. The DEROS tool weighs in at two pounds making it the lightest sander in its class. The design of the sander allows a high level of maneuverability while delivering precise performance.
Dust Free Sanding
Surface preparation using abrasive products produces dust that can contain hazardous particles. In addition to health and safety concerns, a dust-free work environment ensures better control by providing a clear view of the surface. Dust free sanding also helps to avoid problems such as over sanding. Like the CEROS, the DEROS tool with dust collector combined with MIRKA’s NET abrasives products provide remarkable dust removal.
Now that we’ve reviewed a few DEROS features, let’s get to the workbench for closer look...
The DEROS tool has so many features it’s hard to know where to begin. We will start by exploring what’s in the box.Upon opening you will find the DEROS tool with power cord and a spanner wrench for removing/replacing the backing pad as well as a generous assortment of MIRKA’s Abranet abrasives with a pad saver. Also included are an instruction booklet, instructional DVD plus a small bag containing a hex wrench, several nuts along with a small hex screw (screw/nuts described in the ‘Setup and Usage’ section of this article). For the DEROS tool, MIRKA® provides a 2 year warranty with an additional one year warranty period if the tool is registered online with MIRKA®.
Apart from the sleek design there are several other notable features. As compared to CEROS, the DEROS tool does not require a remote DC power supply and plugs directly into the power mains. In addition, the detachable power cord on DEROS tool is of a smaller wire gage making it even lighter and more agile then the CEROS. Recent brushless motor, motor control technologies and enclosure improvements developed by MIRKA® make the entire assembly (tool plus power cord) lighter and more maneuverable for less fatigue and better results. Another new feature incorporated into the DEROS tool design is its vacuum port. The quick-connect coupler on the vacuum port has been streamlined and extends at a slightly higher angle then the CEROS. This means the vacuum hose (and 14 foot power cord) is fast-and-easy to attach and detach and makes the DEROS tool easier to uses when sanding within confined locations.
DEROS Tool Configurations
Here is the lineup of the DEROS versions with available orbit options:
- 125mm (5”) sander with 5mm orbit
- 150mm (6”) sander with 2.5 or 5mm orbit
I have the 150mm sander with 5mm (3/16 inch) orbit. The 2.5mm orbit is well suited for fine sanding. I find that the 5mm orbit is perfect for all-around usage.
Switches and Indicators
To maintain consistency and avoid confusion, the controls on the DEROS tool are functionally similar to those on MIRKA’s CEROS tool. I did find improvements with regard to the tactile feel and layout of the controls along with a minor functional enhancement making the DEROS tool even easier to operate.
Resting the sander on the backing pad reveals the pushbuttons, indicator light and paddle switch. The pushbutton in the center of the handle controls the power to the sander. Pressing the power control button will cause the indicator light to glow green. This indicates the sander is fully powered and ready for operation. Pressing the power control button again will cause the indicator to turn off and disables the sander.
The MIRKA® DEROS features precision adjustable speed control. The + and – buttons control this functionality. By pressing the + or – button momentarily, the sanders maximum speed is set between 4000 to 10,000 RPM. The sander has 6 incremental maximum-speed-levels. Each time a speed control button is depressed, the indicator light will flash from green to red. By pressing and holding down the + or – button, the sander will quickly cycle up or down through each maximum speed increment. Releasing the pushbutton stops the cycling at the desired maximum speed setting. The DEROS will remember its previous settings even when power is switched off and the sander is disconnected from the power mains.
Pressing the paddle switch will apply power to the motor causing the backing pad to spin. The paddle switch has two modes of operation; on/off or, variable speed. To set the paddle for variable speed mode, press the + and – button simultaneously for several seconds. To revert to on/off mode, repeat the process once again (by pressing the + and – button simultaneously for several seconds).
Setup and Usage
The small hex screw, nuts and wrench that came with the DEROS tool are used for precision counter-weight vibration trim adjustments. The screw and nuts are installed to compensate for the slight weight increase of the pad saver or interface pad thus reducing potential vibration.
In my opinion, pad savers are a real necessity; they prevent those tiny ‘hooks’ on the backing pad ‘Grip’ fastener from wearing prematurely.
Although I found the vibration level of the DEROS practically undetectable, according to the instructions, I installed the adjustment screws/nuts for use with pad savers and interface pads.
I have a dedicated vacuum hose for use with my sander. MIRKA’s optional ‘hook and loop’ style tie-straps are used to attach the hose to the DEROS tool power cord. For me, this is the most convenient configuration because it provides easy maneuverability while allowing the DEROS to be quickly detached for transport and storage.
|Note: When sanding with the DEROS tool, MIRKA® Abrasives suggests applying the sander (abrasive disc) to the substrate prior to turning on the sander. This helps to prevent unintended gouges and other blemishes to the substrate. It is also recommended to remove the sander (abrasive disc) from the substrate prior to turning off the sander. |
Abrasives, Dust Collector and Accessories
Before concluding, let’s explore a few abrasives, the MIRKA® dust collector and some important accessory items. I have discovered that the DEROS tool together with the items described below have made sanding tasks cleaner, easier and faster while delivering incredible results.
MIRKA’s ‘Net’ sanding concept is unlike any other; consisting of a dense network of polyamide fabric threads onto which the abrasive grit is bonded. With thousands of holes they provide phenomenal dust extraction. Since dust is continuously being sucked away it’s always possible to see exactly what is happening at the sanding surface. This gives the user greater control over the job and avoids problems such as over sanding.
A multifunctional sanding material developed for tackling both smooth and profiled surfaces. The patented flexible construction allows it to create an ultra-fine surface finish on both flat and profiled surfaces while minimizing the risk of pressure marks. The flexible weave and open cell design holds large amounts of water or lubricants for cooling, making it suitable for both dry and wet sanding, by machine or by hand. Abralon is the perfect abrasive for wet sanding of high gloss finishes prior to polishing and for sheen adjustment of semi-gloss, satin and flat finishes.
This MIRKA® dust collector is equipped with an auto-start function. With the control knob set to the auto position, the sander automatically controls when the vacuum starts and stops. For auto-start mode, the MIRKA® DEROS plugs directly into the power receptacle located on the dust collector’s control panel. When running in manual or automatic modes, the dust collector’s speed is fully adjustable. A push-to-clean button on the top of the dust collector keeps the air flow at an optimal level.
Inside are a thick fleece dust bag and a high-volume air filter. The vacuum hose connection is earthed to eliminate static electricity buildup within the hose. It’s also quite powerful; pulling 250 mbar of vacuum pressure along with an impressive 3700 liters-per-minute of air flow. In fact, it’s so powerful that you can run two sanders simultaneously when using MIRKA’s optional ‘Y’ vacuum port adapter.
The first and most important accessory is the Pad Saver. These low cost items will not only save money but much frustration as well. Pad savers really are a necessity because they prevent the hook-and-loop (GRIP) fastener on the backing pad from wearing prematurely. The thin and flexible pad saver has a GRIP fastener on both sides and resides between the backing pad and abrasive disc.
Interface pads are another important accessory. Interface pads are recommended when sanding contoured surfaces. Using an interface pad may also help prevent over sanding of delicate surfaces. An interface pad is a relatively thick cushion with GRIP fastener on both sides. They reside between the backing pad and abrasive disc. Interface pads are available in several densities from soft to firm.
I have found that precision sanding equipment with dust collector and a full suite of leading-edge abrasives is an investment that pays off quickly with increased productivity. All combined, it has saved countless hours of tedious work while simultaneously providing professional results and a higher-quality finish. In addition, with MIRKA’s high-tech sanders and abrasives, unintended damages caused by over sanding are completely avoided while achieving an unmatched level of accuracy.
With the DEROS tool even the most delicate of finishes can be easily finessed. For restoration professionals, MIRKA® Abrasives provide the highest quality of products available for achieving the most undetectable finish repairs possible.
In my shop, MIRKA® products are used so extensively that I constructed this dedicated abrasives service trolley. It’s a handy workstation that can be conveniently rolled right next to the item being restored or refinished. I recently noticed that the ‘MIRKA® brand’ service trolley is now available within North America and now everyone can enjoy this convenience.
I’ve been using Abranet, Abralon, the CEROS and other MIRKA® tools for some time now and have found all to be totally reliable. The tools and abrasives have also been a real time saver with respect to surface preparation, finish rubout and polishing. The CEROS in particular has simply been the best sanding tool found so far. Now looking forward, I can further realize an even higher level of precision and maneuverability while enjoying all the other new features the MIRKA® DEROS tool has to offer.
MIRKA sanders and abrasives are available world-wide through an extensive network of distributors. Here is a link that has a listing of distributors within USA: [MIRKA CEROS USA Distributors].
Restoration News accepted no monitory award, support or payment from MIRKA Abrasives for the development and publication of this article and its content. The content, usage guidance and, general opinions regarding all products mentioned here are the sole opinions of the Restoration News staff; as determined by their independent interpretation, analysis and testing. In addition, Restoration News assumes sole responsibility for all content contained in this article as defined by Restoration News limitation of liability and website disclaimers.