Since I didn't see a specifically Tool related category to post this review in, I'm posting in Metal because that's where I'm using the tool.
Eastwood offers a Surface Contour Tool that an electric powered (117VAC 9 Amp) horizontal roller style sander, buffer, finishing tool. http://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-contour-sct.html I just bought one and paid the list price of 200.00 US$ to see what use I could make of this tool in odd jobs, I'm not building any boats right now.
I consider the tool a good buy- it appears to be on sale right now for 20.$ off the list price so it seems a better value for the money now? I can't remark about tool life but I can state that it has good power and using a couple of the 'scotchbrite-like' 4" wide wheels I was able to clean some old weathered aluminum for welding in a very short time. Further, the horizontal roller wheel compared to a flat rotary disk grinder is just as aggressive at cleaning the surface as a 4" grinder for the same grit.
The only design and use related complaint I have is the machine screw that needs to be removed, and replaced to change the wheels; I'd have preferred some type of 1/2 twist-lock assembly on the main drive shaft that allowed a tool-less abrasive wheel change. Instead the SCT comes with a left hand, cheese head, socket recess (Allen) hex driven machine screw that has to be loosened and re-tightened using an Allen key. Not the end of the world, but if you're cleaning a small area- bringing it through the grit progression to a shine or finish- there is a slow down as you replace the wheels.
The consumables are not cheap, at about 60$ for the different grits of 'scotchbrite-like' plastic abrasives; to avoid brand name conflict the company refers to these surfacing wheels as 'non-woven nylon' but they are similar to the 3M scotchbrite (tm) materials. Eastwood offers a rubber sanding drum and a spread of grits 80, 120, 240 ( each sleeve is $3) but I can't remark about their use more than a practice swipe or two on some aluminum. I would guess these sanding rolls would do well on wood, but I'm not sure how the roller would act compared to other power tool surfacing geometry in a wood sander?
I have not tried out the two steel and rust targeted roller wheels- they're a bit too aggressive for aluminum work that I've had since I've had this tool. I don't do that much work in steel, but will try to report on their performance once I have these two coarse rollers on some rusty steel or have to strip some paint?
The last consumable roller I bought with the tool was a cotton (? might be synthetic?) felt polishing roller wheel. I used this wheel after the orange/medium grit nylon followed by the blue nylon/fine grit rollers to polish some aluminum pipe. By adding a polishing compound (white grade polish in a stick form) to the wheel while it was running at the slowest speed setting (there are 1-6 speeds) then speeding the wheel up- the aluminum took a very bright chrome finish with almost no effort. So aluminum parts, like cutwaters, cleats, windshield frame parts, or deck mounted vents could be polished to a chrome shine using this tool very easily.
Summary: If you're doing metal work and can afford another few hundred for a power tool that is designed to follow contours on metal surfaces (wood too) this tool appears well made, heavy duty, and is offered with a variety of rollers for metal paint stripping, metal sanding and surface polishing. The Eastwood SCT works well to descale marine aluminum and even bringing those materials to a high level of finish in a short time- even if the shape of the work is curved and not all flat. IMO this is a worthwhile tool for anyone working in welded aluminum boats.
Steel and aluminum boatbuilding. See: "Boatbuilding Methods", in left-hand column of the Home page, for information about alloys.
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