With its large rectangular cast-alloy tilting table, the RIDGID EB4424 looks different than the other OSS models, for a good reason: It comes with a unique 4×24 belt assembly that interchanges with a standard set of drums. The assembly slips onto the RIDGID’s spindle to transform the machine into an oscillating belt sander. The large, flat surface of belt makes short work of sanding both convex and straight parts with ease. Because the belt has lots more surface area than a sanding drum, it’s less apt to clog with sanding swarf and the abrasive wears out less quickly than drum sleeves. RIDGID doesn’t include a 3″ sanding drum with the unit, instead relying on the 3″ diameter roller at the fat end of the belt to handle large concave sanding jobs. It works pretty well, except that the roller’s orientation relative to the table leaves little support for some large or long workpieces.
To sand beveled and chamfered workpieces, the RIDGID’s table tilts up to 48°. A rubber overmolded locking knob makes tilt table adjustments very comfortable. A simple detent device helps set commonly-used tilt angles: 0, 15, 22.5, 30 and 45 degrees. However, it lacks any positive engagement, so I’d use a protractor if sanding angle is critical. The table can be used with sanding drums, but it’s far more practical to use with the belt assembly. A miter slot in the table accepts any miter gauge or accessory with a standard 3/4″ x 3/8″ bar. Although a gauge is not supplied, it’s very handy to be able to accurately guide workpieces, say when sanding square or mitered ends on long parts.
The RIDGID’s 5-amp induction motor does a fine job of powering both the sanding drums and belt assembly; I didn’t feel it was wanting except when I sanded the ends of some 3×3 oak parts with the belt and really pushed hard. Although the unit’s sanding action was reasonably smooth, there was a certain amount of vibration produced at the top and bottom of the spindle’s stroke even when a drum or belt was simply idling.
Like the Craftsman, the RIDGID features tool-less changes for its sanding drums and belt assembly. A bright orange graphic on the lock nut’s knob offers a helpful reminder that the nut is reverse threaded and thus “lefty tighty, righty loosey.” The RIDGID’s long table insert, which fills the large tapered space left when the belt assembly is swapped out for a sanding drum, is a thin plastic plate that was a bit warped, so it couldn’t be completely leveled.
The EB4424 has a good sized dust collection port, which must be connected to a shop vacuum during sanding. Otherwise, the sanding dust collects around the drum and table very quickly. The RIDGID’s plastic base has recesses molded into it that allow it to be mounted atop a pair of sawhorses — ingenious and handy.