Fishing-rod action keeps sander hose manageable
I grew tired of the dust hose attached to my random-orbit sander catching on the edges of panels during sanding, so I tried tethering the hose from a fixed point on the ceiling. That got the hose off the panel, but allowed little flexibility in steering the sander. Then I noticed the nearby steel supports holding a garage-door opener, and the proverbial lightbulb came on.
I bent a hook on one end of a 10'-long, 1⁄4 " steel rod, slid it through the holes in the supports, and rigged up things as shown above. (You don't have to place this system near a garage-door opener—simply use slotted angle steel at any point on your shop's ceiling.) This way, the rod flexes little when not slid out, keeping the extra hose suspended high and out of the way. As you sand farther out, you simply slide out the rod to gain the extra hose. The extended rod gives additional up/down flexibility to the tauter hose while still keeping it off the worksurface.
I'm able to sand a 3×6' panel without adjusting the position of the rod. (It doesn't slide in and out by itself as you work.)
—Steven Smith, Ballwin, Mo.