Sanders are one of the most frequently and extensively used power tools in Industrial workshops and DIY applications. Depending on how often they are used, it makes sense to choose a sander and abrasive product that suits you ergonomically. If you do a large variety of different types of sanding in your workshop for example surface sanding of large flat surfaces, edgework or molding and profile work, you will want to consider purchasing application specific sanders. Unless you are working in a high production environment using a sander for most of the day, a power sander will most likely last you for many years, if used with a quality abrasive product.
One of the most common challenges faced when using a sander is the visible scratch pattern left behind on the material that has not been eliminated through sanding. This can normally be clearly seen as the visible swirl pattern and milling marks when looking at the surface finish. These surface marks can be eliminated by using high quality application specific engineered abrasives that have consistent uniform grain patterns guaranteeing a more consistent and uniform scratch pattern on your workpiece surface. Selecting the correct sequence of abrasive products and grit sizes to create the desired surface finish is also of utmost importance when sanding with a power tool. When sanding with a progressively finer array of grit sizes will produce a much more constant surface finish which will also eliminate excessively deep swirl and scratch marks created when forcing the sander down to work harder and more aggressively. One must always remember the power tool’s weight should be sufficient for achieving the best sanding results. Excessive pressure whilst sanding creates more heat and dust which promotes clogging that severely affects the lifespan of you abrasive.
The most effective way to keep your surface dust free, is to use a power tool with a dust extractor. This will not only save time when it comes to applying the final finish, but will also ensure minimal dust on your workpiece surface that has to be cleared. Power tools with dust extraction prolongs the life of your abrasive as there will be significantly less clogging.
Random Orbital Sanders, Sheet Orbital Sanders, Detail Sanders and Belt Sanders are some of the most commonly used power sanders used in workshops of a hobbyist or DIYer. Of these, Random Orbital Sanders are with reason the most popular and most frequently used universal power tool due to their effective stock removal capabilities on large surfaces and their ability to deliver a smooth consistent finish.
Their backing pads move in an orbital motion while at the same time moving in an eccentric (off-center) orbit motion. The result is an irregular scratch pattern of swirl marks that can be easily and quickly removed by hand sanding before applying your final finish. There are models available in different strokes per revolution depending on the task at hand. Increasing sanding speed and applying a little more downward pressure will generally increase the cutting power and help to decrease your sanding time. Keeping these benefits in mind, it is important to remember that this will increase the severity of the swirl marks. These power tools are normally available in 125mm & 150mm backing pads with a Velcro clamping system, with discs that are quick and easy to mount and remove. These sanders also normally include a dust extraction bag or canister while some will have a port for connecting to a dust extractor, which will provide the most superior dust extraction.
Sheet Sanders are also called orbital sanders. They generally have a pad that takes a half or one third of a normal sandpaper sheet that is 230 x 280mm. The backing pad normally runs in one direction only, removing material more slowly than Random Orbital Sanders. As a result, the scratch pattern is very consistent. For the best results in wood sanding the sander should be moved in the same direction of the grain of the wood whilst sanding. Some of these sanders take a PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive) or Velcro sheet of paper, but most use metal clamps for attaching standard sandpaper sheets you can cut to size or purchase pre-cut. The shape of the backing pad enables them to sand close to the inside of corners, and their compact size makes them easy to control and ideal for sanding narrow surfaces such as table legs and drawer parts.
Detail Sanders come in a few configurations. These power tools are similar to sheet sanders but have triangular pads. Often also called Mouse Sanders, they are typically used by DIYers and hobby woodworkers. These power tools are ideal for reaching the tight hard to reach areas that are inaccessible to conventional sanders. The sandpaper used on these sanders is normally Velcro backed for quick and easy mounting and removal.
When removing large amounts of material very quickly, Belt Sanders are ideal and the most effective. This power tool is suitable for leveling wide and long surfaces or shaping larger curves. Being so universal, this remains a popular tool of choice for carpenters, flooring and cabinet installers, deck builders and the like. Sanding belts ranging from 60x400mm up to 110x610mm are available in various grit sizes and suit most belt sanders on the market.
Whatever your tool of choice, achieving the perfect finish is certainly made possible by using quality product options available in the market.