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What Power Sander Do I need? Buyers Guide to Sanding Tools and Attachments

Throughout the years, sanding tools and attachments have been essential for many industrial and manufacturing applications. Recently, with an increased interest in DIY, sanding tools and attachments are more popular than ever. If you’re an industry professional or a DIY enthusiast, you’ve come to the right place! 

Sanding is widely adopted to clean, smooth, and finish surfaces through abrasive action. To get an impeccable finish and deburred surfaces, sanding is employed in different sectors for many different materials. Its uses range from deburring, roughing, and sharpening to buffing, honing, and matting. 

Sanding Applications in the Woodworking Industry

In this sector, power sanding machinery is put to work to remove fibers and material from wood surfaces and objects, buffing it to prepare for applying finishing coats such as lacquers, shellac, and varnishes, and uniforming the finish to prepare for the next coat.

Solid wood, fiberboards, veneered surfaces, resins, and varnishes are favorable materials to be treated by sanding attachments. 

Sanding Applications in the Metalworking and Fabrication Industry

For hard metal surfaces, sanding is employed for a variety of purposes including removal of rust or discoloration alongside achieving the desired level of finishing, polishing, as well as scratch removal.

Excellent results are obtained when used with aluminum, steel, and non-ferrous metals.

Sanding Applications in the Auto-body Industry  

Power sanding attachments are commonly used in the auto body repair industry and auto fabricating facilities for buffing and preparing the outer surfaces of automobiles and body parts for painting and adding clear coat finish after. 

With their heavy-duty uses, sanding attachments are also essential to work with large industrial auto-bodies and vehicles such as marine ships or aeronautical engines, repairing hulls, and protecting outdoor structures.

How to Choose the Right Abrasive Grain for your Sanding Needs?

sanding

There are different types of sanding machines, attachments, and tools manufactured with varying weights, grain types, and grits. Here is a list of sanding abrasive grains you may choose from, depending on the surface you need to employ on and the function you need it for: 

  • Aluminum Oxide

It is the most commonly used type of sanding grain because it's effective and affordable in comparison with other grains.  Aluminum oxide sanding abrasives have many industrial, commercial and residential applications. Highly friable with a sharp cutting surface, this sanding grain can be customized for specific uses, shaped in many forms and shapes, and embedded into many different materials.

Open coat aluminum oxide sandpaper is good for uniforming, buffing, and finishing all wood types. A closed coat is excellent for removing weld and grinding metals.

  • Silicon Carbide

With the ability to deliver a consistent cut-rate, this type of abrasive grain works well for even cutting. It is harder and sharper than aluminum oxide, hence more expensive but also more durable.

Because of its durability and high resistance to heat and moisture, silicon carbide sanding attachments are perfect for finishing wood, epoxies, resins, and preparation of auto body paints and other industrial applications. 

  • Zirconia

Regarded as a durable and heavy-duty sanding abrasive grain, zirconia is affordable and offers high heat resistance. It is efficient for removing excess material from hardwood and polishing heavy metal surfaces. It is also widely used in metalworking and commonly used to grind heavy materials. 

  • Ceramic

Considered as the most efficient, aggressive, and heavy-duty sanding abrasive grain, ceramic is a premium abrasive with an extremely hard surface to deal with heavy material and hardwood.

Ceramic sandpaper and abrasives work aggressively and deliver the best results when used with fast speed and heavy pressure. It is made of the strongest material and has the most longevity. 

It’s widely used in the metal,  automobile, and aeronautic industries to sharpen blades, prepare knives, and polishing metal. 

How to Choose the Right Sanding Attachment and Tools for finishing your Project? 

Power tools are additional power sources to aid and ease your manual labor while doing tough jobs like surface cleanings, digging, grindings, polishing, etc. Many sanding tools can be attached to power tools to increase efficiency and functionality with applied pressure and speed. 

Here is a list of sanding attachments for power tools: 

Sanding discs are circular in shape and come in many different grits, efficient to use with light defects, corrosion, rust removal, and paint from metal and wood surfaces. It helps in removing welds and smoothing edges before applying coats. 

Mounted on any 5-inch hook and hoop orbital sanding power tool, the disc is ideal to use with metal, wood, plastic, enamel, and fiberglass under either wet or dry surfaces. 

Random orbital sanding attachments are great because they are economical, widely available and extremely easy to use, because of their random orbital movement, they don’t stay in the same spot for too long and will not cause overheating or gouging the wood surface from over-sanding.

They are great for small to medium size projects and ideal for the average DIY enthusiast.

  • Sanding Belts 

Sanding belt machines are very aggressive sanding machines and they are ideal for rapid removal of wood fibers, which makes them the ultimate power tool for leveling and smoothing rough lumber, however, they are best handled by an experienced hand as they can cause damage very easily if handled incorrectly

Sanding belts are best used for flattening surfaces quickly and large projects that require a lot of power and speed, like sanding a backyard deck for example.


 

Sanding Disc for Angle Grinder

Flap sanding discs are used with an angle grinder; they are designed for medium-duty purposes like removing welds and surface preparation with consistent cut rates and longer productivity. The angle grinder is used most commonly by metal workers and welders.

They are best suited for stainless steel and alloys applications.


  • Oscillating Spindle Sanders

spindle sander

The cylindrical shape of these sanders makes them ideal to use for round profiles and concaves like shaping arcs, curves, and other irregular shapes. It makes use of sanding sleeves fitted onto rubber cylinders called sanding drums. 

Spindle sander gives precise finish and polish through rotating and oscillating functions with high speed and consistency. 


Sanding Attachments Mounted on Shanks can be used with any Drill!

sanding drum

Sanding drums and sleeves can also be mounted on a 1/4 inch shank and used with a drill for portability and to reach difficult areas or can be used with a drill press for freehand operation, these can be attached to drills, drill press, or die grinders to smooth, buff, and condition.

 They can be very efficient for hard-to-reach areas, they are great for sanding internal surfaces and deep holes. With their unique cylindrical shape, sanding drums and sleeves allow you to finish rounded areas of your material like contours and are also great for cleaning up the band saw marks. 

Designed to be extra flexible to work with wood and metal, made with durable material, molding flap sanding attachments are ideal for sanding and finishing textured surfaces, contoured textures, and carvings. 

Bringing ease and flexibility to your projects, these can be mounted with a ¼ inch universal shank; compatible with all drills, drill press, or any power tool that accepts shanks. 

sanding wheel

Allowing you flexibility and control over your finish, flap sanders come in a variety of grits and sizes made to smooth out rough cuts and remove burrs from your wood and metal surfaces. Flaps are specially designed to conform to the shape of the area where rigid sanders cannot reach.

The universal 1/4 inch shank allows these attachments to mount on any drill or drill press. Thanks to their cylindrical shape they are ideal for hard-to-reach areas of your projects such as concaves and drilled holes. 

Final Words

Now that you know all about sanding attachments and the power tools you can use them with, you can confidently choose the one best fitting your needs. 

Give your project the final touches by sanding your surfaces to perfection!