In the last segment, I have covered the various type of sanders found in the market and briefly elaborated the diverse application for which they are employed.
Thereby in this article, I will directly dive into the world of orbital sanders and try to paint for you a clear picture of what they are, their various usage, and how to skillfully maneuver this device to get the desired finishing of your dreams.
Orbital Sanders and Their Usage
Known as the finishing sander, the orbital sander is among the most preferred finishing tools for projects involving metal, plastic, and woodworks undertaken by professionals and DIY enthusiasts.
Effortless to use with only one hand, this device is lightweight in design and goes relatively easy on the ears as they disperse minimal noise even when turned on to their full rotating speed.
Orbital sanders, due to their “non-damaging” sanding characteristic(scraps little surface material at a time), not only leaves an ultra-smooth texture finish but also serves as a superb tool to work on assignments such as the likes of blunting sharp edges, removing old paint, taking off hardened putty /adhesives.
How Does It Work
An orbital sander being a compact device is adeptly convenient in moving to any direction and over any surface, which is tough to reach, irregular, or has an unusual design.
Because orbital Sanders use ¼th of a nine by 4-inch sandpaper (standard size), they are often referred to as quarter-sheet sander.
The sandpaper in the device is held in place against the square-cut pad by spring instilled clamps, and on powering on the device, the pad vibrates in a bit of a circle, thereby initiating the sanding process.
How to Use the Device
Any device at the hand of professionals seems to work magic as opposed to a novice. However, if you also think in the same direction, then it is time to toss away the thought.
For, with just a little bit of well-thought-out preparation and knowledge, you can also turn yourself into a professional in the field of sanding.
So, without any further ado, here is how to use an orbital sander most efficiently:
Step 1: Preparation
Here you need to prepare yourself in two steps. Step one is to see that the device is in full functioning capacity and has the appropriate sanding disks/plates securely attached to them or not.
Nowadays, most sanders use an easy “hook and loop” system to guide individuals into securing the sanding disk conveniently. But don’t let that stop yourself from double-checking the disc adjustment before powering on the device to avoid unwanted mishaps.
The second step is to equip yourself with safety apparatus such as dust masks and eye goggles to prevent yourself from inhaling/getting dust particles in the nose and eyes. Also, use gloves to grip the device securely and to protect your hands from scrapping during work.
Step 2: Powering on the Device
Once all the safety measures have been ticked off the list, connect the orbital sander’s cord to a power outlet (if not battery operated). With the device turned, please don’t rush off to start sanding; rather, allow the device some time to spin to reach its highest vibrating speed before using it on your project to ensure maximum efficiency.
Step 3: Maneuvering the Sander’s Motion
Always move the sander from the left side to the right in strict alignment with the materials grain pattern to achieve a smooth texture.
While sanding is also important to move the device continuously over the material. Though most sanders are designed to move according to their structured settings, frequently directing their motion manually will help you get an ultra-smooth finishing.
Step 4: Balancing the Pressure Level
Maintaining constant pressure is perhaps the most important aspect of the sanding process. This is because while firmly gripping the sander, if you apply too much pressure vertically by your hand, then the sander runs the risk of slowing down, which is moving horizontally across the surface.
This, in turn, will reduce the sanding effect exponentially, thereby making your task more taxing. But, again, putting too great pressure on the sander is probably not the best idea because you will find it physically demanding to exercise the same force throughout the entire procedure.
A fluctuating pressure on the device will ultimately reflect the work by leaving an uneven surface texture. As this is not desirable, the best course is to find the right balance of grip that will help you to produce constant pressure effectively.
Step 5: Debris Removal
Almost all sander models nowadays are equipped with some dust collection outlet such as holes on the sanding that assembles and passes the shavings to bags or hose attached to the device etc.
It is important to remove debris from the work surface for two reasons:
- It helps you keep tracking the work progress by not covering the surface
- Residues can congest the hoops of the sanding disc, which can give rise to irregular sanding texture
Step 6: Upholding the Surface Level
To guarantee a smooth, even finish, keeping at least two-thirds of the sanding plate level with the surface you are working on is preferable. Maintaining the level is especially important when sanding the edges as it will prevent “over-doing” the rounding effect or chipping off too much material than required.
Balancing the pressure and level of a sander to a constant close eventually helps you to attain an even texture on the final project, unblemished of scratch or abrasion marks.
Once done sanding the material to your desired effect, don’t immediately remove the sander from the surface but rather let the device conclude it was spinning on turning the power off before placing it elsewhere.
Now that you know how to use an orbital sander properly don’t delay taking full advantage of this most efficient device.
For I bet following the guidelines here diligently, you will create a professional-quality product worth the DIY community brag.
I love to share my expertise and love for the art of woodworking with others, providing tips and tricks, reviews of saws and other tools, and inspiration for new projects.