Metal crafting is a gratifying hobby, although for some who are just starting out, they feel disappointed because they think their work looks quite amateurish. Others don’t give up though, doing more research on how they can do better. In doing so, they were able to discover that there are some handy power tools out there that they can use to make their metalcraft projects more professional-looking. One such tool is the orbital sander, which gives metal crafts an ultra smooth finish that makes a not-so-perfect-work look nearly-perfect, if not completely perfect.
What is an Orbital Sander
An orbital sander is an electric motor driven device to which a portion of a sandpaper is clamped to a metal pad that moves orbitally at high speed. While sanding a metal wood or plastic surface is a preparatory step to painting, an orbital sander can get the job done faster, whilst requiring very little effort on the part of the crafter.
Vibrating and moving in tiny circles, the metal pad works on a ball-bearing mechanism that allows it to rotate in its own axis. This tool is also called a random orbital sander because it is capable of rotating arbitrarily when necessary. During instances when the pad touches a hard point, the ball bearing mechanism will allow the sanding pad to go around the resistant area and gradually work on it by way of tiny orbital movements.
The random circular motions prevent the abrasive sandpaper material from covering the same area twice via a single turn, which ensures that a uniform surface will be achieved. Scratches if any are minimum and hardly visible as the random elliptical turns help avoid creating large noticeable scratches.
Using an Orbital Sander on a Metal Material
Learning to use an orbital sander is a no-brainer since a user needs only to turn the power on, whilst applying a little pressure when holding and guiding the tool when doing sanding work on the material.
The matter of choosing the type and grit of a sanding disk to use is important especially when using an orbital sander on a metal surface. Actually, the choice depends on the kind of metal material to work on and the quality of finish that a user aims to achieve. Keep in mind that although there are different types of abrasive, the pointy, sharp rocks all work in the same manner in giving metal surfaces a smooth finish.
Whether one is working on wood, metal or plastic, the most common form of sanding disk used is Aluminum Oxide. Mainly because it is affordable, durable and versatile while at the same capable of performing with consistency. When sanding tougher metals like stainless steel or titanium, most metal crafters recommend using a more durable abrasive like Zirconia. Although Zirconia is more expensive, professional metal crafters attest that the abrasive runs cooler when applied to hard metal surfaces.
While this write-up from Bob Smith aims to furnish information about orbital sanders in general, making decisions on the brand of orbital sander to buy can be mind-boggling. Each brand carries a different set of features, extras and power ratings. Bob Smith Tools has a webpage dedicated to a list of some of the best orbital sanders that have been reviewed, which can help interested readers decide on the brand and type to buy.