Features To Look For When Buying A Sander

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Are you looking to purchase a top palm sander and have no idea which one you need? Or do you know which one you need but don't know what features to look for?

Here is the lowdown on Eight Different Types of Sanders in the market, what each is used for and what features you should look for in a sander.

Did you know they make electric Drywall Sanders? and that drywall sanders come with dust collection attachments? ~ Hoooyah ! sweet relief !

  1. Belt sandersrange in size from 1" finger sanders to 37" wide, freestanding 15HP sanding machines. The most commonly used belt sander is 3"x21" (named by belt size). Features to look for in a belt sander include: dB of motor output (for noise), machine balance, location of handle grips to speed control switch, type of platen for a flat sanding surface, and dust collection.
  2. Disc and belt sandersare combination machines used mainly in workshops for sanding woods, most plastics and non-ferrous metals. In a belt and disc sander look for features such as size of sanding discs and belts required, table tilting mechanism, HP of motor, ease of belt changing and whether the sander has belt tracking.
  3. Disc sandersrange in size from a 5" handheld sander for jobsite work, to a 20", 3HP - 3 phase, freestanding sander for the shop. Look for ease of disc changing, size of motor necessary for your type of work, ease of belt alignment, wrench storage and dust collection when purchasing a disc sander.
  4. Drum sanderswork to flatten, smooth, finish and polish. A drum sander can be used in place of a wood planer to finish stock but unlike a planer, it eliminates the sniping on the ends of your wood. Features to look for in a drum sander include: ease of belt changing, dust collection, HP of motor and footprint.
  5. Finish sanders or palm sandersare used for that last bit of sanding on your fine wood project. Look for high OPM (oscillations per minute) for fine finish sanding, variable speed motor, an ergonomic handle designed for comfort, and dust collection bag attachment when choosing the right finish sander.
  6. Random orbit sandersare used to strip paint off furniture, prepare new molding, clean up between finish coats, and smooth and clean metal and composite materials such as solid-surface countertops. Random orbit sanders have a unique double motion: the sandpaper disc spins in a circle while the whole pad moves in an oval loop which results in a swirl-free finish even when sanding across the grain. Random-orbits work more quickly than vibrating sanders but don't remove as much material. For that type of work see: belt sanders for flat surfaces, disc sanders for curved ones. When choosing a random-orbit sander, look for a motor size, body configuration, and pad size (5- or 6-inch) that fits your work. Be sure the random orbit sander you choose has a dust collection attachment option.
  7. Spindle sandersare perfect for smoothing curves. Available in both a hand-held and a table top version, spindle sanders offer a superior finish after taking out large amounts of material with a belt sander. Features to look for in a freestanding spindle sander include: sanding drum/spindle storage, emergency stop, well machined table top, and dust collection port. Features to look for in an Edge sander include: single knob belt tension adjustment, well-machined steel platen, easily accessed controls, workstop, user-friendly belt changing.
  8. Drywall Sander'sare used specifically to finish sand drywall. Using a electric drywall sander will get the job done 3-4 times faster than hand sanding. Drywall sanders also come with a dust collection system for sucking away most of that nasty, fine dust that seems to cover everything in the area. The Porter-Cable 7800 is a Long Reach Variable Speed Drywall Sander. This sander is long enough to sand 10 ft. ceilings from the ground and is lightweight (8 lbs). The 1-1/4 inch vacuum hose is 13 ft. long, so an operator can cover a lot of ground without having to move the vacuum. At $430, it's a bit pricey for such a specific tool but well worth it when you factor in all the time you will save.

For more information visit Think Woodwork



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