What is an Orbital Sander?

Whether you are a beginner at woodworking or a professional, you can definitely agree that an orbital sander is an essential tool for your kit. The handheld machine is an excellent tool since it allows you to create the perfect finishing touch to any piece through sanding. Not just that, but the highly versatile tool can serve so many purposes.

Since sanding is a vital step to follow in most DIY woodworking projects, it is essential for beginners to know about orbital sanders’ uses, what it does, and how you can use them. An orbital sander can not only be used on a variety of surfaces but also serves a myriad of purposes.

Hence, if you still don’t have it, you might want to consider getting it. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about orbital sanders.

What is an Orbital Sander

What is an Orbital Sander?

This is a handheld power tool used to sand various surfaces, including plastic, wood, or metal, to create an ultra-smooth surface. This tool comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and sandpaper grit. This is mainly done through their speedy circular motions and vibrations as they rotate themselves quickly on the surface.

Why You Need an Orbital Sander

An orbital sander offers a ton of versatility that no other handheld power tool can offer. It helps create an even layer on different surfaces, gives you an incredibly smooth finish, removes paint, removes impurities, and so much more. There are tons of reasons why you should be using this versatile tool. These include the following:

  • They are incredibly easy to use
  • It can help remove any type of residues, such as paint, wood grains, and polish
  • Gets the job done very quickly
  • It can be easily used on different surfaces, furniture, and more
  • They are fairly inexpensive

What Are Orbital Sander Uses?

As you can probably tell by now, an orbital sander can be used in a myriad of ways. It is not just an essential tool for construction sites and professional woodworkers but is even helpful as a household tool. This is mainly because you never know when you need the help of an orbital sander.

If you are starting out in woodworking, either as a profession or a hobby, you will need the aid of an orbital sander. Here are the main ways you can utilize this machine:

Polishing Surfaces

The orbital sander can be used to polish metal surfaces, such as your car. You can attach a foam pad to the sander as it will be less aggressive.

Sanding Drywall and Wood Fillers

If you plan to add wood fillers or want to sand a dry wood joint compound, you should use an orbital sander. However, be sure to use the machine carefully at a lower speed and with 180-220 grit sandpaper.

Removing Paint or Rust

If you want to refurbish a product, you can easily use an orbital sander to remove any paint or rust. This can be easily used on curvilinear products as well. The handheld power tool can be used to remove paint and rust as well as prep the surface for a new paint job.

Glossy Surface on Plastic

As mentioned earlier, an orbital sander can be used on a variety of surfaces, including plastic. You can use it gently on plastic surfaces, such as making toys because it will leave a nice glossy finish. The recommended grit for such work is 180-220 grit sandpaper.

Besides leaving a glossy finish on the plastic through the orbital sander, new coatings can also easily adhere to it.

How to Use an Orbital Sander

When you are using an orbital sander for the first time, there are a few things to keep in mind. You will need to follow proper instructions and guidelines to properly and safely use an orbital sander to get the most use out of it.

Firstly, you should use an orbital sander slowly and gently. This is the key to getting the required surface and finish you wish for. Before using an orbital sander, make sure to wear protective glasses, gloves, and a dust mask. Work in a well-ventilated room and empty your dust bag before using the sander.

Now, let’s take a look at how to use an orbital sander:

Choose the Appropriate Sandpaper

The first step in using an orbital sander is choosing the appropriate sandpaper for the surface you are working on since sandpapers have varying grit levels. The higher the sandpaper grit is, the higher the grain particles. You can choose grit levels from extra-fine up to coarse.

Coarse sandpaper with a grit of 60-80 can be used on hard and rough surfaces. Whereas the fine-grit sandpaper has a grit of 320-400 for gentle surfaces.

Load the Sandpaper and Test the Sander

Load the sandpaper into the base of the sander while ensuring that the sandpaper is aligned with it. Then, turn the sander on and test it on a small patch to ensure it’s working properly. Do it on a piece of scrapwood or a discarded metal or plastic piece. Run it over in circular motions to test it.

Sand Your Surface

You can sand the surface in any direction; just make sure it is in the most appropriate direction. The best direction depends on the type of material it is. When you are sanding, make sure that you keep moving the sander. This will ensure an even and smooth finish.

Additionally, don’t push too hard on the surface with your orbital sander. For the best results, you should maintain a constant pressure level.

Final Words

An orbital sander is a highly useful power tool that every woodworker should have. It is not just versatile, but it will also give you excellent results in no time. The easy-to-use tool can help give your projects a professional touch at an affordable cost.

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