Types of Sanders

The sanding work, mainly of wood, but also of other materials such as plastic, metal, glass or ceramics, has never been favored, since it is considered a tedious, time-consuming and dusty activity that surrounds everything The workpiece, if not the operator himself.

More than one fan has faced this arduous task with a wooden block wrapped with sandpaper. However, carpenters and other professionals in the wood, automotive or construction industry know that there is a practical tool to obtain perfectly sanded surfaces in a simple, fast, clean and without greater effort: the sander.

The first Sanders appeared back in 1820, they were stationary machines that operated with a band or drum mechanism and were used only in the professional or industrial field. Possibly that would seal the fate of the stationary Sanders, of which, as we will see later, only a few models have reached small and medium enterprises.

It took more than a century for the first portable electric sander to appear in 1927. It was a band-type machine built in die-cast aluminum and weighed an impressive 6 kg. This characteristic made it less appropriate for the home, so its use was also limited to professionals, even though other lighter models soon developed, and in the 1930s the first dust collection system was patented.

Only in the second half of the last century did the advance begin to become notorious. The orbital sander was introduced, able to achieve a finer finish and reach narrow places, which excited the DIY enthusiasts who were already imposing their requirements in a world where the concept of “Do It Yourself” was gaining adherents.

This was how the old versions of the belt sanders also became portable and later appeared the eccentric Sanders, which at first were pneumatic, but then electric versions were introduced. Later, during the ’90s, another model for fine and delicate work on corners emerged: the delta sander.

As it could not miss in this race, in the late 80’s the first wireless sander was known. The climb continues until today, although the most modern so far, the multiple Sanders, has already almost 20 years in the market.

Generally, the only sanders that are marketed in both portable and stationary versions are those of band.

The others are much more frequent in one version or another. For example, orbital, eccentric, Delta and multiple sanders are exclusively portable. The rest are stationary sanders with the following tendencies: band, and band and disc (bench), disc and oscillating spindle (pedestal or bench), drum, edges and wide band (pedestal or industrial).

The industrial sanders (many with CNC technology ) and pedestal cover an application and a different market that goes beyond the scope of this article. Therefore, we will focus specifically on the portable and bench models, which are available to both professional and amateur, whether they are stored in a briefcase or installed in a workshop.

All the sanders that we will see next and that are commercialized by recognized manufacturers come in models that:

  • They differ in power, the speed of oscillation, weight, and dimensions.
  • They are provided with:
    • Connection and receptacle for dust extraction
    • Electronic speed regulation
    • Fastening the sandpaper using the traditional system and a velcro strip
  • They feature ergonomic handles for user comfort.

The Major Types of Sander and its Use

Orbital Sanders

As the first portable sanders, its performance has been numerous. They are provided with a rectangular base on which a quarter piece (or half, depending on the model) of a 9 × 11-inch sandpaper can be fixed. To create the sanding action, this base vibrates rapidly in small circles or orbits approximately 2 mm in diameter, and its rectangular design allows the tool to access straight corners and edges.

They are not aggressive sanding machines, so they do not remove large amounts of chips and generally, leave less visible marks when compared with belt sanders or hand sanding perpendicular to the grain of the wood.

It’s most recommended uses are in places inaccessible by other sanders and when only light sanding is required. They are perfect for preparing a surface to paint or seal, or to remove a layer of paint. They are also useful when installing a wooden floor and need to sand along the baseboards and in the corners.

Eccentric Sanders

Instead of a rectangular base, these machines have a circular sanding surface, typically 125 mm in diameter. They also fit within the group of orbital sanders , but they work in a different way from the previous ones, since they describe two movements at a time: one is orbital and the other is eccentric, which allows them to obtain an almost perfect sanding, since The marks left by the orbit are then erased by the eccentric movement. In this way, the direction of standing by the grain of the wood is irrelevant.

This combination of movements also achieves a greater removal of material that, however, if not controlled could cause damage to the material. For this, the modern machines have regulators of variable speed that can achieve a less aggressive sanding. Vacuum Sander is another wood tool you may consider using for faster, easier abrasive loading .

Precisely because of their circular base, these machines can not access corners or straight edges but are ideal for curved parts. In addition, their great power of removal against the orbital sanders allows them to be used in large jobs such as finishing a wooden floor, and in small jobs such as standing kitchen furniture, for example.

Delta sanding machines

If there are difficult and narrow places that an orbital sander can not reach, then delta sanders are the electric alternative to manual sanding. They are manufactured in stylized models similar to a multipurpose power tool and are provided with a triangular base that supports sandpaper of that design. It is used exclusively to work the fine details, like corners and small corners, for example, the door frames.

They are lightweight, use very little sandpaper and have a good collection of dust. Many operators also use them as a saw thanks to their easily detachable accessories, which makes them very versatile in a workshop.

Multiple sanding machines

Like all tools for various uses, these sanders can perform different types of sanding because they combine functions that we have seen so far in a single unit. They are available in wired and wireless versions and have a base that resembles a clothes iron, with a triangular tip for fine finishing in corners, corners and hard to reach places, and a rectangular/square section for Sanding in large corners and parallel to straight edges.

They are highly sought after by DIY enthusiasts, and the wireless version (shown in the following video) incorporates a lithium-ion battery that is interchangeable, that is, it can be disassembled and installed in other wireless tools from the same manufacturer.

They are lightweight, use very little sandpaper and have a good collection of dust. Many operators also use them as a saw thanks to their easily detachable accessories, which makes them very versatile in a workshop.

Precisely a variant of belt sander is a compact “2 in 1” version for the bench that combines the functions of sending by means of band and disc, very useful in carpentry workshops.

The disc sander, which is usually 6 to 10 inches in diameter, is ideal for sanding square and curved ends into narrow boards. In addition, it is equipped with a tilting work table that supports a miter gauge so that the disk can be used in the precision sanding of square and angular pieces. For its part, the belt sander has a large and flat surface, with which can be sanded long and wide planks. On most models, the belt is adjustable so that it can be placed in a horizontal, vertical or angled direction.

Band Sanders

In an earlier article, we describe in detail the belt sanders, as well as their various types and classifications. On this occasion, therefore, we will only add that since they have a mechanism in which the sandpaper web is displaced by means of the rear and front rollers following the same principle as the tread of a dozer, the Belt sanders have a powerful abrasive capacity that makes them very suitable for the removal of large amount of material on large flat surfaces.

That is why, being one of the first Sanders invented, not only retain their great popularity for the work of sanding course, but also the type of sander that has more versions: portable, bench, pedestal, industrial, electric, Wireless, pneumatic, narrowband and broadband.

Band and disc sander for bank

Precisely a variant of belt sander is a compact “2 in 1” version for bench that combines the functions of sanding by means of band and disc, very useful in carpentry workshops.

The disc sander, which is usually 6 to 10 inches in diameter, is ideal for sanding square and curved ends into narrow boards. In addition, it is equipped with a tilting work table that supports a miter gauge so that the disk can be used in the precision sanding of square and angular pieces. For its part, the belt sander has a large and flat surface, with which can be sanded long and wide planks. On most models, the belt is adjustable so that it can be placed in a horizontal, vertical or angled direction.

Band and disc sander for bank

Precisely a variant of belt sander is a compact “2 in 1” version for bench that combines the functions of sanding by means of band and disc, very useful in carpentry workshops.

The disc sander, which is usually 6 to 10 inches in diameter, is ideal for sanding square and curved ends into narrow boards. In addition, it is equipped with a tilting work table that supports a miter gauge so that the disk can be used in the precision sanding of square and angular pieces. For its part, the belt sander has a large and flat surface, with which can be sanded long and wide planks. On most models, the belt is adjustable so that it can be placed in a horizontal, vertical or angled direction.

  • Updated September 25, 2017
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