How to Use a Sander

Use orbital sanders to create a smooth finish on your DIY projects

Orbital sanders can be used for a variety of sanding and smoothing needs. These units are lightweight, easy to use and offer a swirl-free finish on surfaces like wood, metal and plastic. Read below for instructions on how to operate one for your sanding needs.

What You Need

1
Learn the anatomy
The anatomy of a sander

• Power switch – turns the unit on and off 
• Housing motor – powers the sander 
• Sanding pad – used to smooth or buff a surface 
• Dust bag – catches the excess debris 
• Battery – powers the motor 
• Palm grip – offers easy handling

2
Learn the Basics
The basics of using a sander

• Safety is key. Make sure to wear protective glasses and a dust mask when using a power sander. 
• Sandpaper grits come in different varieties. The higher the number, the finer the grain particles. Sandpaper with a lower grit number will be more coarse than options with a higher value. 
     o Fine: 150-180 – this can be used to finish or refinish a surface 
     o Medium: 40-60 – this can be used to remove paint or stain from various surfaces 
     o Coarse: 20-36 – this is best used for removing an existing finish or smoothing a rough surface

3
Load the sanding paper
How to load sandpaper

• After you’ve chosen the right grit level for your needs, load it onto the base of the sander.  
• Use the fast hook and loop system to peel off and replace new pieces of sandpaper. 
• Make sure the new pad is properly aligned with the base.

4
Turn on and test
How to turn on and test sanders

• Switch the unit on and perform a quick test. 
• Move the sander in a circular motion along a piece of scrap board to make sure it’s working as expected for the job at hand.

5
Sand the surface
How to sand the surface with a sander

• Since orbital sanders can be used with any kind of motion, sand the surface in the direction that works best with the material. 
• The result will be a consistent, swirl-free finish. 

Tip: Parallel sanding works best for belt and sheet sanders.

6
Orbital sander usage tips
Best uses for an orbital sander

• Ideal for quick sanding needs, especially smooth surfaces like rough metal, wood or plastic. 
• Can be used to remove paint or rust. 
• Try a belt sander for bigger jobs that cover larger surfaces. 
• For more delicate tasks, consider using a sheet sander instead.