Best Sander For Metal

Best Sander For Metal Working - Guide and Reviews

When it comes to metalworking, one of the most important phases is the detailing and finishing phase. It doesn’t matter if you are machining automotive parts, aircraft parts, custom lathe bits, knife blades, sword blades, or even axe heads, you are going to need to grind off the rough edges and put a silky smooth finish on that piece with a high quality belt sander. However, unless you have spent extensive time working in a machine shop or been working with metal for years, the selection process for getting the right metal sander can be a little daunting for first-time buyers. Here are the most important considerations when purchasing a sander for metalworking, as well as some product reviews to help guide you in the right direction so you get the best sander for your needs and budget.

Best Sander For Metal Working

Picture

Name

Price

General International 15-232M1 Belt Sander/Grinder

General International 15-232M1 Belt Sander/Grinder

OrangeA Belt Disc Sander Combination 4 x 36 Inch Belt Sander and 6 Inch Disc Sander Grinder Sander with Adjustable Belt and Sanding Table

OrangeA Belt Disc Sander Combination 4 x 36 Inch Belt Sander and 6 Inch Disc Sander Grinder Sander with Adjustable Belt and Sanding Table

Frank Mind 13HP Disc & Belt Sanders 1 X 30 Belt 5 Disc Sander Benchtop Combination Stand Electric Motor Polish Grinder Sanding Machine

Frank Mind 1/3HP Disc & Belt Sanders 1" X 30" Belt 5" Disc Sander Benchtop Combination Stand Electric Motor Polish Grinder Sanding Machine

Grizzly 389001 3-Phase Metalworking Belt Sander, 4 HP

Grizzly 389001 3-Phase Metalworking Belt Sander, 4 HP

Generic 1 X 5 Belt Disc Sander Wood Metal Hobbyist 3600 RPM

Generic 1" X 5" Belt Disc Sander Wood Metal Hobbyist 3600 RPM

Top 5 Best Sander For Metal Reviews

1. General International 15-232M1 Belt Sander/Grinder

General International 15-232M1 Belt Sander/Grinder

Editor Rating:

If you are looking for a general hobbyist-type metal sander that you can mount to your workbench with a minimal footprint, this is the sander for you. Let’s take a look at what makes this an ideal sander for basic metal sanding tasks:

PROS

  • Double-Sealed Ball Bearing Construction: When using a highspeed abrasive pad or a grinding wheel to remove bits of metal from a tool or machining project, you want to know for certain that the moving parts of the machine are protected from the flying pieces of metal and other debris that is being worn away as you work. Fortunately, both the grinding wheel and sanding belt motor drives are double-sealed and have permanently lubricated ball bearings for guaranteed smooth operation with minimal heat generation.
  • High-Speed Grinding Wheel and 2-Inch Belt Sander: Get the rough edges off fast with the grinding wheel, then use the 2-inch sanding belt with an appropriate sanding belt to put a fine finish on your work.
  • Cast-Iron Base: Bolt this down to your workbench and never worry about it vibrating or shaking loose thanks to the heavy-duty cast-iron base that provides both balance and stability.

CONS

  • Grinding Wheel Not Suitable for All Metalworking Tasks: If you need to get rough edges off an axehead or garden shears that have been nicked, this grinder and sander are perfect, but the grinding wheel lacks the versatility of a metal orbit sander.
  • 2-inch Belt Sander: This width may not be sufficient for some metalworking applications since the smaller surface area tends to heat up more quickly and may require more frequent lubrication and cooling.

2. OrangeA Belt Disc Sander Combination 4 x 36 Inch Belt Sander and 6 Inch Disc Sander Grinder Sander with Adjustable Belt and Sanding Table

OrangeA Belt Disc Sander Combination 4 x 36 Inch Belt Sander and 6 Inch Disc Sander Grinder Sander with Adjustable Belt and Sanding Table

Editor Rating:

For metalworkers that are looking to have a sander that pulls double duty, OrangeA offers this versatile belt and disc sander combo. Take a look at how this unique design can save you a lot of time and headaches.

PROS

  • 4-inch Belt Sander and 6-inch Disc Sander: Instead of having two sanders on your workbench or in your toolkit, you can now have just one table mounted unit in your workshop for all your sanding needs. Thanks to the ¼ HP motor, this combo sander can run either sanding surface at up to 1420 RPM for silky-smooth finishes on metal or wood.
  • Adjustable Belt Sander: Sometimes you need to get a better angle on what you are working with, and this sander is set up to give you just that. The 4-inch belt sander can be adjusted from 0-90 degrees for fast and easy sanding and polishing.
  • Adjustable Disc Sander Worktable: The table guide for the disc sander can easily be adjusted to precise angles from 1-45 degrees, making precise corner shaping and burr removal from rounded metal surfaces a breeze.

CONS

  • Sander Base is Unweighted: Make sure you bolt or clamp this sander down securely, as the base is not cast iron or a similar stable weighted base material.
  • Underpowered: Some users have stated in reviews that this sander does not deliver as effectively as comparable models in terms of power when working with metal, but it has proven more than adequate for most woodworking users.

3. Frank Mind 1/3HP Disc & Belt Sanders 1" X 30" Belt 5" Disc Sander Benchtop Combination Stand Electric Motor Polish Grinder Sanding Machine

Frank Mind 13HP Disc & Belt Sanders 1 X 30 Belt 5 Disc Sander Benchtop Combination Stand Electric Motor Polish Grinder Sanding Machine

Editor Rating:

Another excellent combo offering, this dual belt/disc sander is a good option for those with both wood and metalworking needs that need their machine to serve as a multipurpose finisher. Check out what makes this combo special:

PROS

  • 1”x30” Belt Sander and a 5” Disc Sander: Get all the versatility you need from this dual sanding combination. The belt sander is fantastic for finishing straight edges and taking off surface imperfections and irregularities, while the disc sander is excellent for contour sanding and dry sharpening.
  • Adjustable Belt Tracker: Easily adjust the belt to ensure proper friction free operation thanks to an easily adjustable belt tracker that keeps the belt secure and operating at maximum efficiency.
  • Tiltable Sanding Tables: Both sanders offer adjustable sanding tables that can be raised or lowered up to 45 degrees for precision sanding and finishing work.

CONS

  • 1-inch Belt Sander: Unless you are working with small wooden or metal parts, the one inch belt sander definitely puts some limitations and the size of the parts and materials you can finish on this sander.
  • Unweighted: Clamp or bolt this unit down securely before use, as it is a bit of a lightweight and could shift if not properly tightened down during operation.

4. Grizzly 389001 3-Phase Metalworking Belt Sander, 4 HP

Grizzly 389001 3-Phase Metalworking Belt Sander, 4 HP

Editor Rating:

From a manufacturer that lives up to its name, Grizzly offers this 3-Phase powered 4 HP belt sander designed specifically for metal work. Look at the key features that make this sander a true beast:

PROS

  • Massive 3”x79” Sanding Belt: To say that this sander has a big belt for superior cooling and performance would be an understatement. If you can’t safely sand the metal part you are working with using this sander, you shouldn’t be using a sander in the first place. This sander will put a satin-like finish on any metal surface you put to it, and it will do so quickly and efficiently without the need for coolant or lubrication.
  • 4-HP of Grizzly Power: This sander can propel its extensive belt at an astonishing up to 3937 feet per minute, giving you all the speed and power you need to machine any part, tool ,or other component that needs a professional quality finish.
  • Stand-Alone Design: No need to mount this belt sander to a workbench: just pick where you want it to go and bolt it securely to the floor. It stands tall enough that any machinist or metalworker can comfortably us it, and the angle of the belt sanding arm is adjustable for additional versatility and comfort.

CONS

  • Heavy: At nearly 250-lbs., this belt sander is a monster, and should really only be used in medium to large scale metalworking production facilities when securely bolted to the floor. In terms of industrial equipment it is quite small, but in a home garage or workshop it might take up more space than you can afford to give to it.
  • Maneuverability: It doesn’t even bear imagining moving and installing this sander by oneself. It would require professional moving and installation, and if you relocate it would be significantly inconvenient to move in a standard moving van or truck.

5. Generic 1" X 5" Belt Disc Sander Wood Metal Hobbyist 3600 RPM

Generic 1 X 5 Belt Disc Sander Wood Metal Hobbyist 3600 RPM

Editor Rating:

If you are hobbyist that only works with small scale wood or metal parts, this may be just the right sander for you. Thanks to its combination design of a belt and disc sander, this makes for an exceptional sander to keep in your hobbyist workshop or garage. Let’s look at the key features that make this a standout value:

PROS

  • 1” Belt & 5” Disc Sander: No matter what sanding job needs doing, be it wood or metal, this sander has you covered. Contour sanding, fine polishing, sharpening, and any other metal or wood finishing task you can come up with, this sander can make it happen.
  • Fully Adjustable Sanding Tables: Need to make sure you have a steady, consistent position for precision sanding? Both sanding tables built into this sander can be adjusted from 0-45 degrees and tightly locked into place for consistent and accurate sanding every time.
  • Powerful 2.5 Amp Motor: Capable of propelling either sander at up to 13.5 m/s, this sander has more than enough juice to keep either sanding component running at ideal speed for putting the finishing touches on any small scale project.

CONS

  • Limited to Small Scale Sanding: Due to the narrow width of the sanding belt and the smaller diameter of the sanding disc, this sander is probably best used in home or for DIY purposes.
  • Unweighted Base: As with most combo sanders, this model does not have a cast iron base, so it must be securely clamped or bolted to a worktable before it can be used safely.

If I was shopping for a metalworking sander for my workshop, i would definitely choose the OrangeA Belt Disc Sander Combination 4x36. It has all the features I want in a metal sander: adjustable belt angle, large disc sander, adjustable locking sanding tables, and a sturdy die-cast aluminum construction that will mount easily to any workbench. Get an OrangeA combo sander for yourself, and enjoy the benefits of a high quality, versatile sander in your metal or wood working shop.

What to Consider When Choosing a Metal working Sander

What kind of metal or materials do you typically work with?

Obviously, if you already work with metal you know what you work with every day around the shop. High carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and cast iron all require different types of sanding belts or orbit sander pads, and some machinists also want a belt sander they can use with wood for glassmaking, carpentry, cabinetry, or woodworking as well as metalworking. It isn’t too difficult to find a sander that will pull double duty, but you may need to swap the orbital pad before beginning work each time if you intend to use your sander for multiple types of material, and you may need to airblast your sander thoroughly before switching materials to preserve and protect the motor and other moving parts.

Belt sander, orbital sander, or both?

These options are generally important to consider based on the type of finishing work you are doing and what kind of metalworking you primarily do in your home or professional machine shop.

Belt sanders are generally best for polishing and finishing straight edges and corners, or taking metal burrs or chips off of tool blades. They allow for superior angle control to maintain the shape of the cutting edge while providing it with a smooth uniform surface. You also need to consider how wide and how long you want the belt to be, as longer and wider belts stay cooler during operation, but they tend to be more expensive, and often you only really need a smaller 2-inch belt for finishing work.

Orbit metal sanders are generally best for shaping rounded edges and corners, such as on metal piping or certain automotive/aircraft parts that require a little finesse machining to get that perfect fit. As with belt sanders, the diameter/surface area of the wheel determine how cool it stays during operation, but you may not need a larger wheel if you work on mostly small scale projects.

There are also numerous models that offer both types of sanding surfaces, so more likely than not you won’t need to choose one or the other.

What type of sandpaper will you be using?

The prevailing preference for most metalworkers is that 50-grit sandpaper is the way to go in terms of overall utility in metalworking, but opinions vary widely when it comes what kind of material is best for the composition of the abrasive.

The basic reddish-brown aluminum oxide is the vanilla standard sandpaper, but it does not tend to last very long for sand certain materials like steel that has a higher hardness rating. It also generates heat very quickly, which means it will need to be allowed to cooled or have coolant sprayed on it more frequently. Additionally, if you are sanding aluminum parts or materials they tend to “gum up” or quickly render aluminum oxide sanding pads and belts.

Silicon oxide makes a good alternative for working with aluminum, but is similarly vulnerable to overheating and may require some lubrication with water or other a cooling agent to keep it from literally burning up on you.

Many metalworkers swear by using cubic zirconia (industrial diamond) sand paper and orbit pads though, as these generate the least heat and require little to no lubrication. Due to the hardness of CZ paper, it also lasts much longer than other types of belts or orbital sanding pads. You may have to invest a little more up front, but in the long run the extended lifespan and cooler operating temperature make it a worthwhile investment.

What kind of power supply do you have available?

Higher-end metal sanders may require more voltage and current than your typical household electrical system, especially if you need a sander that can handle higher RPMs for fine detail finishes. Make sure before you purchase a metal sander that you know if it requires a 110-volt household outlet or the beefier 220-volt system for major appliances like ovens, laundry dryers, etc. You also need to check to see if the current is 2-phase or 3-phase as well, since some machines require one or the other.

How much space do you have available?

This may seem like rather obvious consideration, but it really is very important. Make certain that you have sufficient space on your workbench or in your workshop if you get a bigger free-standing model.

How powerful does the sander need to be?

Generally, ⅓-½ HP is more than enough power for hobbyist or small-scale professional work, but more powerful models are available for larger-scale work.

About the Author Darrell Webster

I believe there is a handyman in all of us as long as you have the right tools. I started this blog to help anyone who is interested in fixing things to learn their way around the different tools and to know how to perform different DIY tasks. I have been doing this for years and believe I am a master of this art.

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