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How to Load Sandpaper on a Random Orbital Sander: a Simple Diy Guide

Sanding is a must-do in any woodwork project. It is essential for giving your project a smooth finish.  To make sanding faster and less burdensome – as it can be when using manual sanders – power tools are recommended for sanding.

One of such tools is the Random Orbital Sander – not to be confused with the Orbital Sander (Finishing or Quarter Sheet Sander). It is highly recommended for aggressive sanding due to its penchant for removing a lot of material.

Sanding requires your sander, sandpaper, and the project you are working on. Below is a DIY guide in 2 simple steps on how to attach sandpaper to your Random Orbital Sander.

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Step 1: Get Your Sandpaper/Sanding Disc

The backing pads of Random Orbital Sanders are made in disc-like shapes as well as their sandpapers – or sanding discs.

There are two types of sanding discs – Hook and Loop discs and Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA) discs. The type of sanding disc to get is dependent on the backing pad of your sander. However, most Random Orbital Sanders come with a hook and loop attachment system.

Sanding discs also come in majorly paper, film, or cloth backing – with paper backing being the most common and most affordable. The film backing disc is recommended for wet sanding and a more consistent finish, while the cloth or fabric backing is highly recommended for sanding heavy duty projects as it is tear resistant.

Step 2: Attach Your Sandpaper/Sanding Disc

Hook and Loop

Hook and loop sandpapers have abrasive-material backing similar to Velcro. Sanders which support hook and loop method of attachment have backing pads with microscopic hooks on their surface, while the hook and loop sanding discs have corresponding tiny loops on their backings.

To attach a hook and loop sanding disc to your sander, face your sander upside down and simply place the surface of the disc – which has the tiny loops – on the backing pad, and employing pressure, press both surfaces together.

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This creates a strong bonding of both surfaces which can be peeled back whenever you want to change sanding discs.

Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA) or Stick On

To attach a PSA disc to your sander; turn over your sander so that the backing pad is facing up. Peel the paper or nylon liner attached to the sanding disc to reveal the flat adhesive surface, then slap on the sticky surface on the backing pad.

You know the disc is securely fixed if it is not protruding from the sides but perfectly sits on the backing pad.

For backing pads with dust collection holes, be sure to get sanding discs with similar number of dust collection holes – usually 6 or 8 holes – as the backing pads.  Properly align the holes on both surfaces together to aid in fixing the discs correctly.

Random Orbital Sanders usually come with dust portals attached to them which serve as pathways for sawdust. They also come with little dust collectors to fit into the rims of these portals – you may fix your vacuum instead.

The holes on the sanding disc suck up the sawdust when you are sanding, and the dust collector collects the dust. This keeps the dust from clustering in your sander.

There you go! All set and ready to use. Now you can effectively sand that piece of work. For more sanding guides and tips, or if you’ve questions about sanding in general, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are available 24/7.


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