How to Use Orbital Sander | Step by Step Guideline

When I got my first orbital sander, I didn’t learn to love it until I learned how to use orbital sander. All tools are useful to us, but unless you truly know how to use them you won’t know their full potential. Many tools may look pretty straight forward, but knowing the best way to use them will get you the best results. So since I have learned how to use mine through plenty of trial and error.

I want to save you all that mess I had to go through. So I am going to give you the best instructions on how to use your orbital sander. Once you follow the easy to follow instructions and other information I give you, you will be turning out masterpieces in no time. Ok, well over time after all experience comes with plenty of practice.

When Purchasing an Orbital Sander

If you have already gotten an orbital sander, then you have already taken care of the purchasing part. However, if you haven’t then here are some purchasing tips to keep in mind.

  • Make sure you purchase from a reputable market, as well as a reputable retailer like amazon.
  • Check to see what warranty length the sander offers.
  • Know your budget, because prices do range.
  • There are different orbital sanders to choose from. There are some that only use belts and some that use disks. There are also some that will use both as well as others. So choose depending on your intended amount of use and skill set.
  • There are some that also offer up a wide range of RPM settings for you. Allowing you to have control of the RPM’s you need for your projects.
  • Make sure that you select an orbital sander that you can easily find the accessories for. As well as the sanding disks or strips.

Before You Get Started

Before you use any tool even your belt sander, safety always comes first. An orbital sander is a powerful tool, so you want to make sure your work area is clear of other items. You also want to make sure that you have protective eyewear. Your eyes are important, so they should be protected all the time when working with tools.

Random Orbital sanders are lightweight and small enough to be typically held with one hand. Leaving your other hand to do other things such as keeping a good hand on your project. You want to make sure that you have a good grip on your orbital sander. Just make sure you keep your fingers and loose clothing away from the moving parts of the sander.

You will also need to have the proper sanding paper. If you are new to using an orbital sander, you will find out what other types will work well for each type of project as time goes on. The sandpaper numbering system is 60 to 240, with 60 being the most coarse. The finest grain being 60, which is great for those projects needing a light sand.​

How to Use an Orbital Sander

Here are the steps to using your orbital sander. They are pretty straight forward, but I will mention them and make it short and easy to follow.

  • Make sure your project is secure, if small enough you can hold with hand not controlling sander. If it is a larger project it is suggested, you clamp it down or have someone help you. Some have even utilized certain materials such as carpeting to help keep a piece in place.
  • Pick the grain of sandpaper you want to use with your sander. Cut to size if not right size already and put it on your sander.
  • Find out which hand will be your sanding hand. This typically ends up being the hand you use for everything else. That can very between each person though.
  • Make sure you have a grip on your sander that is comfortable and safe for you.
  • Then power sander up however your sander turns on.
  • Determine the amount of pressure you want to use on your project. Pressure is controlled by how hard you push down with your sander. To reduce wear, it is recommended you choose the paper to the amount of sanding depth you want over pressure pushing.
  • Make sure your sanding disk or plane is flat with the surface of your project for a nice even sand.You can complete larger projects quicker by having whole surface contact.Also make sure you clean up dust promptly.

That is the basics on operating an orbital sander. Pretty basic, right? It really is the grain you choose and the pressure used are the two things that take the most learning. That is something you have to learn on your own. Since that is something each person has the control over. To save money also make sure you select a high grade sandpaper. That way you know you will be using less over more with the cheaper brands of sandpaper out there.

Orbital Sander Repair

At some point your orbital sander may need to be repaired. While I will not get extensive on the different repairs that may arise. They are part of how to use orbital sander, because repairs can be part of using any tools. If you want to try and fix it yourself, you may be able to.

​You can usually access the inside of your orbital sander by removing screws that are holding the case/cover on. Once that is removed you will be able to see the motor and other components. Depending on what you see, you may have to remove everything. Make sure to take notice where everything goes for reassembly.

The best way to keep track of where everything goes along the way is to take pictures. This is where your cell phone can really come in handy. Since it does have a motor, unless you can an avid experienced do it yourself repair type. You may not be able to or want to dabble with it yourself.

In some cases, though it could be just a loose wire, dirty connections or other easy fixes. Those are things that most may be able to fix on their own. So unless your tool is still under warranty, it may be worth just taking a look.​

Final Thoughts

Hopefully the different things that I have mentioned will help you. Maybe they will all help, or maybe just a few of the things mentioned. They are great and will save you lots of time in the long run. You will definitely appreciate the work they save you. You will find your niche orbital sander that will become your favorite. As does anyone that has a shop full of tools.

​Over time, you will be a professional when it comes to knowing how to use orbital sander. Then you can pass on the skills and know how you have learned with others. It is a great skill to pass on to others and a great asset to anyone who loves to work with wood. So whether you are buying for yourself or looking for someone else, the end results will be pleasurable with the right sander.

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