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Can A Belt Sander Be Used On Metal

Can A Belt Sander Be Used On Metal

Metalworkers use sanders and grinders regularly to remove extra material, metal deformities, and sharp edges. You may not always know the optimum tool or machine for your application while working on newly developed projects or items. Effectiveness and safety are top objectives when handling metal and abrasives. When using abrasives, the objective is to remove material from the workpiece. Different machines might operate better in your shop depending on the size of your work item. This depends on how much material needs to be removed, and the required speed of operation.

A portable power tool known as a sander is used to clean, polish, or smooth a surface, such as metal, plastic, or wood. Additionally, surfaces can be roughed up with a sander before finishing. We'll discuss metal sanders in this article.

What Is A Belt Sander?

A sander used for shaping and finishing metal and other materials is a belt sander or strip sander. A pair of drums with an endless sandpaper loop fixed on them are turned by an electric motor. Portable belt sanders can be used to move the material over it, or fixed, permanent belt sanders can be utilized to move the material to the sanding belts. Bench sanders are stationary belt sanders positioned on a workbench.

Non-ferrous metals like aluminum are removed with stationary belt sanders. Grinding wheels are useless for soft metal grinding because they jam with non-ferrous materials. Because the narrow grooves in the sandpaper are expanded as they go around the driving wheel arc, belt sanders are less likely to clog.

Advantages Of Using A Belt Sander

Why use a belt sander for metal or what are the advantages of using a belt sander? Let's know,

Easy To Use

When compared to other methods, a belt sander is one of the quickest ways to sand large surfaces. Belt sanders give metals the ideal finishing touch and are quick and simple to operate. Belt sanders can shape smooth surfaces with little work if they are used properly. It's crucial to keep the belt sander straight, prevent tilts, and apply light pressure when using it. Because belt sanders are harsh, you have to take care of them.

Belt Sanders Cleans Up Waste

You can often struggle to get paint or residue off a surface. You wouldn't have that issue, though, if you used a belt sander. You see, a belt sander eliminates undesirable material while preserving the surface finish.

Wide Variety Of Uses

Belt sanders are typically used to add final touches to woodwork, metal, and flooring. Belt sanders are used for tasks like burr removal and corner smoothing that demand time and attention. A belt sander can also be used to refurbish old furniture and remove wood stains. Furthermore, some belt sanders have dust collection bags, saving you the hassle of doing it yourself. 

Type Of Belt Sanders Used On Metal

1. Large-Belt Sanders

Wide belt sanders use abrasives on the surface of a metal sheet or plate and are typically used by larger companies. Elite offers machines with 25" to 52" widths. This particular machine's conveyor feeds the metal through while a drum and sanding belt smooth down the top surface. The drum and belt are typically osculated. This guarantees more consistent sand and lowers the chance of scratching the metal's surface. Wide belt sanders are frequently employed in:

  • Large-scale, flat material deburring.
  • Slag and dross are removed during plasma cutting.
  • Altering a material's thickness slightly.
  • Enhancing the surface so it can be welded or finished.

2. Commercial Belt Sanders

Stand-alone vertical belt sanders are essential devices with horsepower ratings of 1 to 20 and belt widths of up to 14". Their adaptability and variety of choices demonstrate their value in any store or company. Typically, the belt is positioned vertically or horizontally between two drums. In both vertical and horizontal variations, the workpiece is stabilized on the table while sanding. Although belt sanders are dry sanders, wet belt sanders slow down workpiece heating. In addition, they produce fewer metal shavings or dust in the air. Commercial belt sanders are excellent for:

  • Edge shaping and sanding by hand.
  • Small- to medium-sized item deburring.
  • Reducing the sharp edges.
  • Procedures for high-volume sanding.
  • Surface finishing/buffing of the workpiece.

Note: Using a sander to remove much material is not advised. It is safer and more efficient to use additional tools, such as grinders, saws, plasma torches, etc.

3. Bench- And Belt-Grinders

Belt grinders offer more freedom when working with small workpieces and components, despite being extremely similar to belt sanders. Contrary to belt sanders, belt grinders typically employ harsh abrasives in their belts. These belts are constructed of ceramic, silicon carbide, or aluminum oxide. Benchtop equipment with a grinding wheel or disc is commonly known as belt grinders. The belt grinder is also available in handheld versions. Because it's common practice to combine components into a single machine, bench grinders, and belt grinders complement one another. These tools are essential in every shop and highly flexible. They are excellent tools for:

  • Working with curved or concave material.
  • Grinding little parts.
  • Hone instruments, blades, etc.
  • The removal of lots of stuff.
  • Finishing substance.
  • Material deburring.
  • Taking Edges Off.

4. Brush Sanders

Brush sanders work like broad belt sanders in that flat material is pushed underneath the sanding/buffing brushes by a feed belt. The brush sander does not use belt or disc abrasives, unlike the devices previously mentioned. Instead, brushes attached to a drum are spun anticlockwise in the direction the material is fed. These brushes may be easily changed out, offering a range of bristle strengths for various materials. Brush sanders are appropriate tools for:

  • Removing a few flaws.
  • Polishing.
  • Directional graining creation.
  • Elimination of oxidation/rust.
  • A light deburring.

Sanding Techniques

Knowing the proper methods for safe and efficient belt sander usage is essential to getting the best results. Before using the sander, always follow conventional safety precautions such as donning protective clothing such as gloves and goggles.

When sanding, apply an even motion with the tool to the surface. You should begin by using coarse-grit sandpaper and progress to finer-grit papers until you reach the desired finish. You might need an ultra fine-grit for delicate finishing on small spots.

Final Details

Before using any sealants or varnishes, make sure to go over any rough areas or scratches with a finishing pad or hand block using very fine (220–240 grain) paper after achieving the required polish with your belt sander. When you apply your top coat, you will have an even smoother finish free of flaws and variations in texture or color.


One of the simplest ways to achieve smooth results quickly is to use a belt sander. However, just be sure to take safety precautions and learn the proper techniques for the best results!

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