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Disk Sander for metal?

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  • Disk Sander for metal?

    Been reading some of the archives...

    I have a 12 inch disk sander (probably a Grizzly clone up here in the cold - aka Canada).

    Could this be used to sand (I guess the better word would be grind) steel, aluminum, brass? Effectively, or would there be a lot of gumming of the disk (thinking mainly aluminum, maybe brass)?

    Useful as a tool bit grinder (lathe bits)

    If this has promise, are grinding wheel grits and sandpaper grits the same? Conversion tables?

    Or, am I just "out of it"?

  • #2
    As I eased out of woodworking and into metalworking, I found myself over at my 12" disk pretty often -- with whatever I happened to be working on.

    It didnt take long to realise that the aluminum oxide disks I had been using for the wood were dying a pretty early death... so, doing a little research, I got a couple disks in Zirconium(sp?) and they do MUCH better. Most? sandpaper, --disks & belts, --will be a brown color in aluminum oxide, and the Zirconium will be blue. Of course there are multiple other choices, but I think these two are the most popular.

    So, yeah, grind away
    If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........


    • #3
      If its built tough enough, and it has enough power, it will work great.
      I have been using a 12" 2hp Jet disc sander on Stainless steel for 10 years now.

      We use the aforementioned alumina zirconia PSA (sticky back) discs- I buy mine from Klingspor, I use a 50 grit for most everything, it leaves an amazingly fine finish if you are used to 50 grit on wood.

      But Norton, 3M and the other reputable sandpaper suppliers all make Alumina Zirconia sandpaper as well.
      Like these Nortons at MSC-

      The right sandpaper makes all the difference.


      • #4
        I use a 12 inch horizontal disc sander that I built from an old laboratory sample shaker. The chassis of the sample shaker is solid 3/8" steel and the motor is totally sealed so it was ideal for the job.

        I revamped the drive system to include a 9" pulley mounted on a 3" diameter roller thrust bearing. On top of that goes a 10" diamond wheel which is used to rough sharpen tooling, booth carbide and steel. The wheel turns at only 200 rpm so the diamond isn't damaged by high temperatures and I sprinkle on some water as coolant.

        The diamond wheel has a steel core and weighs about 10 lbs so it makes an excellent flywheel too. By fitting a standard size 1 1/4" plug to the center of the diamond wheel I can drop on whatever I like. I have 4 12" sander discs on painted MDF that I use for wood, plastic and metal. I have an assortment of 10 and 12" grinding wheels that also just drop on that I use for whatever I need.

        This machine is the handiest gadget since the zipper and I use it every day. I would give up any of my other grinders before this one. It's controllable and never burns anything but removes stock in a hurry with coarse wheels or paper yet can be used to put a nearly transparent edge finish on acrylic. The sanding paper lasts for ages since it never gets burnt. It's a decent substitute for a surface grinder for a lot of things.

        For grinding aluminum use a cutting fluid. Either WD-40 or water work fine. It eliminates gumming the paper or stone and stops galling of the aluminum to give a far better finish. Don't use WD-40 on any wheels that will be run at regular speed. It can disintegrate the resin binder.
        Last edited by Evan; 05-20-2008, 01:12 PM.
        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


        • #5
          Hey Evan...if you look up glassblowing suppliers, you can get a magnetic backed diamond lap in different grits from I think 9" in diameter to really really big and expensive. With your telescope stuff that might be useful to be able to change the diameter of a lens quickly or something.


          • #6
            Glass grinds pretty well with ordinary aluminum oxide paper. I use the grinder to put safe edges on glass regularly. It also requires water lubrication.

            This mirror was ground including the rounded corners on this grinder.

            Last edited by Evan; 05-20-2008, 04:33 PM.
            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


            • #7
              I use a small belt sander quite a bit for metal work. Aluminum sands almost as quickly as wood. Even steel sands well.

              For tool grinding, I rough it out on the grinder and then use the belt sander for finishing. A bit of WD-40 or Tap Magic will produce a mirror finish with a fine sanding belt. Brush or spray it on as the belt runs. And it is easier to control angles on the sander than on the grinder.

              Also very good for deburring edges. I just run them against the upper part of the belt, above the back plate.

              A disc sander would be nice as you could choose the speed by changing the distance from the center. This seems to be a nice feature to me.
              Paul A.

              Make it fit.
              You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!


              • #8
                What kind of machine?

                Was that machine a Ro-Tap? They are used to shake a stack of graduated screens to classify granular material into different sizes.

                I put a lot of miles on one of those.



                • #9
                  i use my delata 1x5 belt disc sander for some gringing usualy 80 to 100 gritt and i also have a 6 inch bench grider from jobmate as well and they rock for under 40 bucks..