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- Resources: Safety: Safety in the Small Studio
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- Resources: Techniques: Cleaning Metal
- Resources: Techniques: Finishing Jewelry
- Resources: Techniques: Sanding
- Resources: Tools: 3M Radial Bristle Discs
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- Questions & Answers: Flex Shafts, Dremels, Drills and Other Things Like That!
- Questions & Answers: Safety
- Questions & Answers: Sanding
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- How to Clean Metal
- How to Finish Jewelry
- Jewelry Studio Safety
- Sanding: Part 1
- Sanding: Part 2
I’m not going to discuss actual sanding here. You can watch the videos for details, okay? If anyone has a specific concern/question not covered in the video I could be coerced into adding more info. here!
See my two videos on Sanding: Video one and Video two. I discuss hand and disc sanding in them. I would also like to state that I no longer purchase the “red adalox” that I talk about in the video because Rio finally carries the sticky backed Aluminum Oxide discs. It’s not that I hate the paper backing but, I really dislike it. They don’t last long, tend to fall apart rather quickly and are ugly. It’s a personal problem.
If somebody, out there, would just make a flexible, plastic disc, that came in all grits, I wouldn’t have to go through this song and dance. But, alas…… Anybody out there listening? Like 3M maybe?????
My Method for Creating Flexible Sanding Discs
PSA Discs from Rio Grande
3M now carries a pretty full line of aluminum oxide sanding discs (3m PSA Sanding Discs) ranging in grits from 180 to 1200. They come with a sticky back and are intended to be used with their mandrel, which is a firm, rubber backed mandrel. I find the hard backing difficult to work with because of its inflexibility and other reasons (see below). So, to make them more flexible and have a wide range of grits available, I’ve developed a method of using the PSA Quick Change Sanding Discs with the Moore’s Sanding Discs.
The differences, between the two types of discs, are:
- Moore’s discs have a square-ish shaped brass hole for the mandrel and the PSA has none.
- The PSA’s have nothing in the center (like a mandrel) that can mar your work.
But, the flat, inflexible backing, that comes with the PSA kit, can be too aggressive (sanding wise) and doesn’t follow the shape of the piece very well. They are great for flat surfaces. You can also put your flex shaft into a vise (horizontally) and roll the metal over the spinning PSA disc (while on the stiff, flat-backed, rubber mandrel). It’s easier to sand curved surfaces, with the PSA, using the flex shaft like this.
If you want to order the PSA’s individually here’s the link at Rio, just click the grits you want. Don’t purchase the ones with the hole in the center, for this technique!
Here’s the mandrel (close-up) for the Adalox and Moore’s disc.
A brief note on these mandrels: occasionally the head gets squished shut and the disc spins around on it. Not a good thing as no actual sanding is getting done. So, take the disc off, get a small slot headed screwdriver, and wiggle it down into that split there. Don’t over do it, sport – just a little bit. Check the fit of the disc now. Ah, so much better, eh?
So, generally I use 7/8″ Moore’s Abrasive Discs. Gesswein is, once again, carrying the white plastic ones. These are, by far, the best discs to use with the PSA’s. The part number is 845-2865 Coarse, 845-2863 medium, 845-2860 fine, 845-2859 extra fine. I imagine that any plastic disc would work. If you have some other brand, try it. Moore’s Abrasive Discs from Gesswein.
So, now for the song and dance you’ve all been waiting for:
First, take the used (or new) Moore’s disc and turn it over so the backside faces up. (I generally use, used disks, as I get double usage out of them that way).
Next, you need to cut a little “X” through the sticky disc so, flip the disc back over (the new back side), pull out an Exacto blade and cut from one corner, of the brass mandrel slot, to the other. See the image below.
We do this to allow room for the mandrel head to pop through. Otherwise, it doesn’t fit the mandrel properly. See? (Look Down).
That’s it! Pretty easy and now you have a flexible sanding disc.