Making my Own Sanding Pads
Cutting sandpaper to fit fein or dremel sanders has saved me 65% of what I was paying if I bought ready made sanding pads.
In the last few years several companies have produced multi-tools oscillating sanding/cutting machines. They can be used for cutting in awkward spots, to remove grout, to cut flush, and to sand in difficult areas.
I have a diamond pad that fits on the sander. It's really amazing at grinding down tough things. I use it carefully because it cost quite a lot.
Since I had had good experiences with other Dremel tools, I got a Dremel brand oscillating cutter/sander.
I've used it mostly for boat building. It's stellar when it comes to sanding epoxy in corners. It's very good at smoothing out epoxy fillets. The sander is small enough to get in where my regular sander won't fit. Here in Canada the sandpaper shapes are quite expensive. I've bought some from discount people at the wood shows but that is not really cheap either. The quality is often not great.
I though I would try getting sheets of the hook and loop sandpaper (Velcro is a copyrighted brand name), and cutting my own sanding pads for my multitool.
I went on Amazon.ca (I could not find it in the US Amazon.com) and found a supplier, Klingspor. They are German and the paper is made in Poland. I ordered it and it arrived 2 days later.
There are not many suppliers listed for just plain sheets. Maybe they want to sell you the already cut paper.
Klingspor sells on Amazon.com but not full sheets. Maybe they carry them but don't list them online. It would be useful to contact them. The only other sheets I could see online were sandpaper used to attach to floor refinishing machines. They come in sheets of 8 x 19.5 inches. These sanding sheets would be available in the big box stores. Probably in the areas where they rent the floor sanding machines. If I was looking for some paper I would go and touch it before getting it, just to make sure it's not too thick to cut, and to make sure the hook and loop was suitable.
My sandpaper arrived and I checked it out. To me it looks like quite good quality material. The backing is cloth rather than paper and it does not tear or come apart. I had my microscope out so I looked at it under the scope.
The sandpaper grit side up at 30 and 60 magnification (I think). The grit is embedded in a matrix. This is 80 grit paper, it's what I use the most often.
Back view shows the loops.
This is what the sandpaper I had before, and used as a pattern, looks like under the microscope. It was useful paper and I would buy it again but quite expensive. The orangy colour is just the colour of the matrix. The little grains of grit are the same colour in both sandpapers.
After a bit of experimenting I found that I could fit 12 shapes on my sheet of sandpaper.
Without meaning to, it makes quite a pretty pattern.
I used one of my old scissors to carefully cut the sandpaper to fit the Dremel sanding pad. I keep a bunch in the shop and use them to cut fiberglass cloth and open up the end of baggies when I'm making fillets on the boats. They are pretty rough but for this they worked well.
Soon I had a pile of 48 sanding pads for my multitool.
I was cutting the sandpaper while I watched my canner. It took just over an hour to set up the cutting, figure out how to lay out the forms on the sheets, and to cut 48 pieces. Probably would take about half that time next time.
The shape is an easy one to cut with just a gentle curve. As long as the finished sanding pad is not too small it will work. If sanding pad is too small then the hook pad on the Dremel Multitool will be damaged.
Was it worth the effort of cutting my own sanding pads?
The costs included in making the little shapes added up to under 20 cents each. This is just short of a third what I was paying for inferior quality paper. I'm a winner here. If you can find cheap good shapes then maybe it's not worth it for you but it was great in my case. Cutting sandpaper to make my own sanding pads also means I ended up with a higher quality sanding pad.
This comes at a good time because I'm about to do a round of finishing in the interior of the SCAMP.
I don't claim to be an expert in anything. Use safety equipment when working on your boat and wear a life jacket when boating. When you sand wear a dust mask.email me if you find mistakes, I'll fix them and we'll all benefit: Christine