Orbit Sander Problems

Problem 1: Paper Loading

Oscillating spindle sander and belt sanders don’t usually go through this problem because it’s sander isn’t always in contact with the surface. Orbit sanders usually have their surfaces really near the surface, this causes paper loading problems. Paper loading is when the bits and pieces of sand paper get loaded with saw dust particles, this issue isn’t just experienced by orbital sanders but also other equipment that gets closer to the surfaces the way orbit sanders do. When this happens, your sanding paper becomes put to waste and you would need a new one to continue. This is something very common with orbit sanders so if you plan to work on a project, make sure you have an extra sand paper handy and replace the old one the moment you suspect any paper loading.

Problem 2: The Disk is Slipping

When your model of sander is equipped with a Velcro system that holds sanding disks in the right area, you could change sanding disks even if you are in the middle of your project. This is very convenient, but it causes disk slipping. Whenever your sanding paper slips from the Velcro, your sander won’t be following the motion of your orbit and that could damage your project. Don’t worry if you have this type of equipment because you can make sure you have the best disk that works well with your sander, or make sure to store your sander with its disk attached equipment. You should find the best disk for your equipment because even if some claim to be universal it still doesn’t work as good as the one meant for it does. Now if you are wondering why it would be better for the sander to be stored with an attached disk, that’s because the Velcro would likely be damaged.

Problem 3: Heating motors

When your sander gets older, the more easily it would heat up when in use. This problem should be rectified as soon as possible or else it would just worsen. Even if your manufacturer says they are greased well, there would come a time when you would have to maintain it and replace the gear box of your sander. You would know when the lubricating solids in your gear box has separated because there would be an oily smell when you use your sander. If this is the case you could simply clean up your gear box and replace it with new oil, you could use the grease used for bearings that you could buy in auto shops.

Problem 4: Sanding is Uneven

You might think it’s impossible to sand a surface unevenly because it usually sands away small parts at a time but it does happen. Make sure that when you are using an orbital sander your disk should always lay flat, you should do overlapping passes, and you should be following your woods grain. To make sure it’s even, don’t put weight on your equipment and let your equipment do the work. Putting in weight to the tool will not just result in uneven parts but you would also slow down your equipment. Experts say that if you want to make sure you are sanding evenly, you could draw lines on your woods surface to guide you.

Problem 5: Sanding Smaller Surfaces

Orbit sanders sometimes jump around when the surface you’re working on is narrower than the diameter of your sander. It’s all because of the oval rotation of the disk, as I have mentioned earlier the disk should always lay flat. So if you would be working on a smaller material that might cause your disk to not be flat, make sure that you fix your material on something with a clamp and also use a finer grit.

Problem 6: The Motor Brushes Are Worn 

When you turn on your sander but it doesn’t work, check the plug. If it’s plugged in well then you might have worn out the motor brushes. You usually use your equipment with power and for long times, as time go by your motor brushes could worn down. You would know that it’s starting to happen because it would shake when you start, or maybe you would have to shake your equipment a bit to make it work.

Problem 7: Leaving scars

When your sander is leaving scars on your project then that’s a telltale that your sander isn’t randomly orbiting. This usually happens when your oscillation bearing isn’t moving right, you could try solving this by lubricating your bearings well. You could also disassemble your orbit router and access the bearing shaft of your engine and grease what needs to be greased. But remember that you should only be doing this if you know what you are doing or you have experience in opening up equipment.


Just like any equipment there is in this world, there would come a time where issues would arise. Maintenance and being aware of the telltales are good ways to make sure you catch what’s wrong before it totally breaks your sander.

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