ROS to finish aluminum

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Forum topic by Viktor posted 08-04-2010 08:05 PM 1393 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Viktor's profile


464 posts in 3412 days

08-04-2010 08:05 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question sander sanding

Has anyone used random orbit sander to sand/polish large aluminum surface? Are there any issues with heat buildup, aluminum dust clogging insides of the sander and filter etc? I believe aluminum dust is a fire hazard also. I have Bosch ROS20VSK.

10 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3706 days

#1 posted 08-04-2010 08:10 PM

I would imagine that aluminum being a metal might be a shorting hazard for the sander. How much material do you have to remove? If you are just buffing it up to make it shiny it may be worth looking at a car polisher or similar tool. Those sheepskin pads with a little rubbing/polishing compound should make short work of the job.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Viktor's profile


464 posts in 3412 days

#2 posted 08-04-2010 08:17 PM

Mark, good point about shorting. I want to put some shine on a table of a portable saw. It looks like it was done with 60 grit sandpaper at the factory, which makes it very non-slippery. I might just do it with sanding block by hand.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3706 days

#3 posted 08-04-2010 08:27 PM

I ‘polished’ my TS table with some steel wool and elbow grease, it didn’t take long and made the table considerably more slippery. A bit of floor wax helps as well, although I find I have to repeat the waxing more often than I do for the cast iron tables I have, perhaps the aluminum is more porous?

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View DeputyDawg's profile


196 posts in 3958 days

#4 posted 08-04-2010 09:03 PM

Now your talking my language. I would think it all depends on what you are trying to polish. I would suggest you use a product called Wenol or Mother’s. You should be able to find them in any automotive store or the Wenol in a motorcycycle shop. I used Wenol and sold it in Arizona and there is none better. It is a chemical based polish with no abrasives in it. You can either use a soft cotton fabric like an old T-shirt or the polishing pad that comes with a car polisher. Look at any big truck with shinney wheels and you can see what it will do to a dull aluminum wheel

-- DeputyDawg

View Seth's profile


5 posts in 2853 days

#5 posted 08-04-2010 09:06 PM

A quick look at the OSHA guidelines for aluminum state that “The National Fire Protection Association has assigned a flammability rating of 1 (slight fire hazard) to aluminum (dust or powder).” I’ve worked in a plant that generated a lot of aluminum shavings and they really weren’t concerned about fire hazards (and they had 50 gallon barrels of the stuff).

I would be worried about aluminum dust causing galvanic corrosion in your sander more than anything.

View TheWoodNerd's profile


291 posts in 3185 days

#6 posted 08-04-2010 09:10 PM

I think the shorting comment was directed more at damaging the ROS than a fire hazard. But offhand I would think these things would be pretty well sealed against dust to start with, not sure if it’s a realistic concern. If you’re just polishing up some aluminum, you’re generating some pretty minuscule amounts of incredibly fine powder.

-- The Wood Nerd --

View patcollins's profile


1685 posts in 2858 days

#7 posted 08-04-2010 10:49 PM

Wear a mask, you dont want that stuff clogging your lungs, unlike powdered wood your body will not break that down.

View Adam's profile


46 posts in 3146 days

#8 posted 08-04-2010 11:51 PM

There are scotch brite type pads that are made for ROS. I found some at Lowes, I think McMaster sells them also.


View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18265 posts in 3669 days

#9 posted 08-05-2010 03:56 AM

When cutting Al, gauling is always a problem. I suppose it would be for sanding too. Probably clog up the paper pretty quick/

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View FreshPants's profile


10 posts in 3085 days

#10 posted 08-05-2010 06:10 AM

I’ve used a DeWalt (with dust collector box thing) RA sander on aluminum panels (not a really large surface. All was fine, leaving a pretty even swirly scratch pattern (although not as swirly as I was hoping for), and didn’t short out my sander.

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