Tool Location

Wood Room

Tool Type


Additional Information

User Manual: Dewalt, Makita

One Page Tool Reference Sheet


Orbital Sanders are handheld power tools used to quickly sand large, flat portions of a project. Different grits of sandpaper are available and are held onto the sander with Velcro. Some Orbital Sanders have variable speed control.


Disk Size

All Orbital Sanders in the Invention Studio use 5 in disks.

Cord Length*

The Orbital Sander has a XX in long cable


  • Hard, soft, and composite woods
  • Plastics


Safety glasses and close-toed shoes are required in the wood room, where the orbital sanders are located. Loose clothing and hair should be restrained. A mask is suggested if a large amount of dust is being produced, as repeated inhalation of dust can be harmful.


Safety Features

Keep long hair tied back and away from all rotating parts of the sanders. Coming into contact with the spinning sander may result in minor scratches but is typically harmless.

How To Use This Tool

  1. Plug in the orbital sander to any provided power outlet. Due to the short length of the power cord, it is recommended to use the drop-down extension cords located throughout the wood shop.
  2.  Attach the desired sandpaper to the Velcro disk, making sure to not leave any Velcro exposed. Align the holes on the sandpaper with the holes on the Velcro to allow for proper dust evacuation.
  3. Ensure the sanding surface is not in contact with anything before turning it on.
  4. For the DeWalt sanders, turn the switch located on the front of the sander to the “On” position. For the Makita sander, push the lock button to the “On” position and pull the trigger.
  5. If the sander has variable speed, adjust the speed knob to the desired setting.

When the sander is powered on, hold the sanding disk against the work piece. If more accuracy is desired, adjust the angle of the sander to reduce the amount of the disk in contact with the work piece.

Start with a coarse grit (typically P80 to P110) and sand the entire object. Change to a medium grit (P220, for example) and repeat the sanding. If desired, complete a finishing pass with a fine grit (P320).

A good introductory video is available from Ace Hardware

  • Return the Orbital Sander to the cabinet.
  • Throw away any scrap wood.
  • Sweep large collections of dust and chips into a trash can.
  • Afterwards, spray the work surface and sanded piece with compressed air to remove most of the dust.

Always unplug the sanders before troubleshooting or performing maintenance.

Sometimes the Velcro attachment will wear, preventing the sandpaper from properly adhering. If this occurs, follow the appropriate manual to replace the Velcro.

Occasionally the dust bag attached to the orbital sander will require emptying. Too much dust can build up on the workpiece and interfere with sanding.

The nibbler may have difficulty cutting if the punch is worn out or is not adjusted for proper engagement with the die. If either of these are true, follow the instructions detailed in the user manual for sharpening the punch and adjusting the engagement length. If these instructions do not resolve the issue, the die may need to be replaced, and the manual also details this procedure.


DeWalt. (2018, July 7). DeWalt DWE642X Instruction Manual. Retrieved from DeWalt Tools:,DWE6423.pdf#_ga=2.94229083.717003399.1530992566-1834518244.1530992566

Makita USA, inc. (2018, July 7). Makita BO5041 Orbital Sander Instruction Manual. Retrieved from Makita Tools:

Author Information

Article was written by Alex Debate

Last Updated: September 5 2018.

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