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What is the Best Sanding / Grinding Belt for Metal

This is a complicated question, but one we're going to try to simplify for you. Pretty much any abrasive can be used for sanding or grinding metal but different metals and operations make some abrasives better than others. We're going to help you sort that out in this post.

What kind of metal are you working on?

This is the first question you need to answer. Sanding or grinding aluminum requires different materials and technique than sanding or grinding copper because the metals have unique properties.

 Abrasive Type Metal

Aluminum Oxide (AO)

 

Effective on all metals including aluminum, brass, chrome, stainless, bronze, copper, titanium, etc.

Silicon-Carbide (SC)

 

For non-ferrous metals and softer metals such as aluminum and brass.

Zirconia-Alumina (ZA)

Generally used for stainless and tough metals.

Ceramic-Alumina (CA)

Best for stainless and tough metals.


What are you doing to the metal?

Polishing requires a totally different abrasive than material removal so you have to factor this into your selection.

Operation  Abrasive Type
Stock Removal

Ceramic-Alumina for hard-to-grind metals and alloys.

Zirconia-Alumina for stainless, exotic and heat-sensitive metals.

Blending Welds

Ceramic-Alumina for hard-to-grind metals.

Zirconia-Alumina for stainless steel.

Aluminum-Oxide for most metals.

Polishing

Aluminum-Oxide.

Silicon-Carbide.

                    

Cost

While this isn’t a technical aspect of selecting your sanding belt abrasive, it often can factor into your decision, especially where more than one abrasive fits your requirements. One thing to remember when evaluating cost is belt life. For example, Ceramic-Alumina belts tend to be more expensive than other belts but have a longer life so you don’t have to replace the sanding belts as often.

Some Final Tips

When you’re sanding or grinding metal, it’s important to keep the metal cool. We recommend using water or a sanding/grinding lube to prevent overheating the surface.

Always follow safety guidelines. Don’t sand or grind around flammable materials. Work in a well-ventilated area and always, always, always wear eye, hearing and respiratory protection.

 

 
Aluminum-Oxide
Ceramic Belts

Zirconia-With-Lube
Aluminum-Oxide Ceramic-Alumina Silicon-Carbide Zirconia-Alumina
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Introducing Automated Abrasive Belt Manufacturing

Abrasive Industrial Supplies is excited to announce that our new Abrasive Manufacturing Machine is fully operational. This machine has enabled us to reduce our lead times AND improved the consistency of our belts.

What can we make for you?

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Now Shipping Worldwide

Abrasive Industrial Supplies is now shipping worldwide

 

Yup! You read that right. Abrasive Industrial Supplies is now shipping stock and custom abrasive belts worldwide. 

Photos of Customer Projects

Monte Pettit
Submitted by
Monte Pettit, Bellevue, Nebraska
Hammer by Forrest Ketner,  F A K Products Inc
Submitted by 
FORREST KETNER
F A K Products Inc, Herndon, Pennsylvania

What're You Working On?

It's always great to see what projects you, our valuable customers, are using our abrasives for. Here are the latest photos we've received.

Beautiful Wooden Boxes by Monte Pettit from Bellevue Nebraska

This beautiful woodworking was submitted by Monte Pettit from Bellevue, NE.  Thanks for your submission Monte! Click on the photo for a larger view.

 

Aluminum Letters by Milt Neeley the Artistwelder from Hooper, UT

Milt Neeley, The Artistwelder shared these Aluminum Letters with us. Click on the photo for a larger view.

Jack Yarbrough sent us a photo of this beautiful knife he created

Jack Yarbrough shared this photo of a beautiful knife he made. Click on the photo for a larger view.

Want to share YOUR project with us? 

Send a photo or photos of your current project(s) along with a brief description to photos@abrasiveindustrialsupplies.com and we'll showcase you too. 

Please note photos may also be used on social media or email.

How To Measure To Get The Correct Belt Length

If you've ever ordered sanding belts and when they arrived found out you'd ordered the wrong length, this post is for you.

There are several ways to determine the correct belt size for your machine. 

  1. Get out the machine manual and find out what size belt is specified for the machine. If you can't find the machine manual, get out on the internet and do a search for your sander. Most manufacturers have their manuals online.
  2. Take a piece of string and wrap it around the sander as you would the sanding belt. Cut the string where it meets then measure the length of the string. This is your belt size.
  3. If you have an old worn out belt that you're going to throw out, cut it in half, lay it out on a flat surface and measure the length to get the total belt length.
  4. Don't have a worn out belt? You can take a belt, press it flat and measure it. Double the length you just measured and you'll have the total belt length.

Measuring to ensure you have the correct belt length is a simple but VERY important process. 

Remember, Abrasive Industrial Supplies will make virtually any size sanding belt you need. Contact Customer Service by phone (800-433-8010) or email for a quick quote.