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RotoZip Sanding Discs:

The following are some of the most popular types of sanding discs. They have been used for many years and they are still being used today. The type of sandpaper used depends upon the application. For example, if you want to smooth out rough edges or corners with a razor knife, then you need to use a high quality fine grade sand paper such as 80 grit or higher.

If you want to smooth out flat surfaces like concrete, brick, stone, etc., then you will need a medium grade sand paper such as 60 grit or lower.

High Grade Sand Paper: 70-80 Grit (Medium)

These are the best quality sand papers available. These are great for smoothing out rough edges and corners. You can easily get away with using these when making small repairs or refinishing your work area.

Low Grade Sand Paper: 50-60 Grit (Fine)

These are the worst quality sand papers available. These are not good enough to use for any kind of repair or refinishing job. Use them only when necessary.

How To Choose A Sanding Disc?

When choosing a sanding disc, you need to make sure that it is of high quality. You also need to make sure that it matches your sander. If you have a large project, then you will need to buy bulk quantity. The larger the sanding disc is, the more material it can hold.

The best quality sanding disc materials are grade 40 and grade 60. This refers to the size of the grains in the disk. The larger the size, the smoother and finer the sand paper will be. In addition, you should buy a high quality brand name such as 3M, Black & Decker or Ryobi.

You can also choose from a wide range of grits available for sanding discs. The more there is in a box, the lesser each one costs.

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You need to check your sander’s disc specification in order to match it with the right sanding disc. If you buy a sanding disc that is not of the right specification, then it will be either too loose or too tight for your sander. This can be very dangerous and may even damage your tools.

What Are The Different Types Of Sanding Discs?

There are two major types of sanding discs: hook and loop fastener (velcro) and slip on style. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages.

Velcro Style

These are the most popular types of sanding discs. They have a hook and loop fastener which allows them to be easily attached and detached from the sander. These types are more convenient to use and they are easier to handle. But, when the hook and loop starts to wear out over time, then they tend to fall off mid-sand.

You will need to replace the velcro style sanding disc every four or five uses depending on how much sanding you are doing and the grade of the sand paper. You should also make sure that the sander is in good condition and runs smoothly at all times.

Slip On Style

These types of sanding discs do not have velcro, rather they have a slit that you can run your spindle through to hold them in place. To use these, you would need to fix the sanding disc into place before you run the tool. They are slightly more difficult to handle, but they are very easy to replace and reuse again and again.

The only real disadvantage with slip on sanding discs is when it becomes necessary to replace them, you will need a screw driver or allen key in order to take them off and put new ones in place.

How Do You Use A Sanding Disc?

Using a sanding disc is quite simple. You just need to match the sand paper with the sander and it will work. Here are some tips that will help you get better results:

Keep Your Sander Clean And Dust Free

Always keep your sander clean and dust free before and after every use. This will ensure that the sanding disc attaches properly and that it does not fall off in the middle of a project.

Change Your Sandpaper Regularly

Always check the recommended time for which you can continue to use a sandpaper before changing it. If you start noticing any scratches or dips in your projects, then it’s time to change the sandpaper. It is not a good idea to continue using a worn out sandpaper as it can lead to accidents.

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Always Wear Safety Equipment

Wear safety goggles, a dust mask and gloves anytime you are using a bench grinder, sander, or any other power tool. This should be common sense, but you would be surprised by how many people do not follow this rule and end up paying the consequences.

Keep all flammable material away from the work area. This includes your clothing as well.

How To Change A Sanding Disc In 5 Easy Steps

Step 1: Prepare everything you need

Make sure that you have all your tools and equipment ready. You will need a screwdriver or an allen key to replace the sandpaper. A new sandpaper, gloves, goggles and a dust mask should be ready before you start working as well.

Step 2: Turn off the power

Shut off the power to the sander. Wait for a minute to let everything cool down.

Step 3: Unplug the sander and take it apart

Unplug the sander and wait until everything has cooled down. Disconnect all the parts from each other and take the unit apart, this will make it easier to handle when you work on it.

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Step 4: Take out the old sandpaper

Carefully take out the old sandpaper. If you are not familiar with how to do this, refer to the user manual or just take it to a professional to get it replaced. Once the old paper is off, check if there is any damage or parts that need repairing. If there is, get that fixed before continuing.

Step 5: Prepare the sandpaper

Take the new sandpaper and cut to the same size as the old one. You can trim it with a pair of scissors or a knife if needed. Now remove the cover from one side of the adhesive tape and press it in place on the sander. Make sure that it is pressed firmly so that it sticks well.

Step 6: Put everything back together

Now carefully put everything back together again. Depending on the sander you are using, you might need to replace some of the parts such as rubber pads, etc. before you can switch it on again.

Step 7: Test it out

The final step is to turn on the sander and run it over some scrap wood to test if everything is working properly. If you notice any problems, get it fixed right away before you use it on your actual project.

Sanding Discs And How To Use Them Safely

Sanding discs come in different shapes and sizes and are used for specific materials and jobs. A good example would be a sanding disc with a hole in the middle, this is commonly known as a flap disc and is perfect for working on softer materials such as wood, plastic, and even soft metals.

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If you need to sand hardwood or metal then you would use a sanding disc with teeth around the edge, these are called holeless flap discs and they can be used on a wider variety of materials.

Holeless sanding discs come in different materials as well such as aluminium oxide or silicon carbide. Both of these materials are designed for different types of jobs.

Aluminium oxide is softer than silicon carbide so it is perfect for working on softer materials. It is often used on wood as it leaves a smoother finish.

Silicon carbide is a stronger and more abrasive material, it is often used on harder materials such as metals or even stone.

Most sanding discs will come with instructions on the back telling you what type of material you can use the disc on and at what speed you should run the sander at. It is very important that you do not ignore these warnings.

If you try to use a holeless disc on a harder material than it is designed for then the disc will become damaged very quickly as the silicon carbide grains will shatter inside the holes.

This will cause splinters of silicon carbide to shoot out the back of the sander and could cause serious injury. The same will happen if you run the sander at too high a speed, this will cause the softer aluminium oxide grains to shatter and once again, this will lead to injury.

Always follow the instructions and never use a holeless sanding disc on any harder material than it is designed for. If in doubt, just use a holeless sanding disc that has been designed for the harder material, they are available for nearly all materials.

Using A Belt Sander

A belt sander is a tool that is similar to a disc sander but rather than having a disc with holes around the edge, it has a long rubber belt. The belt runs over wheels at each end and is kept taught by a spring so that it is tight against the base of the sander.

The front of the belt sits against a flat block of wood or metal which you slide across the material that you are working on.

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Belt sanders are very powerful tools and it is easy to cause serious injury if you do not use them safely. A lot of the safety advice is common sense such as not drinking alcohol if using the belt sander. If you are found to be under the influence of alcohol or any other substance that could impair your ability to work safely then you can expect to have your tool access removed.

There are other ways that you can damage your health through using a belt sander more than is necessary. Always bear the following in mind when using a belt sander:

Keep your wrists straight and locked. Never let them bend backwards or forwards as this can cause injury. Keep your body at a right angle to the belt sander and keep it in line too. If you find that you are straining to reach then you need to get a longer screwdriver, if you are twisting or bending then you need to get a shorter one.

A longer belt sander will make sanding large flat areas much easier as you can keep your wrist in a safer position. If you are working on a vertical surface such as a pillar box, then you need to get a grip that allows you to sand in a downwards motion. If you are left handed then you should be looking for a right handed belt sander as the main belt will still rotate clockwise but the disc will now be on the right hand side of the machine.

Once again, follow the instructions and never use a belt sander on any material harder than it is designed for. If in doubt, don’t use it at all and use a file instead.

The green sheets

These are an absolute necessity for the safe operation of any tool workshop, especially the metal cutting band saws.

The most important rule is that only one person should be within the danger zone of any machinery at any one time. This not only applies to the sheet but also to the rest of the workshop too.

Never attempt to retrieve a piece of metal or any other object that has fallen into the danger zone of any machinery whatever the circumstances. The machinery should be switched off and allowed to cool before any person goes into the danger zone. This is for your safety, the person retrieving the object could easily slip and fall into the machinery or get their hand pulled in or cut off by the machinery itself.

Never operate any machinery when under the influence of drink or drugs. If you are in any doubt about your ability to operate any piece of machinery due to tiredness, poor eyesight etc then don’t use it.

Wear the personal protective equipment at all times:

Always wear goggles or a face shield when operating any machinery. If glass is being cut then wear safety spectacles even if you are just standing by.

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Wear heavy-duty leather gloves to protect your hands and particularly your thumbs. Fingers can be re-grown but if your thumb is torn off then that is it, game over!

Wear ear defenders and a dust mask or some form of breathing protection. The noise levels in most workshops are deafening and the fine dust particles will shorten your life span if you are exposed to them on a regular basis. If you suffer from asthma or similar then you are putting yourself at an even greater risk.

Don’t wear loose clothing or jewelry and never ever wear them when using a chainsaw.

All ladders and stepladders should have non-slip bases. If they don’t then wedge them or improvise some kind of footing otherwise it is just a matter of time before someone takes a tumble.

Wear steel capped boots because you are more likely to be standing on or moving around heavy pieces of metal that could easily puncture a foot if unprotected.

Pile all your tools onto a trolley, barrow or in some kind of toolbox that can be locked with a hasp and padlock. This stops anyone walking off with your expensive power tools and saves you from a lot of unnecessary running around if you misplaced them.

Never attempt to cut through a large piece of metal without first laying it on the ground and supporting it at both ends. If you don’t do this then the unsupported end will either become bent and render it useless or it could fly up in the air at great speed and hit you in the head. Either way, you will be sorry!

When planing wood or machining wood blocks or other materials wear ear defenders and avoid exposing yourself to the dust created. Wood dust is one of the main causes of work-related asthma.

Always wash your hands before eating or smoking and do not eat, drink or smoke anywhere near any machinery. Accidents waiting to happen.

Get yourself some decent safety footwear with non-slip soles and steel toecaps. It may feel odd at first but you will soon get used to it and be thankful when you need to run or jump in an emergency.

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When moving long lengths of wood, metal etc wear leather gloves to protect your hands.

Don’t wear shorts or sleeveless clothing or anything that is not fit for the job. Check your clothing regularly for any signs of wear or damage.

Wear a hard hat when working overhead or on scaffolding. Check it fits properly and packs easily in the event of a fire.

When painting, always protect your skin. Buy quality roll-on waterproof sunscreen that is at least factor 30 even if you are only working in the shade. It is better to reapply it at regular intervals than get sunburned.

When using a chainsaw always wear chainmail gloves, safety spectacles and a chainmail apron at the very least. Better still, wear all of the above as well as ear defenders and surgical pads wrapped around the places where the chainsaw is in contact with your body.

Protect your ears! They are very difficult to repair once damaged by chainsaws or loud noises. All of the above measures are cheap compared to the cost of a visit to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist.

Never wear a necktie or anything around your neck when using a chainsaw as it can easily become entangled in the chain. Pity the poor fool who hasn’t got anything else to wear.

When driving any vehicle with a trailer attached always secure the vehicle and never work on anything whilst it is moving.

Wear ear defenders or ear plugs when operating any machinery that is loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage if unprotected, such as lawnmowers, hedge-trimmers, drills, grinders and when using a bandsaw. This includes when transporting such machinery to and from work or in your van.

If you are leading any kind of a team then always carry a loud hailer or other means of making yourself heard. It is surprising how quickly teams become spread out, go silent and then start complaining they can’t hear what you are saying.

When building a scaffold, platform or anything at height ALWAYS use a professional rigging company. Do not attempt to improvise with bits of rope and other such rubbish.

When working on uneven ground, near water or in the dark ALWAYS use a safety cable that is secured at both ends and that is rated to at least 5x your maximum weight.

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Do not work alone. In the event of an emergency there will be no-one there to go and get help and in any case two minds are better than one when dealing with problems.

Always use the right tool for the job. Don’t force a square peg into a round hole, or in this case a triangle peg.

When painting ALWAYS make sure that the area is well ventilated, that the paint you are using is suitable for the surface that you are painting, that you have brushed it on correctly, that you are using the right type of paint for the area (walls, wood, metal etc) and that you apply at least two coats.

When working with wood, always use the right type of wood for the job. For example, hardwoods are harder than softwoods so will not split or wear as easily and will hold screws, nails and glues better.

When cutting wood ALWAYS use the right type of saw. For example, a handsaw is not powerful enough to cut through seasoned hardwood without considerable effort.

When cutting metal ALWAYS use the right type of cutting fluid or blade. DO NOT use a saw as it will overheat and bend the blade.

When drilling ALWAYS use a drillbit of the right size for the job and make sure you place it at the right angle or you will either get no-where, or drill completely through the material and break the drill.

When sanding ALWAYS use the right type of sandpaper for the job, as using the wrong type can either be too abrasive and wear away the material or not abrasive enough and not smooth the material properly.

When painting ALWAYS use the right type of paint for the job. For example, exterior paint is specially designed to withstand weathering and should only be used outdoors.

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When using a chainsaw ALWAYS make sure that you sharpen or replace the bar and chain whenever they get worn. Also, when cutting wood ALWAYS hold the bar near the front so if the chain grabs it is pulled into the bar and not your leg.

When mixing ANY chemical for ANY purpose, always add the chemical SLOWLY. Many chemicals undergo a chemical reaction when combined and some produce extremely harmful gases. Always read the instructions and warnings printed on the packaging before use.

When working at height ALWAYS make sure there is a secondary means of escape, such as a ladder on the other side, in case the materials you are using to climb up and down with break or slip.

When working with electricity ALWAYS check for the spare conductor. For example, most electric showers have a metal hose and therefore the metal frame of the shower is the ‘safe’ conductor. YOU are the other so NEVER touch the frame of an electric shower if there is water in it as you will be electrocuted.

When using a drill ALWAYS clamp the workpiece securely. Also, most drills have two speeds, 0-500rpm for steel and 0-1000rpm for wood. ALWAYS use the right speed or you will either break the drill or drill right through the workpiece.

When welding ALWAYS ensure that you wear a facemask or shield to protect your eyes. Also, if you are using a torch to heat metal up before welding it, NEVER breath in the fumes produced as they can kill quite quickly.

When using a jack ALWAYS ensure that you support the car properly. DO NOT just put a piece of wood under the jack as it will simply slide out and drop the car on you. Also, ONLY ever lift a car a couple of inches before securing it with wheel chocks to prevent it falling back and crushing what is left of you.

When cutting MOULDING always check that the supporting piece is strong enough to be cut away. For example, if you were cutting a picture rail to match the newly plastered ceiling, the plaster is holding the rail in place. If you cut through the plaster, the rail will fall away and the plaster may with it.

When drilling into masonry ALWAYS use a masonry bit. For any other job, using a drill bit for masonry will either break the bit or snap the drill as masonary is much harder than wood for example.

When soldering ALWAYS ensure you have a well ventilated area to work in. The fumes from the solder and the flux chemicals are VERY toxic.

When cutting waterproof lining material (PVC, Vinyl, etc) ALWAYS cut it at a 45 degree angle. This prevents the sharp edges of the material moving inwards towards the foam and causing small imperfections.

TOP TIP: Whenever you are working on something ALWAYS think ‘What can go wrong?

and ‘What if…?

Whenever dealing with gas pipes, electrical wiring or anything of a similar nature ALWAYS turn off the gas at the mains and NEVER work on the pipes with power still connected.

When painting ALWAYS ensure that the area to be painted is well ventilated and ALWAYS use a mask to stop yourself from breathing in the fumes. Oil based paint has many harmful chemicals which can cause long term damage to your health.

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Personal safety ALWAYS comes first. If in doubt about a particular procedure, DO NOT continue.

When using a ladder ALWAYS ensure that it is properly fixed and rated for your weight. NEVER stand the ladder on its side, only ever stand it vertically.

When cutting glass ALWAYS use a safelight to illuminate the area you are working in so you can see the fine line of your cut.

When handling animals ALWAYS wear thick gloves as many will bite when handled.

When working at height ALWAYS ensure that you have proper fall protection and are tied off securely. DO NOT overreach or attempt to move while tied off as this can damage the rope or harness and cause you to fall unexpectedly.

Never do anything that you don’t feel confident about doing.

As a final note, if in doubt, consult an expert. There is no shame in not knowing something and it can be much safer to get advice before proceeding.

Always ensure that you have a safe method of exiting the building in case of fire. Check all door handles to ensure they are not hot before opening and never use anything which is damaged, such as a frayed carpet.

Once you have found a safe route through the fire, cover your mouth with a wet cloth or handkerchief and continue.

If there are people in the smoke filled areas call out to them and listen for responses. Follow the voices to find the people and get them to follow you to the safe route out.

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If you have been overcome by smoke, drop to the floor, cover your head with your arms and attempt to crawl to fresh air.

If you can find a clear path through the smoke, follow it to the nearest source of fresh air. DO NOT rush as this will use up more air and cause you to breathe faster.

If you can, locate a clear exit path from the building and stick to the walls as you walk as this will help you avoid walking through smoke.

Whatever you do, do NOT panic. If you start feeling light headed or your vision starts to go black get into an area with no smoke and sit down with your head between your knees.

Smoke is deadly in minutes so time is of the essence. Get to the nearest exit but DO NOT run as this will consume more oxygen and waste time.

The best method of survival in a smoke filled building is to get out as quickly as possible.

This can be caused by fire, but more likely another explosion or structural problems. This will cause a tremendous amount of smoke and possibly poisonous gases.

If you are in a multi-story building and you begin to hear the sounds of smashing glass and roaring fires below you it is best to get out immediately as the building could collapse at any moment.

If you are in a single story building and feel shaking, this could indicate an earthquake. If you are near any exposed electrical wires you should leave the building via a door or window without delay as the combination of an earthquake and exposed electrical wires can cause deadly explosions.

Sources & references used in this article: