Flap Wheels & Discs
Flap wheels and discs help you finish metalwork by letting you sand away rust and other surface detritus. They can also polish metal for a professional look. Choosing the proper polishing accessories makes your job easier.
Flap wheels and discs are one of the most popular ways that metalworkers can achieve fine finishes. Flap discs come with one of three types of abrasive: ceramic alumina, zirconia alumina or aluminum oxide. Abrasive flap wheels come in different grit densities. For removing rust or other accumulated detritus from metal, or for sanding to a rough finish, use a 36-grit flap wheel or disc. For a fine finish, or for buffing and polishing, start with a 36-grit disc, then switch to an 80 or finer grit disc for polishing the finished metal.
Sometimes, you need to work in a tight space. Sanding flap wheels are used with angle grinders, making them more flexible than other types of sanders. They also wear more evenly than flat sandpaper because the abrasion distributes more evenly. They are easier to control, too, because they create less vibration and less user fatigue. Abrasive flap discs come in two types: conical, for aggressive stock removal; and flat, for fine work and polishing.
Other sanding, grinding and polishing accessories include backing plates, and the right angle grinders that flap wheels work with. Backing plates hold the flaps of a flap wheel together. They are made of one of three types of material: fiberglass, plastic or aluminum. Aluminum is the most rigid of the three and provides the most stability. Fiberglass absorbs the most vibration. Plastic is the most versatile, however. One reason for this is it's easily trimmed, so you can remove the worn surface of the flap wheel.
Keeping one or more flap wheels or discs at the ready ensures you can handle your metal fabrication needs quickly and efficiently.