Choosing Flap Sanding Wheels

Advice on selecting sanding heads for profile sanders, and some thoughts on the best use of the machine.June 30, 2014

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
We are looking at an Optisand moulding profile sander to add to our operation. We looked at them at the IWF show in Atlanta and also looked at several other brands like this machine. We understand they are not super detailed machines but will put on even sanding lines to take out any holddown marks or slight mill marks from knives. What brand or company sell the best sanding wheels for these type of machines? Will each brand fit each machine like a universal head fits all the types of sanders like this? I would like advice as to what brand anyone is using and getting good finished product with.

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From Contributor W:
I know the Optisand machines very well. Flex Trim abrasives will give you the best performance of any brush in the industry. It's not like the Quickwood brush because you replace the brush with the sand paper. The brush changes and wears. Keeping it means less performance each time and no consistency. I would look at starting with a 45mm trim, 120/180 grit and 3+4.5+6.7 cuts. The trim is the height it stands out of the hub and the cuts are the slash widths.

The Optisand machine has larger diameter heads on the top so you automatically get more slots so more sanding media. The rpm is what makes the machine really shine. You want between 300 and 600 rpm on the sanding heads. The slower you can get the job done the better. The slower the rpm, the longer the brushes will last. I have seen many machines go over 250,000 lineal feet of molding with the right strips and rpm. It doesn't always happen, but often enough to mention it. I spent six years as a technician for FlexTrim and then two years with their competitor Slipcon. I have been in brush sanding for nearly 15 years total. Brushes will remove knife marks and shiny hold down marks, but it won't remove chatter or double cut. Anything with structure it will just sand over so it's not a cure all for poor molder work.