Today I will explain and guide the complete process to sand down the metal surfaces correctly.
So you guys out there who don’t know to sand the metal surface properly don’t damage the surface.
Because the damaged surface won’t get fixed quickly if you are a newbie, it also needs some experience to redo the mistakes you have made in sanding the metal.
This blog post is based on my experience of painting for many years, and thus it will be conducive to those beginners who are just starting to paint and learning the basics.
Learning to sand metal is also one of the core things newbies should know to make it even and clean so the paint can stick to it properly without any issue.
- 1 How to sand metal – Step-by-step procedure
- 2 Types of sanding
- 3 How to wear protective gear before sanding metal?
- 4 Sanding with 120 grit sandpaper
- 5 How to sand metal with 80-grit sandpaper?
- 6 How to sand metal with 220 grit sandpaper?
- 7 How to sand metal with an orbital sander?
- 8 How to sand metal with sanding blocks?
- 9 How to clean metal after sanding?
- 10 What is the best tool to sand metal?
- 11 What kind of sandpaper do I use for metal?
- 12 How do you sand metal to make it smooth?
- 13 Should you sand metal wet or dry?
- 14 What is the easiest way to sand metal?
- 15 What should I use to sand metal?
- 16 FAQ’s of How to sand metal
- 17 Conclusion on how to sand metal
How to sand metal – Step-by-step procedure
I will explain all the steps in a very easy and understandable way so a newbie does not get confused anywhere while doing work.
So, if you are also an amateur in painting and just starting out then this guide is recommended to you by me, and don’t miss any phase in this blog post.
You will achieve the desired results of which you are thinking.
If you miss any step in this blog post then otherwise you can damage the metal surface which you don’t want to.
If the metal is rusted and you don’t want to sand it then my guide on this topic spray paint rusted metal can help you out with this problem.
Types of sanding
There are many tools to sand down surfaces but some of the most common and most used are sandpaper, sanders, and sanding blocks.
Today I will share my knowledge of these three types which are commonly used in the market. And any newbie can easily learn how to use these tools to sand the metal surface.
Sanding is required in metal, like if you want to metal garage door or anything made with metal then sanding is must.
How to wear protective gear before sanding metal?
Whenever you sand metal, it’s important to wear the proper protective gear. This includes eye protection, a dust mask, and gloves.
Eye protection is important because flying particles of metal can cause serious injury.
A dust mask is important to avoid inhaling metal dust, which can be harmful to your lungs.
Gloves protect your hands from the abrasive action of sanding and also keep you from getting metal particles on your skin.
Sanding with 120 grit sandpaper
In order to smooth metal by using 120-grit sandpaper, follow these steps:
- Place the sandpaper on a flat surface.
- Place the metal on top of the sandpaper.
- Rub the metal back and forth on the sandpaper until it is smooth.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the metal is at the desired level of smoothness.
To check if the metal is smoothed after sanding, follow these steps:
- Run your fingers over the surface of the metal. If you feel any bumps or roughness, the metal has not been properly sanded.
- Inspect the metal closely. If you see any sanding marks or scratches, the metal has not been properly sanded.
- Hold a light up to the metal. If you see any reflections or glare, the metal has not been properly sanded.
- Finally, try to wipe the metal with a clean cloth. If the metal is still dusty or dirty, it has not been properly sanded.
To sand out a rough surface that isn’t too far gone, use 120 grit sandpaper on the metal, with a circular motion. You’re just trying to smooth out the surface and make it easier to work with.
I’ve used the same technique on something that has had a coat of paint on it and one that’s been left alone and had the surface rust.
Sanding it out makes it so much easier to work with and if you don’t put on a new coat of paint, it’s smooth enough to where you don’t notice the rust.
Part of the reason to use 120 grit sandpaper is to get down to that bare metal before applying a new coat of paint. Sanding is also required when you want to spray paint metal chairs.
How to sand metal with 80-grit sandpaper?
In order to smooth metal by using 80 grit sandpaper, you will need to follow these steps:
- Begin by sanding the metal in a back-and-forth motion with the 80-grit sandpaper.
- Be sure to apply even pressure while sanding.
- Once you have sanded the entire surface of the metal, you will need to wipe it down with a clean cloth to remove any debris.
- Repeat this process until the metal is smooth.
If you want to check if your metal is smooth after sanding with 80-grit sandpaper, follow these steps.
First, take a close look at the surface of the metal. If there are any scratches or gouges, then the metal is not smooth.
Second, run your hand over the surface of the metal. If you feel any bumps or ridges, then the metal is not smooth.
Third, try to slide a piece of paper across the surface of the metal. If the paper snags or catches on anything, then the metal is not smooth.
Finally, if you can see your reflection in the metal, then it is smooth.
80-grit sandpaper is mainly used for rough cleaning of a surface before painting. 80-grit sandpaper is used to remove any grease or oil from the surface, so that paint can stick to the surface properly.
Sandpaper is of different grits, the higher the grit, the finer the sandpaper.
Sandpaper is used for different surfaces and is labeled according to which surface it can be used.
So, when you are buying sandpaper, check the surface requirement before you make a purchase.
80 grit Sandpaper is mainly used for high-polish aluminum, cast aluminum, magnesium, brass, magnesium, and other materials like steel.
How to sand metal with 220 grit sandpaper?
In order to smooth metal by using 220 grit sandpaper, follow the steps below. First, make sure that the metal surface is clean and free of any dirt or debris.
Next, lightly sand the metal surface with the 220-grit sandpaper in a back-and-forth motion.
Continue sanding until the metal surface is smooth. Finally, wipe the metal surface down with a clean cloth to remove any residual sanding dust.
To check if the metal is smoothed after sanding with 220 grit, follow these steps:
- Use a magnifying glass to inspect the surface of the metal.
- If there are any visible bumps or ridges, the metal has not been smoothed properly.
- Run your fingers over the surface of the metal.
- If you can feel any roughness, the metal has not been smoothed properly.
- To be sure, sand the metal again with 220-grit sandpaper.
220-grits sandpaper is actually the coarsest sandpaper used for metal smoothening.
It is used for smoothening the surface of various types of metals, including steel and iron. Sandpaper is primarily used for prepping the metal surface for paint.
The grits of sandpaper are used for smoothening the metal prior to adding coatings, enamel paint, and paint, especially industrial paints.
Different types of sandpaper are used for different activities.
For example, finer grit sandpaper is typically used for finer activities. Finer sandpaper would remove the pigmentation of metal but leave a smooth surface.
On the other hand, coarse grit sandpaper would remove the pigmentation and leave a rough surface.
To answer your question specifically, 220-grit sandpaper can be used on steel and iron surfaces. However, 220-grit sandpaper can be used on other surfaces as well.
How to sand metal with an orbital sander?
The process of using an orbital sander is relatively simple and straightforward.
The first step is to ensure that the surface that you will be sanding is clean and free of any debris or dirt.
Next, you will need to select the appropriate sandpaper for the job at hand. Once you have the sandpaper, you will need to attach it to the sander.
After the sandpaper is attached, you will need to turn on the sander and begin moving it across the surface that you wish to sand.
It is important to move the sander in a consistent and even motion to avoid creating any unevenness on the surface.
Once you have finished sanding, you will need to turn off the sander and remove the sandpaper.
Orbital sanders are a great way to smooth out metal surfaces. They are much more effective on metal than disk sanders.
For starters, orbital sanders are pretty much useless on wood. The sanding action is simply too fast for the motor to keep up.
This means that the sandpaper will be slipping back and forth across it. The end result is that you will be sanding the surface with no gain in smoothness.
On a metal surface, orbital sanders work much more effectively.
They use a random orbit of the sanding head, which allows the paper to contact the surface more often.
The end result is that you will have a smoother surface in less time than a standard backing sander.
Since you won’t be having any problems with the paper speed, you can get a much finer grit of sandpaper than you could with a backing sander.
This is great because a finer grit of sandpaper will cut through the metal more quickly.
So, while you will be spending the same amount of time on the metal surface, you will have a smoother surface by the time you’re finished.
How to sand metal with sanding blocks?
The process of using sanding blocks on metal surfaces is relatively simple. First, you will need to identify the area that you want to sand.
Once you have identified the area, you will need to determine the grit of the sandpaper that you will need.
Attach the sandpaper to the sanding block. Sand the metal surface in a back-and-forth motion.
Change the sandpaper as needed. Remove the sandpaper from the sanding block.
For most metal surfaces, you will need to use coarse grit sandpaper. Next, you will need to wet the area that you are going to sand.
This will help to prevent the metal from becoming too hot during the sanding process.
Once the area is wet, you will need to sand the area in a circular motion.
You will need to apply pressure to the sandpaper in order to remove any imperfections on the metal surface.
After you have sanded the entire area, you will need to remove the sandpaper from the sanding block and dispose of it properly and clean up the metal surface.
The advantages of using sanding blocks on metal surfaces are:
- Prevent Surface Distortion – When you are using power tools to sand metal surfaces, you need to prepare the right size of wood and it’s very difficult on a large surface. So, when you are using sanding blocks on metal, it can work very fast because it doesn’t need to prepare any wood.
- Avoid Sandpaper Damage – Because there are many sandpapers that can be stripped by power tools so it can be expensive and it is also easy to damage the surface. But sanding blocks on metal can be the length and cut relatively easily so it can use the same sandpaper many times and also save money.
- Make Smooth Surface – When you are using sanding blocks on metal, the surface will become smooth and shiny. A sanded metal surface will look nice and more attractive.
How to clean metal after sanding?
To clean metal after sanding, the simplest way is to use steel wool. The process is to prepare the steel wool first.
Then, dip the steel wool into mineral spirits (do not soak it, just dip it for about 5 seconds).
Now, clean the metal with the steel wool in a circular motion. The steel wool will take off the rust and other grime. You can then wipe clean the metal with rag or paper towels.
The final step is to apply some oil or wax to the cleaned metal. Steel wool is commonly used by mechanics who work on automobiles and other kinds of machinery.
But of course, I don’t know if they use mineral spirits in their process. Another way to clean metal after sanding is to use WD-40.
Simply spray it on the metal, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe it off.
What is the best tool to sand metal?
There are several tools that can be used to sand metal, and the best choice will depend on the specific needs of your project. Some options include:
- Sandpaper: Sandpaper is a simple and inexpensive option for sanding metal. It is available in a range of grits, from very coarse to very fine, and can be used by hand or with a sanding block.
- Orbital sander: An orbital sander is a powerful tool that uses a circular motion to sand metal surfaces. It is generally faster and more efficient than sanding by hand, and it is available in both corded and cordless models.
- Belt sander: A belt sander is a powerful tool that uses a continuous loop of abrasive sandpaper to quickly remove material from metal surfaces. It is a good choice for heavy-duty sanding or for sanding large surfaces.
- Angle grinder: An angle grinder is a powerful tool that uses a rotating abrasive disc to sand metal surfaces. It is a versatile tool that can be used for both rough and fine sanding, and it is available in a range of sizes and power levels.
- File: A file is a hand tool that is used to smooth or shape metal surfaces. It is available in a range of shapes and sizes, and it can be used for both rough and fine sanding.
Ultimately, the best tool for sanding metal will depend on the specific needs of your project and your personal preference.
What kind of sandpaper do I use for metal?
For sanding metal, you will want to use sandpaper with a grit of at least 120. You can also use a coarser grit, such as 80 or 100, for heavy sanding or for removing rust.
When sanding metal, be sure to use sandpaper with a grit that is suitable for the type of metal you are sanding and the finish you want to achieve.
Some options for sanding metal include aluminum oxide, garnet, and silicon carbide sandpapers.
These types of sandpapers are durable and able to withstand the abrasive nature of sanding metal.
How do you sand metal to make it smooth?
Here are the steps for sanding metal to make it smooth:
- Start with a coarse-grit sandpaper (such as 80 or 100 grit) to remove any rough or uneven areas on the metal surface.
- Once you have removed any rough spots, switch to a medium-grit sandpaper (such as 120 or 150 grit) and continue sanding the metal surface.
- After you have sanded with the medium grit sandpaper, switch to fine grit sandpaper (such as 220 or higher) to smooth out the surface even more.
- Wipe down the metal surface with a clean, dry cloth to remove any dust or debris.
- If desired, you can apply a metal polish or finish to the surface to give it a glossy shine.
It’s important to sand in the direction of the grain and to use light, even pressure while sanding to avoid leaving scratches or indentations on the metal surface.
You may also want to use a sanding block to help ensure an even finish.
Should you sand metal wet or dry?
It is generally recommended to sand metal dry. Sanding metal while it is wet can cause the abrasive particles in the sandpaper to clog, resulting in a less effective sanding process.
Additionally, sanding metal while it is wet may cause the metal to rust more quickly.
However, there are some cases where sanding metal wet may be beneficial.
For example, if you are sanding a large metal surface and want to reduce the amount of dust created, you can wet sand the metal using water-soluble sandpaper and a small amount of water.
Just be sure to dry the metal thoroughly after sanding to prevent rust from forming.
In general, it is best to sand metal dry using dry sandpaper, unless you have a specific reason for wet sanding.
What is the easiest way to sand metal?
The easiest way to sand metal depends on the type of metal and the tools available, but some common methods include:
- Using sandpaper or a sanding block: This is a manual method that requires time and physical effort, but it can be done without any specialized equipment.
- Using an electric sanding tool: An orbital sander, belt sander, or angle grinder can make sanding metal much quicker and easier than using sandpaper alone. These tools come in various shapes and sizes and can be fitted with sanding discs or belts to match the desired grit and aggressiveness.
- Using a power tool with a wire brush attachment: This method can quickly remove rust, paint, or other coatings from metal surfaces, and can also produce a textured surface that is ideal for priming or painting.
Regardless of the method chosen, it’s important to use the correct grit sandpaper or abrasive for the type of metal being sanded and to follow proper safety precautions.
Such as wearing eye and ear protection, and using a dust mask if sanding produces a lot of debris.
What should I use to sand metal?
The type of sanding tool to use on metal depends on the specific task and desired outcome, but here are some common options:
- Sandpaper or sanding blocks: Hand sanding with sandpaper or sanding blocks is an effective way to remove small imperfections or smooth out rough edges. Sandpaper is available in various grits, from coarse to fine, to suit different sanding needs.
- Orbital sander: An orbital sander is a type of electric sanding tool that uses a circular motion to remove material. It is ideal for sanding large flat surfaces or for removing paint or rust from metal.
- Belt sander: A belt sander is a powerful electric sanding tool that uses a continuous loop of sandpaper. It is ideal for removing large amounts of material quickly, or for sanding rough or uneven surfaces.
- Angle grinder: An angle grinder is a versatile power tool that can be fitted with a sanding disc or wire brush for sanding metal. It is ideal for removing rust or paint, or for sanding curves or intricate shapes.
Regardless of the tool chosen, it is important to use the correct grit of sandpaper or abrasive for the type of metal being sanded and to follow proper safety precautions.
Such as wearing eye and ear protection, and using a dust mask if sanding produces a lot of debris.
FAQ’s of How to sand metal
Conclusion on how to sand metal
I have no doubt that when you start sanding the surface, you’ll see how easy it is to sand metal surfaces, as well as how useful it can be to do so.
But, as I mentioned, you need to be careful and wear the right safety equipment. If you do, then you can sand metal surfaces in no time at all!
If you still have any confusion in your mind then let me know in the comments section and I and my painter fellows will make sure to answer that query as soon as possible.
Matthew Edward is a professional painter who loves to paint and wants to share useful tips and tricks which he had learned in many years of experience in painting. He also used many products that can be used for painting he has tried and tested each and every product to give an unbias opinion about it in his review. This blog is very useful for those newbies who want to learn painting without making mistakes.