Perfectly Align Paper On a Random Orbit Sander


A visitor to the shop this week happened to pick up a RO sander from the workbench and commented on how well the holes in the paper were lined up with the holes in the sander’s pad. We’ve been using a little shop-made device we call the table tennis paddle for many years to do that. To make one, use a piece of sandpaper as a pattern and drill the holes for the dowels on a drill press to make sure they’re vertical. The dowels need to be a tiny bit thinner than the diameter of the holes in the paper, so they will release the paper. They also don’t need to be very long – a quarter of an inch exposed would work fine. We tapered the tops of the dowels to make it easier to slide the paper onto them, and then to slide the sander on top. To use the paddle, just pop a fresh disc on the dowels, face down, and then drop the sander onto it. After a couple of tries, you’ll get really fast. And the great alignment allows a dust collector or shop vacuum to work at its peak, and remove virtually all of the waste when sanding. While you’re at it, make a couple – one for the workbench and one for the job-site.