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Setting Up A Flap Wheel Head After The Molder

By Jacob Malherbe

If you want to help to get rid of surface markings and create a better product, then sanding your molding with a flap wheel head after the molder is the way to go. Whenever you’re working with molders, it’s very important that you keep the spindle tool sharp, clean and well balanced. By doing this, and making sure that you don’t overdrive feed speeds, you can achieve a decent profile with most molders.

The next step is proper sanding of the material after the shapes have been created. I have found only two methods that will work well for sanding profiled material. One is using a shaped wheel that matches the profile of your product. These shaped wheels are similar in nature to a grinding wheel. These shaped wheels can remove a fair amount of material and will help with removing tooling marks but will not denibb your surface nor help with color balance. You will also need a head to match each profile you want to create.

This is where the flap wheel head comes in useful. They are designed to be flexible, meaning that they shape themselves according to the shape of what’s being sanded. The benefit of this is that very small changes can be made so that it fits a number of different profiles. When you sand using a flap wheel, only a small amount of material is going to be removed, meaning that it can only remove a limited number of tooling marks. Start with good tooling, and the flap wheel sanding can produce great results before applying the primer or stain.

The flap wheel sanding process, will denibb your product. This is to remove the small fibers that pop up when sanded in any other way or when any type of chemical or water is applied to the surface of the material. These fibers if not removed will raise up and set in a dried position causing a rough primer or stain and seal coat. This will require additional sanding time being needed between coats to achieve a smooth top coat.

Utilizing a flap wheel head will remove these fibers resulting in much less sanding time between coats. You will also benefit from the fact that flap wheel heads will insure a uniform pore opening in the material. Uniform pore openings result in uniform color balance throughout the work surface.

Building your own flap wheel head as an attachment on the out feed end of the molder could be your solution. With today’s availability of inexpensive motors and controllers give it consideration. In most cases a little fabrication work to mount a motor or two with heads on the out feed end of your molder is not difficult to do. You will want to make sure the heads can be adjusted up and down and also the ability to tilt the head can be very useful. Up and down adjustment is a must to accommodate different thicknesses of material. The ability to tilt your heads will help when running a profile that is considerably thicker along one edge than the other.

Whatever you do, remember that, as the feed rates increase, there is a need for more heads. Two heads are needed for up to 20 feet per minute feed rates. Four heads can give up to 60-70 feet per minute rates and give good quality sanding. Lastly, make sure that the heads counter rotate, as this is what helps to make sure that the fibers are lifted by one direction, and removed by the other.

The end result is a better finish that will have needed less sanding between the coats, and less chemicals to reach that result.

Flap Wheels has one of the biggest ranges of tools to help you get the very best results. Take a look today to find abrasive flap wheels and many more products!

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Malherbe, Jacob "Setting Up A Flap Wheel Head After The Molder." Setting Up A Flap Wheel Head After The Molder. 22 Jun. 2010. 6 May 2015 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Malherbe, J (2010, June 22). Setting Up A Flap Wheel Head After The Molder. Retrieved May 6, 2015, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Malherbe, Jacob "Setting Up A Flap Wheel Head After The Molder"

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