A cheeky Halloween title to this post, but I was truly excited to bring my orbital sander back from the dead. Back a few posts I mentioned how I burned up my orbital sander while removing the old varnish and stain off of the cabinet I salvaged from a yard sale. One evening while sanding I noticed constant blue sparks visible through the air vents in the side of the orbital sander. Although it didn’t quit working while I was using it, the next evening when I plugged in the cord and switched the sander to ‘on’, I was immediately surprised that nothing happened. The sander just remained a dead wait in my hand. I tried a 2nd (and 3rd) outlet to be certain, but eventually came to the conclusion that my sander had died at the young age of only about 6 years.
Of course I was distraught, that sander and I had gone through so much together; my first endeavors in drywall repair, speeding up the pace of furniture sanding, even prepping dozens of cabinets for painting. Without a doubt I knew I had gotten my money’s worth out of that sander. In the week after its death, I already began researching brands, models, and comparing prices from stores and online shopping sites. But I didn’t throw the dusty old sander out yet. Although a designer, I believe I have a bit of an engineers mind. My immediate thought when the sander didn’t turn on was something like, “Ooh, I am going to take this thing apart screw by screw!”
Now let me admit I know very little (or nothing) about electrical motors. After talking with my grandfather, an extremely knowledgeable Jack of all trades (actually, his name is Bob), I had quite a good understanding about how an orbital sander works. He encouraged me to take the sander apart (as if I needed any encouragement) and thoroughly blow out all the dust inside of the plastic housing. I did just as he recommended. As he described, I found two small metal brushes on springs that had become gunked up with dust and weren’t making an electrical contact.
After making sure these two small pieces were springing like new, I reassembled the sander to find it works once again! (Ok, in reality I had to reassemble it twice because I thought I was finished until I found a spare metal piece and had to take it back apart).
The un-dead in most movies always seem to wander in search of fresh brains… If I wake some night to find it staring at me I may get nervous.