The Power Behind 3M™ Abrasive Power Tools

A Q & A with 3M's Marketing Manager for 3M Power Tools

Quality construction of an orbital sander is a combination of robust production as well as robust design. 3M File Belt SanderOutstanding tool design allows the technician the ability to command continuous control of the tool, enjoy ergonomic comfort, limit tool vibration and, of course, perform safely while handling the tool. Every component in a quality orbital sander is important. The composite cover, aluminum body, internal muffler, air valve, lever and grip, not to mention tool height and weight, all play an integral part in the creation of a great orbital sander.

3M Non-Vacuum Random Orbital Sander

That's why Sherwin-Williams set up an exclusive partnership with 3M Power Tools, Abrasives and Accessories. We know what it takes to make a great orbital sanders like the 3M's File Belt Sander, allowing you to grind and blend hard-to-reach areas with power and efficiency with eight different attachment arms; and the 3M Non-Vacuum Random Orbital Sander available in four sizes, including: 3/16" inch diameter for general purpose and 5/16" diameter for aggressive sanding.

There are many factors to consider when making that crucial purchase of abrasive tools for your shop:

  1. Are the tools designed to optimize the performance of abrasives and accessories?
  2. Are the tools durable and comfortable when in use and are they right for the application?
  3. Does the company from which you purchased your tools support you when necessary?

With these considerations in mind, Sherwin-Williams The Finish (TF) magazine asked Steve Grosz (SG), Marketing Manager, 3M Abrasive Systems to explain just why 3M's line of abrasive tools fits the bill when it comes to making that major purchase of new abrasive tools:

The Finish (TF): What makes 3M™ Power Tools stand out from the competition?

Steve Grosz (SG): 3M's line of Power Tools is made to optimize the performance of 3M abrasives and 3M accessories and provide the user with a durable, reliable and comfortable tool. When 3M designs a power tool, we take into consideration things like the weight of the abrasive and accessory, as this ultimately impacts the feel and comfort of the tool.

With 3M Power Tools, you can try before you buy. A 3M representative can come to your job site at no extra charge and demonstrate the 3M system (tool, abrasive and accessory) you are interested in. In addition, 3M stands behind its tools with a 12-month warranty and comprehensive service arrangements on most models.


TF: Can you explain the new dust management system for 3M Power Tools?

SG: 3M offers a line of Clean Sanding discs and filter bags that can be used with 3M Self-Generating Vacuum (SGV) Random Orbital Sanders. This system is a nice way to go if you do not want to make the capital investment in a central vacuum system. Clean Sanding filter bags come in two sizes: The large size holds up to one-half pound of swarf (sanding dust), and the extra large holds up to three pounds. Both bags are HEPA rated, which makes them very efficient. 3M also offers a full line of Central-Vacuum-Ready Random Orbital Sanders for shops that already have a central vacuum system.


3M Non-Vacuum Random Orbital Sander

TF: Can you explain the color-coded lever system on each 3M Random Orbital Sander? What are the advantages of this?

SG: The color of the lever on 3M Random Orbital Sanders indicates the tool's orbit and allows the user to quickly identify the orbit of the tool. A chrome lever designates a tool with a 3/32" orbit, a silver lever is 3/16", black is 5/16" and gold is 3/8".


TF: What are some of the most important features of the 3M™ Elite Series Random Orbital Sanders?

SG: 3M continually looks for ways to improve tool performance. 3M launched its second generation of Random Orbital Sanders (the Elite series) in 2011. The Elite Series Random Orbital Sanders have improved durability and ergonomics compared to the original series of 3M Random Orbital Sanders. In addition, 3M Elite Series Random Orbital Sanders have some design features that incorporate technology that is proprietary to 3M including:

  • Recessed lever to eliminate pinch points
  • Extended cover with 3M Gripping Material which allows better control with reduced effort, insulates from cold and reduces vibration
  • Safer thumb wheel mounted speed control which reduces inadvertent speed changes
  • Wider port on dust free tools for more efficient dust capture
  • Internal muffler which results in less breakage - Elite SGV tools are 6 dB quieter than original series
  • Integrated wrist support for comfort and leverage


TF: Can you explain the entire line of 3M Power Tools?

SG: 3M launched its own line of Power Tools in 2007. The set was originally launched with a line of Random Orbital Sanders in three configurations: Non-vacuum, self-generating vacuum and vacuum. Since then, 3M has extensively added to the original line tools, which now includes: Random orbital sanders, orbital sanders, mini orbital sanders, file belt sander, polishers and buffers, cut off wheel tools, disc sanders, die grinders as well as a full line of accessories and spare parts.


Learn more about ALL 3M™ Products from Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes

Learn more about the 3M™ 6HP File Belt Sander

Learn more about the 3M™ 6" Non-Vacuum Random Orbital Sander