Sanding carbon?

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    Hi all. I like to laminate carbon into balsa LE’s and TE’s. The problem I have with it is when sanding it leaves carbon dust on the balsa. Has anyone discovered a way to sand without leaving carbon dust on the balsa?


    Have you tried a vacuum cleaner with a narrow nozzle? Usually works for me.


    Thanks. I’ll try that.


    Don’t inhale the carbon dust.

    Lee Hines


    Try sanding with rough, not fine sandpaper. About 100-150 grit works fine.
    The resulting dust particles are larger than the balsa grain for the most part.
    A tack cloth or masking tape get rid of most Carbon dust, as a final step.

    (FYI: 3M Pro grade sandpaper is my pref brand for most work. I found Norton quit making sandpaper.)

    Mike Schwartz

    A good source of sandpaper is your local automotive paint refinishing supply store. Most carry rolls of 36,80,100,120,150 and 180 grit sandpaper. These rolls are 3″ wide and 36 foot long. Perfect size for sanding blocks or metal t-bar sanders. 120 grit seems to work the best on balsa and carbon for shaping, then follow-up with 180 grit. Don’t sand the carbon inside your house as it will get everywhere and you don’t want small kids inhaling the dust. Using a shop vac while sanding is a good idea along with using a tack rag and blue painter’s tape like Lee suggests. Wear a face mask and googles as you don’t want the carbon dust getting into your eyes. The Norton sandpaper company has been purchased by the French St. Gorbain Company and is now called Norton-St. Gorbain. 3m Pro sandpaper is also a good brand to use. Stick with the name brands for the sandpaper as the paper backing on these brands are stronger then the cheap brands. Alum. oxide paper grades seem to work the best for non-cloging of the paper.


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