Introduction: Magnetic Hand Sander

About: I'm an aspiring entrepreneur, currently working on renewable and environmentally friendly building materials project. A designer at heart, just unleashing my creativity on Instructables for the time being.

If you've ever had to do any sort of sanding, you know sanding with sandpaper in hand is a hard and tedious process. Your fingers get tired, the sandpaper bends and tears easily and you usually can't get a level and smooth enough surface.

Well at least that's the case for me, so I decided to make a handheld sander with a quick-release magnetic clamp.



  • Sandpaper
  • Nails/Screws x2
  • N eodymium magnets x4
  • A metal rod (3mm diameter (or larger)
  • Ply Wood 3.5" x 0.5"
  • Glue
  • Styraphome Wrapping
  • Paint (Optional)


  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Saw
  • Ruler
  • Plyers
  • Scissors
  • Pencel

Step 1: Cutting Wood

Firstly the wood is cut into the basic length required. My cuts were 4.5" long. You can make your cuts longer or shorter if you choose. Both cuts need to be the same length.

A 3.5" long and 1.5" high strip of wood is cut to create the candle.

Step 2: Drilling Holes for Magnets

Two 1" holes are drilled 2.5" apart into each piece of wood that will make up the 2 halves of the sander. The holes need to be deep enough to allow for 2mm-3mm from the surface of the magnet to the surface of the wood to prevent impact when the two halves are put together.

The magnets used are 24mm x 3mm N50 neodymium magnets

Step 3: Securing Magnets

Using glue to secure the magnets in place. Ensure the magnets are aligned North to South ( attracted to each other). Test the alignment and orientation of the magnets before fully gluing them into place.

Step 4: Rod Support Holes

Two holes are drilled 25mm off from the center of the wood on both sides of the sander to accommodate the support rods that will align the two halves of the sander.

The rods will be secured into the holes which are made slightly larger than the diameter of the rods and drilled 5mm down into the wood. On the other side of the sander, the holes are made 2 to 3 times the diameter of the rods to allow for easier alignment and drilled all the way through the other side.

Step 5: Placing Rods

Insert the rods with glue applied into smaller holes into the wood. Fit the two halves of the sander together and cut the support rods to prevent the rods from coming through on the other side. Allow the glue to set before continuing.

Step 6: Adding Washer

Glue the washer on each magnet on one side. This is to prevent the magnets from coming in direct contact if they come loose and prevent damage if impact occurs.

Step 7: Sand Paper Padding

The styrofoam padding is cut to the exact dimensions of the surface of the sander. This will prevent any imperfections from being transferred to the sandpaper when sanding and allow rougher surfaces to be sanded easily as the foam will allow slight movement in the sandpaper.

Step 8: Sanding & Testing Alignment

At this point, both halves of the sander are sanded for a smoother surface and tested to ensure both halves come together without impact and align easily.

Step 9: Prepping Handle

The handle is sanded to create a smooth surface and chamfered edges.

Step 10: Prepping Nail Hole

Two 4mm holes are drilled 5mm from the edge of the holes which hold the magnets. The holes are drilled just smaller than the diameter of the screws or nails being used, this is mainly to prevent the wood from splitting.

Step 11: Drilling Handle

The distance between the holes drilled in the previous step is measured at 30mm. Two holes are then drilled into the center of the bottom of the handle. The holes are made a few millimeters smaller than the diameter of the nail or screw being used.

Step 12: Prepping Sander for the Handle

The nails are then hammered in place and flushed with the surface of the wood.

Step 13: Securing Handle to Sander

With the exposed nail or screw ends, place the handle atop the sander and align the holes on the bottom of the handle. Apply some glue to the bottom of the handle and hammer it in place securely. Allow the glue to set.

Step 14: Construction Completed

Fit the two halves of the sander together. At this stage the sander is complete and can be used to make the sanding aspect of your next project a breeze.

Step 15: Fitting Sandpaper

This step will walk explain how we attach sandpaper to the sander.

  • Cut a piece of sandpaper wide enough to wrap around the bottom half of the sander from one side of the metal support to the other.
  • Hold the sandpaper in place firmly.
  • Align the rods in the lower half of the sander into the holes in the upper half of the sander.

Step 16: Painting

This step is optional but I decided to apply 2 coats of rubberized undercoating to allow for better grip and change the color tone. Paint works fine for this as well.

Step 17: Ready for the Rough

The sander is now ready for action. The days of hand sanding is over. The hand sander allows a wider, even surface area with a comfortable grip and quick and easy swapping of different grades of paper or paper replacement.

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