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Problem with 3M radial discs

I use and love 3M radial wheels. I use the 3/4 inch discs at the
bench and the 3 inch discs on the buffer for pre-polish clean up. I
especially like the 3 inch blue 400 grit discs stacked with 6 discs.
I usually get about 6 months of wear out of the 3 inch discs then the
bristles start breaking off. Last month I ordered replacement 3 inch
blue radial disks from Stuller. In less than a week the bristles
started to break off and by two weeks they were bristle-less.

And before you ask, I did mount them correctly. I’ve been using
these disks for years. Has anyone else experienced this problem? Does
3M have a quality control problem and there was a bad batch?

Rick Copeland


I am so sorry to hear this. I use the yellow green 3/4" disks every
day. Mine have been lasting several months. I wash them when they get
smudged looking. I have worn them down but I have not had bristles
break off. I would call Stuller immediately and have them contact 3M.
Please post the Stuller & 3M responses.


Chris Romero from Stuller contacted me yesterday afternoon. Chris
said I may have got a bad batch of discs and said he will send me a
new batch.

Talk about customer service! And I am a little guy as far as volume.
But IMHO they treated me like I was their best customer.

So we’ll see how these wear. I really like how the 3 inch blue discs
do a pre-polish on sterling silver and nickel silver. Along with my
traditional line of sterling silver work I use them for pre-polish on
my SO filigree work and on nickel silver belt buckles and money

Rick Copeland


I had a problem with the bristles on the 3M radial disks breaking
off for no apparent reason. I also use them a lot. By a fluke, I
noticed that those I had left in the sunlight on the windowsill of my
shop were the ones that got brittle. Now I have them stored on my
bench near the micromotor and flexshaft where I use them. No more
sunlight for them and no more brittle bristle disks.



You are not the only person who has reported a problem with the
quality of 3M Radial Bristle discs.

It should not matter that they are stored in sunlight, high or low
humidity. My collection of radial bristle discs are from 2007 and
they work great. However, if the plastic to manufacture them has had
a change in their formula, then higher UV could alter the action for
high friction to polish and snap off.

I do know that as of 2007 they were manufactured in the US, but the
base rubber component might have been changed and could be
manufactured over seas. I don’t know this for sure, but I’m guessing.
3M, like so much of our industry might have moved its manufacture to
China to cut costs and cut quality.

Which ones are snapping? Is it the Green final polish or are they
all exhibiting this problem.

Radial Bristle discs are wonderful, especially with etched or highly
textured metal where traditional buffs and compounds remove too much


I too have noticed the issue with leaving them where they get
sunlight. I live in SC, in the southern part of the US, and our
sunlight is intense. ANY plastic item degrades quickly with sun,
even those meant to be used outside that are supposedly “lifetime”.

I now store my discs “where the sun don’t shine” and do not have the
issue with them falling to bits.

That, of course, is NOT the issue with the original poster where
this was happening with brand new discs…

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio

The only time I’ve had a problem with these is when I put them on
the mandrel backwards.

I hope this helps.
Kate Wolf in Portland

Taking off on a bit of a tangent from an ongoing thread, I would be
interested in hearing how many discs folks prefer to use together,
when and why… And which ones you find are your “go to” discs…


Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio

 It should not matter that they are stored in sunlight, high or
low humidity. 

All plastic, no matter what formula, or where it is made, has some
degree of sensitivity to both sunlight and humidity. Even Polyvinyl
Chloride. Even Delrin.

Dan C.

Hi Beth.

Taking off on a bit of a tangent from an ongoing thread, I would
be interested in hearing how many discs folks prefer to use
together, when and why... And which ones you find are your "go to"

I use the smaller sizes most of the time (3/4" - 7/8" I think)

My fav’s are the blue ones and I keep several mandrels “loaded”: for
very delicate reach I’ll use 2 (a single needs a bit more support)
and for most other situations I choose either a fresh (aggressive) or
a broken-in (softer effect) 4-stack.

I have 4-stacks of each of the other colors ready too.

Pam Chott


And which ones you find are your "go to" discs... 

The blue 400 grit ones are just about the only ones I use at my
bench and on my buffer for pre-polish on silver. I have the full line
in both sizes (3/4" and 3") but I rarely use the others.

Rick Copeland


I use between 3 (for getting into very small spaces) and 5 discs on a
mandrel. I use the red, blue, peach, pink, and green. I also use the
2" discs on the buffing machine and I have the white, red, blue,
peach and green in those as well. I use these discs all the time and
love them! The blue ones leave a luscious matte finish.

Talisman Design

I use the 3/4 inch, 5 stack (it’s a prime number thing), blue to
minty green. They are in a row, lock and loaded for the quick change

Also, I just found out that the Orchid in Print “Making the Most of
Your Flex-Shaft” book is being reprinted…again. 5,000 copies out
there! Whoo hoo!

Karen Christians

I’m wondering if you store your larger 3m bristle disks together of
if it is best to keep them apart?


I now store my discs "where the sun don't shine"... 

Beth, while your storage solution is ingenious, isn’t it slightly
uncomfortable? I mean, I would do most anything to protect my
favorite tools, too, but there are limits! And how many do you store
at a time? :wink: Blessings - sorry, couldn’t help myself

Susan “Sam” Kaffine

Karen, I just had to share this. When the “Making the Most of Your
Flex-Shaft” first came out, I asked for it as a Christmas gift. My
(then) college-aged daughters were sort of shocked, then giggled,
than asked a few more questions. When I told them it was about using
a jewelry power tool, they really laughed. Their immediate reaction
to the title was related to… shall we say, a sexual act.

I hope you make the most of your flex-shaft!! Judy in Kansas, where
the last lingering day of lovely weather is about to be replaced with
the typical cold, wet fall days. Gotta’ clean up the garden and get
the leaves out of the roof gutters.

Hi Lynn,

If I understand your question, you can store them together, stacked
and ready to use. Should be no problem. Just make sure you don’t
stack different colors on your mandrel. Each color should have a
minimum of 3…5 being the best.

Karen Christians