View Full Version : Awsome air tool of the week.

06-26-2010, 03:17 PM
My vote for awsome air tool of the week.
the humble Mini Air belt sander

I have a 3/8"x13" belt model
These things are NOT cheap either, Even at princess auto on sale I believe I payed $45 for it. they retail for $60~140 for a dirt cheapo one (depending on size, Im seriously considering buying one of the larger models to go with my small one)

Tiny, what could such a tiny sander be good for you ask?
My dad thinks its a stupid tool. I love it. It moves the sandpaper so fast you can just drag it quickly across steel and the edge gets nicely debured/rounded edge with course paper.
Can fit into square tubing and do a decent job, fit into small parts to deburr them. Works on harder steels then a carbide burr with very little 'skitter', More like a grinding stone in that it does not catch, but much faster material removal.

With the verious belt grits you can easily adjust its agressiveness.

The other day I had to sand some copper rod down a few thou.. 12awg wire to be exact, little to soft to turn in the lathe.. so I tryed it with a drill to spin the wire and sandpaper.. took 5+ mins per peg due to low rpm of the drill and diffaculty sanding it. thought, why not try my mini sander. Took 30 seconds per peg and did a much better job. (still spining it in the drill, Why use one power tool at once when you can use two!)

Also works nicely to stick in a vise and have a tiny stationary sander to sand detailed parts on. Not nearly enough power in it to rip your skin off either if you do something stupid.

the rounded tip is good for puting recesses, and while it has a platten behind most of the belt (of nicely hardened steel, even on my cheapo one! my cheapo bench belt sander just wears through the mild steel frame) the unsupported areas are accessable and very useful for when you need a little more flex. Belt changes only take a second as its spring loaded with a little catch for conviance. Never needed to adjust the tracking on mine.

Oh, and the entire belt assembley swivels compaired to the handle angle by just loosening/tightening one bolt.

All in all, a great tool I allways love to use.

Anyone else got some awsome air (or otherwise) tools that they love and would like to rant about?

06-26-2010, 03:54 PM
Ok You talked me into another tool. I bought one of those little air powered hacksaws, with the little 3" blade. (by the way you can break off a regular blade and shove in there) Used it to cut off some rusty bolts in a really,really tight spot under the car. It was the ONLY tool that could reach that location unless I had used my fingers holding a blade. Saved hours on that repair,paid for itself and haven't used it since.
I use the die grinder a lot, Just love the sound they make:)

06-26-2010, 04:45 PM

You can race the electric ones, that one looks quite un-raceable.

Forrest Addy
06-26-2010, 05:16 PM
That is one of the handiest tools for practically any industry except maybe sex trade or apple picking. I've had one for years. The beauty of then is the worn-out belt are still useful for fine deburrng and polishing. I've used mine for woodworking, deburring on the machine tools (careful where you an the swarf-stream), the cut off saw, the fab shop. Hell I need four!

There's been a zillion made at one time or another, air and electric. The air one I have was from Sears bought in the '60"s. I also have a B&D electric but it's bulky and awkward compared to the air one.

06-26-2010, 05:41 PM
I have three of those two large ones and a diddy one ..

they are ok ...and performed many tricky jobs

the only downside of them ..is you only have to catch them once on something sharp sticking out or in the way ..and the belt snaps ..

best find a quality supplier of the belts in bulk ..cheap...then you dont swear when the belt busts .

another downside is that they wail like a banshee..and i can take no more than 1 hour playing about with them before the sound drives me nuts.

all the best.....markj

06-26-2010, 07:27 PM
aboard_epsilon: Make sure you put the belts on the right way around or they will fail on the first thing they snag, else they often run forever, though sometimes the sides fray a little.

(Some belts are unidirectional, but most cheap ones are not)

As for the noise, get one of those earplugs or earmuff sets, blocks all the high freqency noise and makes tasks like power sanding/grinding a sorta musical event as you only hear the loud resonances of the metal :)

06-26-2010, 07:49 PM
my belts all have arrows on them .

and they are always fitted the right way ..

all the best.markj

Your Old Dog
06-26-2010, 10:55 PM
Funny story about those. I was at a garage sale and a guy had about 100 1/2" belts for one of those. I bought the belts for a buck and it took me two years to run across one of the grinders to use the belts. I now have two grinders and they are really great. Both of mine were too small for my belts so I had to rework them and add 2" to them.

Keep in mind that not only are the belts usable when they are worn out for deburring, they can also be turned inside out when they are worn and charged with polishing compound for buffing purposes.

06-26-2010, 11:25 PM
Keep in mind that not only are the belts usable when they are worn out for deburring, they can also be turned inside out when they are worn and charged with polishing compound for buffing purposes.

Great idea, I have an Australian made linisher attachment I would like to use a buffing belt with http://www.jwross.com.au/news/documents/19-03-2004-08-41.pdf but doesn't turning the belt inside out (even if worn) wear out the platen?

06-27-2010, 01:11 AM
Considered making your own buffing belt? Could be as simple as glueing some fabric into a strip..

06-27-2010, 03:45 AM
I used one of those to clean up the inside of a welded-up turbo manifold for my bike. I was seriously impressed with the rate it worked at and I can't think of any other tool which could have got inside the tight turns.

Your Old Dog
06-27-2010, 07:20 AM
Pete, I didn't come entirely clean on that one. The belts I was turning inside out were the worn 500 grit for my 2x72" belt grinder. Don't know if they go to 4-500 for these handheld grinders but I doubt it. Sorry about that. Moons is right though. Shouldn't be difficult to make one. A hin worn out womens leather belt cut on a bias and "Gorilla Glued" might work just great for delicate polishing and lapping.

06-27-2010, 08:55 AM
Yeah cheers for that, I'd never thought of using the linisher for polishing before, other than the scotchbrite belts of course (that get flogged to death), but there's been times when I haven't been able to get into tight spots with the buffing wheel. I think the idea of making up some form of belt to hold compound it an excellent idea and I'll give it a go next time the situation comes up.