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Belt sander/linisher - good or bad?

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  • Belt sander/linisher - good or bad?

    One of the many things I've been eyeing with envy in videos is a belt sander. There are many things, of course, but it's conceivable I could actually fit one of these in my shop with some creative thinking - ie, it wouldn't get its own dedicated space.
    There are plenty of dirt-cheap units with reviews complaining of the belts wandering off and the like, and there are plenty of industrial budget-heavy 3-phase jobbies. Something small but not naff seems to be harder to find. I was looking at this one from Axminster in the UK: https://www.axminster.co.uk/axminste...-system-103474
    It's relatively small, variable-speed, not lacking in power, has dust-extraction and with some add-ons will provide quick-change 4" polishing mops/deburring wheels and some sharpening capability for knives and chisels. I have a bench grinder but with my skill level and no jig, it's really only for rough shaping rather then sharpening.

    I've got two questions really:

    Is this going to be up to taking a chunk of steel and shaping to scribe lines like you see done in videos or am I kidding myself without something much heavier?
    It doesn't seem to provide any access to the belt as it passes over the wheel. Is this something I'm likely to find restrictive? If so, is there any reason the guard couldn't be modified either at the drive end or (less conveniently) at the top end?

    Many thanks,
    Gareth

  • #2
    That looks like a well built one. You will want to add an adjustable (for angle) rest, but that would be an easy home shop project. You will get the best cutting and life with ceramic grit belts. It's like a bandsaw - get the best blade and you will get the best performance.
    Kansas City area

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    • #3
      My one inch and 6 inch belt sanders are likely the two most used tools in my shop. The blue zirconia belts stand up a lot better to metal work than the brown aluminum oxide belts. Mine are both import grizzly machines that I have had for 15 years, pretty much trouble free. Do I lust for a much higher quality machine, why yes, yes I do.

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      • #4
        This is a tremendous archive of belt grinder ideas. Lots of neat little designs.

        http://gonza-rytec.rajce.idnes.cz/belt_grinders/
        http://gonza-rytec.rajce.idnes.cz/belt_grinders2

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        • #5
          I recently added a large(er) Jet 12" disc and 6x48" belt grinder to my machine shop, but was doing just fine with this small Delta Shopmaster SA180 unit with Zirconia belts. I used to use this grinder a lot in my 1st shop and I'll continue to use it for smaller items:

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          • #6
            As mentioned it will be better with the proper belt. But I also see a few other things.

            First off be sure it's a really common belt size which you can source through at least a few places and where you can get a variety of belts for it to do different materials and jobs on those materials. I don't know the metric sizes but this seems like an odd size by inch standards when converted so that's a red flag to me. But that size may be as common as chips. Just be sure it is.

            Next is the small drive wheel. A nice thing about a belt grinder is to be able to use it as a wheel or a flat. And the small size of the motor end drum and the large size of the motor housing and guard backing plate means very limited access to the face of the wheel. That puts me off a little. The other issue given your previously described shop and need to retrieve and then park things away is the weight. The listed weight is going to be movable but still quite a grunt if you have to lean over into some odd position to park and retrieve it. Watch that back ! ! ! !

            On the good side of it is is variable speed and reversible. And those are great features. But the other restrictions on access puts me off a bit. But then to get a fully featured belt grinder will take up more room, be heavier by a lot and would be a lot more money. And as I recall you're not set up to be in a position to build your own. No welder as I recall. So all that taken into account it's actually not too bad an option.
            Last edited by BCRider; 01-08-2019, 12:19 PM.
            Chilliwack BC, Canada

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            • #7
              I wouldn't buy the one in the OP's post for 50Euros. If you have any plans to do knife work you will hate that grinder. Also a 50mm x2000mm belt size won't take up much more room than the one in the op post. You really need access to the wheel also. The one you listed even if you took off the wheel guard would not work because the motor is in the way. It doesn't have enough power either.
              Location: The Black Forest in Germany

              How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

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              • #8
                Cenned, what others are out there that you could fit into your shop?

                It's quite possible that given your shop footprint that has come up in past threads that you would be better served by a smaller 25mm wide table top belt grinder instead. It's smaller but less cost and would fit in to your situation more readily than schlepping 18kg up and down or over and back when needed. But if you're mostly looking at just finishing smaller to medium size parts to a line it would get the job done.
                Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cenedd View Post
                  One of the many things I've been eyeing with envy in videos is a belt sander. There are many things, of course, but it's conceivable I could actually fit one of these in my shop with some creative thinking - ie, it wouldn't get its own dedicated space.

                  I've got two questions really:

                  Is this going to be up to taking a chunk of steel and shaping to scribe lines like you see done in videos or am I kidding myself without something much heavier?

                  Many thanks,
                  Gareth
                  NO.
                  that thing is really underpowered for anything but light sharpening or deburring. 560W brush motor and worst-case its input power like with hand tools(grinders, drills etc) so its like 1/3hp motor.

                  To take a chunk of steel plate and rough grind it to shape "like in videos" is more like 2hp belt grinder. (well you can do it with that thing also but 6 times slower..)

                  There seem to be hardly any sturdy yet compact belt sanders available.
                  This one comes close but: https://www.axminster.co.uk/axminste...-sander-508210
                  Location: Helsinki, Finland, Europe

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                  • #10
                    This would fit OP's space better:
                    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Mini-Belt...503a:rk:1:pf:0
                    Location: Helsinki, Finland, Europe

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                    • #11
                      Mattij, the first is double the weight. As I recall he needs to move things around a lot as the shop is tiny. 40kg does not move easily. And the second one is really a toy what with having a 10x330mm belt. Good for sharpening pencils or doing medium size clocks or so but that would be about it. And the open frame permanent magnet motor would quickly get "furry" around all the steel grinding particles.

                      If we're going to look at smaller units and Ebay in particular here's a couple to consider.

                      https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/950W-220V...aTUo:rk:9:pf:0 This one actually looks pretty interesting. Although I'm not sure I'd run the two belts at once. But for smaller work where you're not pushing hard on the belt it would work. And when you do want to hog off more material in a hurry just remove the one side so the drag isn't there and you get more power on the other side. Plus it's light and has variable speed.

                      https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/220V-Wood...qbU:rk:30:pf:0 This one uses the same size belt as the other one. No variable but it's smaller and lighter.
                      Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                      • #12
                        If I had a small shop and needed more space I would mount some machines on a mechanism similar to an attic pull down staircase. Then when I needed to use the grinder just pull down on the string and the grinder is there. Most people think of floor or wall space. You need to think of ceiling space as well.
                        Location: The Black Forest in Germany

                        How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Black Forest View Post
                          If I had a small shop and needed more space I would mount some machines on a mechanism similar to an attic pull down staircase. Then when I needed to use the grinder just pull down on the string and the grinder is there. Most people think of floor or wall space. You need to think of ceiling space as well.
                          That's a great idea! The machines could be counter weighted or equipped with those gas cylinders from cars so they are easy to bring down and put away. And with a good sturdy locking setup to hold them in place during use.

                          It's all about thinking "volume" instead of "surface", eh?
                          Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                          • #14
                            Well, I was thinking that the PTO for a quick-change polishing/deburring mop would have been a useful combo....but not so much if it's not man enough for either. Going to have a good read through all those suggestions when it won't cause me marital trouble!
                            Was thinking of jamming it in at one end of the workbench so that it's using space on a different level to other things - like the mill table goes over the top of it or something. Something to play about with if necessary rather than any sort of fully-formed plan!
                            For what it's worth, the ceiling and wall space is about used already. May have to see if I can "re-home" any of my wife's stuff in the loft and condense some of the storage side of things down to have more useable room....but we're talking a foot or two by removing a floor-to-ceiling storage cupboard.
                            BCRider: If you're looking at relatively light machines, I've seen them double-sided on a table top before. Flip it over and use the one on the bottom - or have one side as blank work-space.

                            Gareth

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cenedd View Post
                              Well, I was thinking that the PTO for a quick-change polishing/deburring mop would have been a useful combo....but not so much if it's not man enough for either. Going to have a good read through all those suggestions when it won't cause me marital trouble!
                              Was thinking of jamming it in at one end of the workbench so that it's using space on a different level to other things - like the mill table goes over the top of it or something. Something to play about with if necessary rather than any sort of fully-formed plan!
                              For what it's worth, the ceiling and wall space is about used already. May have to see if I can "re-home" any of my wife's stuff in the loft and condense some of the storage side of things down to have more useable room....but we're talking a foot or two by removing a floor-to-ceiling storage cupboard.
                              BCRider: If you're looking at relatively light machines, I've seen them double-sided on a table top before. Flip it over and use the one on the bottom - or have one side as blank work-space.

                              Gareth
                              You could free up some space by getting rid of the wife!!!!! No marital problems, more space, seems a win, win to me.
                              Location: The Black Forest in Germany

                              How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

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