Ultimate Guide on Bench Grinders

4 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE INVESTING IN A WIDE BELT SANDER

Wide belt sanders are versatile machines that can be used in a lot of woodworking applications. These powerful tools make use of the combo of both contact drums and platens to help finish wood surfaces, as they hold tolerances tight and give an excellent end-product.

What you should know, though, is, these wide belt sanders come in a wide range of designs and sizes that will suit the different types of woodworking projects, and this in itself makes it difficult for one to tell which specific sanding machine would do a good job satisfying your unique production needs.  There are a few things you need to consider, well, four.

  1. Does Your Wide Belt Sander Allow for a Fast Belt Changing?

To be able to quickly and easily change a belt has an important role to play in saving you time and in making sure that you have a smooth operation while you sand. If an abrasive belt should break down while you are working, this will keep your work from slowing down, and helping you accomplish the goal of quickly completing a task. Easy and fast belt change is can also be an advantage for woodworking shops that work with a wide range of materials.

  1. Does Your wide Belt Sander Include a Readout?

It wouldn’t matter if your wide belt sander uses the strongest and powerful parts that are available on the market, it won’t give you the expected results if there is an absence if a digital thickness gauge. This readout helps operators to have the exact measurement needed for their task, in inches. The accuracy of these solutions measure within a thousand of an inch, and this gives your finish some level of precision that not all brands will be able to match.

  1. Is Your Wide Belt Sander Portable?

If you operate in a fast-paced or complex production environment, then a portable wide belt sander is very important. They allow you to quickly re-adjust the position of your machine and the ability to take it off the production floor for some maintenance. Some portable wide belt sanders come with incredible designs that have low weight distribution, giving great stability when they are being moved from one spot to the other.

  1. Is Your Wide Belt Sander Safe?

Safety is key and should be your foremost concern. And this is an important factor in a wide belt sander that you should be keen on. Any machine or tool without an adequate safety precaution can put your health and safety at risk. The good thing is, there are sanding machines that have great safety precautions that will help keep you safe and your machine working in good conditions. Some sanders have an emergency stop button that is usually placed somewhere the user can easily reach. You should look for belt sanders with high-quality emergency brake systems and several other safety features.

HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR BELT SANDER

Best Belt sanders are the power houses of the sanding world. They can either be an advantage, or they can be your worst nightmare. For both large scale jobs and small ones, belt sanders give you the speed and versatility that you need to accomplish either. And for your belt sander to be able to give you this level of loyalty through the years, you have to be as loyal and as caring to it, too, by maintaining it, so it serves you for as long as possible.

First thing to do is to:

Take Care of the Belt

This is probably something you are already wont to doing every day. Because if, maybe, you ever find that your belt sander has developed some kind of issues, then the first thing you would do, as most owners would, would be to check the belt. If there is any part of it that has a wear or any area that has any cracks, then you know that it is time for a belt replacement.

Before you can replace a belt, the first thing you need to do is to take into account the belt size of your belt sander. Most of the all-purpose belt sander use the 3-inch wide belts. Although, there are wider and narrower belts, too. Smaller belts usually use 18-inch belts.

The next step is:

Check the Rollers

Once the belt is removed, the next step would be to check the rollers that are above. What you should look for when looking at the rollers is that, you should make sure that the rollers are aligned, because if they don’t, your belt will have a wandering problem, and could ultimately lead to the ruin of your machine. Not all rollers are positioned the same way in every machine, so, to be sure of what way your machine’s rollers are meant to be positioned, you should look to your user’s manual for help.

Following the above step is:

Looking at the Platen

You do not know what a platen is? Well, it’s okay, not everyone does. The platen is actually just a piece of metal that lies in between the belt and the boot and is backed by a piece of cork or some similar material to absorb the shock. With time, the belt will wear away at the metal and the cork. To replace the platen, what you need to do is to simply remove the belt and unscrew the platen, replacing it with a new one.

And lastly…

The Vacuum

Once you’re done with all the steps above, what you do next is to bring out the shop vacuum and give your belt sander a good cleaning, using the vacuum. Dirt and sawdust tend to gather in parts of the belt sander, and the vacuum’s job is to get rid of these.

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN HANDLING THE BELT AND DISC SANDERS

  1. Before you handle your belt sander or disc sander, you should always think about your safety. This might sound very obvious, but it does need to be repeated.
  2. You should make sure that the space between the sander and the spinning disc or belt is as small as can be.
  3. Ensure that the distance between your fingers and the spinning disc or belt is not closer than 3 inches.
  4. Never sand materials that are too small to be safely supported.
  5. When sanding, make sure that you hold the piece securely.
  6. When sanding, make sure that you make use of the backstop, table, or fence or some other kind of support.
  7. Hold the piece you are working with on the downward rotation side of the disc when you are sanding.
  8. Never put your hands in awkward positions, because in doing so, you could risk hurting yourself if your hand should accidentally slip, moving into the spinning belt or disc.
  9. Do not stand with the workpiece unsupported. Always support the workpiece with a backstop or a table.
  10. Make sure that you clear all scrap pieces from your work table, backstop and belt before you go ahead to turn the sander on.
  11. Avoid pushing hard on the sanding media. The belt and the disc perform best and safest when they are allowed to remove materials at the rate that they have being designed to do so.
  12. If or when the sander is on, never at that moment try to adjust the best.
  13. If you want to install any parts, like the belt or the disc, or you want to make any adjustments, make sure you turn off the machine and unplug it before doing so.
  14. Do not leave the machine when it is running or before it comes to a halt.
  15. Shut the sander off, clear you work space before you leave, and clean your sander, too. If you notice that there are rugrats about, then you should unplug it, too.

HOW TO CHOOSE A SANDER: A GUIDE

It can be an overwhelming thing to try to understand the different uses of the sander and their uses, because there is a wide range of them on the market. We have the belt sanders, orbital, random orbital, palm, detail, and the multi-tool sanders; and each of these ones have their own advantages and downsides.  And in this article, we will help you choose which sander will be best for you.

Must Read: Best Belt Sander In The Market

So, what are things you need to consider?

Many of you may already be familiar with the use of the power sander, and this is to finish surface materials. Before you decide to buy any type of sander, there is something very vital that you need to do; you need to know the specific requirements of the project you will be using the sander for. And you would need to ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I need particular levels of surface quality? And the thing is this, many sanders do give the best quality surface finish while some are designed to give rougher finishes.
  • What materials will I be sanding? This is a vital question you’d need to ask, because this determines what kind of sander you will be using. Most of the available sanders are good at sanding the materials we have that are quite common, and this is dependent on if you are using the right sand paper, but it is great if you do carry out some survey. Wouldn’t hurt!
  • What compatible abrasive types and backing pads are available? So, here, you would need to consider what exactly you would need in the future, and also considering what you would be needing for the present.
  • What is my budget? Trying to find a machine that is good and in your budget range is usually very cumbersome, and is a major concern; but it is as vital. You would also need to take into consideration the accessories that you might need to purchase, because you might have to get them over and over as they are subject to wear.

Let us explain to you now what the belt sander is.

The electric belt sander uses an abrasive paper in a continuous loop, and this is called the sanding belt. The belt is looped around two drums that are spun by the motor, and this motor is what continuously moves the belt in a loop.

These tools are very aggressive on wood and are mostly used with coarse grit sanding paper. This action results in a rough and rapid stock removal, and this makes the belt sander the best option for large areas early on in the finishing process.

There are finer grit sanding available on the market, leaving finer, smoother surfaces.

About the Author Aaron

Leave a Comment: