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Larry Garfield

Recommendations for tabletop belt sander

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Yes, just JB weld a hardened platen on.

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1 hour ago, Larry Garfield said:

I was wondering what you meant by upgrading it. :-)  I don't have a welder on hand, unfortunately.  What exactly does adding the extra steel do? 

Good to know that everyone else just takes the guards off.  I figured that was the case but I didn't want to start removing safety features without a sanity check. :-)  I'll give it a whirl this weekend and see how it goes.

The stock platen has round corners and is too wide. The extra steel will give you sharp corners and will be the same width as the belt. No need for a welder, JB weld is just a type of epoxy.

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Ah, I see what you mean.  Yeah, they do curve a bit.  I've got a tube of their stuff already, it turns out.  I'll look into adding a sheet to it at some point.  (I assume that just means the top wheel won't quite go all the way up, and no biggie?)

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Alright, I think I lost ya. What do you mean by the top wheel? Why would it not go up?

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The rollers that the belt sits on.  If you add more material to the face of the platen then the total circumference the belt has to travel increases.  To compensate the adjustable top roller will not go up quite as far as it did before.  I'm assuming that's a non-issue.

I also tried out the sander last night.  Oh mamma, where have you been all my life! :-)  The 80-grit belt it came with works surprisingly well for surface grinding, and is giving me way flatter surfaces than the grinder at the forge.  The tirzat belts I got are giving quite a nice finish.  Not quite as flat as doing it by hand but it takes about 1/100 as long so that's an acceptable trade-off to me.  Basically, this thing is amazing.  Between the new files and the belt sander I was able to take a pair of short (~3 inch) blades from fresh off the grinder to ready to heat treat in about 90 minutes each, with some reshaping along the way.

I will definitely need to setup some dust catchers for it to keep the metal dust from taking over the entire room and giving me a black wall.

So far no issue leaving the various guards off.  I haven't tried the disk yet, although that's going to be more annoying to change either way.  Unfortunately I did catch the tip of my fingers twice and have two fingertip scratches to show for it. That thing has quite a bite...

Thanks everyone for their help!  This thread should save me weeks of my life. :-)

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Yeah, the slight bit of movement required on the top wheel if you line the platen is a non-issue. 

I just looked that grinder up, and I have to say we need to keep that on hand to recommend for new folks!  A KMG, Bader, or TW-90 it ain't, but it sure beats not having any belt grinder.  Especially since there's one up now for $139 and free shipping.  That's not much more than the totally worthless 4x36 machines!

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That's a pretty good grinder to get started. I have the Craftsman 2x42 which is essentially the same  same thing. (Probably even same manufacturer, just different labeling). +1 on leaving the guards off. To help with quick belt changes I cut one side of the table off. I also added a ceramic tile platen, it seems to offer a little less friction than the one it came with. If you add a platten I would recommend adding some bolts below it in case the epoxy ever lets loose. Probably not needed but it doesn't cost much and a little extra safety never hurt anyone. 

20180618_164958-979x1305.jpg

20180618_165358-979x1305.jpg

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An update: I'm still liking this belt sander.  One caveat, though, is that I bought some trizact belts for it.  The A300 / 60 grit belt, however, doesn't fit.  The gap between the bottom guide wheel and the guard in back is extremely thin, to the point that an A300 belt... doesn't fit!  It will go in, but there's enough pressure that it won't actually spin.  (Crazy, I know.)  The next finer belt I have, though, works fine.

Just an FYI for anyone else considering this sander.  I'd still endorse, but with some asterisks.

Also: Maple chews through belts faster than steel does.  I would not have expected that.

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1 hour ago, Larry Garfield said:

 

Also: Maple chews through belts faster than steel does.  I would not have expected that.

Make sure you keep the wood cool. When the wood starts to burn is when the belt gets really loaded up. In other words, less pressure, more movement, take your time. 

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And get one of those giant rubber eraser-looking belt cleaning sticks.  They clean the dust out of the grit quite well.

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