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JamesK

Shopping for new belt grinder...

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I know this might not be the best place for this topic, but I was wondering if anyone knows of any cheap (but not too cheap) belt grinders I could order online, one that would be better than my current 4x36 $80 one I bought when I started forging one year ago. It works, sure, but it’s pretty big for any detail work at all, and I’m limited to what I can use it for and make from it. I want a 1” or 2” thick belt so I can do more precision and professional work. Now for the price: I’m willing to put up to $300, maybe $400 if it’s really nice and quality. I understand I won’t find anything really good unless I wanna spend $2000-$3000, but that’s unrealistic for me, especially for a hobby. If anyone can point me in the right direction, I would appreciate it!

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shopping?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ-5nqyXzDHQ64qT3zHQ
Belt Grinder- 2x72
from Etsy - TXGrinderz
Bench

A little bit of what we do and who we are; we are machinist, welders, fabricators and engineers. We have over 75 years of combined industrial machinery experience.We have been ...

$900.00
Free shipping. No tax
 
Found that on Esty just googling.  Sorry bout the purple writing.

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If you are willing to build it yourself you might, might, be able to come in close to $400. But "off the rack" there isn't much out there that is a significant step up for you. Google search the forum for threads on the topic. I will say that IMO you are wrong about that $2,000-$3,000 ballpark. Not too many people here have grinders in that range. Very good grinders are available under $1,000 with various options somewhat over that but just as a rule of thumb at the moment a good basic grinder should have you thinking in the $600 neighborhood. Stepping up from where you are at would be to a 2x72, anything less would be a half-step and you would outgrow it as fast as you outgrew what you have, again IMO.

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Look at the Sears Craftsman 2x48.  There is, somewhere around here, a thread with a clone of that one for even cheaper, like $150 or so.  This will be a game-changer for you.  The 4x36" sanders are almost useless for steel.  You can get more power and far better belts for a 2x48".  

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49 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

Look at the Sears Craftsman 2x48.  There is, somewhere around here, a thread with a clone of that one for even cheaper, like $150 or so.  This will be a game-changer for you.  The 4x36" sanders are almost useless for steel.  You can get more power and far better belts for a 2x48".  

Thanks for the feedback! Based on the fact that I’m still a big forging noob and don’t need big expensive tools, do you think a 1x30” belt attachment to a rotary knife sharpener (sharpener and attachment $200 total) would be a good investment compared to what I have? Plus I’d have a better sharpener

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The 1x30 May be better, but I would not call it a good investment. The 2x42 that Alan mentioned  would be far better, but unfortunately I can’t find it on eBay anymore :(

ill search around a bit more and try to get you a link to one.

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I’d hold out just a little longer until you can spend $575, the grizzly 2x72 works well for that price.

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I second the grizzly if you can get it. I purchased one a couple of weeks of ago and have only used it a couple of times and am very happy I did. Switching from a 4x36 to a 2x72 is a huge difference. I decided not to go the full multiphase, higher horse power grinder because I don't make that many knives and the grizzly will work just fine, I think.

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For a little over $1,000.00 you can build a Moe's Grinder with variable speed control.  If you get into forging an making knives you are eventually want variable speed.  You can get a Grizzly for about half that but probably in a year or so you are going to want to upgrade.  If you just can't afford to build a Moe's Grinder then the Grizzly is a good choice, then when you are ready to upgrade you can sell the Grizzly and get most of the purchase price back.

Check out the Grinders page for a video of the Moe's Grinder and the DVD page for more information  at www.WayneCoeArtistBlacksmith.com.

Let me know if I can help you.  I prefer e-mails.

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The 1x30" is not a grinder and will not remove metal in a meaningful way.  They are for sharpening or for non-metallic objects only.

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37 minutes ago, Wayne Coe said:

For a little over $1,000.00 you can build a Moe's Grinder with variable speed control.  If you get into forging an making knives you are eventually want variable speed.  You can get a Grizzly for about half that but probably in a year or so you are going to want to upgrade.  If you just can't afford to build a Moe's Grinder then the Grizzly is a good choice, then when you are ready to upgrade you can sell the Grizzly and get most of the purchase price back.

Check out the Grinders page for a video of the Moe's Grinder and the DVD page for more information  at www.WayneCoeArtistBlacksmith.com.

Let me know if I can help you.  I prefer e-mails.

Ok thanks everyone for all the feedback...I technically CAN afford a $1000 grinder my issue is putting that kind of money into a hobby, I’d feel much better going with a grizzly in time after putting aside extra money and being able to get good enough stuff done with that. Still would be extremely better than what I use

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I bought a kit a built a grinder few months ago, I just want to re-affirm the advice about the variable speed.

I'm still learning how to use mine properly, but when I remember and with a bit of luck it changes things considerably.

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Can you give me an example of where you would need variable speed? I mean... in my mind I can't imagine saying "I sure wish I could grind my bevel slower".

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2 hours ago, GPrimmer said:

Can you give me an example of where you would need variable speed? I mean... in my mind I can't imagine saying "I sure wish I could grind my bevel slower". 

When fine-tuning and especially sharpening in the final / finer grits, you can ruin a blade quickly at full speed.

I'm still using a Griz and would love to get a variable speed grinder.

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Shaping handles.  Handle materials tend to burn or melt if they get too hot.

Finish grinding.  When you've taken the time and effort to do some seriously heavy rough grinding and a single slip of the blade would ruin the hours you have in it so far.

It's a control thing, basically.  My grinder has three speeds, 3750 feet per minute, 1875 fpm, and 935 fpm.  I use the high speed to do the heavy stock removal with coarse grits.  I use the medium speed to refine the grind once I get above about 120 grit.  I use the slow speed for final finish at 400.  Fine grit belts are surprisingly grabby, especially the J-weights I like.  At high speed they can and will jerk a blade right out of your hands if you're not paying attention. 

Finally, putting the edge on a hardened blade.  High speed risks blowing the temper.  It's impressive how quickly a thin edge can go purple on you.

If you have a VFD powering a 1750 RPM motor, you have (depending on your drive wheel size) a range of infinitely variable speeds from over 6000 FPM to less than an inch per minute (not that you'd need it that slow).  Ceramic belts like to run fast at high pressure.  I once got to hollow grind on a machine running at 7500 FPM with a 60-grit ceramic belt.  One pass, 20 seconds, done.  Also loud and scary.  If I'd slipped it would have taken my finger off before I could have thought about moving it.

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Alan is right on with his points. 

To add one more, it is much easier to learn to grind when you can slow things down a bit.  A 40 grit belt running a few thousand feet per minute will allow you to make errors so fast, that you don't know what you did wrong.  I'm talking, "Well, crap I just scrapped that blade" kind of errors.  I will run my grinder quite slowly when I am learning a new technique.  I don't turn the speed up until I am comfortable with the body mechanics.

 

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*sigh.    well, crap

I'm the type of person that doesn't want to have to buy a 'beginner' piece of equipment, and then have to move up to something bigger/better soon after. So, I'll have to add 2" x 72" V.S. belt grinder to my list. <_<

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, GPrimmer said:

*sigh.    well, crap

I'm the type of person that doesn't want to have to buy a 'beginner' piece of equipment, and then have to move up to something bigger/better soon after. So, I'll have to add 2" x 72" V.S. belt grinder to my list. <_<

Better to buy once and cry once :) 

Besides if you price used 2x72, you'll see that they hold their value pretty well.  It's not like you are losing the money, just converting it to a grinder shape.  (Although I am wondering if there will be a glut of used grinders showing up once the people inspired by the recent TV shows get bored with the craft)

 

 

Edited by Brian Dougherty

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3 hours ago, GPrimmer said:

Can you give me an example of where you would need variable speed? I mean... in my mind I can't imagine saying "I sure wish I could grind my bevel slower".

I have a 2 x 42. I would love a 2x 72 if for nothing else so I can run 24 grit belts. I have burnt out a small fortune in 36 grit.

I dont know what rpm mine goes but the finer grits I tend to get "blade bump"

And like Alan said its scary easy to get a black/blue edge.

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A VFD is a very nice option but i run a three-step pulley system like Alan. It's cheaper and even if I had  VFD, redundancy fiend that I am, I'd still keep the pulley system handy in case the VFD took a dump on me in the middle of something I had to get done on time. Same reason I use flex-link belts, not that I've ever broken a beltbu, if it's going to happen it will happen when I don't have time to go to town for another belt, which size they will probably be out of.

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1 hour ago, Brian Dougherty said:

Better to buy once and cry once :) 

Besides if you price used 2x72, you'll see that they hold their value pretty well.  It's not like you are losing the money, just converting it to a grinder shape.  (Although I am wondering if there will be a glut of used grinders showing up once the people inspired by the recent TV shows get bored with the craft)

 

 

I had the same thought,

"But it looked so easy on TV"

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You know, if you buy the Grizzly you could use the off side shaft to power a home built grinder with step pulleys later on. 

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here is a pic of the belt grinder I made....based on blueprints for grinder in a box....I editted the prints and used tapped holes instead of bolts and nuts....It cost me $235.00 to have the parts plasma cut.  I did all the drilling and tapping...instead of using the motor mont plate as designed I had a 1.5 HP hardwheel grinder with a variable speed pot in my shop already so I modified the left side to drive the belt grinder....on the right side I eventually replaced the hard wheel with a cloth buffing wheel....

received_483292465419571.jpeg

  • Thanks 1

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