Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Cody Killgore

Anyone use a 6" x 48" belt sander?

Recommended Posts

Over the last couple years I have been going through my way of doing things and streamlining processes and defining what I intend to do with certain pieces of equipment and make sure I'm set up to do those things. 

Basically, I've just been trying to keep the things that frustrate me when I'm out in the shop to an absolute minimum so I can enjoy myself more. 

Well a few years ago I bought a knee mill and an old Sheldon lathe from a local guy. He basically threw in this old 6x48 powermatic sander. It also has a 12" disc sander that seems to run perfectly true. It's got a 1.5hp motor in it so it's got a lot of power. 

I've had it for a few years and have turned it on maybe twice. I'm starting to get extremely low on space in my shop and I laid eyes on it this morning and thought I either needed to come up with a good use for it or find another place for it. 

So I'm wondering if any of you guys have one and use one and what you might use it for. I've been brainstorming this morning and obviously could use it for flattening wood blocks and scales. The disc has a tiltable table which brings a few things to mind. Just lookin for some justification to keep it in the shop or relocate it. 

I have a few 2x72s

20190206_125030-1209x1612.jpg

Edited by Cody Killgore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Disk grinders are great for getting things perfectly flat, unlike belt grinders.  I have one on my list of future upgrades.  And the 6x48 belt is great for long blades.  In other words, I'd keep it, especially since it's a Powermatic.  Great brand!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I do have a 9" disc that I use all the time. 

I had not actually thought about it being useful for long blades. That's actually a good point considering I have been really pushing to make longer blades lately. 

I think ill keep it around and try to think about it more often. Maybe it will become a handy tool. I would like to move it away from the lathe though. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't kick that out of my shop, and I can see more of your floor in that single pic than I can in my entire shop :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They don't make em' like that any more it's a keeper  !!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can't buy one made anywhere near that well these days! I would clear a dedicated space for it and put it to work. Even if it sits idle a lot of the time you will eventually see a need for it and if it's gone you wont be able to replace it easily without searching for another older Powermatic or even a vintage 1960s Craftsman. The new stuff isn't even close.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a 6x48 Kalamazoo with a 3 hp 3450 rpm  3 phase direct drive. Mine doesn't have the disc on the side. I am eyeing a disc sander but the disc is huge and it only has a 3/4 hp motor so I'm debating on getting it. What do you guys think. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonder if I should get one of these for my sword project... Cheaper than a 2×72, and still 3× the belt size of my 2×42. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will say my disc grinder is indispensable to me. I go over to it after I finish on the 2x72 and get my bevels nice and flat and go up pretty high in grit. Reduces hand sanding time by a lot. I also use it for flattening guards, wood blocks and such.

I haven't used the 12 inch much at all on the big one. I ended up getting some of the PSA gunk stuck on it from the last disc and got too lazy to clean it off and left it as it was for a while. The only thing I don't like about the big discs is that the sandpaper for them is expensive. And usually once you get up to 12" or so the only options for non adhesive backed discs are silicon carbide. If you want good sandpaper, often the regular AO or Ceramic PSA (adhesive backed) 12" disks can be in the neighborhood of $5-10 per disc.

I use a 9" disc with a 1hp motor (3 phase with a vfd) on it. The good thing about the 9" (they are actually usually just under 9") is that it's the perfect size for a 9x11 sheet of standard sandpaper. This gives you the freedom to use pretty much whatever sandpaper you want and is a good bit cheaper than buying pre-cut discs. So I buy the red Rhynowet paper and it's only costing me $0.50 per disc. I stick the whole sheet on then go around and trim it around the disc. And I'll have an extra 2" strip of sandpaper to use for hand sanding. I use the 3M feathering adhesive and you can just peel discs off and stick another on. Lasts for a while then you just clean it off with the 3M adhesive remover and apply some more once you lose the tackiness.

Regardless, I'd say it's fairly important that you can reverse the disc for bevel cleaning. You use it on the side with the sandpaper running down. So you'd either have to flip your blade over and grind it upside down for doing the opposite side or just reverse the motor and move to the other side of the disc. A lot of knifemaking guys use discs that have a 1 degree bevel. Idea being that once you pass the middle of the disc the end of your blade won't get caught and pulled up by the opposite side of the disc.

Edited by Cody Killgore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ths is the kne I was considering getting. Its 15 inch though and when I double checked it only had a 1/2 hp motor :unsure:

c015866ebfa4de4fe43659d0ca5b9bb0.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a monster. Yeah I don't know what to tell you on the hp. My 1 hp is more than enough for the 9" but 1/2hp does sound low for that beast 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's what I was thinking. I might pass on this one. If I go up in HP it will probably throw off the mounting brackets. Would it be worth the gamble probably. It all depends on what the final bid is. I have a trip to start planning for to take a hammer making class so I might put a pause on the online auctions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was grinding an 8" chefs knife on my 4x36 and the wide belt was really nice, but I kept thinking it could use more power being a harbor frieght abomination. 

A 6x48 with good power sounds great, id stick to the disk for getting stuff flat though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found mine on craigslist for $300 but I had to drive accross the state to get it. It's a $1500 unit so I came out like a bandit!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, steven smith said:

I was grinding an 8" chefs knife on my 4x36 and the wide belt was really nice, but I kept thinking it could use more power being a harbor frieght abomination. 

A 6x48 with good power sounds great, id stick to the disk for getting stuff flat though.

I just knew someone would mention the dreaded 4x36. :lol: Those, no matter who makes them, are useless and worse.  And yes, I had one for a while too.  These older (and some newer) 6x48" machines are actual industrial tools, not toys.  There is no comparison between the two at all.  Well, that's not true.  Compare that old Powermatic to a car.  The Delta 4x36 I had would be the Matchbox version.  Not even the Hot Wheels, just Matchbox.  Looks kinda like it, just smaller and you can't actually do anything with it.  ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

Compare that old Powermatic to a car.  The Delta 4x36 I had would be the Matchbox version.  Not even the Hot Wheels, just Matchbox.  Looks kinda like it, just smaller and you can't actually do anything with it.  ;)

Except every great once-in-a-while it does something truly amazing when your friends aren't watching.  Then you spend all afternoon trying to get it to do it again...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

I just knew someone would mention the dreaded 4x36. :lol: Those, no matter who makes them, are useless and worse.  And yes, I had one for a while too.  These older (and some newer) 6x48" machines are actual industrial tools, not toys.  There is no comparison between the two at all.  Well, that's not true.  Compare that old Powermatic to a car.  The Delta 4x36 I had would be the Matchbox version.  Not even the Hot Wheels, just Matchbox.  Looks kinda like it, just smaller and you can't actually do anything with it.  ;)

We still have one on those HF belt sanders sitting in our shed, taking up it's own Rubbermaid tub on the shelf. I remember trying to work wood and grind steel on it, it would basically stall out under just a couple of pounds of force. If I recall correctly the belt and pulley system had an issue of chronic looseness, so the wheel would just spin against the rubber drive belt uselessly, it would not even start spinning under it's own power. I improved performance slightly by drilling a hole in the pulley housing and placing a bolt where it puts more tension in the system. I even tried finding a slightly smaller drive belt to use.  Eventually I decided it was a lost cause and bought a 2x72.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems like it would be easy enough  to stick a higher HP motor on it with the pulley, buy yeah, I was grinding with the edge of the belt and it took three belts to do it, maybe three hours grinding.

But the knife it ground (sanded) is bringing in some dough so I can make a nice 2x72, ive tried the scrap route but im gonna buy some steel this time.

My dad makes banjos and gets some good use out of one, when you consider better options are hundreds or thousands of dollars more, or using hand tools, well I like hand tools, but thats a big investment too. I really think hand tools are the way to go with wood and if I could file hardened steel that would make everything better.

But no files on hardened steel, the cheapo grinders are better than hand sanding, I sharpen my blades after heat treat on the 1x30 or 4x36 but not much else on those things.

Maybe if jeremy wasnt scooping up all the good deals.... ill check the industrial auctions here, I havent looked for machines but I could get a fire truck for 5K.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, steven smith said:

It seems like it would be easy enough  to stick a higher HP motor on it with the pulley, buy yeah, I was grinding with the edge of the belt and it took three belts to do it, maybe three hours grinding.

But the knife it ground (sanded) is bringing in some dough so I can make a nice 2x72, ive tried the scrap route but im gonna buy some steel this time.

My dad makes banjos and gets some good use out of one, when you consider better options are hundreds or thousands of dollars more, or using hand tools, well I like hand tools, but thats a big investment too. I really think hand tools are the way to go with wood and if I could file hardened steel that would make everything better.

But no files on hardened steel, the cheapo grinders are better than hand sanding, I sharpen my blades after heat treat on the 1x30 or 4x36 but not much else on those things.

Maybe if jeremy wasnt scooping up all the good deals.... ill check the industrial auctions here, I havent looked for machines but I could get a fire truck for 5K.

I found it useful under certain circumstances, when grinding a small section, like pins and profiling the shape of blades. I also used the flat plastic belt roller to make flat grinds. I did find it faster to use the belt sandpaper with a wood block to do a lot of the work though. I was aberrant in that I got my blades a lot closer to finished before heat treating, so basically all I had to do was buff the blade and sharpen it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×