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Gil-Bilt 6"x48" Belt Sander

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Project by mountainaxe posted 07-07-2017 12:42 PM 2280 views 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few months ago, a gentleman gave me a partially constructed Gil-Bilt 6”x48” belt sander kit he purchased from Gilliom Mfg. in 1976 and never got around to building. Although parts were fairly rusty and missing hardware from years stored in his barn, it did have complete plans, which made things much easier. I completed the build with on hand plywood and hardware. After an initial dry fit, I completed the following:

1. Took everything apart;
2. Cleaned rust, oxidation off all metal parts;
3. Sanded all wooden parts;
4. Painted wooden parts safety green and metallic with rattle cans;
5. Covered with polyethylene rattle can spray;
6. Built stand using construction 2×4 pine;
7. Mounted 1/2 hp 1750 rpm motor and sander to stand.

Played with the sander yesterday to see how it works. It’s a simple machine, so I didn’t expect too many issues. What was frustrating is how difficult it is to properly track the belt. It is very difficult to set the belt so it doesn’t run…takes almost constant adjustment while operating…a real pain, frankly…but a problem I’ve read about in other blogs. I’ve been told crowning the adjustment roller helps…I’ll give it a go and see how it works out on practical projects. It was a fun project and cost me less tha $50 all together.

-- Jeff, "The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me."





13 comments so far

View SawdustTX's profile

SawdustTX

255 posts in 2077 days


#1 posted 07-07-2017 01:47 PM

Happy to see this. Excellent work!

I bought that same kit 30+ years ago, and it’s still “new in box” today. My plan was to build the Roger Heitzman modified stand so the sander can rotate 90 degrees for use as an edge sander. But, 30 years later I’ve never started the project.

This kit was on my mind because I was recently given a used Grizzly 6×48 belt sander. Runs rough and I cannot get the thing to track straight for even 5 seconds. The table bracket is such soft metal that the table moves off square to the belt as I sand. So after trying the Griz, I went back to thinking about building the Gil-Bilt.

I’m discouraged by your report on the tracking, hope crowning the rollers helps. Will check mine this weekend, I thought the rollers came crowned already?

View bushmaster's profile

bushmaster

2265 posts in 2036 days


#2 posted 07-07-2017 03:38 PM

Very interesting post, enjoyed learning about this kit. Very well done.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View mountainaxe's profile

mountainaxe

138 posts in 2259 days


#3 posted 07-07-2017 03:43 PM

The following photos show the pieces separated and the dry fit:

-- Jeff, "The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me."

View Rick.'s profile

Rick.

10089 posts in 2134 days


#4 posted 07-07-2017 03:58 PM

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

985 posts in 2514 days


#5 posted 07-07-2017 04:13 PM

Yep, gotta have that top roller crowned. I’ll work then. I have a 1940’s era Delta 6” x 48” floor mounted belt sander and the top roller is crowned. It still can be a touch “fiddlely” at times if some cheap belts are used as they stretch over time from the tension and tend to become troublesome. Harbor Freight belts, though cheap, seem to work fine.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

27767 posts in 2620 days


#6 posted 07-07-2017 05:21 PM

This is a nice shop built machine

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View SawdustTX's profile

SawdustTX

255 posts in 2077 days


#7 posted 07-07-2017 05:37 PM

Thanks for the additional pics. So the sanding table is wood painted silver? I thought it was aluminum until I saw the build pics. Looks great!

Where in the assembly does that thick silver piece with the mitered ends and a dado go? Looks like it has three machine bolts coming out of the edge.

View mountainaxe's profile

mountainaxe

138 posts in 2259 days


#8 posted 07-07-2017 06:02 PM

The platen is made of several pieces of sandwiched and glued plywood topped with hardboard. This piece is attached to the arm with three hanger bolts. The metallic paint did a good job of covering the plys and looks pretty good, too. Wanted it to match the color scheme of my Red Star RAS.

-- Jeff, "The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me."

View NotaJock's profile

NotaJock

77 posts in 852 days


#9 posted 07-08-2017 12:47 AM

Bet you could a few wraps of masking tape on that top roller
to get an idea of how much crown is called for.

-- Mike in SoCal

View Rwolinski's profile

Rwolinski

33 posts in 79 days


#10 posted 07-08-2017 02:33 AM

Nicely done

-- I love the small of sawdust in the morning....

View Jacksdad's profile

Jacksdad

80 posts in 178 days


#11 posted 07-08-2017 03:31 AM

I’d like to build one, I’m thinking about the wood gears version by Matt Waddle, it looks great.

View majuvla's profile

majuvla

10703 posts in 2621 days


#12 posted 07-08-2017 12:40 PM

Awesome engineering and colouring. Looks realy authentic industrial style.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View mountainaxe's profile

mountainaxe

138 posts in 2259 days


#13 posted 07-08-2017 01:29 PM

Hvala, Ivan … Mislim da je također bilo sjajno. Pokušat ću ovaj vikend kruniti gornji valjak za namještanje trake kako bi vidio rješava li problem praćenja.

-- Jeff, "The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me."

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