|Review by RandyMorter||posted 01-26-2011 10:49 PM||6047 views||2 times favorited||21 comments|
- Ridgid EB4424 Oscillating Edge Belt / Spindle Sander
- Brand: Ridgid | Category: Sanders
I picked up this Ridgid Oscillating Edge Belt/Spindle sander on 1/22/2011. I had done one band saw box and had four more in progress and wasn’t looking forward to all of the sanding they were going to require. Being the lazy guy I am, I wanted to find a tool to do some of the work for me. I read a number of reviews about sanders and this one seemed to get decent reviews and the oscillating belt sander feature appealed to me. The price wasn’t bad at $199 for what it offers. I also picked up an extra couple of 150 grit belts (it comes with a single 80 grit belt, 4” x 24”) and a package from Ridgid with extra spindle sand paper (a set of 10 with 5 sizes of 80 grit and 5 sizes of 150 grit. It comes with the 5 sizes of 80 grit). All of that plus tax was a bit under $250. I wanted the finer grit and that was as fine as they had at Home Depot.
Setup was pretty easy – just put the 4 rubber feet on and that’s it. I just have mine sitting on top of my table saw and it seems fine – very little vibration and the unit is heavy enough to stay put.
1. I’ve mainly used the spindle, various sizes and both the 80 and 150 grits, to sand one of my new band saw boxes. It really cuts down on the manual sanding. The various sizes allow you to get the spindle right into the rounded cuts.
2. Dust collection is pretty good just using my shop vac with a 2-1/2 inch fitting. There are slots on the work surface near the spindle / belt assembly where the sawdust is sucked into.
3. Grizzly sells pre-formed spindle sand paper that fits the unit. They’re no cheaper than the Ridgig (the 10 Ridgid units were about $15.00) but you can get different grits and just the sizes you want.
4. I read another review on LJ from someone who makes his own spindle sand paper assemblies.
5. I feel I sanded quite a bit of material (probably too much, which is easy to do, because now I have quite a bit of a gap around the drawers) but there isn’t a lot of build up on the belts or spindle sand paper.
6. The unit is surprisingly quiet. The shop vac makes up for it though.
1. The unit comes with the belt attached. The belt has a tracking knob on the idler (right) spindle that causes the belt to ride up or down the belt assembly. The first time I turned it on the belt tracking adjustment must have been mis-adjusted, in a quick and few number of revolutions the belt was trying to track off the bottom of the spindles. I think the instructions say to keep your hand by the on/off switch and it’s a good idea so you can turn it off quickly if the tracking is off.
The tracking adjustment isn’t clear to me which way to turn it to cause the belt to track one way or another (even after doing it a few times). Next time I figure it out I’ll write a note on the device. The tracking is pretty sensitive too, a small change can cause the belt to try to jump off the unit or get eaten up by the unit pretty quickly, perhaps 5-10 revolutions. I’ve had occaision to adjust it because I put the 150 grit belt on and had to adjust it afterwards.
2. Once again, I have a trouble with table alignment (I’m beginning to think I’m a whiner). When using the belt there’s a plastic insert that covers the opening where the belt assembly goes, and it has a place for a metal insert that goes around the actual sanding spindle. The metal insert is included in 5 different sizes.
The metal inserts are fine and sit flush with the parent plastic insert.
The plastic insert has levelling screws but I can’t get it to sit flush. It’s not because of the screws but because the plastic is slightly deformed causing it to stick up above the main platform. When you retract the screw into the plastic, the plastic doesn’t have any weight to cause it to “fall” or “sink” into the opening. It’ll go down if you push on it, even with a work piece, but if it’s sticking up and you slide your work piece into the plastic insert it stops the work piece. Perhaps it’ll get better with time.
It’s not awful, especially since it’s just on a sander, but I wish it was flat.
3. Another alignment issue is the drop leaf table extension. It has adjustments for setting the stops for making it level, but the lip of the drop-leaf portion is proud of the main table. Now to be fair, I haven’t tried adjusting it so it may be fixable. I just used the unit with the drop leaf in the dropped position.
4. To be clear – I HAVE NOT done the alignment steps. But the two issues I mentioned above mean that I ended up holding the piece above the table. It seems okay for the box I’m working on since it’s kind of free form and doesn’t have any real square edges that matter. But it means I couldn’t use the unit as it is to try to sand one surface square to another. There are instructions for squaring it up, I just haven’t done it yet. But I don’t think they’ll address the raised insert issue or the drop leaf being proud of the main surface issue.
1. This is no slam on the unit, but it takes some skill to use it (which I hope I develop!). I’ve never used a power sander like this before (I do have a portable belt sander). It’s pretty easy to sand off too much material so that you get scallops from the sander on the work surface where you used to have minor saw blade marks. With the spindle you can easily loose the desired shape of the work piece.
I found that the larger spindle you can use the better. It’s probably better to start off with the largest spindle you can use and then go to smaller ones as necessary. That way you don’t eat small diameter scallops in the work piece.
The surface of the larger diameter spindle moves quite a bit faster than it does on the smaller spindle. You don’t need as much pressure on the larger spindles to remove a lot of material quickly.
2. You have to watch out how you approach the spindle or belt with your work piece so that it doesn’t get jammed up and/or thrown and/or pinch your fingers. While my table saw seems scary at times, this sander has actually made pieces move around on their own more than any other tool I’ve worked with and I haven’t even had it a week. Be careful when you use this!
3. I don’t always wear a dust mask (I just have one of those 3M paper jobbies) but I found myself wanting one with this unit, even with the dust collection. There wasn’t a lot of build up on the machine so I think my shop vac was getting a lot of the dust, but I think it’s just so fine that it floats around.
4. The box I’m working on is a bit over 4 inches deep. The 1/2 inch sander requires a mounting with a washer that is probably 4 inches when the spindle is in the down position. I couldn’t use that size on my piece. It would sure be nice to have taller spindles, like having them match the max re-saw capacity of your band saw.
5. I haven’t decided whether I’m going to get a stand for the unit or what. I don’t have an easy place to put store it on a shelf. Either way I have to find some home for it, on a stand or on a shelf. Having it on a stand is nice and convenient but you have to have room for the stand too. I’ll probably go this route as I have some room left and the only other thing I need to get is a drill press. And a lathe… And a bigger table saw… And a…
After using this a bit the fact that the tables aren’t flush has frustrated me enough that I contacted Ridgid about it. Their solution is for me to return it, which I will soon. Hopefully the next one won’t have the problem.
I did try adjusting the set screws but all they are for is setting the zero-degree stops that are supposed to make the table perpendicular to the sanding spindle or belt. I got that done but my issue is when using the spindle with small pieces (i.e. inside the drawers of a band saw box), I work the piece around the spindle. However, the piece catches on the lip between the fixed portion of the table and the dropable table. To overcome the lip you have to raise the work piece off the table and then you may not be square to the spindle.
I tried using the sander with the table down and that’s better for some things but there are times where I want that extra table and I want the entire table to be flush.
In addition, I noticed that the center of the table is bowed up compared to the edges where it pivots.
I uploaded the second picture to help show the issue. I don’t know how well it shows up, but where that ruler is I measured 1/32” w/ my caliper. It’s just enough to catch a work piece and cause you to change focus from sanding to overcoming the lip.
I exchanged units today at Home Depot and this one is much better. The tables are flush to each other for the most part. This one has a very slight dip in the center of the dropable table but I don’t think that it will cause problems since the earlier issue was working with small pieces, moving them around the spindle, and having them hit the dropable table. With the dropable table very slightly below the fixed table it shouldn’t be a problem (well, not the same problem any way).
I also didn’t mount the rubber feet on this one since I’m bolting it to my stand. The plastic insert (used when using the spindle option) also was flatter and pretty much aligned right out of the box. This unit must be more like the ones that others have got who really like the sander! I haven’t actually sanded with this one yet but I’m already liking it better than the other one!
After using my second unit I ran into a different problem. The belt would not track. The adjustment was VERY touchy, blowing on it one direction or the other just about moved it enough to make it track to the top or the bottom. IF I got it stable, as soon as I touched the belt with a work piece it would make the belt track one way or the other.
I looked at the assembly and noticed the drive drum faces were as flat as my straight edge. But the idler drum, that is used for tracking adjustment, bowed out in the center. I figured that was why it wouldn’t track straight. There was such a small area for centering the belt on to get it to run straight that it wasn’t happening for me.
I didn’t have a way to sand the drum, so I wrapped one thickness of masking tape around both ends of the drum to build up the drum edges instead of reducing the middle. I’ve now used it this way for a couple of hours without any tracking issue.
-- Randy Morter, Phoenix, AZ