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Rikon Belt/Disc Sander

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Review by Wayne Precht posted 07-01-2009 10:26 PM 12200 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Rikon Belt/Disc Sander No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I came into a little money horse trading some rough oak, so I decided to spend it picking up a couple of much needed tools. The first one is a Rikon 6”x48” Belt / 10” Disc sander. It was on sale at Woodcraft, $50 off. Even though Springfield is a bit of a hike, this weighs a ton, so shipping would have been eye-wateringly expensive. This tool filled a gap in my lineup. Previously I had a little Delta 1”x42” Belt / 6” Disc sander that was just this side of useless for furniture making. About the most important thing it did in the last couple years was clean up some pegs for the Glastonbury project. I really needed a large disc sander to clean up end grain especially and some minor shaping. The large belt has turned out to be even more useful than I thought.

I won’t go into the features; you can look it up for that. This was a bit of a flyer since I have not heard anyone talk about this brand. I have seen it at Woodcraft for years and figured they wouldn’t still be carrying it if it’s junk. Plus the Belt/Disc sander on my “wish list” costs more than double and would involve the aforementioned shipping, or a trip to PA to pick it up, about the same considering gas.

Step one, getting it into the shop and out of the box. I believe I that mentioned it’s heavy and it is; it’s 110 lbs in the box. So humping it down the stairs was a chore. In retrospect, I should have taken it out of the box on the tail gate. The sander has a little flip up handle on the left side (just visible in the photo) and a padded hand hold on the other end. It would still have been heavy, but more manageable than a large box with no hand holds. Anyway, once it was down and I got it out of the box (also a chore), it was time to look at the setup project.

Fortunately, it comes almost fully assembled. All I had to do was install the PVA Disc and then the table for the Disc. The manual was of the usual unremarkable type from these Far East firms. Bad B/W pictures and text you need to read a few times to get the jist of it. The table was a bit to get started as the table is heavy and the sander is hard to flip up on its side, but that’s where you want it to screw together the table supports. I also had to assemble the miter gauge that I will probably never use. Its “ok”, nothing amazing, if I really need one, I will take the Incra off the table saw.

The code is a little short for my tastes, but typical of machines these days. I moved a heavy duty extension code into range and all was good. Note that this draws around 10 amps though, so don’t use a busy circuit.

Running this is smooth. Those 110 lbs of cast iron comes in handy. There is a dust collection port for a 2.5” Shop-Vac type thing. I am not a fanatic about dust collection, but this is the fine dust you really don’t want to breathe so I highly recommend hooking it up. And the collection actually works very well. Even my poor, abused Rigid 12 Gallon vacuum was more than sufficient to handle the job.

My only complaint is that the belt tracking is a bit more finicky than I expected. It took some noodling to dial it in and it’s easy to get running off a bit. I really consider the belt a secondary item though and it’s not bad, just not up to par with the rest of the excellently put together machine.

-- --- Wayne.




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Wayne Precht

47 posts in 2571 days



12 comments so far

View teenagewoodworker's profile

teenagewoodworker

2727 posts in 2422 days


#1 posted 07-02-2009 04:58 AM

i have this same model and i love it. i found the same with the belt that it is very hard to get it to track properly

View newTim's profile

newTim

554 posts in 2261 days


#2 posted 07-02-2009 05:25 AM

I have this same sander and while I don’t have anything to compare it to, I think it is great. I’ve had nothing but great customer service from Rikon. I own the Deluxe Bandsaw, a Rikon drill press.

-- tim hill www.newcalshop.com

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11659 posts in 2342 days


#3 posted 07-02-2009 09:27 PM

I have the same machine and although I haven’t had any issues with the belt tracking , when the belt stock- rest / table is in the vertical position , it is virtually impossible to keep it at 90 degrees to the belt , so forget about keeping anything square…. Also , the motor seems to be running much faster than the 1725rpm listed in the owners manual and it is difficult to sand anything without burning if I use discs finer than 60 grit which defeats the whole purpose of sanding.

I would refrain from describing mine as a “smooth” running machine . I think the reason that it weighs so much is to keep it from jumping off the workbench and , yes , mine is clamped in place !
The miter gauge is so far off the scale that it isn’t funny , and the scale is not adjustable .What I like the most about their photograph is that the miter gauge is facing in the wrong direction and they don’t have the belt stock-rest / table pictured….(quality clue)

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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Dusty56

11659 posts in 2342 days


#4 posted 07-02-2009 11:01 PM

I forgot to mention how sloppy the miter gauge bar is in the slot and the price of the 10” discs average $5 EACH at Woodcraft…kind of pricey for PSA (non-hook and loop) .The disc platen is Aluminum and you have to take the table off when you need to change the disc and then resquare it to the disc afterwards..They made the table out of cast iron , but the table supports are some type of white metal with flimsy stamped metal arms.(see pics in link below) The 4” high base and disc table are the only cast iron parts on my machine .

http://austin.craigslist.org/tls/1242289823.html
At least this guy assembled the unit correctly for his potential sale …LOL

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2476 days


#5 posted 07-03-2009 02:11 PM

Thanks for the review, Wayne. I have been making do with simply clamping a belt sander in a vice but have been considering adding a belt/disc sander to my shop. This certainly has been a helpful review.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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Durnik150

647 posts in 1976 days


#6 posted 07-05-2009 06:56 AM

Great reviews guys. Thanks for all of the positive as well as some of the negatives. It really helps when looking at dropping some of your hard earned $$$ on a new tool!

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

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a1Jim

112089 posts in 2231 days


#7 posted 07-05-2009 07:21 AM

good review

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Wayne Precht's profile

Wayne Precht

47 posts in 2571 days


#8 posted 07-06-2009 07:38 PM

WoodCraft is convenient and a good place to get some information about tools and stuff. It’s also a great place to see an item, like this sander before buying it (and buying in person saves shipping). But I wouldn’t buy consumables there unless I was in a hurry.

For instance Dusty56 noted that the discs were $5 each and that’s a little high. I bought a spare one when I bought the sander as I didn’t know how long they would last. I had used a friend’s sander and it seemed like it lasted weeks/month is a production shop so I didn’t think I would go through them unless I gummed one up accidentally. And that’s held up. I have the original on it still and it’s 2 months old now. I think it’s going to last 3-4 project at least. I did also buy a 120 grit belt (at something like $10) because the one that came with it was 80 grit and a bit aggressive for what I was doing at the time.

When I do wear out the ones I have, I will probably order online a set like this one:

10 Inch Assorted PSA Sanding discs

I find that sticking with quality sandpapers is worth the money.

-- --- Wayne.

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11659 posts in 2342 days


#9 posted 07-07-2009 04:08 AM

Wayne , do you think your sander is spinning in excess of 1725 rpm? My friend has a dedicated 10” disc sander and it really seems to run a lot slower than my machine and even using one of his discs on my machine , I still get burning where as on his machine , I do not.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Wayne Precht's profile

Wayne Precht

47 posts in 2571 days


#10 posted 07-07-2009 10:32 PM

I have no way to measure the RPMs. It seems vaguely the same as the Jet 12” Disc sander I used at a friend’s shop. I haven’t had burning problems. I am sure you are during the obvious, keeping the paper clean and sanding sensitive woods closer to the center (where the speed is slower).

-- --- Wayne.

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11659 posts in 2342 days


#11 posted 07-08-2009 07:28 AM

I was thinking about trying to slow it down with a router speed controller , but I don’t think that it is the correct type of motor for it to work on. Thanks for your reply.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View hairy's profile

hairy

2022 posts in 2186 days


#12 posted 07-12-2009 01:15 AM

I have this, too. It has good power. If you’re not careful, you can wind up with a flat fingertip. Don’t ask how I know. I’m just glad it grew back. Dust collection could be better, but it does what I need it to do.Good review!

-- the last of Barret's Privateers...

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