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Wide belt sander

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Forum topic by tacocat22 posted 08-22-2015 03:25 PM 1096 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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tacocat22

9 posts in 469 days


08-22-2015 03:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wide belt sander

Hello everyone

I am looking for some opinions on wide belt sanders as I would like to start saving for one if I feel it is worth it.

I was interested in the open ended sanders for a while but after speaking with a local cabinetmaker who has owned a bunch of them he recommended it’s better to get a wide belt or nothing at all.

I am just wondering it it is a game changer in your shops production. I find I spend a lot of my time flattening panel glue ups. I am very meticulous about my milling and glue up because I know how frustrating it can be too flatten something way out of flat. I either use my rotex or hand planes to flatten it.

Does the wide belt make everything dead flat? Do you use it from rough all the way to finish ready?? I could see my self getting it dead flat and do the rest with my smoother.

Anyway I talk too much. Any input is greatly appreciated.

Cheers
Nick


10 replies so far

View buildingmonkey's profile

buildingmonkey

242 posts in 1007 days


#1 posted 08-25-2015 09:08 AM

I have a small Grizzly widebelt, model G9983. It is open end, uses 16×48 belts, and yes, it does flatten panels. I do one side, reverse the panel, do the other side, then turn the panel over, run through then reverse. What I do is surface my boards 13/16, then use a 80 or 60 grit belt to grind the panel down flat, then switch to a 120 belt, and run it through a few passes to take out the coarse scratches. Makes my panels look manufactured, they are so flat. And they come out about exactly 3/4”. Bought it in the first place to do the panels for panel doors, hate the turkey tracks you get using a hand held belt sander. Sand everything with it now. Just adjust the cut by putting the panel between table and belt before starting, so you don’t take off too much starting off. Tighten slowly.

-- Jim from Kansas

View SirIrb's profile

SirIrb

1239 posts in 690 days


#2 posted 08-25-2015 10:23 AM

When I did this professionally we had a 43” wide belt. Similar to a Time Saver. I think it was the single best buy for a production atmosphere. Doors, faceframes, everything. If it was only a bit of a cut you needed you could pop on a 120 grit and walk away with exactly sized (to the .001”) door or faceframe. Put on a 220 and then all you have to do is hit it with a block sander and it was done. They must cost about 30K today for a nice one. I think the one we had back then (a single belt) was 20K. I have seen them have 3 progressive belts. That is where you want to be for a very nice production machine.

If you are doing only cabinets then a 25” will work. If you are doing entry doors then I would go ahead and get the 43”.

Similar to this.
http://www.timesaversinc.com/content/model-1300-wide-belt

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1768 days


#3 posted 08-25-2015 04:15 PM

How do you run a standard size kitchen sink cabinet face frame (30 1/2×36) though a 25’’ closed wide belt sander?

For closed end belt sanders I’d think 37’’ or wider would be the way to go for kitchen cabinets.

That being said, I have a Bridgewood 16-32 inch open wide belt sander that preforms very well for a non production environment. It sands flat and I can do 30 inch wide panels with no wittiness lines. It sounds to me like the OP is not in a production environment. If he is then that a different story.

Just an opinion.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View tacocat22's profile

tacocat22

9 posts in 469 days


#4 posted 08-27-2015 11:31 PM


I have a small Grizzly widebelt, model G9983. It is open end, uses 16×48 belts, and yes, it does flatten panels. I do one side, reverse the panel, do the other side, then turn the panel over, run through then reverse. What I do is surface my boards 13/16, then use a 80 or 60 grit belt to grind the panel down flat, then switch to a 120 belt, and run it through a few passes to take out the coarse scratches. Makes my panels look manufactured, they are so flat. And they come out about exactly 3/4”. Bought it in the first place to do the panels for panel doors, hate the turkey tracks you get using a hand held belt sander. Sand everything with it now. Just adjust the cut by putting the panel between table and belt before starting, so you don t take off too much starting off. Tighten slowly.

- buildingmonkey

I was actually interested in the 43 inch 3 phase wide belt from grizzly so I am happy to hear that you are happy with your grizzly. I have nothing against the open end sanders btw! I was just sharing an opinion of someone I trust as I have never owned any of these machines. thanks for your input!

View tacocat22's profile

tacocat22

9 posts in 469 days


#5 posted 08-27-2015 11:34 PM



When I did this professionally we had a 43” wide belt. Similar to a Time Saver. I think it was the single best buy for a production atmosphere. Doors, faceframes, everything. If it was only a bit of a cut you needed you could pop on a 120 grit and walk away with exactly sized (to the .001”) door or faceframe. Put on a 220 and then all you have to do is hit it with a block sander and it was done. They must cost about 30K today for a nice one. I think the one we had back then (a single belt) was 20K. I have seen them have 3 progressive belts. That is where you want to be for a very nice production machine.

If you are doing only cabinets then a 25” will work. If you are doing entry doors then I would go ahead and get the 43”.

Similar to this.
http://www.timesaversinc.com/content/model-1300-wide-belt

- SirIrb

I do a lot of custom furniture so I am leaning towards the 43 for slabs and big tabletops as well. I have seen some used timesavers on craiglist by me. Do you have any input on buying a used machine? or know if the wide belt grizzlys are good machines? they run 14-20k

View tacocat22's profile

tacocat22

9 posts in 469 days


#6 posted 08-27-2015 11:38 PM


How do you run a standard size kitchen sink cabinet face frame (30 1/2×36) though a 25 closed wide belt sander?

For closed end belt sanders I d think 37 or wider would be the way to go for kitchen cabinets.

That being said, I have a Bridgewood 16-32 inch open wide belt sander that preforms very well for a non production environment. It sands flat and I can do 30 inch wide panels with no wittiness lines. It sounds to me like the OP is not in a production environment. If he is then that a different story.

Just an opinion.

- AlaskaGuy

Hey Alaskaguy

I am thinking 37 or wider as well for the big table tops and slabs that I work with. That size would also tackle any cabinet work I throw at it. I am a one man shop right now but in 1 year when my current shop lease is up I will be moving to a bigger shop and will have the room for one of these sanders. I feel like it will really help my production for dining tables specifically.

View buildingmonkey's profile

buildingmonkey

242 posts in 1007 days


#7 posted 09-03-2015 02:29 AM

My tiny widebelt cost about 3500 brand new, it was on sale at the time, but a lot of sander for the money. A big widebelt would be great, but cost for a hobby guy is prohibitive. I wanted one to sand down door panels, but find i do more panels and it works great for all sorts of panels. Built a wood countertop and it was a bit of a pain holding the panel up level, but possible to sand an 8’ long top, 25” wide. Made solid wood end panels for my nephew’s kitchen, hard to tell they are real, they are so flat. I finish sand with my ros.

-- Jim from Kansas

View Daruc's profile

Daruc

459 posts in 592 days


#8 posted 09-03-2015 02:48 AM

I have the SCMI 37” wide belt.
Bought it at an auction for less than a thousand bucks and have had it for over 15 years.
Wouldn’t want to be without it.
I don’t only use it for panels and face frames but many other things as well, like standing 4 or 5 pcs on edge, running them through at the same time, to sand out saw blade marks.
Taking the melamine off one side for veneering.
Obviously slabs when I get the chance.
Putting build up on laminate countertops, I sand the edges flush before applying the laminate.
So many more things that come up, it’s great to have.
Even if you spend 3 or 4 thousand on a good used one it will pay for itself in time savings and quality.
And once it’s paid for, it will last many many years and you won’t even notice what you paid for it.

-- -

View Chris2001's profile

Chris2001

1 post in 434 days


#9 posted 09-30-2015 02:24 AM



Hello everyone

I am looking for some opinions on wide belt sanders as I would like to start saving for one if I feel it is worth it.

I was interested in the open ended sanders for a while but after speaking with a local cabinetmaker who has owned a bunch of them he recommended it s better to get a wide belt or nothing at all.

I am just wondering it it is a game changer in your shops production. I find I spend a lot of my time flattening panel glue ups. I am very meticulous about my milling and glue up because I know how frustrating it can be too flatten something way out of flat. I either use my rotex or hand planes to flatten it.

Does the wide belt make everything dead flat? Do you use it from rough all the way to finish ready?? I could see my self getting it dead flat and do the rest with my smoother.

Anyway I talk too much. Any input is greatly appreciated.

Cheers
Nick

- tacocat22

Nick there are a few things to consider when purchasing any wide belt sander from any manufacture. First, what is the availability of the most common wearable items, like electronic tracking eyes, solenoid valves, rubber rolls/drums, ect. In other words, does the manufacturer keep a good inventory on hand related to your machine, or does it have to be shipped in from across the pond causing days if not weeks of downtime. Another goof rule of thumb is what kind of manual does it have? Does it have a detailed parts breakdown of each component in the machine? How about an electrical and pneumatic schematic? Now granted some of the wearable items could be replaced with an after market part, but in some cases that individual part may be proprietary to that company. Then get ready to be bent over!!!
As far as the flatness of your material coming out, that depends. How beefy are the pinch rollers? Are they spring loaded or air loaded? How warped is your panel going into the machine? Chances are if it has a good bow to it, it’s probably going to flex back to its original shape, unless you’re making multiple passes. Even then your tolerances my go all over the place when measuring the material.
If you do any kind of stock removal or sizing of your panels, I would recommend going with a harder durometer drum on the first head, followed up by a combi head (drum/platen) on the 2nd head. You could go with a single head combi head, but your stock removal capabilities are reduced. The advantage to a combi head is you basically have two sanding processes in one head. The rubber contact drum is used for stock removal, and the platen (graphite/felt) is used for finishing/polishing.
The most common widths of wide belt sanders are 37” and 53”. There is not a lot of 43” machines out there. I guess it comes down to need. If you ever see yourself needed to go wider than 43”, spend the money now and invest in the 53”. I tell my customers you can grow out of a machine a lot faster than you can growing into in. If you decide to buy a used machine, just beware of of certain things like drum/pinch roll/conveyor belt/conveyor bed wear, the age and obviously the condition of the machine. Hope some of this helps

View Woodendeavor's profile

Woodendeavor

276 posts in 2066 days


#10 posted 09-30-2015 02:37 AM

I don’t think you could find a shop that has a wide belt sander that is not happy with it. if you look at used machines you want to look at the front roller, you want to look for gouges if someone has fed in something too thick it can chew it up. The last shop I worked in picked up a 37” timesaver and a phase converter for $4,000 and it was worth every penny

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