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Benchtop or mini-size wide-belt sander

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Forum topic by William Shelley posted 03-20-2018 05:15 AM 216 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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William Shelley

564 posts in 1438 days


03-20-2018 05:15 AM

I think my arms might fall off from sanding. I just finished sanding both sides of 60 pieces of cedar, 2.5” x 24”.

Does anyone happen to know if there’s a benchtop or miniature version of a wide belt sander? I know that drum sanders exist and are pretty affordable and such, but changing out the paper on them seems like an enormous chore.

The closest thing I’ve seen to a mini wide belt sander is the 15” open-ended units by Grizzly, Powermatic, and a couple others, which are pretty compact relatively speaking, but are fully featured units that have all the gizmos and features of the bigger siblings, including the big price tag.

I’d really love to get a small sander for processing flat stock, but don’t have the budget or space for a big unit.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective


2 replies so far

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Loren

10278 posts in 3617 days


#1 posted 03-20-2018 05:47 AM

There was a 13” wide model sold many years
ago by Reliant/Woodtek and under other
brand names too. Allegedly they had tracking
problems, which caused belts to shred.

“Real” wide belts are complex machines with
several air valves and solenoid switches in them
to manage tracking. Mine has electric eyes that
watch the edge of the belt and trigger the switches
to open/close air valves to pivot the top idler
drum.

You might look at building a small stroke sander.
Stock longer than the machine bed can be sanded
with them. It’s inconvenient to shift stock like
that, which is why they are generally large, but
it’s doable with some stroke sander designs.

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William Shelley

564 posts in 1438 days


#2 posted 03-20-2018 01:32 PM

I just re-watched Matthias’s video about his 6×48 belt sander build. I think essentially what I want to come up with is something like this, but flipped upside down with a conveyor under it. I really don’t need a “wide” sander, I just want to be able to process lots of linear feet of stock.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tdSaE663AU&t=580s

So maybe I’ll have to build it myself.

I’m assuming that wide belt sanders don’t use crowned rollers because the wide sandpaper can’t stretch/deform enough, so it only works on narrower belts like the 6” that he’s using for that project. Thus, they have to use the optical tracking eye with pneumatic adjustment of the tracking. I’ve also heard that the slight oscillation of the tracking system improves surface finish.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

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