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Tracking problems with an old Sears Craftsman Belt and Disc Sander

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Forum topic by LJackson posted 83 days ago 612 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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LJackson

104 posts in 95 days


83 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: sears craftsman belt sander tracking tensioning

I purchased a nice selection of older Sears Craftsman woodworking tools several years back. I do not know exactly how old these tools are, but I’m thinking at least from the 80’s, if not older. I was able to obtain the manuals for all of them, and any missing parts.

The Belt and Disc Sander, model 113.225801 that I bought has an issue with tracking the sanding belt. This model has two 1/2 inch screws on either side of the belt to adjust tensioning, and two additional 1/2 inch screws to lock that tension in place.

I can get it tensioned and tracking after some fiddling and then lock that in. The problem is that after a few minutes (or less) of sanding, the belt starts to slide one direction or another. I have to unscrew the locking screws and readjust the tensioning. The manual states that if it is difficult to get the sanding belt to track, then I should increase the tension. I have done that, and it does not help. Eventually, I end up with the tension so strong that the motor can’t turn the belt.

One woodworking forum suggested wrapping the center of the tensioning cylinder with electrical tape. I might try that, though it sounds counter intuitive. It seems like that would make the center diameter larger, and cause the belt to desire to slip off to one side or the other. If they had said to wrap electrical tape on either end, that would make more sense to me, as then the belt would be encouraged to stay in the center.

If anyone has experience with this type of machine, and can give me tips on how to keep the belt aligned on it while I use it, I would appreciate it.


12 replies so far

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3255 posts in 1869 days


#1 posted 83 days ago

I believe the tracking adjustment screw is on the idler roller above the power switch, if it like mine.

I have only had two problems with mine; one was a bad belt and the other was a dry bearing on idler roller. I disassembled it, lubricated it, and it has worked since. The roller bearings dry out real fast because the sawdust sucks up the lubricant.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View REO's profile

REO

541 posts in 575 days


#2 posted 83 days ago

if you can get it tight enough that the motor wont turn it it sounds like a bearing must be going bad.
ther is likely “crown” on one or both pulleys to begin with. the way it works is this. the edges of the belt are in a tug of war with each other. each trying to pull the other up and over the hill. all things being equal the belt rides centered on the crown of the pulley. if you concentrate use on one side of the belt it will stretch and the belt will track away from that edge tilting the roller moves the high point over one way or the other and the worn belt can again be centered. it sounds to me like there is a bearing problem that needs to be addressed first.

View LJackson's profile

LJackson

104 posts in 95 days


#3 posted 82 days ago

I’m not sure if a bearing is going bad. I’ve taken it apart and it spins quite easily and freely. I think what is going on is that the one moter-driven roller which the sanding belt rides on is able to slide on its axle. I believe it is sliding to one side, pulling the sanding belt with it, and then jamming against the housing.

Right now I’m trying to get that roller off of the housing. There’s a pin holding the axle in place. Not a cotter pin, but a circular pin surrounding the axle, and with two small holes that I believe a needle nose plier with small enough jaws could get in there, spread the pin and remove it. I do not know what the name of that pin is. Or the name of the pliers that are used to insert and remove them.

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LJackson

104 posts in 95 days


#4 posted 82 days ago

This is like the “pin” I was writing about. It’s an axle locking ring, but the one I’m looking at is smaller and the holes are closer together.

View PASs's profile

PASs

511 posts in 1599 days


#5 posted 82 days ago

Does you sander look like this (103.0803).

I had/have similar tracking problems. I reduced the problem significantly when the idler pulley rubber sleeve disintegrated due to dry rot. I replaced it with two pieces of belt sander belt. I left a gap between the pieces and that seems to help keep the belts more centered.

I just put up a belt-sander blog with more pictures.

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

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Grandpa

2983 posts in 1176 days


#6 posted 82 days ago

Put new bearings in your idler roller and see what happens. Go to a local bearing supplier and get them. Shouldn’t be $10 for the pair. I think this will fix it.

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Planeman40

391 posts in 1262 days


#7 posted 81 days ago

One other thing to consider. Sanding belts, if left on the sander under tension for a long period of time can often distort slightly leading to these type of problems. Try a new belt.

Planeman

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

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PASs

511 posts in 1599 days


#8 posted 81 days ago

I agree with planeman…when I finish I de-tension the belt.

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

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LJackson

104 posts in 95 days


#9 posted 81 days ago

PASs: No, my belt sander does not look like that. It is green, and with a less substantial table. It did not come with a stand, and the motor is mounted to a make-shift stand made out of plywood. There is no idler pully. None of these Craftsman tools that I have include an idler pully. I did notice that the belt was rubbing against the shaft that holds the table in place.

Grandpa: I have taken the belt sander completely apart (well the motor has been left intact). I pulled the pully off using a faucet handle puller. I discovered that I pulled it off the wrong way, as the metal key imbedded in the axle was tapered. But, that was the only way it was coming off. There are two keys, one for the pully, and one for the sanding belt roller. I am not sure if they are supposed to be removable. There is no groove in the axle. One of the bearings is between the two keys, and, therefore, not able to be removed, unless one or the other of the keys can be.

Also, where can I possibly find a “local bearing supplier?” Is this some place that would cater the the general public?

Planeman40: I have a brand new sanding belt that I tried before tearing the thing apart and that did not help. I needed the new belt because I destroyed the old one as it smashed into one side of the housing before I could correct the tracking.

At this point, with it taken apart, I’ve made a mistake twice in putting the axle, bearings, snap rings, and pully and roller back together again. Each time I’ve pulled it apart it has been harder to do because I’ve deformed the axle hammering things apart.

Ideally, if I could find someone to machine me a new axle, with a groove down which I can place metal keys, and then get some new bearings, I am confident I could put it back together. Otherwise I’ll just have to grind the ends of the axle to a smaller diameter (a major hack, to be sure) and shove things together as best as I can.

I do not know where to find a machine shop or a bearing supplier that would deal with me personally. Googling just brings up companies that seem to only deal with other companies.

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PASs

511 posts in 1599 days


#10 posted 81 days ago

LJ,
Thanks for the extensive update.
By idler pulley I meant the non-driving cylinder on the belt.
If you aren’t a member of Old Woodworking Machines (owwm.org) I’d highly recommend it.
Here’s a link a thread there about the problem.

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

View REO's profile

REO

541 posts in 575 days


#11 posted 81 days ago

send the drive pulley assembly on over. I can fix it. PM me if you wish

View LJackson's profile

LJackson

104 posts in 95 days


#12 posted 79 days ago

Mr. REO asked for some pictures, so I’ll post them here for all to see.

The first image shows one of the bearings, a pulley, and two snap rings.

This image shows the sanding belt roller. This is the one the motor drives. You can see a hole in it where a set screw goes in.

Here is a wider shot, showing the housing upside down. On the right of it you can see the holes into which the bearings are press fit. The nearest hole, whith the machined flat surface is where another piece would fit, which attaches to the base and allows this piece to move and adjust the belt to be used horizontally or vertically.

Here is the axel. One bearing is still on, and surrounded by snap rings. Roughly in the middle, where you can see an interruption in the shine, is where a raised “key” exists.

I have rotated the axel for this image. You can kind of make out both keys. The flat spot on the left is where the disk for the disk sanding portion attaches with a set screw.

In this image you can make out the key which prevents the pulley from spinning.

This image is a bit blurry, but I think you can make out the key which holds the belt roller.

The final image shows the grooves in the axel which hold the snap rings to sandwhich the other bearing.

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