Valuable Information about Belt Sanders Mechanism and Maintenance

Sanding is a tedious task for carpenters and woodworkers. However, sanding is unavoidable for them. Electric powered sanders are easy, quick, and best way for sanding wood. In other words, they make an unbearable task more pleasant. You will find different types and sizes of sanders. Belt sanders is amongst one of the versatile types, which will be discussed in detail here

Mechanism of belt sanders

Nothing beats the speed and strength of belt sander, when you smooth large, flat and rough surfaces. Two parallel drums are attached on the underside of belt sander, which spin in consistent loops on rough hard raw material, when motor gets activated.

The rear drum is driven by the motor, whereas the front drum rotates, freely. Tension release lever helps you to easily slide the sand belt on top of the drums. In some models, adjustment knobs are provided to position the belt at the centre.

Features to look for in a belt sander

  • Variable speed – It gives your tool the capability to be less forceful. Thus, you can do fine work easily, especially on soft wood. A little lack of attention, while handling soft wood can cost you hours of toil. Ensure that the switch is located conveniently to ease working on large projects.
  • Amperage rating – It indicates how much pressure to put, while shaving material, before belt starts to slow down. It is a good way to test the belt sander’s power.
  • In-line motor – It is more symmetrical and balanced evenly. In addition, the tool is lighter making it sanding in ill at ease position like overhead, easy. Lastly, these have flat tops making it easy to clamp upside down and use as stationary sander.
  • Tracking control knob – The belt is kept in the centre of platen, so it does not chafe against the frame and damage the belt. Premature replacement gets averted. Tracking lever keeps belt aligned, especially while smoothing coarse surface.

Belt sander using techniques

Watch the strength

Belt sanders high speed power as well as bully strength makes it a dangerous tool, which can ruin your project if you are not cautious. Therefore, use it on large, flat and really rough surfaces.

While smoothing flat surface then remember to sand parallel towards wood grain, so as to avoid scratches. In addition, sander machine should keep moving, so as to avert sanding too much material causing depression.

Gang sanding

Belt sander is also perfect for smoothing the edges. If it is possible clamp several wooden boards together and smooth all the edges, simultaneously. This technique saves your time as well as gives better results, since you are not making an attempt to balance the heavy machine on the narrow edge of single board.

Belt sander sizes

Belt sanders are available in 4 standard sizes with acceptable belt size.

  • 3”x18” – It is compact and easy to control model, so ideal for novices and users having small hands.
  • 3”x21” – It is popular because of its appropriate blend of power, speed, and balance.
  • 3”x24” – You get a little more sanding surface than 3”x21”. It is less steady and little hard to control.
  • 4”x24” – This model is intended for heavy-duty sanding purpose. This giant machine is difficult to control and an inexperienced user can damage their material.

Tips to maintain Your Belt Sander

Belt sanders are designed to last because manufacturers are familiar about its rough usage. Belt sanders are investment, which needs you to take care. There are some steps you need to take for maintaining its performance.

Graphite cloth

If your belt sander has no graphite cloth then get one now. Heavy canvas-backed graphite cloth, when attached to the platen helps to decrease the friction because its surface is slippery. Thus, the heat due to friction is reduced, which can otherwise be hard on the sanding belts.

In addition, graphite cloth even decreased dragging of motor and bearings. If your sander has graphite then look for worn off signs and if any, replace it.

Abrasive cleaning cloth

It is similar to an eraser, which removes the sawdust and paint that can clog the belt. This can cause heat and burning. When sander is in motion hold abrasive cleaner, and run over it. Besides cleaning the belt, it helps to add durability.

Platen change

Platen is positioned between sander belt and shoe. It is a metal piece supported with thin cork sheet. Its aim is to give foundation and support to belt. It acts as shock absorber, when sander is activated. Friction can cause cork to crumble and disorient the platen. Therefore, replace it periodically for better safety.

Belt replacement

Replace belt appropriately using the arrows as guidelines or else the sandpaper will roll in a reverse direction. Use high quality and fresh sanding belt. Old ones are brittle and dry, so if you buy in bulk then store them in air tight containers or zip sealed bags to maintain its freshness. Keep them away from moisture and humidity.