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Belt Sander/Grinder ???

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Robert LaLonde

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#1
I know the knife guys are all gungho about the 2x72 belt grinders these days, but I was wondering how many other metal workers really like using these. Seems like some guys like to use them for both steel and wood. Oddly what I have heard seems backwards. They grind fast with steel and slower with wood.

Do you have one?

Do you use it often?

Are you on the fence about the cost, but would use one if you had it?

I have a 1x30 that gets a fair amount of use, and a 4x36 that doesn't mostly because its gutless. I probably use my 1x30 as a belt grinder about the same amount as my bench grinder.

I can build one if I want. Of course if I really wanted I imagine I could put a bigger motor on my 4x36 too.
 

Z2V

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#2
I’m putting finishing touches on a KMG clone now. Knobs, handles, and replacing the plastic idler wheels with aluminum.
I turned the drive wheel to 12” circumference so the tach reads SPM
It’s been functional for about three weeks and I have only turned the bench grinder on once.. with a wide selection of belts in different grits it is so much easier and safer to use.
As for cost there is no way I would pay the $800 to $2k that these things sell for retail. I doubt I have much over $100 dollars invested in this one though. A free 3hp treadmill motor off Craigslist powers it.
 

rwm

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#3
"I turned the drive wheel to 12” circumference so the tach reads SPM"

Now that is clever!

Robert
 

BGHansen

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#4
I have a Dayton 2" x 42" and it's very heavily used. Also use a Dremel (whoafully underpowered) 1" x 30".

Bruce
 

kvt

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#5
I have a Dremel 1x30, not very good. Just got a 6x48 with 9 inch have stared to use it more, In fact since getting it up and running have not used the bench grinder yet. have thought about making a 2x72 or something, have several motors sitting but have to get other items.
 

benmychree

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#6
I had a "Square Wheel" 2 X 72 in my shop when I sold out, bought it new and loved it, but the 2K plus they want for a new one stops me dead so far as buying a new one. I would think they could sell for 1K and still make a considerable profit.
 

jpfabricator

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#7
I'm building 1 right now, I will get back with the outcome later

Jake Parker
 

Grandpop

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#8
I have an older Craftsman 2 x 42 with 6" disk. I use the belt all the time, and rarely use the disc. Would not be without the belt again.
 

Moper361

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#9
Thats my rig has belt stone and polishing
Its on lockable wheels so just wheel it around to were i want and lock the wheels .
I need to tidy the cables up a bit yet
20171229_094956.jpg 20171229_095010.jpg 20171229_094947.jpg
 

Aukai

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#10
The Jet 41002 is in the 4++ dollar range 3/4 hp 2x42

1021171223_zpsrmukem9d.jpg
 
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mikey

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#11
Things have changed with the advent of ceramic belts, so much so that I think a belt sander is far more useful in the shop than a bench grinder. Well, at least in my shop. I have used my bench grinder no more than a half-dozen times over the last decade and that was mostly for shaping or refreshing my gravers. For lathe tool grinding and general fabrication of steel and aluminum stuff the belt sander is a vastly superior tool.

I think the current designs for 2X72 grinders is awesome. They can be built in a hobby shop for fairly low cost and with a good tool rest and platen it should be able to do everything a metal working hobby guy needs. I do not own a 2X72 but I will someday. Until then, my little 2X42 belt sanders will suffice.

Bob, if lathe tool grinding is something you plan to use it for, a belt sander will grind faster, cooler and be easier to use than a bench grinder. With a good tool rest and glass platen it will easily become an indispensable tool in your shop. I would go for it and I would build a 2X72 if you do. Belts last longer, cut cooler and faster than the shorter belts and are widely available in different grits and compositions. Try the ceramic belts - they cut amazingly well.

Good luck with this and do post up if you build one.
 

brino

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#12
I’m putting finishing touches on a KMG clone now. Knobs, handles, and replacing the plastic idler wheels with aluminum.
I turned the drive wheel to 12” circumference so the tach reads SPM
It’s been functional for about three weeks and I have only turned the bench grinder on once.. with a wide selection of belts in different grits it is so much easier and safer to use.
Jeff,
Do you have a build thread for that?
I'd like to see it!
Thanks,
-brino
 

Z2V

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#13
brino
Sorry, I did not do a build thread, just kinda put it together a little here and a little there. Here’s a pic of it as it is now. It still needs knobs and handles but fully functional.
1B61EFF3-636A-4083-A534-5C10BA0870D9.jpeg F2A3EF54-7C89-482C-B09D-CF490D8A5A25.jpeg
 
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Robert LaLonde

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#14
You guys are starting to convince me. I do grind some of my own lathe bits. I tend to use my bench grinder to rough them out, finish grind them on the 1x30 and then hand finish them with a stone and or diamond hone depending on my mood at the time. I also free hand sharpen my own drills. By swinging my magnifier lamp over the grinder it makes it dead easy.
 

mikey

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#15
I've used both a bench grinder and belt sander for grinding lathe tools and my opinion is that the job is much faster and easier to do on a belt sander. I just recently changed to ceramic belts, even though the knife guys have been using them for years, and I was amazed at how much faster and cooler they grind vs aluminum oxide belts. I recently ground some mild steel plate for a tool rest for my friend's grinder and it eats mild steel so fast that it almost grinds like wood.

Jeff (@Z2V) recently made a tool rest for his bench grinder and also just made a 2x72 - what do you think about the differences for lathe tool grinding, Jeff?
 

Z2V

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#16
I agree Mike. The belt gets my vote also. I made a left hand turning tool the other night (3/8” HSS) and it was ready to hone in about five minutes, and that’s using two belts. I used a coarse ceramic and finished off with about 200 grit AO. The bit never got too hot to hold and did not change color. If I remember correctly I was spinning the belt about 2200 sfpm.
 

randyjaco

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#17
Yeah, I made a 2 x 72 a couple of years ago from a treadmill motor and material from my scrap pile. I have $200 to 300 in it. I originally built it for deburring. It has now become one of my go to machines. I am still finding new uses for it. I recently discovered that it was great for grinding down hard rubber.
Randy
 
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Buffalo20

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#18
I have a 2” x 48” Jancy RadiusMaster, one of the most used pieces of equipment I own.
 

ACHiPo

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#19
I've used both a bench grinder and belt sander for grinding lathe tools and my opinion is that the job is much faster and easier to do on a belt sander. I just recently changed to ceramic belts, even though the knife guys have been using them for years, and I was amazed at how much faster and cooler they grind vs aluminum oxide belts. I recently ground some mild steel plate for a tool rest for my friend's grinder and it eats mild steel so fast that it almost grinds like wood.

Jeff (@Z2V) recently made a tool rest for his bench grinder and also just made a 2x72 - what do you think about the differences for lathe tool grinding, Jeff?
Mike,
I’m a little confused. Aluminum oxide is ceramic. What’s the difference?
Evan
 
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mikey

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#21
Mike,
I’m a little confused. Aluminum oxide is ceramic. What’s the difference?
Evan
My understanding is that AO is a naturally occurring mineral and ceramic is a man-made crystalline structure that is harder than AO. I may be wrong about this but I can tell you from recent experience that for metal cutting, the ceramic belts cut faster, cooler, stay sharp longer and are not a lot more expensive than AO belts.

I now know that a ceramic belt cuts cobalt grinding times down by about 1/3 so that it takes less time to grind a 5 or 8% cobalt bit than it used to take to grind a HSS tool on AO. It also cuts much cooler. I'm convinced enough that I will likely never order another AO belt for tool grinding.
 
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Robert LaLonde

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#22
I don't know what ceramics... but the blue zirconia belts really move materials on the little 1x30.
 
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#23
Ref. Ceramics - see post #19 here.
 

ACHiPo

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#24
Ref. Ceramics - see post #19 here.
Alan,
There are a lot of ceramic materials, aka metallic oxides. Most are good abrasives, but the “ceramic” are reported to be better than alumina or SiC. I’m just wondering what’s different. Zirconia could be an alternative—it’s as hard as diamond?
 
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#25
I am fairly certain the belt manufacturers loosely refer to "ceramic" as materials that have been synthesized (i.e. man made vs. naturally occurring).

3M uses Alumina Zirconia as a belt abrasive. BTW, I don't believe that alumina zirconia is as hard as diamond. Here's a snippet from 3M on their Zirconia. Notice they talk to "self sharpening" aspect of it.

1514599741119.png

Regarding when to change them out, what I can tell you is belt appearance and tactile judgement are likely a bit irrelevant. I have some fine grits belts that are flimsy and look worn out but they still cut. Appearance is always important but it really is about when one of these "ceramic" belts stops cutting that it's time to chunk it and put on a new one.
 

MikeInOr

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#26
About 38 years ago my dad hauled home a heavy old 6 x 48" horizontal belt + 12" disc sander that was beat to heck, had bad bearings and a bad motor one summer. I spent about 3 weeks tearing it down, sanding everything, painting it with some industrial paint and putting it back together after my dad had the bearing presses off and we replaced the starting capacitor. My father was a woodworker and we got a good amount of use out of that sander. Unfortunately it sits in my shop now and still gets use on wood working... especially the disc sander for putting nice sharp 90's on projects. But where it really shines is when it is used on metal. I don't know how anyone would sharpen lawnmower blades without a belt sander? Hogging off a bunch of metal, especially welds will burn through belts and discs pretty quickly. So I usually do most rough shaping with a grinder (bench or angle) and put the final touches on with the sander.

I would not want to be without it! I do hold that sander responsible for the dozen or so basket cases I have rebuilt / refurbished since and my unnatural love of old iron!

PICT8077.JPG PICT8079.JPG PICT8080.JPG
 
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ttabbal

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#27
Seems like a good thread to post about mine. I originally started it to grind lathe bits, but I'm seeing all kinds of things it's useful for now.

I decided on this design. http://dcknives.blogspot.com/p/2-x-72-belt-grinder.html?m=1

Powered by a 3 phase 2 HP sealed motor ans VFD. I was going to go the treadmill route, but a good deal popped up on brand new motors and I couldn't pass it up. I have a pyroceram glass platen that isn't in the picture. I also have an adjustable work rest almost complete. It needs a little tweaking still, and maybe a bit of paint sprayed in its general direction, but that 36 grit ceramic belt does a number on the mild steel I've tested it on.

20180101_222443.jpg
 

zmotorsports

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#28
I've been on the fence about a 2"x72" belt sander for a few years now but can't seem to pull the trigger. I wouldn't ever give up my good ole' 12" disc/6x48 belt combination unit though. That is probably the most used piece of equipment in the shop. I've had it for nearly 20-years and it is the workhorse of the shop.

Mike
 

jpfabricator

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#29
Seems like a good thread to post about mine. I originally started it to grind lathe bits, but I'm seeing all kinds of things it's useful for now.

I decided on this design. http://dcknives.blogspot.com/p/2-x-72-belt-grinder.html?m=1

Powered by a 3 phase 2 HP sealed motor ans VFD. I was going to go the treadmill route, but a good deal popped up on brand new motors and I couldn't pass it up. I have a pyroceram glass platen that isn't in the picture. I also have an adjustable work rest almost complete. It needs a little tweaking still, and maybe a bit of paint sprayed in its general direction, but that 36 grit ceramic belt does a number on the mild steel I've tested it on.

View attachment 252962
I communicated with Dan Comeau, and with his permission started selling "precut weld together" kits of this grinder on E-bay! I'm building one currently also!

Jake Parker
 

randyjaco

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#30
I've been on the fence about a 2"x72" belt sander for a few years now but can't seem to pull the trigger. I wouldn't ever give up my good ole' 12" disc/6x48 belt combination unit though. That is probably the most used piece of equipment in the shop. I've had it for nearly 20-years and it is the workhorse of the shop.

Mike
Wait until you get your 2 x 72, the old one will be left in the corner collecting literally collecting dust. That is what happened to my old ones.

Randy
 
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