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Thread: Wide Belt Sander Recommendations - Finish Sanding MDF Parts

  1. #1
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    Wide Belt Sander Recommendations - Finish Sanding MDF Parts

    Hey guys,

    We are looking to adding a wide belt sander to our shop - Currently we do all of our sanding with orbital sanders (Real Bottle Neck in our Workshop). We Cnc cut mdf parts and brackets and they get powder coated. They leave our routers looking great but we want to give them a final sand before Powder coating (Remove any tiny burs and blemishes). I was thinking a Wide Belt Sander would be the way to go with a fine sand paper above 200 grit. We are looking at a Laguna Pro 37" Wide Belt Sander with a sanding platen - Has anyone used this machine or seen one in action ??? We really like the Laguna brand and we are trying to stay under $20K for this purchase.

    We tried to use a drum sander but it left sanding ridges or Maybe "Chatter" in the parts - This than required a orbital sand and defeating the purpose of the drum sander.

    Any advise or recommend will be grateful
    3X Camfive 1200 48" x 24" 100watt Tube
    Zcorp 450 3d Printer
    Laguna Smartshop 2 - 4x8 ATC

  2. #2
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    Talk to someone who is a wide belt expert, there are a lot of options when it comes to Sanders and it's a science of setting one up to get optimal results.

  3. #3
    I don't think a widbelt it's going to achieve what you want. Mine leaves a pretty nice scratch with 180 grit and a platen, but everything still needs to be hit with an orbital.

    They do make make buffing machines, I've only used one and wasn't overly impressed. There may be, (probably), better machines than the one I used

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Wide belt sanders are not generally expected to leave a finish ready surface although they can get close if properly set up and operated. The mill finish on mdf is as good as you will get off a wide belt if not degraded in handling.Depending on the size and shape of your products you might use a stroke sander or edge sander to touch up the flat surfaces and possibly a flap wheel, balloon or spindle sander for deburring or refining the edges. If you can give some details on what you are making it would help. I have seen some cogent advice on setting up wide belts at the surfprep website.
    Last edited by Kevin Jenness; 12-09-2017 at 12:46 AM.

  5. #5
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    Such sanders do exist. I am aware of a guy that does contract painting of high gloss mdf doors and panels that machine sands to 400 grit in one pass. I can't get hold of him though to find out brand, model, cost etc. Do more net surfing. Your budget might be a bit skinny though. Cheers
    Every construction obeys the laws of physics. Whether we like or understand the result is of no interest to the universe.

  6. #6
    Oops, I didn't see the budget. Good luck with that.

  7. #7
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    Most of our parts come off our machines looking great and dont need sanding but we do it anyways to ensure the quality.
    The quality they come in from the mill is great, if we could achieve this quality in a quick finish sand that would be perfect.

    We ran a few test with our drum sander with 220 grit paper and they look almost perfect - You can see small mirco scratches in the right lighting, we are gonna send a small sample load to the powder coating company and make sure they look good before we buy the wide belt. Ill try to add some pictures of the final product.

    We know its not gonna be 100% perfect but we can get away with some mirco scratches because they are being painted. This would help us go from 500 - 750 parts a day to 3000 - 5000 range. Its also really hard to find people that want to sand all day for 8 hours - Im crossing my fingers it works :-)
    3X Camfive 1200 48" x 24" 100watt Tube
    Zcorp 450 3d Printer
    Laguna Smartshop 2 - 4x8 ATC

  8. #8
    I don't own one, but have read here and elsewhere that the Jet oscillating drum sander is pretty good at leaving a scratch-free surface. Way less $ than a wide belt.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    If they just need touched up to a consistent finish, a widebelt running high grit paper belts would do the trick. Like 320 grit even. Depending on how small your parts are, you might want to find a widebelt with a vacuum bed to help hold them in place as they go through. Otherwise, one person loading a continuous stream while one person offloads works pretty well. If you need to get away from a linear scratch pattern, look for an orbital pad sander, like a DMC. They are used commonly for cabinet doors that go straight to finish off of the sander. This old listing has a good description. http://www.wwthayer.com/DMC-Unisand-...tal-Sander.asp
    Last edited by J.R. Rutter; 12-09-2017 at 1:39 PM.
    JR

  10. #10
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    The problem with drum sanders is the low HP power and the belts dont last long. From what others have said and the dealers I have talk to is,

    Wide Belt Sander use a long belt wide belt so it keeps the belt cooler and in turn last longer. With our Supermax drum sander it works great with a fresh belt but after 30 minutes you start to see small ridge lines running the entire product, Once the belt gets any kind of damage it shows in the product because of the small radius of the belt.
    We also cant run many parts at once we have a 25/50 and we can fit two side by side and its slow running through.
    3X Camfive 1200 48" x 24" 100watt Tube
    Zcorp 450 3d Printer
    Laguna Smartshop 2 - 4x8 ATC

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by J.R. Rutter View Post
    If they just need touched up to a consistent finish, a widebelt running high grit paper belts would do the trick. Like 320 grit even. Depending on how small your parts are, you might want to find a widebelt with a vacuum bed to help hold them in place as they go through. Otherwise, one person loading a continuous stream while one person offloads works pretty well. If you need to get away from a linear scratch pattern, look for an orbital pad sander, like a DMC. They are used commonly for cabinet doors that go straight to finish off of the sander. This old listing has a good description. http://www.wwthayer.com/DMC-Unisand-...tal-Sander.asp
    Do you think you could go straight to 320? I feel like the max depth of cut would be a few thousandths. Even on a combo head. Plus mdf is really hard on adhesives, regardless of the motion, but the finer you go they could be really short lived.


    How wide are the parts? Could you have a machine that is narrower, but with multiple heads, possibly a buffing head last?

    Do both sides need to be hit? Might want to look at a top and bottom configuration

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Wasner View Post
    Do you think you could go straight to 320?
    With the right platen, I bet you could. His parts should be consistent thickness withing a couple of thou? I have a really soft foam sponge bar that came with my sander. Honestly, for hardwoods I just have it set up to use the drums and rarely activate the platen.
    JR

  13. #13
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    We use a premium grade MDF and its very consistent, Most of the items being sanded are 12" - 16" Long and 8" - 14" wide. I also like the idea of the orbital sanding feature - We looked at Biesse Sanders and they offer a wide variety of options. They are on the pricey side of sanders but if it gets the job done, its worth the investment.
    3X Camfive 1200 48" x 24" 100watt Tube
    Zcorp 450 3d Printer
    Laguna Smartshop 2 - 4x8 ATC

  14. #14
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    Robert, what wide belt solution did you wind up with and curious about how it is working for you.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Tripp View Post
    Robert, what wide belt solution did you wind up with and curious about how it is working for you.
    Roberts last visit was almost 2 months ago so you may not get a quick reply. You might want to PM him, if he has his PM's set up to email him he might respond quicker.
    Of all the laws Brandolini's may be the most universally true.

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