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Thread: Best value for a small footprint wide belt sander?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
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    The Woodlands, Texas
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    Best value for a small footprint wide belt sander?

    I've been looking at purchasing a wide-belt or drum sander for some time. I have the common dilemma; wide-belts are too big, and drum sanders kinda suck. There are a couple of wide-belt that could fit the bill, the Powermatic 1632 16", Baileigh 16" (also JPW), the Grizzly 15". The Powermatic 16" 3PH unit seems like a pretty good deal for a unit with a small footprint, $6999 seems like a pretty good deal. It doesn't have a powered table though, which is a bummer.

    Looking for any opinions on small wide belts, and/or better values I may be missing; perhaps an off brand version thats cheaper, but from the same fab.

    Oddly, I couldn't find any Powermatic width/length specifications for this unit, but it looks small enough.
    Last edited by derek labian; 12-19-2021 at 8:10 PM.

  2. #2
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    The question that comes to mind is whether or not the width is going to meet your needs or if they are open sided like many drum sanders are, how good is the registration when flipping a wider workpiece around to run it through.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    The question that comes to mind is whether or not the width is going to meet your needs or if they are open sided like many drum sanders are, how good is the registration when flipping a wider workpiece around to run it through.
    32" seems sufficient. According to the threads on SMC about deflection the 1632 style (from any manufacturer) has no deflection. A 25" wide belt is about 3x the cost.

  4. #4
    Derek,

    There are a few guys on the Felder Owners Group that own a North State DW-16P. Seems like a Powermatic clone but they swear by it.

    https://leneavesupply.com/northstate-dw-16p.html

    Says it is in stock too! They say $6,799. I cannot find a powermatic for less than $9k, but I didnt look that hard.

    PK
    PKwoodworking
    Last edited by Paul J Kelly; 12-19-2021 at 11:25 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Lancaster, Ohio
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    925
    Got a used one in 2017, like it a lot. mine is a 15" takes 16x54 belts, can change belts fast to step up thru the grits. Have had a couple of drum sanders, no way no how would I go back to a drum sander again

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    southeast Michigan
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    After numerous frustrations with two different drum sanders over the last 20 years I bought a Woodmaster drum sander a little over a year ago. It was a night and day difference and I have had no issues with mine. I believe they are the best drum sanders on the market. They don't make and open design and are solid machines. They are priced between regular drum sanders and a small belt sander. If you are thinking about a belt sander I think these machines are worth looking into.

  7. #7
    I recently got some hands on time with the open ended Grizzly wide belt. Helped a busy set it up and get it calibrated. When we got done it was dead on. We ran some rough glue ups both ways through it and the results were amazing. We also tried some freshly built raw wood cabinet doors and I was blown away. I would imagine the Powermatic and Baileigh to be even better.

    I personally use a Cantec that is worlds ahead of the Grizzly I had prior. My Cantec has powered up and down and is significantly better machine than a Grizzly or Powermatic. They are also comparable in price.

    With drum sanders you dont want an open ended model. But wide belts are much better made and heavier duty and more accurate

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by derek labian View Post
    32" seems sufficient. According to the threads on SMC about deflection the 1632 style (from any manufacturer) has no deflection. A 25" wide belt is about 3x the cost.
    Sounds good...I only mentioned it because, well...what you want/need to do is the bottom line in the "size matters" tool decision.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    If you can fit a 24" machine, look for a used SCMI Sandya Win. they go for about 4K-5K on the used market and a good machine. You want a drum and a removeable platen. Also check the tracking system and air requirement needed. An electric eye coupled with pneumatic tracking uses less air than strictly pnuematic. Since a WB generally runs a 10 hp motor, you don't want to need a large compressor running at the same time unless you have lots of amps to spare. Dave

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    MA
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    I have owned many different drum and belt sanders. Currently a Jet 1632 wide belt. It has a platen (something to consider). Believe it is a powermatic clone. 7.5hp

    I like it

    Keep in mind they do not remove large amounts of material per pass.

    The drum sanders never clicked for me. For a while I had a large timesaver. But gave it up for space

    By far the best value was a little Reliant 13” belt sander. That thing was a workhorse. For a short time I had a similar woodtek 13” model. I liked both of these belt sanders more than the drums (have had multiple drum sanders including grizzly dual drum. But have not had the wood master. But these were tremendous value having purchased them used at very decent prices.

  11. #11
    everytime I read these posts im thankful ive had stroke sanders from the start.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Lake View Post
    everytime I read these posts im thankful ive had stroke sanders from the start.
    Yes, stroke sanders are great if you have the space, especially for cleaning up after a drum or belt feed through machine.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Jenness View Post
    Yes, stroke sanders are great if you have the space, especially for cleaning up after a drum or belt feed through machine.
    And the man hours, and the ability to tolerate virtually zero dust collection, etc.. A ninnie can feed a sander with zero operator fatigue, zero operator influence on part quality, and zero cleanup. Stroke sanders are the bee's knees where they shine. No comparison elsewhere.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  14. #14
    drums are calibrating machines. There is no reason to run material on a drum before a stroke. You can hang an assembled cabinet off a stroke sander or drop the table, you cant do that on a wide belt. They each have their place if I could have only one it would be stroke. My first shop was a postage stamp the one I built was on the wall.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Bolton View Post
    And the man hours, and the ability to tolerate virtually zero dust collection, etc.. A ninnie can feed a sander with zero operator fatigue, zero operator influence on part quality, and zero cleanup. Stroke sanders are the bee's knees where they shine. No comparison elsewhere.
    Yes, they are completely different machines for different tasks. Still, unless you have a feed through sander that gives a clean enough result to go directly to finish a stroke sander used by a skilled operator is far faster for panel sanding than the alternatives I am familiar with. Ninnies will be safer with a hand-held random orbit sander but they are better avoided if possible.

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