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Thread: Help! Problem with Belt Sander

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Help! Problem with Belt Sander

    I just purchased a belt sander and have never operated one before. I adjust the belt centering contol with the unit turned upside down so that the belt tracks in the center of the platen. No problem. But when I use the thing the belt drifts to the side (seems to always be the "inside") and chews itself up---beats itself to death. So my "belt mileage" is incredibly bad.

    What can I do? Is it a problem with the operator or with the sander?

    Uhhhh--I almost didn't mention this because I didn't want to start anything---but it is a Craftsman.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks.

    Art

  2. #2
    Mines 15 years old [craftsman] seldon used, does the same thing.
    I track the belt out about a 1/4", the open side the belt goes on.

    Doesn't chew the belts that way.


  3. #3
    I used a belt sander over thirty years ago and I remembered that happening a lot. I do not remember if it was a Craftsman or not, but they were so expensive then that I couldn't afford one of my own. A few years ago, I was shocked how cheap a little Ryobi 3x21 cost at the HD, so I bought one. I was shocked! I set that belt to where I want it and it doesn't wander at all. I used that thing to sand my facia on the house. The thing is a work horse!

    Since you just bought that sander, I would take it back and try some other brand.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    My 'Dragster' tracks well. You may want to try a good quality belt just to eliminate that possibility. Norton 3X, Klingspor, etc.
    "What kind of chump do you take me for?"
    "First class."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Gustafson View Post
    A few years ago, I was shocked how cheap a little Ryobi 3x21 cost at the HD, so I bought one. I was shocked!

    heh, what else is shocking is when you sit it down next to a handheld bosch power planer and then pick up the wrong tool!

    did it twice today...


    my ryobi tracks really well and the only time i have problems with it is when i use cheaper belts or i get too into using it and i remove too much material..

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Central Vermont
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    I have one of the B&D Dragsters and it tracks fine.

    Heh, There is actualy a B&D tool that I like

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    I have a relatively cheap Craftsman and it takes some playing around before it finally tracks straight. You get what you pay for with these.

    J

    Quote Originally Posted by Art Davis View Post
    I just purchased a belt sander and have never operated one before. I adjust the belt centering contol with the unit turned upside down so that the belt tracks in the center of the platen. No problem. But when I use the thing the belt drifts to the side (seems to always be the "inside") and chews itself up---beats itself to death. So my "belt mileage" is incredibly bad.

    What can I do? Is it a problem with the operator or with the sander?

    Uhhhh--I almost didn't mention this because I didn't want to start anything---but it is a Craftsman.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks.

    Art

  8. #8
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    Nov 2006
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    Minneapolis, Minnesota
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    2,108
    This may sound like overkill, but depending on what you want to use it for you might consider the Festool ROTEX 150. It has an "aggressive" mode that rivals that of a belt sander. The nice thing is that with the flip of a switch you can go from aggressive to "fine" sanding and it does a GREAT job. Costs a lot more, but you're replacing more than one sander with this thing.

    J

    Quote Originally Posted by Art Davis View Post
    I just purchased a belt sander and have never operated one before. I adjust the belt centering contol with the unit turned upside down so that the belt tracks in the center of the platen. No problem. But when I use the thing the belt drifts to the side (seems to always be the "inside") and chews itself up---beats itself to death. So my "belt mileage" is incredibly bad.

    What can I do? Is it a problem with the operator or with the sander?

    Uhhhh--I almost didn't mention this because I didn't want to start anything---but it is a Craftsman.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks.

    Art

  9. Belt sander problem

    Hi Art:

    When you're aligning your belt, are you finding the center by moving the belt both "left and right" to find the center???? Once you work it to the center, watch the belt ride for 10 to 15 seconds or so and watch for a drift.

    If you are noticing a drift to the inside once in the cutting motion, as mentioned above, just slightly set the drift to move away from the housing.

    Also, maybe decrease your cutting angle; that will help, and also, you may be honkering down with too much pressure, let the "dragster" ride and concentrate on the "pull-back" for your cutting.

    If you think you need an 80 grit, with a belt sander think to use 120grit, if you're thinking 120 use 150 grit.

    I've gone through my share of 2x21 PC's..........I absolutely love a belt sander. Don't trash your Craftsman, put the "roadster" through a thorough test-drive first.

    Hope that helps...........Neil


    PS.....almost forgot: you maybe working to long without checking. Like all "roadsters" you have to finese them.
    Last edited by Neil Lamens; 08-08-2007 at 7:31 AM.

  10. #10
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    Thanks folks. Good info.

    I think I was being much too aggressive. (I was using 80 grit paper to get it off quickly.) I will now "think 150" as Neil put it.

    I was centering the belt and letting it go for fifteen or twenty seconds. Still had the problem. Will try your suggestions---.

    Appreciate the help.

    Art

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Art Davis View Post
    Thanks folks. Good info.

    I think I was being much too aggressive. (I was using 80 grit paper to get it off quickly.) I will now "think 150" as Neil put it.

    I was centering the belt and letting it go for fifteen or twenty seconds. Still had the problem. Will try your suggestions---.

    Appreciate the help.

    Art
    I think I would take it back and get a different brand or at the least a different unit. I have a real cheap B&D and I use 60 grid on it at times and have no problem (before I got my planner). I think the idler spring is not strong enough to get the belt to flatten out.
    But as was stated you may want to try a new belt first, I have had bad belts on both the hand and the bench belt sander.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Huber View Post
    I think I would take it back and get a different brand or at the least a different unit. I have a real cheap B&D and I use 60 grid on it at times and have no problem (before I got my planner). I think the idler spring is not strong enough to get the belt to flatten out.
    But as was stated you may want to try a new belt first, I have had bad belts on both the hand and the bench belt sander.

    Bill,

    Yeah, I think my spring is too weak also---but with the great advice I have received on this thread, I have been able to figure out how to adjust the tracking whilst I am sanding. So even with the 80 grit, I am now doing okay. (The belt does tend to disintegrate, though, before very long.)

    Now I have a final question. Why didn't all those articles and tool reviews I read before I bought my sander ever discuss these issues? All that gee-whiz, great tool stuff, but not a hint that it might be a bit tough to learn how to use!

    I think that kind of thing must surely discourage other amateurs like me.

    Thanks again folks for all your help!

    Art

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Davis View Post
    ... (The belt does tend to disintegrate, though, before very long.)...
    That sounds to me like you're using a very poor quality belt. I have 2 belt sanders, a Makita 4x24 and a Craftsman 3x21 and have thrown away a lot of belts (Makita, Klingspor, Norton, etc.) that were simply worn out, but never had one "disintegrate".
    Tom Veatch
    Wichita, KS
    USA

  14. #14
    I have to track my PC belt sander when using it sometimes -- putting too much downward pressure will cause the belt to move so you might trying letting the weight of the sander account for all of the pressure that you are using. The quality of belts can also impact movement as has been mentioned. If the belt tracks in too far then it will rub on the inside of the sander body and wear quickly.

    Scot

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Art Davis View Post
    Thanks folks. Good info.

    I think I was being much too aggressive. (I was using 80 grit paper to get it off quickly.) I will now "think 150" as Neil put it.

    Art
    When I sanded the eves of my roof, I used 30 grit. Again, it tracked flawlessly.

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