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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workshop » » Bench Belt Sander Problems (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Peter McMillan
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It is about 5 years old, but does anyone else have problems with the belt loosing traction and stopping when pressure is applied while sanding? Even a light amount of pressure brings it to a halt.

Figured I would ask be for buying a new sander.

Pete
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George Ledo
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I've seen that happen a few times on different sanders, and the cause has usually been the tension on the belt, i.e., the belt's too loose. Most of these sanders have a knob or something similar at the top of the belt housing, where you adjust tracking and tension. You may want to give that a try. Check your manual if you still have it for directions on your particular sander, or maybe you can find it online.

Word of caution... The tracking adjustment is usually VERY sensitive, meaning, if you need to mess with it, you want to turn it a microscopic amount at a time. Otherwise the belt could walk right off the belt housing at high speed.

Hope that helps.
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Peter McMillan
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Thank you George, I have made adjustments to the tracking. Your suggestion the belt is loose is correct, but adjusting the length of the turning drums does not appear to be a feature, but I will double check to see if I missed it.

Pete
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gimpy2
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Pete,

My belt sander has a lever that you flip to move the roller to replace the belt. I think if the belt started slipping I could adjust or shim the lever to tighten it more. Might try putting on a new belt as well

Gimpy
George Ledo
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Right. Usually you have to move the upper roller a bit to create slack to slip the belt out. My sander has a lever like Gimpy mentioned, up by the tracking control, for loosening the belt.
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Michael Baker
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Assuming the drive roller is still churning away when this happens? Possible problems...

1)Old sanding belts will stretch a bit over time, especially if they have been used a lot. I haven't experienced the same problem, but I've come to realize this because I've noticed that when swapping out belts (to a different grit), they slide on and off the drums much easier when they are well-worn.

2) Clean the sander good before you install the new belt to insure that sawdust doesn't get between the belt and the rollers.

3) Check to be sure the belt is oriented correctly. There are directional arrows printed inside the belt.

4) Not all belts are created equal. If you recently changed brands, and experienced the problem since doing so, switch back. Even a millimeter difference can create a problem.

5) Make sure the tension lever is doing its job. See if you can study its action without a belt in place. See if there are any points for adjustment in this linkage.

6) Last resort DIY fix... I've heard of people slightly increasing the diameter of one of the drums using tape. Possibly use friction tape. I would probably only do the idler roller, and pay attention to which direction the tape gets wrapped (wrap opposite the direction of rotation). I would also be careful to get this as level as possible so it doesn't mess too much with the tracking.
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Ray Tupper.
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Quote:
On Aug 17, 2015, Michael Baker wrote:
Assuming the drive roller is still churning away when this happens? Possible problems...

1)Old sanding belts will stretch a bit over time, especially if they have been used a lot. I haven't experienced the same problem, but I've come to realize this because I've noticed that when swapping out belts (to a different grit), they slide on and off the drums much easier when they are well-worn.

2) Clean the sander good before you install the new belt to insure that sawdust doesn't get between the belt and the rollers.

3) Check to be sure the belt is oriented correctly. There are directional arrows printed inside the belt.

4) Not all belts are created equal. If you recently changed brands, and experienced the problem since doing so, switch back. Even a millimeter difference can create a problem.

5) Make sure the tension lever is doing its job. See if you can study its action without a belt in place. See if there are any points for adjustment in this linkage.

6) Last resort DIY fix... I've heard of people slightly increasing the diameter of one of the drums using tape. Possibly use friction tape. I would probably only do the idler roller, and pay attention to which direction the tape gets wrapped (wrap opposite the direction of rotation). I would also be careful to get this as level as possible so it doesn't mess too much with the tracking.


I would reply, but Michael has said everything I would have done.
Regarding taping a drum.. Don't wrap it round.. Lay it across the width of the drum.
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ClintonMagus
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I have an inexpensive Skil belt sander, and it has two adjustments, one for the tracking and the other for the spacing between rollers.
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Peter McMillan
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Been all over the unit. Other than the tension lever to release the belt from the drums and the tracking adjustment, there is no other adjustment. I think I know the problem however and it will require replacing the unit. Just as well, I want to up grade anyway.

Rear drum started to squeaking and I shot WD40 in. Over the years a residue has accumulated in the housing and caused the dust to attach to the belt, thus reducing the traction of the belt on the drum. Wish they would provide a good old fashion grease fitting to service the bearings.

Thank you all for your posts. It will be of use to others with the same problem.
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Michael Baker
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That squeaking was likely your bearing going out. WD40 was a mistake for sure, especially when centrifugal force will distribute the stuff everywhere nearby.

I used to have a Craftsman 4x36. Aside from the drive belt breaking the only other issue I had was the bearing on the idler roller went out. At the time, I needed a fairly quick fix and had no extra funds to buy a new sander. Parts were also not readily available, so I found a bronze sleeve bearing at the hardware store and after some slight alteration, it fit and the sander lasted for another couple years, until the same thing happened again. I had inherited one from my stepdad that he'd bought at Menards or Harbor Freight. That was an exercise in patience because it was a real piece of junk.

So, I just went out to buy a new one. When I went to look at the Craftsman models, I was dis-heartened to find so much of the thing was now being made of plastic. I trust issues with that. My old sander had a very solid body which I think was solid cast steel. Built like an anvil.

Anyway, I next checked at Lowes and found a Skil that was completely identical to my old Craftsman. I quickly discovered that all the parts were interchangeable. I hung on to the old sander for awhile just for that purpose, although I didn't really have to strip much of anything from it.

The Skil turned out to be somewhat less durable than the Craftsman. It didn't take long before the motor began to develop dead spots in it. It would sometimes not start unless I manually pushed the belt to get it going. Well, that really sucked and it eventually locked up, so I bit the bullet and bought the Craftsman, plastic housing and all. I've had it over a year and so far, so good. Time will tell.
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Peter McMillan
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Good review Mike. Not much in the way of tools are made the way they use to be. The ware out date is built into the machine to make us purchase one every couple of years. Pretty soon we will have to but the replacement replacement at the same time we buy the replacement. Smile Smile

Guess I'll pays my money and takes my chances.
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malaki
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My contribution to this thread is a bit late, but...

Do you use a crepe block to clean your sanding belts? If so, the crepe crumbs might have gotten between the belt and the rollers. These crumbs are compressable and will roll, occasionally causing the belt to slip. Clean it out well and you may be back in business.
gimpy2
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I got a new belt sander just after this thread started. A Grizzly bench top unit. Great sander with the exception of the front roller. It had no bearing in it just a plastic sleeve. Wore out in just hours. The part was replaced several times. Finally they replaced the whole sander. That didn't work any better. After a few months Grizzly called and told me they had remade the part and put the bearing in I had suggested. They sent the new part and it works great now. Hats off to the Grizzly folks, they do care.
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