Belt sanders are pretty reliable pieces of equipment, but that doesn’t make them exempt from experiencing problems. We’ll explore some common belt sander issues and how to fix them.
Broken or Damaged Belt
If you’re noticing tears or broken joints, or frayed edges on sanding belts that are nowhere close to the end of their life, there’s something wrong. A few common causes for these broken or damaged belts come from:
- Excessive Loading. This can arise from foreign objects stuck in the machine or a workpiece that varies significantly in thickness. To stop this, clean your workpieces, double-check the grit sequence, and ensure workpieces have the same thickness.
- Bad Belt Joints. This issue can result from a variety of reasons. Normal wear and tear is the most common cause of bad belt joints. Faulty manufacturing can make the joint pop and separate when under stress. Some belts work best when moving in a particular direction. Most can move and work well in both directions. Take another peek at recommended belt direction to keep your belt from breaking prematurely.
- Damage During Storage. You have to pack and unpack your belt sander with great care. Hang it up instead of placing it on the ground because it will absorb moisture otherwise.
Not Properly Tracking
If you’re finding that your belt sander is misaligned while you’re operating it or it’s sliding off its rollers, then it’s not tracking correctly. This issue can lead to premature breakage of the belt. Below are some causes and their solutions.
- Incorrect Tension Pressure: Issues arise whether your tension pressure is too high or too low. If the tension is too low, you’re not providing sufficient pull for the belt to stay in line. If your pressure is too high, this will overwhelm the tracking cylinder. Work to find the correct pressure.
- Improperly Cut Belt: If the belt is cut improperly, it’ll affect the sander’s performance. Replace the belt to get a better result.
- Improper Storage: Belts absorb moisture and change shape, which is detrimental to them if they’re stored improperly. Never keep them on a concrete floor.
Belt Burning or Overloading
If you’re finding yourself replacing the belt often, it’s a sign that you’re overloading it, which is a common belt sander issue. Your belt should never remove too much material in a single pass or use the same entry point each time you sand—otherwise, you’ll get inconsistent workpiece quality.
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