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DIY edge belt sander

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Grantx

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I am in the process of making my first edge grain cutting board out of maple and walnut.
In the videos, chaps are being highly efficient by using edge belt sanders and I'm afraid my Makita floor sander laying on its side just won't cut the mustard. A quick google search showed the prices unjustifiable for my purposes with starting prices of £2,000.

I cant use my thicknesser because blades will get destroyed on the end grain so I will have to make my own belt sander.
I could design it from the ground up but after watching Matthias Wandels video on youtube I can support him by buying the plans and at the same time save myself the hassle. (6" x 48" belt sander plans)

Before I proceed, has anyone made their own belt sander and if so, do you have any advice or even alternative suggestions?
 

MARK.B.

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Small cuts with the thicknesser should be ok if your blades are sharp, then finish with a random orbital etc :)
 

Doug B

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Why not make a sled for your router to flatten the top & also minimise sanding which could then be done with something like a rand orbital sander.
 

Peri

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I make a lot of chopping boards and chess boards - end grain for choppers and both end and long grain for chess.
boards.jpg

I tried using a sled, didn't work great for me, too laborious, too easy to leave deep gauges in the surface.
I tried using my thicknesser - that worked ok, but I'm very limited on width, and the occasional bit of snipe was a real pain to get rid of.

What I found works great, is a handheld belt sander (I think mine is a Bosch pbs 75A), with 60 grit belts, it'll flatten the most uneven board in about 15 minutes a side.

After I'd sold a few, I treated myself to a direct drive Bosch GET 55-125, which is brilliant after the belt sander does it's work - but up to that point I was just using a cheap ROS to finish the boards.

board 1.jpg


EDIT
I may have mis-understood your problem, apologies, When I saw you mention the thicknesser I thought you wanted to flatten the board.
To do the edges just trim them on the table saw. With a sturdy good quality blade (I use a ftg (flat top grind)) you'll get a finish that looks planed.
 
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Grantx

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@Peri wow your workmanship is amazing!
I like the idea of sanding the edges because I can square the piece easily and can do all 4 edges with minimal fuss.
I am also looking at making a drum sander for the tops but that's a future project. Both these devices are straight forward and inexpensive to make and can be of high quality if I put the right effort into it.
Thanks for the suggestions.
 

Dabop

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There are dozens of guys making their own large belt sanders on youtube, using everything from old washing machine motors to speed variable old treadmill motors, and stacked bearings to skateboard wheels for the rollers, many which seem to outperform even thousand dollar plus units, and they really aren't hard to make at all... (indeed it's on my own 'to do list')- the bigger 72" ones seem to be the better in terms of the belts lasting longer etc and for woodworking, variable speed seems to be a must (I mostly work in steel where its not so much of an issue lol)
 
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Grantx

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I found this guys build which I'm going to copy. I would support him but he doesn't provide plans so I just make my own which I'll be happy to share if anyone is interested.. I prefer his belt tensioner system over Matthias, it looks very efficient.

the only thing is going to be finding a suitable motor...


There are dozens of guys making their own large belt sanders on youtube, using everything from old washing machine motors to speed variable old treadmill motors, and stacked bearings to skateboard wheels for the rollers, many which seem to outperform even thousand dollar plus units, and they really aren't hard to make at all... (indeed it's on my own 'to do list')- the bigger 72" ones seem to be the better in terms of the belts lasting longer etc and for woodworking, variable speed seems to be a must (I mostly work in steel where its not so much of an issue lol)
 

Grantx

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As part of my cheaply built sander, I pulled a motor out of a scrap dryer and was wondering if anyone could help me wire it up? Attached a few pictures.
There is a yellow square capacitor that I think is wired before the motor capacitor. The motor has 2 wires going in and one coming out. What is that one for?
 

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Spectric

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If you are going to the trouble of making a belt sander then it must be worth investing in a decent motor with some power, that motor looks typical white goods. Also you could easily get pulleys to fit etc.
 

Grantx

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Is a white goods motor not strong enough?
If you are going to the trouble of making a belt sander then it must be worth investing in a decent motor with some power, that motor looks typical white goods. Also you could easily get pulleys to fit etc.
 

Spectric

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When you look at that motor it has a pressed steel casing and is rather lightweight when compared to what you normally see on machinery, what I am saying is that when you complete the project you don't want to be let down by having a small motor that is under powered. You said you took the motor out of a dryer, in that application was it driving anything more than a fan?
 

Grantx

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Oh sorry yeah I see what you mean. It came out of a tumble dryer so it was attached to one of those stainless steel bins, the belt had broken and it was being scrapped. If it ends up being underpowered Ill replace it with a stronger motor which should be easy enough.
 

Grantx

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Here is the board so far after a bit of a sand with 60 grit . There is a slight warp, two opposing corners sit flat but the other two have a slight rock.
I glued up some walnut for edge strips but they all just fell apart (with a bit of force from me), the glue did not really bond that well. I didn't over clamp and the temperature was about right so I'm not quite sure what happened with that. Quite irritated with that but I'm going to make some edge inserts instead.

The guy who Im making this for made a helmet and wants me to embed it into the middle of the board. Ive attached the design which I'll cut on the CNC at a later stage. Not going to lie - quite nervous to cut into the end grain board...
 

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baldkev

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Going to control it through a voltage regulator and bridge rectifier
I know next to nothing about electrics ( i can wire a plug and socket etc, thats about it 😆 )
Is the treadmill wiring and controls not useable? And are you putting a disk on the outside of the powered roller?
 

Grantx

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The original motherboard is definitely usable I just don't know how to repurpose it. I would have to get a potentiometer but I wouldn't know what value is required or where to wire it in.

I got the idea from this video and after reading through the comments, I will add a smoothing cap after the diodes to 'clean' the DC signal.

Ill post a video when I get it running.

I know next to nothing about electrics ( i can wire a plug and socket etc, thats about it 😆 )
Is the treadmill wiring and controls not useable? And are you putting a disk on the outside of the powered roller?
 

Grantx

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Here is the video and a few pictures of the temporary wiring. I noticed there is a toroid between feed and motor which I think cancels out some of the noise and smooths the DC signal?? Does anyone know if that's right and whether I still need a cap?
I don't know if that startup noise is normal. Sounds aggressive although it is a heavy-duty motor.
 

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alan895

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I also have plans to build an edge sander of some description one day, not to mention a decent sized bandsaw and possibly a 12 inch planer. I've already collected a few induction motors and to me using one of those over something like a treadmill motor just seems easier: they're readily available second hand for not a lot of money, connect an NVR switch and job done.
 

Grantx

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Update on the belt sander. I hade to make a coupler for shaft to pulley as the one on the motor wasnt long enough.
Hopefully will finish this tomorrow after I get more bolts as I have an end grain board I need to sand.
 

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