Mid range disc sander advice - (or maybe a disc/belt combi?)

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Calum Bettison

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Evening all,

My first proper post here, hello! I'm hoping people could offer their opinions and recommendations on sanders.

I've had a look through previous threads on the topic, but many are quite old (discontinued models) or discussing a different price range, so thought Id ask afresh.

I'm looking to invest in a new or used decent quality disc or combination sander. Until now Ive been using a relatively cheapo 8"disc/belt combination machine, but its limitations are becoming apparent (slippy table locks, small size, questionable dust extraction etc).

Budget wise, I'd be happy to go up to £500-600, maybe a smidge more if needed. It'd be for typical uses - shaping parts, refining shapes etc, but I plan to use it for bigger components too, so a large table surface is desirable. Something solid and sturdy that can put up with a bit of stick as it might get used in a communal workspace. Effective dust extraction is a priority too.

I've mainly been looking at new, but if there are any older machines that are worth keeping an eye out for second hand, I'm open to that too. Ideally 1ph, I do have access to 3ph but would rather not as it would require the faff end expense of running extra cable.

Options I've been considering:

Jet JDS-12X - £490
1695586890595.png



I was thinking the Jet could be a good option, but noticed it looks suspiciously similar to and wondering whether its a rebadged version of:

Record Power DS300 - £250

1695587017409.png



Has anyone any experience with either of these machines? I've used a few Jet machines and they seem solid, but have had nightmare experiences with record power, and their seemingly non existent quality control. I'm apprehensive about the Jet in case it is a rebranded RP.

This Jet JSG-96-M combi on Ebay is within budget - £550. My thoughts on this is that the disc is only 10" but I guess having the big belt is a fair tradeoff.

1695587596787.png


Other options are these Optimum sanders. I have an optimum pillar drill and its great. Hefty and solid. But there seems to be very little info/reviews online about optimum machines, they dont seem to get much attention.

Optimum OPTIgrind TS 305 - £514 - seems expensive considering the alloy-looking table

1695588118309.png


Optimum OPTIgrind GB 305D - £634

1695588190516.png


Another contender:

AXMINSTER PROFESSIONAL AP305DS - £480 - after a bit of research I think this might be made by Rojek, who from what I can gather make pretty big industrial machines.

1695588544832.png




I always end up down an inconclusive rabbit hole researching these things, so if anyone has any experience with these machines, or has a recommendation they can offer it'd be much appreciated! Also any input on the advantages/disadvantages of combination machines I'm all ears. Or if anyone would recommend just looking into belt sanders then open to that too.

Thanks in advance for any input :)

Calum
 
The tables are pants on all of them, not suitable for sanding the edge of something unwieldy,
and it seems you get more life out of a belt compared to a disc to me.
I'm planning to mount my belt and disc on it's side, to make into an edge sander,
and also make use of the roller for inside curves.

It will likely render the disc un-usable, but I never cared for it on the machine I have.
(it will leave a convex profile, and I haven't looked to see if dressing the aluminium disc, or indeed paying close attention find out why that is)
I suspect it could be something to do with the cogged belts, what might perhaps be of a lesser shaft, compared to something with a v-belt.
That is likely what could be the Achilles heel of the machine, or indeed any for that matter.


Tom
 
Seems someone doesnt like disc sanders

But that aside. One of the 12" better quality- cast table would be your best bet. Agree with the above though, the tables arent that big, but more often than not its getting used for smallish components.

Proper stuff. Wadkin Something like this
https://lhwmachinery.co.uk/product/wadkin-bgy-12disc-sander/
We had one in the college machine room. Wadkin but combined disc and drum sander. Marvelous thing it was. bloody huge,30" disc and I think the drum was 10" high.

You'd use it to take tiny bits off in final finishing jobs, so to the machine - to the job, back to the machine. Great thing was it took so long to slow down that you could nip back in and even though it was switched off, there was still enough momentum in it to take another snippet.
 
The tables are pants on all of them, not suitable for sanding the edge of something unwieldy,
and it seems you get more life out of a belt compared to a disc to me.
I'm planning to mount my belt and disc on it's side, to make into an edge sander,
and also make use of the roller for inside curves.

It will likely render the disc un-usable, but I never cared for it on the machine I have.
(it will leave a convex profile, and I haven't looked to see if dressing the aluminium disc, or indeed paying close attention find out why that is)
I suspect it could be something to do with the cogged belts, what might perhaps be of a lesser shaft, compared to something with a v-belt.
That is likely what could be the Achilles heel of the machine, or indeed any for that matter.


Tom
The table is one of my main concerns tbh, from having to deal with a particularly pants one up until now. Something with a cast iron table would be ideal but also the quality of the tilting/locking mechanism.

I can imagine there will be a difference in quality between these examples though. I’m hoping someone in the forum has a machine similar to what I’m after and can give a positive recommendation!
 
Small combination machines with 6" or 8" disk are useless as the working area (radius) is too small and they are not powerful enough for serious work. I have the 12" Record. It is OK but not powerful enough for heavy use - easy to slow the disk down with pressure. The first thing you will do is ditch the guard as it really gets in the way. If I had the space I would get a big used Wadkin or similar on cast iron stand. Otherwise, for just occasional use, the Record is fine. I also have a Jet vertical belt sander. 6" belt width I think. That struggles under pressure as well.
 
Seems someone doesnt like disc sanders

But that aside. One of the 12" better quality- cast table would be your best bet. Agree with the above though, the tables arent that big, but more often than not its getting used for smallish components.

Proper stuff. Wadkin Something like this
https://lhwmachinery.co.uk/product/wadkin-bgy-12disc-sander/
We had one in the college machine room. Wadkin but combined disc and drum sander. Marvelous thing it was. bloody huge,30" disc and I think the drum was 10" high.

You'd use it to take tiny bits off in final finishing jobs, so to the machine - to the job, back to the machine. Great thing was it took so long to slow down that you could nip back in and even though it was switched off, there was still enough momentum in it to take another snippet.

That’s it - something like a big old wadkin would be a dream! Thanks for sending the link. These big old industrial machines are always going to be leagues apart in terms of build quality.

In an ideal world there’d be something in the middle ground. I don’t have tons of space, so a decent cast iron table and tilting mechanism but slightly smaller scale than the Wadkin would be perfect. Dunno if I’m on a wild goose chase but I’m hoping there is something that sits in that sweet spot.

As is usually the case it seems finding something older and more robust on the used market might be the way to go (considering my budget). I’m just wondering whether if anyone on here can recommend a particular model based on their experience.

Thanks for the input both, much appreciated 👍

Calum
 
Small combination machines with 6" or 8" disk are useless as the working area (radius) is too small and they are not powerful enough for serious work. I have the 12" Record. It is OK but not powerful enough for heavy use - easy to slow the disk down with pressure. The first thing you will do is ditch the guard as it really gets in the way. If I had the space I would get a big used Wadkin or similar on cast iron stand. Otherwise, for just occasional use, the Record is fine. I also have a Jet vertical belt sander. 6" belt width I think. That struggles under pressure as well.
Hey AJB,

Yeah that’s my experience too. Ok for smaller stuff but the disc size soon becomes limiting for anything more than that.

I had a look at the specs of the record - is says power output is 0.55kW. If you’re saying this struggles, would you suggest looking at something 750W+ would be the way to go?

It’s great to have this insight, so thanks. Unless you have real world experience of what a specific model/motor can achieve it does feel like complete guesswork!

I suppose that having a larger disc without a more powerful motor would make it even more susceptible to getting bogged down, considering the distance (and leverage) from the edge of the disc to the spindle.

How do you get on with the size of the table and the quality of the tilting/locking mechanism on the RP?
 
Seems someone doesnt like disc sanders

But that aside. One of the 12" better quality- cast table would be your best bet. Agree with the above though, the tables arent that big, but more often than not its getting used for smallish components.

Proper stuff. Wadkin Something like this
https://lhwmachinery.co.uk/product/wadkin-bgy-12disc-sander/
We had one in the college machine room. Wadkin but combined disc and drum sander. Marvelous thing it was. bloody huge,30" disc and I think the drum was 10" high.

You'd use it to take tiny bits off in final finishing jobs, so to the machine - to the job, back to the machine. Great thing was it took so long to slow down that you could nip back in and even though it was switched off, there was still enough momentum in it to take another snippet.
Table isn't great on that big ol thing either, but solid enough to bolt on a rail for extensions,
what I imagine might be a tidy practical solution.

Still won't do inside curves though, like what a cheapo combination will do..
or should that be could do.
Though admittedly likely not without a lot of faff to get there...
(The idea was only a passing comment I read somewhere, and I thought what a great idea.
Haven't seen the result, and if that included swapping rollers and tracking adjustments
and so on.)
 
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Seems someone doesnt like disc sanders
I don't either, and @AJB Temple has just given all the reasons why.

Depending on what you want it for, consider a Sorby pro edge type linisher - narrow belt but very good rigid table and repeatable settings.
In fact a 2" belt gives you a wider usable sanding surface than a 10" disc once you allow for half the dia and then less than half of that having a sensible surface speed.
They ain't very powerful but apart from that I see no reason not to use them on wood.

The only Axy trade disc/belt I've used didn't have dust ex worth a damn, the disc was horrid and the tables not much better.

Take a look for a used, serious trade belt linisher in 4" up.
Heavy sanding and linishing takes a lot of power so the real limit is whether you have space for something with a 2 or 3kW motor behind it.
 
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Still won't do inside curves though,
Neither do hammers. Right tool for the right job. :LOL:

Inside curves - bobbin sander.
Outside curves - disc or belt

Actually Im a bit lost as in what some here think disc or belt sanders are actually for, or what type of component they intend to bring to it.
 
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Table isn't great on that big ol thing either, but solid enough to bolt on a rail for extensions,
what I imagine might be a tidy practical solution.

Still won't do inside curves though, like what a cheapo combination will do..
or should that be could do.
Though admittedly likely not without a lot of faff to get there...
(The idea was only a passing comment I read somewhere, and I thought what a great idea.
Haven't seen the result, and if that included swapping rollers and tracking adjustments
and so on.)

That table would be big enough for my needs, for sure. Although unfortunately this Wadkin (£950) is a bit out of my price range.

To be honest inside curves isn't a concern, I managed to pick up a used Axi professional bobbin sander on a good deal. So really its only the flat part of a belt and/or disc I need.
 
The only time I can recall needing to use my sander was for shaping the end grain of heavy timbers,
and it would still be a balancing act for that Wadkin's table, let alone anything I've seen which you could buy whats imported.
A hinged table or adjustable height base to suit a bench or whatever, would be a benefit to them all.
Suppose one could just cut the legs down, and use it as an upright machine instead,
that might be a more pragmatic solution for some.
 
I don't either, and @AJB Temple has just given all the reasons why.

Depending on what you want it for, consider a Sorby pro edge type linisher - narrow belt but very good rigid table and repeatable settings.
In fact a 2" belt gives you a wider usable sanding surface than a 10" disc once you allow for half the dia and then less than half of that having a sensible surface speed.
They ain't very powerful but apart from that I see no reason not to use them on wood.

The only Axy trade disc/belt I've used didn't have dust ex worth a damn, the disc was horrid and the tables not much better.

Take a look for a used, serious trade belt linisher in 4" up.
Heavy sanding and linishing takes a lot of power so the real limit is whether you have space for something with a 2 or 3kW motor behind it.

Here's another point to consider :
All discs are only usable out near the periphery. The surface speed falls off incredibly quickly as you come towards the centre of the disc.
Take a 10 or 12" disc, that's a 5 to 6 inch radius driven directly from the spindle. You sand at the edge and the motor has to make enough torque to overpower the (force) x (distance) that you are loading it with.
Do the same with a belt sander and the drive wheels probably have a radius of only 1 to 2". For a comparable motor, and even a lesser one, it is far harder to stall them.


Just had a nosey at linishers, the larger (>4") ones all seem to be horizontally oriented, I'm assuming because they're intended function is different to that of a sander? And the exposed part of the belt usually on the curved roller. Maybe I'm looking at the wrong type?? If you could point me in the direction of a vertical one of these that has a decent sized table to support big(ish) workpieces that would be super.

To be fair, the varying surface speed of a disc isn't so much of a concern to me, I actually quite like that fact you can use the outer edge for rapid stock removal and use the inside for more delicate sanding. Not that this is a big selling point for me, only that its semi-useful. What does get annoying is when the disc/spindle has runout and your workpiece is bouncing off the disc and you end up only using half of the sandpaper surface, which is my current setup 😅

Your points do make sense though and make belt sanders out to be the more logical solution. Perhaps this search for a disc sander is taking a new direction?!
 
I would say the axminster/ Jet belt and disk sander I tested was completely worthless because the bed/ fence moved as the wood was sanded on the disk part.
In the end I bought an oscillating belt sander and have found it excellent, I do not feel I need a disk sander as this machine is so useful and can be adjusted horizontal or vertical and has a pretty big bed to rest the work on. I have made a plywood sub table that sits in the mitre slot for a perfect 90 degrees. Also you can use one end for doing inside curves (to a certain size of course).

For a £500 to £600 budget a big belt sander is possibly a better value proposition than a disk one, also much quicker and easier to change grits because no glue is involved.
Mine is the older version of this Axminster Professional AP2260BS2 Belt Sander - 230V I got the ex display one for a good deal.

Number one recommendation for disk or belt sanders is use a crepe rubber block often to make the abrasives work and last better.

Ollie
 
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The only time I can recall needing to use my sander was for shaping the end grain of heavy timbers,
and it would still be a balancing act for that Wadkin's table, let alone anything I've seen which you could buy whats imported.
A hinged table or adjustable height base to suit a bench or whatever, would be a benefit to them all.
Suppose one could just cut the legs down, and use it as an upright machine instead,
that might be a more pragmatic solution for some.
I tend to need one quite often, for refining the shape of rough-cut circular table tops for example. Obviously over a certain size it makes more sense to use a hand sander, but for a lot of sanding tasks a 90º table and the quick removal of stock of makes either a bench or floor standing sander very useful machines (in my mind anyway!).
 
I have this version from Sealey and have had it for more than 14 years.

s-l1600.jpg


It has done everything I've asked of it, albeit, it will start to stall if you apply too much pressure to the face of the sanding disc.
I only tend to use it for relatively small components and when a small amount of material needs to be removed.
The motor is an Induction motor rated at 750w input with an RPM of 1450......It is nice and quiet though and the dust extraction is very good!👍

Its quite heavy ( cast iron) and therefore stable and its mounted on 4 rubber feet. The cast alloy table is easily adjustable to set at different angles if needs be and the table locks at both ends by means of two Bristol levers.
The mitre fence is a bit on the flimsy side, but I improved mine with the addition of a larger alloy extrusion and some nylon inserts to make it a tighter fit in the mitre track.
 
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That's quite a task for any machine, and a case for something height adjustable,
which you won't likely get from any machine.
More food for thought, seems something worth having to me.

Tom
 
I would say the axminster belt and disk sander I tested was worthless because the bed/ fence moved as the wood was sanded on the disk part.
In the end I bought an oscillating belt sander and have found it excellent, I do not feel I need a disk sander as this machine is so useful and can be adjusted horizontal or vertical and has a pretty big bed to rest the work on. I have made a plywood sub table yjat sits in the mitre slot for a perfect 90 degrees. Also you can use one end for doing inside curves (to a certain size of course).

For a £500 to £600 budget a big belt sander is possibly a better value proposition than a disk one, also much quicker and easier to change grits because no glue is involved.

Number one recommendation for disk or belt sanders is use a crepe rubber block often to make the abrasives work and last better.

Ollie
Hey Ollie, thanks for the insight. What model did you go for?

I hadn't really considered this type of sander. Would you say its useful for delicate work too, considering the belt is travelling sideways and not down towards a table? I've only ever used a big edge sander once or twice, and not to any great extent. My concern is that the workpiece is getting pulled away to the side and not onto a horizontal surface.

But I'm totally open to all the options, any advice is super valuable. I'm grateful for everyones input!
 
I have this version from Sealey and have had it for more than 14 years.

View attachment 166929

It has done everything I've asked of it, albeit, it will start to stall if you apply too much pressure to the face of the sanding disc.
I only tend to use it for relatively small components and when a small amount of material needs to be removed.
The motor is an Induction motor rated at 750w input with an RPM of 1450......It is nice and quiet though and the dust extraction is very good!👍

Its quite heavy ( cast iron) and therefore stable and its mounted on 4 rubber feet. The cast alloy table is easily adjustable to set at different angles if needs be and the table locks at both ends by means of two Bristol levers.
The mitre fence is a bit on the flimsy side, but I improved mine with the addition of a larger alloy extrusion and some nylon inserts to make it a tighter fit in the mitre track.
Thanks, it does look quite hefty and just seen this model on eBay too for £272 which seems quite reasonable. That dust port looks like its cast iron too which looks rather fancy!
 
Thanks, it does look quite hefty and just seen this model on eBay too for £272 which seems quite reasonable. That dust port looks like its cast iron too which looks rather fancy!

It is part of the cast iron casting......I had to put a plastic/rubber adapter on mine to ensure it worked with my Festool dust extractor.

I suppose the machine itself is a bit "agricultural" by today's standards, but I would rate it over many of the models mentioned above as they all seem to be clones of each other....🤔
 

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