Basic Maintenance Tips On Wide Belt Sander From Expert
Proper maintenance of your wide belt sander, like any tool, is important for the bottom line of your business. You spend a lot of money on such a powerful tool and expect it to work dependably for a very long time. You may keep it dependable by performing some simple routine maintenance on a regular basis.
State of the art wide belt sanders may contain complex parts and electronics that are beyond even an experienced woodworker’s skills. If your sander experiences problems that seem beyond your ability, it is best to call a professional serviceman. Fortunately, there are many simple maintenance tasks and adjustments that everybody can do.
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The basics of wide belt sander maintenance
Obvious but often skipped: the first thing is to always read the manual (the one you hang beside the machine in a plastic sleeve). If there is a checklist that needs to be checked before using the wide belt sander, do this! Things like checking dust traps or drains and cleaning them out may seem unimportant, but can lead to serious problems when neglected. Dust collection is essential. No matter how good the wide belt sander, your resulting finish will suffer if it’s re-sanding sawdust.
Wide sending belt
If the bearings require greasing, use the correct type of grease and do not apply too much. Properly lubricating a bearing extends its life, but using too much grease will just splatter it all over the place. Also keep the air dry, because the wide belt sanders systems will not function properly when affected by water.
Watch stock removal from each belt to make sure you are not overtaxing the abrasive. When the sander belt needs changing, change it. It might be expensive, but a worn out belt will not yield good quality results. In finish applications, quality paper-backed belts are the preferred choice over cloth belts. They are generally more consistent and should provide flat, even joints. Cloth-backed belts should only be used in heavy calibration applications
When it is time to perform maintenance on your wide belt sander’s internal parts, check all the fixed parts first before doing the adjustable or moveable parts. Also look for any looseness in the parts configuration as prolonged use may have vibrated them apart. Typically the lighter your wide belt sander, the more vibrations you will get. Check the spacing for all the settings and get out the manual again.
Some recent sander models may have electronic height adjustment. Make sure that the feed is exactly parallel to the roller which first makes contact with the material. The rolls for holding the material down will be below that.
Adjust the platen to just below the contact roll and parallel to it. The platens on cheap belt sanders are removable rather than adjustable. Put appropriate dressing on the conveyer belt to ensure proper friction so the material stays steady. Finally, check the conveyer belt tracking and replace any damaged parts.
When operating the wide belt sander
We suggest that you use an inspection light at the end of your conveyor belt. This will help you to see defects like damaged belts, improper sanding by a head and any number of problems prior to the part going through the finish room. It will be relatively cheap to fix the parts at the end of the sander, but very expensive to refinish it.
Carefully watch the conveyor speed and let your belts do the work they were intended for. Give the belt the time it needs to do its job. High stock removal is much easier to achieve at a low conveyor speed. However, operating a pad at too slow a feed rate produces excessive heat and may burn the material. But too high a feed rate simply does not produce a good finish.
Some final points we suggest you keep in mind:
- Keep your wide belt sander and its surrounding area clean
- Realize the difference between a problem with your materials and a problem with the sander
- Overtaxing your wide belt sander’s components will wear them out prematurely
- Any wide belt sander is a serious machine, give it the respect it deserves
- Quality wide belt sanders will last for many many years when given the proper maintenance