Belt sander recommendations?

My old B&D 3x24 belt sanders have both finally worn out (drive gears and no spare parts available any more). These have been the best belt sander for my purposes I've ever seen--balanced w/motor between rollers, relatively light weight and powerful enough to remove all the material I've ever wanted. Unfortunately, B&D no longer makes anything like it (they told me they stopped building this model in 3/79) and it appears there are very few (if any) similarly designed units available today from anybody.
Anybody have any suggestions? I've seen two that are close--one from Bosch and one from DeWalt but both are 3x21 rather than 3x24 which I would strongly prefer. The pictures I've seen of the Makita 9920 make it look promising, but I've been unable to find one anywhere to actually look at/heft, and I've seen one site that has a picture that makes it look as though it has an external drive mechanism, too (although there was a note that the picture might not represent the actual product, so I don't know if it is or not).
Anyway, anybody have any recommendations or detailed knowledge on the Makita? Anybody used the new DeWalt electronic VS 3x21 one? What about the Bosch 1274DVS? It's also 3x21 and I've not been able to find it to look at. It appears there's no model similar in design to it but 3x24?
Also, if anybody were to have B&D No. 7450 belt sanders w/good gears, I'd sure be interested in talking...if I had some way to get the couple of gears needed made/refurbished I'd seriously consider that, too.
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I would reccomend Bosch, Milwaukee, and Porter Cable.I would stay away from craftsman, B&D, Skill, Rigid, Makita, dewalt & the rest.

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twiedeman wrote:

That is about as unhelpful as can be...I asked about specific models that met a criterion. But, even w/o that, other than Craftsman (and B&D home line stuff) which I understand what's the blanket condemnation for? Best as I could tell, DeWalt and Skil don't even make any at present and I don't believe Ridgid does, either. Makita is certainly a respected line and has one that appears perhaps a reasonable model, but I've not been able to find that particular model to see it. As for "the rest", who might that be?
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For what it's worth, I have had a Makita 3X21 belt sander for about 10+ years of occasional light-to-moderate use (I don't have the model number handy), with the following observations:
1. Would also prefer it to be a 3X24, but this was not offered by Makita at the time. 2. Very smooth running as compared to some other brands. More comparable to the noise and vibration level of a high-speed electric drill than to the usual "garbage disposal grinding up marbles" noise and vibration level noted with some other models. 3. Very well balanced and ergonomic. 4. No problems of any kind since purchase.

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