Conveyor Alternative for Performax??

Hi Guys,
I hate to come around only when I have a question, but I confess I haven't even been lurking I've been so swamped.
Now, the question....
Didn't I see once upon time here mention of an alternative conveyor belt for the Performax? I did a Google search on the group and I've searched the web, but I didn't turn up anything.
My problem is that many times I use my thickness sander to take woods down from 4mm to 2.2mm (.090) sometimes even less. After the material passes through, the drum skins the conveyor and in very short time they are too slick to pull the workpiece through. I tried making the conveyor really snug, but that didn't help at all. I can't just lift the drum or I risk making a mistake on the next pass. Some of my guitar builder buddies make carrier boards that ride on the belt and the piece to be sanded gets passed through on top of the boards, but frankly a day of lifting a 5/8' baltic ply workboard 18x22 is more than I can do! I have worn out three conveyor belts now, and I'm about through the fourth.
Other than running a piece of garbage wood on the heels of the piece I'm working on, I'm out of ideas. Have you heard of an alternative conveyor or did I dream that? Does anyone know of a way to renew these things?
Thanks for listening, Kathy
Kathy Wingert Guitars Visit http://www.wingertguitars.com
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Mike,
Thanks for that, and same to you!
The conveyor on the Performax is a wide sanding belt, looks like about 300 grit, so your softening idea won't work. I wouldn't be able to handle any part of the tool being contaminated with anything that messes with the finish process because the parts come off the sander very close to the dimension they will be when finished.
Kathy
Kathy Wingert Guitars Visit http://www.wingertguitars.com
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Sorry I cant help you with your question. I just want to say I visited your web site and your work is truly wonderful. You sure do beautiful work.
Leo

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Hello Kathy,
I do not have a Performax, so forgive me if my suggestions are silly. I do know something about conveyors however. It seems that .090 should be plenty of clearance between belt and drum. Unless the conveyor belt is not riding the slider bed, or unless the drum head is flexing upward during sanding and dropping down after the workpiece is gone. This second problem is what causes snipe on portable planers.
I suspect the belt is not riding the slider bed, because you tried to fix it by tightening the belt. If so, could you add something to the top of the slider bed? A piece of 1/8" UHMW sheet for example between bed and belt? Or perhaps the end rollers are not level with the slider bed. Is there an adjustment for that?
If the drum head is flexing, well I don't know the machine well enough to suggest a fix for that except taking very, very light passes.
Bill Pounds http://www.bill.pounds.net/woodshop

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Hmm.... you may be onto something there. That is something I can try. I may have actually bent the rollers that tension the belt in my frustration which accounts for the lousy way it all fits now. If I can figure out a more robust tensioning roller with a mod to the table, all that will be left to do is find a belt that is just the right size, but I suppose I can get them made... thanks for the good thought.
Kathy

Kathy Wingert Guitars Visit http://www.wingertguitars.com
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Hi Bill,
I think my comments mislead too! I was commenting on my heavy-handed-I-know-I-shouldn't-make-this-this-tight adjustment as an addition to the description of the mess I'm in.
I received an email privately from a lurker with a suggestion of a Klingspor belt and a set of ceramic rollers as an upgrade. Somewhere in this combination of ideas is a way to make this thing work more reliably.
I liked your site.
Kathy

Kathy Wingert Guitars Visit http://www.wingertguitars.com
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Kathy, There is a polyurethane belt available for the 16/32 but it costs approx. $150.00. I you are having problems with your sander you may want to address them before sanding away an expensive belt. You may also want to try wrapping an old belt with duct or gaffers tape. Gene

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Gene,
Thanks. I did run into one of those on a web search, but I couldn't find a description of it anywhere. Do you know anything about it? My Performax is actually a 22-44, btw. I think it is adjusted about as well as it can be, I mic the materials as they come out, and it's very consistent side to side.
Kathy
Kathy Wingert Guitars Visit http://www.wingertguitars.com
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Kathy, There is a poly belt also available for the 22-44 , but I'm not sure of the cost. Gene

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I use backing boards with my performax and the weight isn't overwhelming at all. 1/2" lightweight MDF at about 16"x 22" should be fine for guitar backs. The lightweight MDF is a bit more expensive than regular MDF, but it's WAY lighter. 1/2" should be plenty thick to stay flat, especially if you have the infeed and outfeed tables.
I use MDF and sometimes even particle board as a backer when sanding dulcimer parts. I also take them down to 0.090" to 0.070".
Insert gloat of pride here: http://www.brouelette.com/dulcimer/dulcimertour1.html
Another trick I use is that I glue my kerfed linings slightly proud of the sides (As do all luthiers) and I put my dulcimer into this jig:
http://www.brouelette.com/dulcimer/images/dulcimerform1.jpg
and then run the whole thing through the performax to take the kerfling down to the sides smoothly and absolutly flat. The 4 bolted blocks you see on the jig are there for clamping end blocks. They come off when going through the Performax.
BTW, my workshop page is here: http://www.brouelette.com/workshop.html It's a bit smaller than yours. ;-) But I enjoy spending every minute I can in there.
I'd also like to say that I've admired your work and your web site for quite a while. It's nice to get a chance to chat with you.
Greg
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Is "lightweight" MDF something other than what I would find at the Depot? That sounds like just the trick.
Nice dulcimer design, btw. Thanks for sharing that.
Being a builder using radiused tops on radiused sides, you made me jealous with your cool fixture for making your ribs flat!
Kathy
Kathy Wingert Guitars Visit http://www.wingertguitars.com
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says...

Kathy,
I'm in Long Beach, and Long Beach Plywood just started carrying "ultralight" mdf. I had been getting it from Reel Lumber in Anaheim. If you try other cabinet lumber yards, you should be able to find it. It is a much superior product than plain mdf: not only lighter, but much finer textured internally, with a very smooth surface.
Kim
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says...

Thank you, Kim.
Now that makes three good solutions to come out of my query. Thanks for your time guys, I'll be doing a combination of parts replacement and making the carriages.
Kathy
Kathy Wingert Guitars Visit http://www.wingertguitars.com
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I get mine in San Diego at Hardwood & Hardware. The word "Ultra Light" is stenciled on the edge. One 4x8 sheet of LightWeight MDF weighs about 1/2 what a regular sheet does.

Thank you very much. Wait until you see the spinning radius dish sanding jig I'm going to build. Then you'll really be jealous. ;-)
Greg
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