Sanders - Belt, Disc, Spindle... question on use...


Hi all -     I'm in the process of planning my shop... that is SWMBO has told me to stop thinking about the tools I want and just go get them. Whee!
Just for a little background, my dad had a pretty full shop he used to build all the cabinets in a couple of our houses. I of course, being an unruly teen didn't pay as much attention as I should have, but I did learn some...
About the only thing he didn't have was a typical belt/disc/spindle sander, but then he mostly made cabinets. He had a homebuilt "thing" that had a disc sander on it and all kinds of other odds and ends that spun...
Anyway...
I understand why you'd want a spindle sander completely. No issues there.
I also understand (via Norm) how a 4' wide belt sander could come in handy.
I'm a little unsure about why you'd choose a 12" disc vs a 8" vertical belt sander. Seems like you could accomplish the same thing with either tool, no? Perhaps sharpening various tools is easier on the belt?
And wouldn't the disc have the advantage that as you moved closer to the center you're slowing down the RPM's if that's what you need for the task at hand?
This all arises from looking at the ridgid belt/spindle combo and wondering why I'd want a *short* horizontal belt sander since it seems like if I was trying to round over the end of a say 2" wide board, the fact that it was horizontal would make things difficult as it would constantly be trying to "pull" the wood sideways.
So... with all that in mind, when would you pick a vertical belt sander instead of a disc or vice versa? And when would you want a horizontal sander (that isn't "norm-size")?
Thanks!
-philip
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I would recommend spending some time understanding what you want to do with the shop and machines and carefully selecting equipment to meet that end.
I got a lot of use out of a simple disk sander well before I owned a stationary belt or spindle sander. The disk does a lot of things well including light blade dressing you mention. I get the most use from lightly smoothing miter cut surfaces prior to joining.
The spindle came along last when I started working with more curved surfaces and sculpting. Now I am considering a hand-held drum for similar purposes.
Again, concentrate your time and starting cash on basics - The best tablesaw, jointer, surface planer, clamps and key hand tools you can afford Wise investment here will pay dividends forever.
RonB
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Ah... now you've got me in a pickle :-) There are *tons* of things I want to do! :) Wooden toys for my kid, jewelry boxes for the wife, bandsaw boxes for friends, bowls (already have a litte lathe), kitchen island, cabinet for the tv... and the list goes on :)

I can see a use for a disc/belt sander as well as a spindle right off the bat (for the toys at the very least), just having difficulty understanding the advantage b/n the disc (either horizontal or vertical) and a disc sander.
Come to think of it... I don't think I've ever seen norm use anything other than his long belt sander or his spindle sander, but then again he's usually smoothing table legs or headboards or the like and then it makes sense.

Agreed... I've got that list pretty well down, just trying to round out the initial list... like to have all my lists in a row you know :)
Thanks!
-philip
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Since you have a lathe, you already have a disc sander. Dedicate a faceplate (or make one with a block of wood, side grain, drilled and tapped for your lathe), attach a piece of 3/4 ply, round it off at desired size, apply a velcro pad, or finish the ply for self adhesive discs. Build a box to sit on your lathe ways, clamped or bolted down, with the end toward the disc open and a dust port in the other end. The height of the box should match the center of your spindle. Voila! A very cheap variable speed disc sander. I'm of the opinion that I already own enough MOTORS, and have to fit my shop into a single car garage space, so every time I need another power tool, I try to adapt one I already have. Now, if I can just figure out how to make a belt sander for my lathe, I can get rid of that dinosaur powermatic I have around...
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I thought about that, but had forgotten since, and in fact have done that in the past, although for a quick/hack buffing wheel, but I was wondering if the direction of the force applied would affect the trueness of the lathe after awhile.
Something similar to how you see recommendations against using your drill press as a drum sander...
Although I suppose it's really only an issue if I have dull sandpaper and push like a crazy man...
Although this would be a good way to start and would avoid another tool... hmmm...

Couldn't you do the same as you described above? Mount a roller on the lathe that went vertically up to another roller with all the necessary bolting/boxing/clamping as well?
-philip
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wrote:

No problem with sanding on the lathe, though you might want to consider one of the commercially available 10" discs bolted to a trued faceplate. Better adhesion and heat dispersal.
For toys and small stuff, the disc and OSS have to be the choice. I don't even keep a belt on my belt/disc sander. One goes on when it's needed. Planes and shaves do the work he does better.
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wrote:

like machine... way too many changes to go from say, turning a bowl to sanding a flat piece of wood, to sanding contours.. I have a Shopsmith, and over the years have added a lathe, belt/disk sander, grinder/buffer, etc.. t avoid all those setup changes..
mac
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That's true, but honestly I haven't used my lathe in almost a year... hmm... that's about how old my son is :) so I have a feeling 99% of the time it would be set up as a sander...
still, that's a good point and one of the things I found over and over when reading about belt/disc combos was how many people hated having to move the table from one to the other and back again...
-philip
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wrote:

I never move the table on mine.. hmm... I have this one: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber8360
or, if that's too long, http://tinyurl.com/brwph
It goes on "sale" a few times a year for about $160... I use the hell out of it and it's taken it well..
mac
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Mac,
How long have you had it? I came close to buying one a while back - went to the local store (PDX) to have a look at it. The floor model had a busted disk. It looked really thin, to me.
So I bought a Jet bandsaw instead ;-) ....
But seriously, if you don't have problems with deflection in the disk, I'll have to revisit my thinking the next time I see it on sale.
Regards,
JT
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FWIW, I have a belt/disc sander and NEVER use the disc. I'd rather have another belt sander on it's long edge and also a 1" wide belt sander, but I've never had a need to use the disc. I wish I had the room and money for more belt sanders, including a Performax 22 incher. Maybe some day...
I build furniture and cabinets. No toys or small items.
OTOH, certain WW hobbies probably can make use of a disc sander.
Dave
Philip Hallstrom wrote:

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David wrote:

I have a 12" disc and never use a belt. <G>
I think either works great, it's personal preference on my part.
Barry
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What sort of stuff do you use it on, Barry?
Dave
B a r r y wrote:

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David wrote:

Usually fine tuning miters and fitting moldings to exact length. The sander is located in my assembly area. I've also used it to quickly modify biscuits for weird uses, like insertion into grooves cut with a router and slot cutter.
In certain situations, I'll cut a molding slightly long and freehand it to exact fit with the sander.
Someone mentioned sharpening. I don't do any of that on a sander, as I have a nice grinder, and I like to keep the sparks and glowing metal bits out of the dust collector.
Barry
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Some of the 45 miters I've cut on my CMS don't quite "cut it", so I touch them up at the belt sander with a accurately set miter gauge. :) Different strokes...
I DO use my belt sander for metal, with the appropriate belts. I vacuum up the mess after shutting down the sander to avoid sparks.
Dave
B a r r y wrote:

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Using the 1" belt sander it found a nail and sparks from it found sanding dust in the case and that ended up smoldering enough that it was all cleaned out. Glad I was still in the area when it happened.

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On Mon, 02 May 2005 11:19:35 -0500, Philip Hallstrom

I've got one of those combination beasts with the 4" belt and 6" disc. What I've found is that I use the belt sander most often (usually it gets used for flattening glued-up components, for example- when I make a short table leg out of two pieces of 4/4 stock, and they shift slightly when clamping, the belt sander works great for hogging the excess off.) But the disc sander works very well for doing things like rounding the corners off of stock. The disc sander has a little table in front of it (this can be set for use with the belt sander as well, but it isn't very useful in that capacity) that helps keep the sanded area perpendicular to the base. It also does not seem to get clogged nearly as quickly.
As to which one is "better"- who knows? Get one of each, or one of the combo ones that are all over, and try them out!

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I would take a look at the belt/disk sander combos that have a belt that can be rotated from horizontal to vertical, and locked at any angle in between. For example, if you would like to sand something at a specific angle, you can tilt the sander to that angle, and then rest the work on the table.
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I would take a look at the belt/disk sander combos that have a belt that can be rotated from horizontal to vertical, and locked at any angle in between. For example, if you would like to sand something at a specific angle, you can tilt the sander to that angle, and then rest the work on the table.
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