Should the belt wear out this quickly?

I bought a Delta 4" belt/6" disk sander (model 31-460) on a whim years ago and it has been sitting in a corner of the shop gathering dust. This past month I have been building some birdhouses for a charity event and began using the sander for the first time. After about 8 hours of service the belt that drives the sanding belt wore out and broke. I replaced the belt and the replacement wore out after about 8 hours of intermittent use. Is this reasonable? Is this the service life of these drive belts?
--
Jim Giblin



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Jim, I don't have that particular sander, but that don't sound right to me at all. I'd call Delta Tech support, They have always been pretty helpful to be. Tony D.

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Definitely not normal. They should last much longer. Something is cuasing them to break. What did the first belt look like? Sometimes there can be a spur or some other imperfection in the drive wheels or system causing damage to the belt as it runs.
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No, it's not reasonable at all. My first belt lasted for three or four years of frequent, hard use.
If you chewed yours up in eight hours, my first guess would be you didn't have the tension high enough, and you stripped off the little teeth and eventually broke the belt. They have to run pretty tight to stay engaged properly with the teeth on the wheels. My second guess would be belt fatigue, since you say it sat in the corner for years. They're made out of some kind of weird fiber stuff. When my first belt broke, it was cracked all over the place, and it looked like time had simply done it in.
Third guess is bearings. I think that's what's wrong with mine now. It has a catch and a knock in it which makes the whole machine shudder at a certain point in the rotation cycle. The machine is well on its way to eating the second belt.
I'm planning to replace the machine, personally. I could put new bearings on it, but by the time I buy a new belt and all the other parts, I'm well on my way to getting one of the Ryobi sanders from HD that looks like it would be much more useful.
I don't use it much anyway, since I do most of my "sanding" with hand planes now. About all I do use it for is grinding plane irons. It works for that, but the CLUNK CLUNK CLUNK sound is very disturbing.
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I have had two similar versions of this tool by grizzly, wore one out and other still going, in 8 years have gone through 2 belts and a few hundreds of hours of sanding. Check the alignment of your pulleys and check to make sure that they are smooth.

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I'd say no. I have a Craftsman version and have it going on a year of fairly constant use with no problems. It's probable the pulleys might be out of alignment (the belt is running at an angle). Other options could be a pulley with a burr on it or the belt is too tight/loose.
On Sun, 04 Jan 2004 05:20:36 GMT, "Jim Giblin"

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Something is wrong, alingment, tension, bad pulleys. One shop I worked for had a simular sander. It often ran eight hours a day, it was just left on as it was used almost constantly on some jobs. I worked there for 2-1/2 years and the belt was never replaced. Greg
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Jim Giblin wrote:

You stated that the sander was sitting in the corner for years. The original belt may have dry rotted during this time. Was the replacement belt new, or was it purchased at the same time as the sander?
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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Nova wrote:

Dry rotted? Maybe sitting out in the sun and rain for 4 years but probably take longer than that. I've got new belts and old belts that have been hanging in my garage for 15-20 years. Used one to replace a belt on a rock saw a year ago and it still looks like it did when I first put it on a saw. Some are kind of hard but they were hard when taken off a piece of equipment.
Something wrong with his set up. It's not the belt, besides he ruined a replacement belt too.
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Thanks for all the input folks! I suspect the tension on the belt, as suggested by Silvan, is the problem. The manual is vague when it discusses the appropriate tension. It says, in bold print and all caps, "NOTE: THE BELT (A) SHOULD BE FIRM BUT NOT TOO TIGHT. THE BELT DOES NOT REQUIRE EXCESSIVE TENSION TO FUNCTION PROPERLY". Because of this admonition, I set the tension on the new belt then backed off a bit. The belt subsequently failed and, upon inspection, the teeth on the drive wheel are now ground down to nubs. The replacement belt cost $12.50. I suspect the cost for a replacement wheel would be equally outrageous. All is not lost however because the local Delta Service Center has the current 4" belt/6" disc sander on display for $78. It is much easier and probably no more expensive just to buy a new sander.

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Jim Giblin wrote:

It's a tricky thing. Too loose, and the belt will eat itself. Too tight, and the bearings will be under too much stress on one side, and/or the belt will eat itself.
It's not the best design I've ever seen, but it's the same as every other sander in this class. They're all virtually identical, except the Ryobi.
That's why my next one will be the Ryobi. Though even that one has the stupid toothed belt design too. I really don't like those.
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Is the Ryobi any good (or at least that much better)? Many threads in the newsgroup seem to put them down.

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Jim Giblin wrote:

I figure if the Delta self-destructed after five years, any similar machine will suffer the same fate. I wouldn't be buying the Ryobi because I expect it to last longer, but because it's a different design whose improvements look useful.
Truthfully, I'll probably just buy a 1" sander more appropriate for sharpening when my current sander goes. I practically never sand anything anymore except when I'm grinding.
If I were buying a 6"/36" combo sander today though, I'd definitely give the Ryobi a shot.
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