Addressing Common Belt Sander Issues

Belt sanders are unique power tools, used preferably to cover wide areas in a shorter amount of time. Their power and capability to remove material quickly and efficiently make them the choice of sander for initial leveling jobs. While a good number of belt sanders are handheld, there are many belt sanders that are stationary, for more precise sanding needs.

Most belt sanders which are handheld have a handle in the front and the back of the machine in order for operators to have total control. Using a belt sander with both hands will definitely allow you to ensure a level sanding area each and every time.

If you’re encountering issues with your belt sander, do not fret. While there are many competent technicians who can have a look at your machine, most of the time any problems you have can be addressed with quick troubleshooting.

1) During those times that you’re noticing that your belt sander is not sanding as much material as you’ve observed in the past, it would help to check if you’re using the right sandpaper belt for the job in the first place.

If you’re looking to do some serious power sanding, it helps if you choose sandpaper treated with materials such as aluminum oxide, or silicone carbide. Of course, there are other rougher and grittier synthetic materials out there, but they compromise finesse for sheer leveling power.

The conventional approach to a fine leveling and sanding job would be to start with a rougher sandpaper, and then to smooth things out with finer sanding belts.

2) If you’re noticing more dust being dispersed than usual as you are sanding, then you may want to check the dust bag module of your belt sander before moving on.

Most of the time, the dust bag is not replaced properly after emptying, resulting in a dirtier workspace. Make sure that you have the belt sander switched off and unplugged, and then proceed to check if the bag is properly and securely attached to the sander.

3) Take advantage of your belt sander’s tracking screw

If you see that your sanding belt is losing its grit quicker, or if you notice that it is not just sanding your material, but the actual sander by contact, then you may need to do some adjusting.

This adjusting is not as technical as it may seem, as that is what your tracking screw is for.

Using the appropriate tools, turn your tracking screw clockwise if you notice that your sanding belt is running inward; if it is running outward, then go the opposite direction on the tracking screw.

This sort of adjusting is necessary when you install a new belt. The belt tracking is ideal when you see that the edges of the belt are in line with the edge of the sander’s base.