Shop Built Belt Sander Project #4: Finishing the Sander with Dust Collection

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Blog entry by Lazyman posted 12-01-2015 11:57 PM 4602 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: First Dust Part 4 of Shop Built Belt Sander Project series Part 5: First Improvements: Lathe Tool Sharpening Jigs »

I finally got around to posting the completion of the sanding platform with dust collection. Dust collection is working very well with just a shop vac.

The platform pivots out of the way for belt changes while in either the horizontal or vertical positions though you have to move the sander to the edge of the bench so it can swing out of the way. I need to add 2 more feet to make it more stable in this position. By swinging the platform out of the way while in the horizontal position, you can also run longer boards across the belt from end to end.

Dust collection doesn’t work quite as well when I use the top roller to sand an inside curve but it does collect most of the dust. Note that sanding with the top roller works very well. I was worried that tracking could be a problem while using the top roller but it doesn’t seem to make any difference. I do have to adjust tracking when I change belts but I think that is because each of the different grades of belts is a slightly different length. I also made some shims out of a soda can to improve the racking that I was getting which helped a lot. Tracking is working very well though occasionally, it does seem to suddenly track to the side for no apparent reason. Adjustments with the tracking knob quickly pull it back into alignment.

Check out my Youtube summary and project postings here

I still have plans to make an adjustable tool rest but that may have to wait until after the holidays.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

4 comments so far

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1392 posts in 3204 days

#1 posted 12-02-2015 12:02 PM

Thank you for a long and thorough writeup. Enjoyed the read and got a lot of ideas for myself. Great looking machine that looks like it could get a lot of use and enjoyment!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View Lazyman's profile


9753 posts in 2878 days

#2 posted 12-02-2015 02:56 PM

Thanks. I’ve already used it quite a bit, even before I added the table and dust collection attachment. Makes me wish that I had built one a long time ago and this was really fun to design and build. I figure that it probably costed me about $100 +/-, including the plywood but not counting the motor since it was a salvage from an A/C repair, which is still less than half the cost of the Harbor Freight 6×48 sander and has a much smaller shop footprint. Even used, most of the other 6×48 sanders are all well over $300. Reviews I have seen on the HFT one are pretty sad and with the quick belt change feature, dust collection and better tracking adjustment on mine I think it beats the HFT hands down.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View jkinoh's profile


104 posts in 3388 days

#3 posted 12-02-2015 05:49 PM

Nice project. I made one when I was getting into the hobby (almost 40 years ago). Used a couple wringer washer rollers that I salvaged. They actually are great for a sander. I think the shaft that the rubber is molded to is 1/2”, which worked out well. Along the way I purchased a Delta belt/disc combination sanding station, but still often use the homemade one (storage cabinet under it!).

-- Why buy it for $300 when you can make it for $500!!

View Lazyman's profile


9753 posts in 2878 days

#4 posted 12-03-2015 02:15 PM

Thanks jkinoh. The wringer rollers is a great idea. Getting hard to find those these days. I looked around for something to use as rollers but ultimately making them was pretty easy.

Making a disk sander was actually my first thought when I started thinking about using the blower motor to make a machine. My fear was that the 1/2 HP motor would not be strong enough for a disk that was large enough to be useful. I thought about including a small disk in this design but decided that it would make it more difficult to rotate between the horizontal and vertical positions and also make the bench footprint significantly bigger. On the commercial versions, the disks are either too small to be that useful or they interfere with the full use of the belt.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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