6 x 48 belt sander refurb

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Forum topic by jtbinvalrico posted 12-28-2011 05:51 AM 22718 views 5 times favorited 51 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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37 posts in 3380 days

12-28-2011 05:51 AM

This is a Craftsman belt sander I picked up for $50 a while ago….some spare time over the holidays let me make some progress on it. I patiently waited for one of these larger units to pop up around here. It came with a 1/3 hp motor on it.

I had a 1hp motor on the shelf, so I decided to upgrade the power on this sander. I had to make a minor adjustment in the pulley ratios to accommodate the 3450rpm speed of the new motor (the old one was 1725).

Here’s some early pictures:

I started with the normal tear-down….down to the pins and bearings. This unit was in pretty good shape; most of the rust was surface only:

Cleanup was mostly with the wire wheel and some fresh paint:

The old stand wouldn’t do….I got the standard HF stand and built it up to incorporate the new motor:

I like to add some mass to tool stands. I built a box onto the bottom shelf to hold about 60lbs of concrete… smooths out the machine and provides a solid base with the locking casters, easy to move, but stable when I park it. I’ll add the cover to the box after I pour the concrete tomorrow:

Added a cover for the motor pulley:

These old Craftsman machines have a bad rep for the tracking adjustment setup….can’t argue with that gripe. Two keys to getting an old sander like this to track nicely 1) good bearings in the idler pulley, and 2) proper crown on the idler pulley. My bearings were fine….But I read a lot of the tips offered up about belt tracking. I found that the easiest fix is to put two bands of masking tape around that pulley:

Some have had success with just one band in the middle, but I believe the two bands cause the crowning effect to better do it’s job on the outer ends of the wider belt. I wrapped each one four times. Once I did this, I was able to put a belt on and off, and have it tracking properly very quickly. I can turn the sander on and let it run without having to babysit the tracking.

The new motor really pulls. Those marks on the belts are from me leaning into them trying to stall it out.

More to come.

51 replies so far

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 4114 days

#1 posted 12-28-2011 06:46 AM

I bought one of these for $60.00 a few years ago. I use it a lot. The original motor does not have the power i would like. The switch quit working and a new one is really expensive. I’m sure I have gotten my monies worth from it, but it has a home for now. I don’t know much about pulleys. How much bigger is your new one for a 1 hp motor? I have a few 1/2 horse motors. I could try one of those. I also have a switch from an old Delta shaper. Maybe I need to work on the sander.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4586 days

#2 posted 12-28-2011 08:44 AM

Looks like a great rehab,nice work.


View jtbinvalrico's profile


37 posts in 3380 days

#3 posted 12-29-2011 04:05 AM

robert…...I use this calculator to determine pulley sizes: This is a bandsaw calculator, but the math should be the same. By playing with the numbers, you can determine the pulley sizes you need. My motor is 3450 rpm, and the “band wheel” here is the main belt pulley….mine is 3”. I’ve got a little wiggle room on the wheel pulley, but it’s inside a housing that limits its size to about 2.5 to 3 inches. With a 2.5” pulley on the motor shaft, I’m seeing a belt speed of 2700….maybe a little fast. Changing the driven pulley from 2.5 to 3 inches will get my speed closer to 2200, and getting my hands on a 2.25 pulley for the motor shaft would get me to about 2400…which I think is ideal.

Any opinions on which speed is better? 2700, 2400, or 2200?

Made some more progress today. One of the problems with this old sander was the lower front housing on the 9” disc. It was originally designed to be held in place with five screws that you had to loosen to change sanding discs:

The screw holes in the plastic shroud were hogged out and useless, so I drilled them through and set it up instead with machine screws and winguts:

Poured some concrete today, too…..went ahead and poured some for the lathe while I was mixing it up:

It’s nearly time to pull out my trusty old can of black paint.

View Bwa's profile


21 posts in 3848 days

#4 posted 12-29-2011 04:45 AM

Fantastic photos, thanks for sharing. I’ve been weighting tool stands down with boxes of tile for the moment but was thinking about building boxes and pouring concrete or putting concrete bricks in them. Glad to see I’m not crazy! :-)

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 4114 days

#5 posted 12-29-2011 08:26 AM

Thanks for the info on calculating pulley size. I need to spend some time on this machine. It is a workhorse for me. I took the 9” sanding part off. It was in my way for flatting cutting boards. That was before I got a drum sander. I have had no problems with tracking. I had to fix one of the cam bolts but as long as I take time, I can get it to track very well.

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View yammi450's profile


25 posts in 3671 days

#6 posted 12-29-2011 09:14 AM

Your’s is the same sander I picked up at a yard sale for $25. The table is alittle different though. All I had to do was do a little cleaning, change the belt, and some adjustment, and it runs like a top. By far my best tool deal.

View jtbinvalrico's profile


37 posts in 3380 days

#7 posted 12-31-2011 09:24 PM

All done…...on to the next project.

View Grandpa's profile


3264 posts in 3685 days

#8 posted 01-01-2012 03:48 AM

Nice refurb job!

View KenShmid's profile


8 posts in 2973 days

#9 posted 01-09-2013 10:17 AM

Resurrecting an older thread, but does anyone know what size bearings are used in the idler roller on these old Craftsman sanders.?

Just two bearings from Sears—including shipping and tax—will run almost $50 which is more than the sander is worth. I was given a sander in pieces and have the idler roller, but the bearings and shafts are missing. I already have the 7/16-rod to turn a new ilder shaft, and 5/8-inch rod for the adjusters. The Sears parts list shows a bearing with a snap ring—Part Number 38536, and I’m hoping to find a commercially available equivalent bearing. I’ve measured the idler bore as 1 3/16 inches, but haven’t been able to locate a bearing with that outer diameter with a 7/16-inch bore.

In a pinch I can turn a new bearing carrier insert to accommodate off-the-shelf bearings, but I’d like to see if I can find a commercial equivalent to the original bearings before tackling that.

Any suggestions?

View jtbinvalrico's profile


37 posts in 3380 days

#10 posted 01-09-2013 02:06 PM

I took a look at mine and the side of the bearing says 6200RS. I’ve had good luck (and prices) getting bearings from Accurate Bearing in the past.

When I plug 6200 into the web I get some results like this, for $7.50:

Of course there’s various grades of bearings out there, but I’ve put many a $10 bearing on my old machines and they run with no problems. There’s definitely no need to pay $50 for them.

View KenShmid's profile


8 posts in 2973 days

#11 posted 01-09-2013 03:40 PM


Thanks for the unbelievably quick response. I have had this sander sitting in my shop in parts for years, but after seeing your project here, I was inspired to finish it. (Last weekend I bought my Harbor Freight stand, so I guess I’m committed!)

I am surprised to see that Emerson used metric bearings, but I have found no SAE bearing that matches. I did the SAE to metric conversion, and the specs for the 6200 2RS is within a millimeter in all dimensions of my measurements of the idler roller.

If you get a chance and can see them, would you mind passing along the numbers on the bearings on the main drive roller and the sanding disk shaft?

BTW, this was my first post on LumberJocks and I look forward to many more!

Thanks again for an inspiring thread. Like you, I enjoy resurrecting tired equipment—much of which outperforms most new things in today’s market.


View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3306 days

#12 posted 01-09-2013 03:51 PM

I have an earlier model with brass bushings in the rollers and bearings only in the pulley shaft. I also picked up a newer gen like yours for $2.50 at auction without a motor and will probably refurbish that and just keep a different grit on it. People pass by this old stuff and think a new Harbor Freight unit is better. That’s ok, more machinery for us who know better.

View KenShmid's profile


8 posts in 2973 days

#13 posted 01-10-2013 04:30 AM

James or anyone else still here,

I picked up the 6200-2RS bearings today and they fit the roller bore perfectly. Do you remember if the idler roller bearings are a press fit onto the shaft? I am having to fabricate the shaft since I don’t have one, and I have a length of 7/16-inch cold rolled stock and can take a few thousandths off on the metal lathe, but I wanted to see if I need a press fit, or a slip fit.



View jtbinvalrico's profile


37 posts in 3380 days

#14 posted 01-10-2013 04:54 AM

That’s great news on those bearings! I don’t know if you have it or not, but here’s a link to the manual and parts diagram for a similar Craftsman sander. I used it as a reference for my refurb. From the Vintage Machinery site:

As to your question about the idler bearing, the diagram indicates (and I saw it on mine) that the bearings are retained on both sides by 5/8” retaining rings. Additionally, the diagram indicates different part numbers for the bearings on either side of the driven pulley; so it appears that there are three sizes of bearings used – two of the same on the idler, and two different ones on the driven… it appears on paper, I’ll get out there and try to spy part numbers on the other two bearings tomorrow.

View oldnovice's profile


7700 posts in 4377 days

#15 posted 01-10-2013 06:01 AM

You asked about speed, how about a variable speed?

I find that some materials, plastic for example, like to melt at higher speeds.

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

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