A belt sander is a power tool that uses a wide strip of sandpaper to sand wood, metal, and other materials. You can use the belt sander to shape and smooth surfaces, remove paint and rust, and prepare surfaces for finishing. Belt sanders are commonly used in the construction industry to smooth rough surfaces before paint or varnish is applied, but they are also used in many home repair projects. Belt sanders are incredibly easy to use because they consist of only two parts: a motor and a belt.
Most belt sanders use a 1/8-inch-thick wide belt made of abrasive cloth or paper to remove material from the work surface. Some models have adjustable speed settings that allow you to control how fast the belt turns while you use it. Others have small wheels on either side of the sanding surface that can move closer or farther apart, depending on your needs. These features make it easier for you to reach tight spaces or safety corners without repeatedly repositioning the tool during a project.
But like any power tool, a belt sander also requires some maintenance, such as changing the belt to run smoothly and efficiently.
In this article, we will discuss how to change the belt on a belt sander with ease and safety by walking through each step along with the required tools.
What You’ll Need
Before getting started, make sure you have everything listed below for an efficient process of changing the belt on your belt sander. Missing any tool might get you to your desired result but may harm you or the machine.
- Belt sander
- Replacement of sandpaper belt
- Pliers (optional)
- Screwdriver (optional)
- Safety gear
The first step is always going to be disconnecting your power source. You can do this by turning off the switch at the bottom of your sander or turning off the breaker that powers your circuit box if you don’t have access to a switch. Changing the belt while the belt sander is switched on can increase the potential of fatal accidents.
Wear your safety gear. For changing the belt on the sander, this includes gloves, safety glasses, and a mask. The residual debris on the belt might fly in your eyes or nose, causing damage to important organs.
Once you are all geared up with safety wear, you can now begin the actual process of changing the belt. Locate the tension arm given on the side of the sander. Tilt the sander in such a way that the tension lever is directly facing you to make the next step easier.
Pull the tension arm to release the tension from the belt. This will loosen the belt for effortless removal. As easy as it may sound, this step can get tricky because tension arms are designed to be tighter than any other parts to hold the belt in place. That’s where pliers come in handy. Use the pliers to grip onto the tension lever and pull it upward to release the tension from the belt.
Once the tension holding the belt in place is released, remove the old belt from the sander. The belt should come off easily, but you might need to work a little harder and go back and forth on the front and rear wheels to slide the belt off.
Now that you have removed your old belt, it’s time to install its replacement by feeding it through its pulley system. Before doing so, ensure that the direction of the belt is correct. You can use the arrows drawn on the belt’s inner side as a guide. Missing this important detail will reduce your sandpaper’s life as it won’t work in its optimal direction.
Secure the belt on the sander by pushing the tension arm back down. Missing this crucial step won’t secure the belt on the sander firmly, and the sandpaper will come off of the sander.
Track the sandpaper with the help of a tracking knob. This step is done while the sander is switched on. The tracking knob will move the sandpaper from side to side. Tracking is done to align the sandpaper with the front and rear wheels on the sander.
Sandpaper belt has tough particles such as aluminum oxide or Zirconia on its surface used to furnish metals. Therefore, you need to track the sandpaper so that it doesn’t harm the machine or the person operating it.
Some belt sanders need to be adjusted to a certain angle to let the belt slide. Therefore, if you come across such a roadblock where you can’t even get started on the process, just grab a screwdriver and loosen the bolt. This step should allow you to adjust the sander’s surface, and then you can easily continue the process from Step 3.
Our Final Thoughts
The belt of a belt sander moves back and forth along its axis, which means that it creates an oscillating motion that helps reduce friction between the workpiece and the belt. This can save you time when compared to other types of sanding tools, such as orbital sanders or drum sanders because it gives you more control over how much material is removed from the surface being worked on.
Now, you should know how to change belt on belt sander. The belt is what makes it work, so if it breaks or wears out, you won’t be able to sand. You could buy a new sander, but that’s expensive and wasteful. Instead, follow the steps discussed above in proper order and with necessary caution to get your brand new belt up and running in no time and with ease.