Repairing Sanding Belts

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  • 1-2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-50
What You'll Need

Repairing sanding belts yourself may help save money. You may use sanders to remove paint or other finishes from wood or metal. Sanding wood especially produces a great deal of dust that can cause the belt to slip off the track. Follow these instructions to get your sanding belt in good working order.

Step 1 - Check Tracking

If the belt is not tracking in the middle of the rollers, but to one side or another, turn the machine off and disconnect it from its power source.

Step 2 - Loosen the Motor and Adjust the Rollers

Loosen the motor by unscrewing the set screws slightly. The belt will move to reveal the rollers. Depending on where the belt was seating, either toe-in or toe-out the rollers. Replace the belt and reconnect the power source. Examine where the belt now sits. Keep adjusting the rollers until the tracking is centered.

Step 3 - Tighten the Tension

If the belt is loose, it produces a slapping sound. In this case, tighten the adjustment screw with a screwdriver. Once the slapping sound has stopped, you have repaired the sanding belt. Make sure not to tighten it too much, just enough to prevent any slipping.

Step 4 - Address Dust Problems

Since sanding wood produces a great deal of sawdust, most sanding belts used in woodworking are equipped with some type of collection device. This could be a simple cloth bag attached to a hand sander or a vacuum system attached to a large belt sander. Make sure to check the dust collector basin to see if it needs to be emptied or replaced. Make sure, if your sander employs a vacuum system, nothing has clogged its motor.

Check for breaks in seams or other areas that will allow dust to escape. If dust whirls about during operation, consider adjusting so the belt moves away from the motor. You may need to install a motor shield or frame to protect it from flying dust.

Step 5 - Consider Ventilation

You may need to purchase a separate fan system to keep the sanding belt dust free and cooled down during operation. You should never operate a sanding belt in a closed area without proper ventilation because even with a dust collection system, sawdust will still fly through the air and possibly damage the sander.

Step 6 - Check Torque

If the machine is not producing enough torque, check the pulley for any defects and replace it if necessary.