What are Belt Sanders?

22nd Aug 2022

Gone are the days when everything took extra effort. Advances in technology have revolutionized the way we work and our productivity. One such advancement was the development of the belt sander. A belt sander is a machine that is used to shape and neaten up metal and wood. It is a motor-operated machine that rotates sander belts around two drums in a continuous motion.

These machines can either be hand-held or stationary and come in a variety of types, depending on the application that it is needed for. The purpose of a belt sander is to achieve a smooth surface by sanding away paint or wood finishes, or the top surfaces of the metal or wood itself.

Types of Belt Sanders

There are typically five common types of belt sanding machines, namely the hand-powered belt sander, the tube belt sander, the belt file sander, the floor belt sander, and stationary belt grinders.

Hand-powered belt sanders are the most well-known belt sanders available. They can either be battery-powered or connected to the electricity supply with a chord and are useful for working on both small and large surfaces to create a smooth finish.

The tube belt sander is battery-powered and a handheld machine. It operates on a pulley system where the sander belt is then able to maneuver around a tube or cylindrically shaped surfaces.

Belt file sanders use small sander belts and are typically handheld. Because of their size, they are easily able to fit into smaller spaces and corners.

Floor belt sanders are larger machines that are used to sand wooden floors. The machine is handheld and operated with a handle that is pushed by the operator. The advantage of this sander is that they make it quicker to cover a larger area that needs to be sanded.

Stationary belt grinders are designed similarly to the pulley mechanism in the tube belt sander and are made in a variety of different designs. Due to the variety, they are also capable of using a variety of different size sander belts. The size of the belt will depend on the application for which you are using it.

Types of Sander Belts

Consideration must also be had to the sander belts that are used with any particular sander. Different grains and substrates will create a different effect or finish in the wood or metal. There are four main types, namely aluminum oxide sanding belts, zirconia alumina sanding belts, ceramic grit sanding belts, and silicon carbide sanding belts.

Aluminum oxide sander belts are suitable for all-purpose sanding and give a very professional finish. They are the most common type of sanding belt used for wood and are found typically in a red or brown shade. They can operate on a broad range of materials and can fit onto any type of sander.

Zirconia alumina sander belts are typically used in the metal industry as they function well with grinding and high-pressure sanding. These are heavy-duty belts, more so than aluminum oxide belts, and are commonly found in a blue hue. They are self-sharpening but require great pressure in their use and are best suited for metals and hardwood.

Ceramic grit sander belts have the coolest grind of all the belt materials available, and as such are well suited for materials that are sensitive to heat. They are known as the longest-lasting belts and like the zirconia alumina belts, they are self-sharpening. They provide a very controlled breakdown of the material, allowing it to be suitable for a great number of applications.

Silicon carbide sander belts are made out of silicon carbide, which is itself made of thin, long, and sharp fibres which assist in efficiently breaking down the material. As much as they are sharp, they are very sensitive and tend to break down quicker than other sanding belts. As such, they are rather suited for more particular applications, like marble, where minimal pressure is needed to shape the material.

Choosing the right sanding belt will depend largely on the application and the properties of the belt itself. Getting professional advice from a reputable company like Avex Air Training (Pty) Ltd can assist. Contact us today to speak to one of our friendly and professional consultants for more information on our wide range of sander belts.