The best thing you can do to use your belt grinder with speed and power is to choose a powerful and durable machine. You can finish your work quickly with a responsive belt grinder. Your grinding performance and results will be better, too.
Here are more tips in using your belt grinder to achieve the best results:
Use The Grinder with Speed and Power
Your first step is to choose a belt grinder with features designed to deliver speed and power. The rule of thumb: The higher the horsepower, the greater its speed and power.
The methods used in grinding will also affect the belt grinder’s actual speed and power. You have to practice hard so that you can develop your own techniques. Your main aim is to develop brain and muscle memory for the job.
We also want to emphasize that there’s a difference between a belt sander and grinder. Many manufacturers use the terms interchangeably. But a belt sander is used for wood while a belt grinder is applied on metal.
This is because of the differences in their surface feet per minute (SFPM). Belt sanders have a slower SFPM, thus, their suitability for wood applications. Sand wood with a high SFPM belt sander and it will likely burn.
Belt grinders have a higher SFPM, which make them suitable for metal applications. You can use a belt sander for grinding metal but your progress will be agonizingly slow. You’re well-advised to use a belt grinder for greater power and faster results.
Tip: You can buy a variable speed sander/grinder. You can then sand wood and grind metal by changing the settings.
Get a Belt Grinder with a Contact Wheel
If your goal is a belt grinder that “hogs” the metal material, then your best bet is one with a contact wheel. You can grind the metal against the contact wheel, which will speed up the removal rate. Your work will be faster in comparison with grinding against a flat platen, too.
Tip: You can invest in a belt grinder with a contact wheel and platen. You can remove plenty of material on the contact wheel. You can square up your work piece on the flat platen (i.e., for finishing).
Tip: Apply the right pressure on the work piece as it makes contact with the belt. Practice is a must since the right pressure will depend on the part of the work piece for grinding.
Select the Right Belt
Keep in mind that belt selection is just as important. When you use the wrong belt for a job, it will quickly wear out. You will exert more time, energy and effort on grinding. You can still end up with unsatisfactory results, too.
You’re also wasting resources including materials, labor and overhead costs. You’re not being cost-efficient and results-effective in your work. Our recommendations:
- For rough grinding metal, you can use 3-horsepower belt grinder. The belts can be Norton SG Blaze with 36 and 50 grit for effective and efficient grinding.
- For finishing the metal, you may use the 3M gator Grit belts, in A65, A45, and A30 grits. These stay sharp longer than their cheaper counterparts.
- For handle work, you can use cheaper J-flex belts with 220 and 400 grits. Add affordable aluminum oxide belts with 60 grit for roughing handles, too.
You have to consider your grinder stance, too, as it affects your grinding performance.
- Stand with your feet wide apart, just enough to maintain your good footing. Your wider stance also adds to your stability and balance while grinding.
- Place the grinder at a low height, usually at navel height. You can let your arms “ride” on your hip bones for more controlled movements.
- Lock your elbows when grinding.
- Shift your weight evenly between slides. But lean into the grinder, too.
- Be aware of the spark pattern. No sparks on the belt’s entire width can means uneven application of the material on it.
- Using your left hand, hold the tang firmly in place. Your elbows should be locked. You can avoid letting it twist or its angle wander.
- Use an aggressive roughing belt, if the work calls for it.
You’re also wasting resources including materials, labor and overhead costs. You’re not being cost-efficient and results-effective in your work. Our recommendations: Again, practice is a must to perfect the proper grinding stance.
Use a Push Stick
You can grind faster by using a push stick. This is a flat piece of wood with step-down cut on one end. This will support the blade from below its spine and push it into the belt.
The push stick will overheat at some point but you can replace it. You don’t have to use it all the time, just at the finishing or polishing stage.
Your choice in a belt grinder and its belt is the foundation of your effective and efficient use of the machine. You should complement it with the proper grinder stance, accessories, and techniques. You have to experiment with a wide range of belts and angles until the right results are achieved.
Your use of a belt grinder with speed and power requires knowledge and skills. You can get them through education, on-the-job training, and personal practice. You have to develop a personal instinct and professional feel for it.
When you’re in doubt, it’s always best to ask the experts. If there are none available, you can refer to instructional materials and videos online.
The more informed you are, the better your results can be. You will even finish certain jobs at a fraction of the time yet achieve better results! This is the case when your haste doesn’t represent waste.