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Wide Belt Sanders3/28
We are a 3 man shop doing mainly 75% frame work and 25% frameless. We are looking for a wide belt to sand face frames, solid panels, doors, base moldings and i"m sure we will find more items. Question is will a single head or dual serve us better. Changing belts would not be an issue if it doesn't take longer than 5-10 mins. A new machine would be more desirable if affordable. Any recommendations; problem machines to stay away from; other things to be aware of. I know Vegas is coming up but would probably be able to get a show price at this time. Hoping for more insight from the forum than the onslaught of salesman. Thanks for any info.
We have a triple head, 120, 180, 220 grits and don't have to change belts. We used to have a double head and had to change belts. I don't think you would gain a lot with a double vs a single head because of the belt changing. Granted with a double you would change once vs twice with the single head. If you use a four grit sequence then a double head would make sense.
We have a 43" double head wide belt scmi sanya. It has been a very good sander. We do have to change belts. 80-120 then switch to 150-180. The sander has a platen that can be turned on or off. This has been very good for mdf veneer panels. For our stain grade we will run a paper belt for the mdf panels at 180.
For a 3 man shop a single head with a platen is plenty. Its not hard to change belts. I can do it in 3-5 minutes. Also it depends on how large your shop is and do you have space for a double or triple head. I would spend my money on going wider. We have a 53" and it is wonderful the amount of stuff you can fit through there.
Please check the electrical and dust requirements for a multi (and single) head machine. That may help you make a choice. You have to have adequate dust collection.
Single head 36 inch with platen is good. Be careful when you go wider the structure of the machine changes quickly. If itís wider than 36Ē we donít want to mess with it. Itís just too big for our size business I refer those types to another shop.
You will be cleaning up cross grain a bunch. Take the time to go to a higher grit belt or you will be going over it forever with a DA. Itís best for sizing face frame stock and for leveling doors, very nice. Once again I donít want anything larger than 36Ē for those tasks. We did several time studies and could not justify the additional cost of a multi head machine. We would have needed to run the machine I believe a minimum of (3) hours a day roughly which we just donít do. Many days it does not get turned on, but with a higher dollar say (3) head machine itís very hard to justify the cost unless your run old girl.
Get a machine that has good dust collection and one that you can access the belts quickly, safely and easily. Also the drum needs to be accessible so you can pull it off when it gets damaged and it will get marks in it that have to be removed.
I work on widebelt sanders for a living. I don't work for a machine company but for an abrasives manufacturer. I can help you better understand how to fill your needs. Just message me and I can help.