After twenty years or so I am ready to move up from drum sander to wide belt with platen. I am one of the few who bought a 26" Ross Super Sander which is built like a tank and has served me well. I am looking forward to the advantages of this upgrade in speed and surface quality. Shop size and electrical limitations have narrowed my choice for now to Powermatic 1632 wide belt or Laguna (or Grizzly.etc) 25" compact wide belt. The open end Powermatic power and dust requirements are similar to what I have set up for the drum (30 amp,1780 cfm). The Laguna would require upgrade wiring to 70 amps, and we will see if my dust collector can handle it. Both require an air line. Difference in price is around $2400 (26 wide belt ~8K, Powermatic~5600). In the long run, the price or extra installation work is not an issue. The issue for me is for sanding pieces wider than 16". Does this flip around business really work? If you had an 18" door would you try and sand only half of it or use the full 16" both passes or 16 + 2? What if you had, say, a 24" square frame, mostly air, how well do they handle that? I would greatly appreciate any comments regarding use of these open side sanders. Thanks.
From contributor Ke
Bite the bullet and spend the extra money for a more rigid machine You won't regret it. The time you spend sanding out ridges from the overlap on panels wider than the open end machine and dealing with side to side thickness variations will soon overwhelm the savings on the cheaper unit.
From contributor Br
25" wide belt- NO question. Even if you need to spend more to upgrade electrical, it will be worth every penny.
From contributor Ad
25" no question. I did an article on single had wide belts that is on our website and was posted here somewhere. It will help you set it right and get great results.
From contributor La
Wide belt hands down, A 36" would be a better bet for not much more $ than the 24.
You know the old game, keep inching up in price till you can't afford it! Should be some used 24's around also.