Troubleshooting a Slippery Widebelt Feed Belt

Here's how to dress a slippery feedbelt on a new widebelt sander. July 13, 2010

I have a Butfering Super 109 37" widebelt; arrived the other day. Tech guy came this morning to tune it up. This is my first widebelt. I thought the feed belt seemed kind of slippery when the sander first showed up. Tech guy thought the belt was in tip top shape and didn't feel it needed dressing. While sanding panels for doors today, I had a few get hung up in the machine. I also had consistent sliding of panels during sanding (panels twisting around). Is it a feed belt issue, or is it something I'm doing? I played around with taking off between .1 and .4 mm at a time per pass as well as with and without the platen down. The machine never got over 25-30 amps. Am I not taking enough off? Or is the machine out of some sort of alignment? A call will be made on Monday; I was just wondering what you all thought.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor R:
I am guessing a bit, but would say you're not taking enough off. I have a 37" Powermatic and I always take a min of .005 of an inch at a time. Play with a scrap, but the only time I have had a piece go sideways is when the table was not high enough to feed work through. Within reason, you're not going to hurt anything, as most newer machines will shut themselves off if they become overloaded and you can simply lower the table, then start over.

From contributor K:
We also have a Butfering 211E, and yes, the belt does get very slippery. Here's how to fix it. First, find the height limit switch and remove it, then start the machine and carefully raise the table so the wide belt sands off the slippery belt. Be careful not to cut too fast. This will give you a new life on the conveyor belt. Then reinstall the limit switch and get yourself a good quality digital caliper. Sand some material and measure the thickness, then adjust the encoder on the sand to match what the caliper reads. Now your machine has a freshly sanded/calibrated conveyor belt. Keep the calipers at the sander and measure your material each time before you feed. This will greatly extend belt life. You can safely remove .3 millimeters per pass.

From contributor L:
How much you remove per pass depends on how coarse the belt is. Watch the amp meter. Feeding too slow and trying to take a lot off will ruin your belt and work. Heat kills belts. Feel the panel as it exits the machine; it should be warm, not hot. Be sure the contact drum, platen and bed are parallel.

From contributor D:
If your parts are moving I would make sure your hold down rollers are properly adjusted to provide enough pressure on the parts. You did not mention the size of the parts you had movement with. Too small of a part will move if not butted end to end with another larger part or scrap to help push the small part through. Dressing the belt would be a last resort in my book.

From contributor J:
If it is a new machine, I would ask them to fix it so that panels don't slip! Maybe the hold-down rollers need to be lowered or the spring tension increased. My sander has a pretty firm waffle type feed belt. I find that I need to dress it once or twice a year. I have a 60 grit belt that I keep just for that purpose. You only need to rough up the surface. I make a few lines with a sharpie on the belt and raise it by hand until they just disappear. It also helps to blow all of the dust off the belt when you are done running a job. (There shouldn't be much if your DC is appropriate.) We just run the feed only and blow it into the sander while the DC is running, then blow down the inside of the sander. Sawdust is great at absorbing oils, like the plasticizers in the belt rubber, grease from bushings, etc...

From contributor S:
My tech said if you're worried about oversanding the belt by using the machine that you can also take a sanding block with some 60 grit and start your feed belt and manually sand it, rough it up and you should be good to go again.

From contributor U:
Wash the belt with Dawn dishwashing detergent before you do anything else. It has worked for me several times in between times that the belt needed to be dressed.