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How To: Convert a handheld belt sander into a bench top sander.

Discussion in 'Tools and Garage' started by BrooklynBay, May 17, 2012.

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    1. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Moderator & long time member. Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Belt sanders are wonderful tools. They come in two varieties: handheld & bench top. The bench top versions have different options such as: vertical belt, horizontal belt, and a sanding wheel on the side. The more things running off of the motor, the less power you have when you use one piece at a time. Some old machines were built solid such as this antique Rockwell handheld belt sander:
      [​IMG]
      They don't build them like this anymore! This is a very heavy machine to hold for extended periods of time. It was converted into a bench top machine. The motor is very powerful. A wood box was built around three sides of this machine:
      [​IMG]
      The machine is placed inside of the frame, then wood trim if fitted around it:
      [​IMG]
      Space was left for the belt tracking control adjustment. A three gang plastic electrical box goes in the front with a wood frame:
      [​IMG]
      Here's a bottom view with the machine removed:
      [​IMG]
      Here's a bottom view with the machine installed:
      [​IMG]
      The small wooden handle was removed from the front of the machine where it touches the electrical box. A piano hinge is connected to the bottom door:
      [​IMG]
      Sash locks are used to lock the door in place:
      [​IMG]
      An LED wall picture light was chosen as a work light:
      [​IMG]
      The light is mounted in place:
      [​IMG]
      The wire from the light, and the power cord are secured in place with a small metal strap:
      [​IMG]
      Two female plugs are used to avoid splicing wiring:
      [​IMG]
      The box is a tight fit. There's room for everything inside. The machine is still capable of being removed whenever the belt has to be replaced. Everything is plug & play. No electrical modifications were done to the sander or the light. Two switches, and one outlet were installed:
      [​IMG]
      The front face plate is now installed:
      [​IMG]
       
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    3. BradR

      BradR Active Member

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      Very nice! Excellent work Brooklyn.
       
    4. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Moderator & long time member. Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Thank you. I wasn't even sure if the sander was worth playing with since it didn't work. I took it apart, and figured out what was wrong. I already have a handheld Black & Decker low profile version with a quick belt release & automatic tracking control which is much lighter, and easy to use.
       
    5. drdoom

      drdoom Well-Known Member

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      Nice work. Looks well thought out.
       
    6. Joe Dirt

      Joe Dirt Explorer Addict

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      Dont'cha wish they still manufactured tools like those? Awesome sander... :thumbsup:
       
    7. BrooklynBay

      BrooklynBay Moderator & long time member. Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      A lot of large machines they make today have weak motors compared to this one which is a power house. Different people who purchase bench top sanders from companies like Harbor Freight complain that they have no power while sanding. The motor slows down as soon as they apply pressure. The old motors have heavy gauge internal wiring which provides a stronger magnetic field. I've used a couple of cheap angle grinders, and a drill which caught fire shortly after they were used. We need more quality tools instead of disposable tools.
       
    8. swshawaii

      swshawaii Explorer Addict

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      Last edited: May 21, 2012

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