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Collection: Belt grinder

What is a Belt Grinder

The surfaces of some materials, especially metals and woods, are usually too rough and crude for domestic use. In most cases, rather than serve their intended purpose, these materials with an undesired finish end up causing harm. Fabricators, technicians, and knifemakers use abrasive belt grinders to erase them. This tool is indispensable in workshops and recently has found the favor of being accepted at homes. (read more about forge hammer)

 

The Uses of a Belt Sander

A 2 x 72 belt grinder is a powerful tool used during the finishing process in industries for grinding metals and similar materials, while belt sanders remove rough surfaces from woods. The sander is a less powerful variant of the belt grinder and could also be used on metals for light finishing operations. Since it's made majorly for wood operations, the belt sander speed is relatively lower than grinders — about 17 - 33 feet per second. The slow speed is purposeful. If speeds are high, heat from the belts would likely damage the grains within the wood while in operation.

Belt sanders are used for serious metal works and have a speed of about 67 feet per second depending on the type of grinder. This speed ensures rigorous works are being undertaken even at a rapid pace. Subject to the description of work it will be used for, belt grinders come in different models. A model used primarily for deburring is distinct from the one used for material shaping. Others are used for scribing, descaling, cleaning, sanding, and polishing.

 

Applications of Belt Grinders

Belt grinders have several uses. They typically have two grinding points: the steel platen, and a grinder at the contact wheel. The former is used for coarse grinding, while the latter is used for smooth finishing. Belt grinders have three major applications. For smooth finishing, the belt abrasive used is one with teeth fine enough to produce a smooth finish on metals and wood. Removing surface roughness clears micro burrs to ensure the surface bears a polished look.

Another application of belt grinders is in stock removal tasks. These tasks include erasing tool marks and dimensioning. The deburring application of the belt grinder involves burr eliminations, edge smoothening, and radius beveling.

 

Wide Belt Grinding

The most likely grinding method you could use at home or your workshop is the wide belt grinding. This method is used for stock removal on stainless steels, titanium alloys, and several other special metals. Wide belt grinders have components that are combined into three major parts. There's a grinding head, regulating head, and rest support for work placement. Usually, the grinding head is adjusted during grinding to meet the work on the rest support.

For any wide grinding operation, the type of contact wheel and abrasive belt used depends on the work to be carried out. High stock removal usually requires using a serrated rubber contact wheel coupled with a similar abrasive belt. A less coarse contact wheel is required for work finishing — this is paired with a fine-faced abrasive belt. Other considerations before initiating a grinding work include the pressure of the belt, which can be controlled with the regulating head, the belt speed, and the size of the contact wheel.

 

How to Choose a Belt Grinder for Knife Making

Belt grinders come in different dimensions. A 2x72 belt grinder has a belt measuring 2 inches wide with a 72-inch circumference — both characteristics of the grinder dictate how they perform. A longer belt circumference allows for a reduced duration between belt changes. Machines with belts of increased width have an advantage. The wide belts help profile or straighten long edges of works by providing increased pressure to the platen. And there's much power needed to run these machines. For high stock removal, using machines with a wide belt is recommended.

The speed at which the belt of the machine travels is a key consideration when choosing a belt grinder for knife making. For efficient knife-making operations, the belt needs to rotate at a speed of about 4100 surface feet per minute. The grinder motor size determines the speed output to the belt. And the speed of a grinder with a certain motor size depends on the width of the belt. That's why the popular 2x72 grinder needs up to 2hp motor power, while a 1x72 belt grinder would work optimally with just 1hp motor power.

As explained, the choice of knife-making belt grinders depends on various factors, including their sizes. The most popular sizes you'll find in the market are the 1x30, 1x42, 2x42, 2x48, and 2x72 grinders. Due to their small size and minor uses, the 1x30 is the cheapest among them. A ceramic-based abrasive is recommended to get the most of the grinder. The 1x42, 2x42, and 2x48 grinders are similar to the 1x30, with differences in their configurations, motor sizes, and more.

Recommended for knife making among all belt grinders is the 2x72 option. You will most likely find a 2x72 model in the market, and they are available in types needed for any metalwork. A vertically configured 2x72 belt driver is cost-effective enough and suitable for weighty grinding operation. However, if you have the money, the square-sized option is much more recommended due to its versatility.

 

2x72 Belt Grinder Accessories And Kit

2x72 belt grinders, the knifemakers' choice, have available accessories like wheel attachments and belt platens in just any size. Spare parts are required during maintenance and it's common knowledge to keep them handy. A grinding disc is required as a spare for the contact wheel. They are often 9" in diameter and ½" thick. The flat platen assembly, roller, and knife-rest are some of the other needed accessories.

Full 2x72 belt grinder kits are available for those who seek to build the machine all by themselves. The benefit here is that you don't need to source independently for each part. However, aside from just assembly, you would need to weld some parts together — this may require some welding skills.

 

Conclusion

There are various belt grinders for making knives available in the market. Some are expensive, while others are affordable to be considered good enough. Although the product's price depicts its quality, a good grinder is generally defined by how effective it accomplishes its specific task.

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