The Best 8 Benchtop Sanders (By Type Category)
I remember when you had to physically sand everything by hand in the old days. It was tiring and also pretty dull, if I’m honest. All I ever want to do is to feel as if I’m making progress with my projects, and that’s tough when you have to do things the long and slow way.
But that doesn’t have to be the case regarding sanding. Instead, there are many benchtop sanders on the market for you to choose from, and that’s what I’m going to FOCUS on with this post.
You see, I love my benchtop sander. It makes short work of all those annoying and tiring jobs, and the result you can achieve is always pretty amazing. However, I know you will probably be like me and see the sheer number of options and have no idea where to begin.
So, I’m about to change that.
I have eight of the top benchtop sanders available right now, and I am confident that at least one of the eight will prove to be the perfect sander for your needs. But don’t worry, I won’t just let you try to work it out on your own. Instead, after I analyze the eight machines, I’ll also provide you with a few tips on choosing the right benchtop sander for your needs.
How I Made My List
But first, you should know how I made my list and narrowed down all options to just these eight sanders. Well, I had to consider different criteria for ease of use, maintenance, effectiveness, and reliability.
I also looked at what other people had previously said about the sander. I wanted to ensure that other people were happy with the overall performance before suggesting the model to you.
Once I had worked through all of this, I was left with these eight, and I’m sure they are the best on the market right now.
Best Benchtop Belt Sander – Bucktool BD4801 Belt Top Sander
After much thought, I went for the Bucktool BD4801 as the best benchtop belt sander on the market right now, and let me explain why.
First, this has more than enough power with ¾ HP. That should suffice for most jobs and means it won’t have too many problems sanding things down to perfection.
I also feel that both sanding options offer ample space and are of a good size. The belt sander is well positioned, and I think that the entire machine is straightforward to use. Also, the belt table is quick and easy to adjust, with you having the option of moving it between 0 to 90 degrees.
Moving to the base, this version is made from aluminum while it sits on non-slip feet. I believe that it does provide you with a stable base,
Finally, it comes with two dust ports, which is excellent. They are easy to set up, and there’s no doubt they will reduce the amount of dust you then find working its way into the air around you.
Overall, I feel this benchtop belt sander makes life easy and does a fantastic job.
- It’s very powerful
- It’s easy to adjust the angle of the belt table
- It offers both a disc and belt sander
- It comes with two excellent dust ports
- The base feels solid and won’t slip
Best Benchtop Oscillating Spindle Sander – WEN 6510 Oscillating Spindle Sander
An oscillating spindle sander can be a helpful tool at your disposal, and it’s completely different from any other type of sander. This WEN 6510 model is just one example of this type of sander, but it’s a model I have fallen in love with.
You get an array of spindle sanders, ranging from ½ inch to 3 inches in total, and you also get different grit sizes. That means this single machine is capable of helping you out with an array of projects, and I always love the versatility.
With this model, you get ½ HP, which I see as more than adequate. Also, with a sander speed of up to 2000 RPM, this sander will make quick work of pretty much anything you throw at it.
From a dust collection perspective, it comes with a 1 ½ inch dust port, and it does quite a substantial job at picking up as much dust as possible. In addition, I feel you get a large enough worktable with this machine at 11.5 inches by 11.5 inches to carry out your projects. This table remains steady at all times, which should give you confidence in carrying out your tasks.
Overall, if you want an oscillating sander, then this is the one I would recommend you go ahead and buy.
- The number of options you get with this machine is outstanding
- Changing the sanders is exceptionally easy
- It’s more powerful than you need
- The worktable feels steady and secure
- It has a suitable dust port
Best Benchtop Drum Sander – JET JWDS-1020
If you thought that drum sanders would take up a lot of space, then this JET model will disprove that theory. This benchtop version comes with 1 HP, so it has a powerful motor capable of churning through those planks in next to no time.
But even though this is a benchtop machine, I love that it can still deal with planks up to 20” wide and 3” deep. That’s impressive, and it’s certainly bigger than you would expect when you look at the machine.
However, there is one point I love about this machine: the dust collection. They claim it catches up to 97% of all dust generated by the machine. That’s amazing, and it’s one of the most effective machines out there when it comes to dust collection.
Overall, it’s the effectiveness I love about this machine the most. It spins at 1,750 RPM, and that’s fast enough to cope with smooth passes of those planks, giving you a great end result.
- It has a strong motor offering 1 HP
- It catches almost all of the dust it creates
- It can deal with relatively large planks
- It creates a smooth finish
Best Benchtop Disc Sander – Grizzly G7297 12-Inch Disc Sander
For any individual looking to add a disc sander to their collection, I would suggest you don’t look past the Grizzly G7297 for several excellent reasons.
First, it has a 1 HP motor, and that’s powerful. It means it has no problem sanding down whatever you throw at it. Also, it has a maximum speed of 1,725 RPM, and this does help produce a smooth finish for your projects.
Another key feature is the miter table. It can tilt up to 45 degrees, making a difference on various projects. Also, it does come with a big old safety switch, and there is no missing that switch.
Finally, it comes with a built-in dust port, which I find performs reasonably well. Sure it may not catch as much dust as some, but I feel it does an adequate job.
Overall, as disc sanders go, this one performs well. It’s fast, powerful, and also suitable for people relatively new to working with disc sanders.
- You will have no problem in the power department
- The miter table is effortless to tilt
- The safety switch is easy to find
- It creates a smooth finish
Best Benchtop Belt Sander for the Money – Powertec BD4600
I love everything about the Powertec BD4600, and when you check out all it offers, I’m sure you will feel the same way. It comes with ½ HP, and that’s more than enough for most amateur woodworkers. Also, you get two sanding options with both the belt and disc sander, and each can get up to an impressive speed.
But one thing that stands out for me is the precision tracking system and the fact the table can tilt up to 45 degrees. It opens up this sander for a whole host of other possibilities, and you will probably find you will use it more than you expected.
This sander also makes less noise than you would anticipate. Actually, I think it’s one of the quietest sanders out there. Add in the fact you can change grit in seconds and that it delivers a smooth finish, and you will quickly ascertain why I wanted to include this model on my list.
- The power is more than enough for most users
- Changing the grit is exceptionally easy
- It’s very quiet when in use
- Both sanders give smooth finishes
Best Benchtop Sander for Woodworking – JET J-41002
The JET J-41002 is a genuinely fantastic benchtop sander that I feel is the perfect machine for people looking for a sander specifically for woodworking. I love that it has two different sanders, and both work exceptionally well on their own. Also, it’s packed with power, which is always appreciated, thanks to it coming with a ¾ HP motor.
But aside from those very positive things, I need to mention the miter gauge that comes with this model. It’s astonishingly good with the way it’s easy to move and then lock into place. It allows you to work on angles knowing the sander will not do anything strange and ruin your project.
The other key feature I like regarding this sander is the cast-iron base. That gives you a solid platform to work from, and you then feel confident that nothing will move when in use.
Overall, the way in which you can use this sander in various ways, even including strange curves, helps this model stand out as one of the best.
- This sander has so much power
- You have both a disc and belt sander included
- It has a strong base that won’t move around
- It’s easy to angle the table to get those perfect sanding angles
Best Benchtop Sander for Metal – Bucktool BD4802
I wanted to include a sander that also works on metal because not every benchtop sander has this capability. So, if you work with metal and need to remove those metal fragments, I suggest you check out this Bucktool sander.
What you get here is a lot of power via a 1 HP direct drive motor. You also get a belt and disc sander, with the belt measuring 36” and the disc 8”. That’s perfectly reasonable, and they both hit high speeds with the disc measuring 3450 RPM and the belt 2161 FPM.
This sander also comes with an adjustable miter table, so you can get those sanding angles. It’s easy to adjust, which I always love, and you can alter it to a 90-degree angle.
Changing the sanding paper is easy as it uses a hook and eye method. It also comes with professional grade paper to polish metal, and you are pretty much guaranteed results.
Overall, this sander is reliable, sturdy, and very easy to use, and I highly recommend it if you plan on working with metal.
- You can work with both wood and metal with this sander
- It delivers a serious amount of power
- You have two different sanding options
- The table tilts to a 90-degree angle
- The casing is designed to ensure it doesn’t melt even at high temperatures
Best Budget Benchtop Sander – Rikon Power Tools 50-151
If you are new to the concept of a benchtop sander, then I understand you might not want to spend a fortune. So, I suggest checking out this model by Rikon Power Tools.
It comes with ⅓ HP, which does mean it’s on the lower end of the power scale, but don’t stress. It just means this is also one of the best sanders for people new to these tools.
You still get two sanding options via a 30” belt and a 5” disc. In addition, the belt table also adjusts up to a 45-degree angle, giving you more opportunities to use this sander for many more projects.
Overall, this sander does manage to cover the basics, and that’s why I have included it in my list. It keeps things nice and straightforward, and there is very little not to love about it.
- The sander is well made and very reliable
- You get two sanding options with the one machine
- The table tilts up to 45 degrees
- It’s perfect for anybody new to these machines
How to Choose the Right Sander
The different sanders I’ve listed above are all excellent in their own right, but I have a few tips here that I feel will make a difference when it comes to choosing which sander you should purchase.
You can see that you have different types of sander to choose from, and then there are the materials they work best with. So, that’s where I need to start when giving you some tips.
The most important thing here is the power of the benchtop sander. Without ample power, you will tend to find that the sander will struggle to get things nice and smooth.
As a guide, I feel any sander in the region of ⅓ to ¾ HP should be more than enough for most DIY projects. So, as long as the model you are looking at falls within those limits, you should be fine.
Pulleys or Direct Drive?
The motors are generally operated via either pulleys and a belt or direct drive, and there is a slight difference between the two and the result you can achieve.
Honestly, the direct drive option is far more efficient. Also, it does require less in the way of maintenance as pulleys and belts have a tendency to come out of alignment if misused.
But on the flip side, direct drive sanders do cost more to not only purchase but then to repair. However, they last longer than the pulley and belt option, so it’s a case of weighing everything up.
The problem I have with some sanders is the amount of dust they manage to throw up around you. I hate it, and that’s why I suggest you spend time checking out how well a sander will collect dust when in use.
This dust collection can come via either direct ports on the sander or the ability to use a vac to catch the dust. Either option is acceptable, so I wouldn’t stress too much. However, just double-check that the model you are looking at does have a dust collection option of some kind.
By speed, what I really mean is to get a benchtop sander that does come with some option to vary the speed. That makes it a lot easier to keep control of the sander and get the best possible end results.
But I admit that this is not always possible. Several sanders only come with a single speed, which means the onus is on you to maintain control.
How speed is measured depends on the type of sander you are looking at. If it’s a belt sander, it’s measured in FPM. I wouldn’t want you to go for anything less than 1500 FPM. Under that speed, it’s just not going to have the speed and power to remove material fast enough for you.
With a disc sander, the speed is measured in RPM. For this, I would aim for something in the region of 1750 RPM. That should be fast enough to cover most eventualities and help with the majority of projects.
A benchtop sander will come with at least one table, but the ability to move it around and adjust it is important. Some sanders come with pivot arms to help steady things up, and you should also look for one that includes a miter gauge.
A miter gauge makes life easier for lining things up and getting those perfect angles. Ultimately, the table can play a massive role in the effectiveness of the benchtop sander.
I’m a real advocate for tools making life as easy as possible, and I include adjusting the tools in that. Changing the belt, as an example, should be a quick and painless task. Most sanders come with a lever designed to provide tension to the belt, which should be easy to set up.
I’ve ensured that every benchtop sander listed above makes life as easy as possible for you in this respect. The last thing I want is for you to feel like the benchtop sander is holding you up because of these changes.
Aside from those various points, I feel you have nothing else to think about when choosing a benchtop sander. Your primary FOCUS is on the power aspect and knowing the sander can remove the right amount of material.
Each benchtop sander I’ve mentioned above will undoubtedly prove highly effective in helping you in all these areas. Now all that’s left for you is to find one out of my list that you feel is perfect for your needs.
So those are eight of the best benchtop sanders available to purchase right now, and no matter which one you choose, I’m sure you will love the results it can produce.
A benchtop sander can make life so much easier. If you regularly work with wood or metal in your workshop, I suggest investing in one of these machines. It will not only produce a better result than what you can achieve manually, but it also does it in a fraction of the time.
I just cannot imagine a life without a benchtop sander now. It has completely transformed my approach to various projects, and I admit that it has made me feel like tackling new things directly because I know I have a machine that will sand things down to perfection.
If that can happen to me, then I have no doubt that the same thing will happen to you.
Bench Grinder VS Belt Sander
You may have wondered which fared better; the bench grinder or the belt sander. While these two devices are known to smooth and hone dull surfaces, the two were actually designed to tackle different tasks.
However, DIY enthusiasts often ask which works better. This article will further explain and provide answers for the bench grinder vs. belt sander debate.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It helps pay for web hosting. Thank you! Read my disclosure for more info.
The Bench Grinder: Difference Between Bench Grinders and Belt Sanders
The bench grinder is designed to sharpen specific items. It needs to be fixed steadily to a workbench or any other kind of mount. It is capable of grinding away rough edges smoothly on items like drill bits, scissors, knives, and chisels.
It can also repair tools from screwdrivers down to punches and smooth out welded joints and other sorts of defects. By using a wire wheel or buffer, a bench grinder can clean up and polish lots of tools.
The unit has two grinding wheels located on either side of the motor’s housing. The majority of every wheel is enclosed by a guard, but each perimeter of the component has around a 90-degree arc that is bare in front of the device. It comes with an eye shield as well, which is located in the guard’s opening, and below the grinder is where the tool rest is located.
Multitool Belt Grinder TEST, INSTALL, PUNISH
The majority of home workshops do not require any of those business-type grinders, and something that has a medium size with a 1/2-horsepower motor will be enough for home use. Bigger ones with powerful motors and larger wheels are more for commercial/business use.
The Belt Sander
The belt sander, once fitted with abrasive paper, is capable of sanding thick layers of paint and can smooth out coarse surfaces at a quick rate. It should be handled with proper care due to the speed of its performance. If the unit is left immobile in one area of the item, it can damage its shape.
It has two tube-shaped drums which come as a closed loop of coarse paper that travels uninterruptedly. One drum is operated by an electric motor while the other is spring-loaded to sustain the pressure on the belt.
It is recommended for smoothing out flat surfaces and the cutting edge of tools or items slashed throughout the grain. The majority of contemporary sanders feature integrated dust collectors for convenience. They are often sold as a benchtop or portable model.
Which Should You Use?
To continue our bench grinder vs. belt sander discussion, we now come to which tool should be used best on all your intended sharpening and smoothing projects. For some DIY enthusiasts. they are more into the belt sander because it can be used on not only some metal materials but softer materials like plastic.
This makes the unit more versatile compared to the bench grinder. The belt sander also allows for making more accurate angles and accomplishing flatter surfaces.
Meanwhile, some are into the bench grinder since it has a bigger selection of wheels from the buffing kind down to heavy-duty ones like the diamond abrasive wheel. It can be bought as a bench-type grinder or as a freestanding one. The motors of this unit are intended for metal; thus, it comes with higher horsepower and torque.
One of the most crucial factors you have to consider though is the kind of abrasive belt that both items make use of. The belt sander can be utilized as a lightweight belt grinder by buying belts that are meant to be used on metal; however, belt sanders are limited when it comes to sharpening efficiency on steel materials and can lead to heat buildup faster due to the sander’s higher speeds.
If you want to sharpen your tools and other items with power tools, you can do so with a bench grinder and invest on few belts that are meant for a variety of uses. You can make use of a heavy ceramic belt for repairing the edges or damaged chisels, axes and other tools with thicker blades.
You can also use a flexible, fine-grained ceramic belt for sharpening thicker-bladed tools. If you are after significant sharpening, you can opt for those diamond-plate sharpeners, a ceramic rod or a sharpening stone.
To finish our talk about the bench grinder vs. belt sander debate, just go for the equipment that you are going to use the most often. This means you have to base the unit you are going to invest in on projects that you often do the most.
If you tend to work on plastic materials the most, then you will do fine with a belt sander. If you work with metal more often, you can invest in a bench grinder and its various accessories.
How to Choose a Bench Grinder
The grinding wheel is going to be the most important aspect of the bench grinder that you will want to consider. The grinding wheel can come in a variety of different types, and not all bench grinders will work with each type. Therefore, you need to choose a grinding wheel based on its intended use.
The grinding motor is the next pivotal aspect to consider. This is what powers the tool. But again, the power you need will also largely depend on what you are planning to do. Lighter tasks will require lower power.
Bauer 8″ grinder belt sander combo with Whiteriverrambo
Typical bench grinders also have an rpm range of between 2000 and 4000 and up. All of this is dependent on the bench grinder model. If possible, choose a bench grinder that has adjustable speed settings so you can customize the settings for each of your tasks.
A high-quality machine will also have a reliable body and solid build so it can withstand whatever work you throw at it. A good quality bench grinder won’t continually break down with regular use. Keep all this in mind as you find the best bench grinder.
How to Choose a Belt Sander
Stationary belt sanders are definitely big players in the sanding world. There are very few tools you can purchase that can do the same job and save you as much time as a belt sander can. They are versatile, multi-use tools. One of the most common uses of a belt sander is for sanding rough services, leveling a surface area, and trimming to a scribed line.
It offers linear sanding to offer you the absolute best results. If you are a carpenter or even just someone who loves DIYs at home, then stationary belt sanders are definitely something you want to own.
It is up to your own preferences, but many people choose to use an 80 or 120 grit belt. Anything over 50 may leave deep scratches that you will be unable to remove.
When choosing stationary belt sanders, dust collection is definitely an important consideration. Many models come with a built-in dust collection bin to trap all the coarse dust. However, there is still some fine dust that will get into the air, so if you sand regularly, you might want to consider getting a hose that allows you to connect the belt sander to a shop vacuum.
When looking for a belt sander, you should look for one with whole aluminum body construction to allow for more stability and sturdiness. Having a wide belt width is also ideal if you will be sanding larger pieces of wood.
Finally, if you purchase an adjustable table for your belt sander, you will be able to achieve different sanding angles.
When choosing between a bench grinder and a belt sander, you should consider the kinds of jobs you are going to be doing. For sharpening metal, a bench grinder is ideal. If you need to smooth a flat surface, then a belt sander is what you need.
Each one of these power tools has a rotating abrasive, so they are also often used in the same applications. If you can’t decide on just one, you can always purchase both and have access to everything you need for a variety of different jobs.
Introduction: DIY Bench Grinder to Belt Sander Conversion With Templates
About: We’re Laura and Louis. Laura is an educator and Louis is an engineer. With our powers combined, we make things and try to show everyone how we tackle projects in hopes to inspire others to get up and create! About imee made »
This Instructable will show you how we turned a bench grinder into a belt sander!
You can check out the entire build video on YouTube linked above. (We would also appreciate a like and sharing if you think it’s worth it :))
This bench grinder has served us well over the years, but we needed a sanding configuration that allows us to quickly remove more material when working with metal and the stone discs just don’t cut it.
We decided to retrofit this guy instead of buying a proper 2×72 belt sander because 1) 2×72 belt sanders are way out of our budget and 2) we don’t have the shop real estate to accommodate the footprint.
Here is the list of supplies we used: (These are affiliate links where we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, Thank you!)
2 x 42 inch Sanding Belt Assortment: https://amzn.to/3d6KKLG
Step 1: Disassembling the Bench Grinder
In order fit the retrofitted components, we removed the guards and the wheel from one side of the grinder. This process is a little different from grinder to grinder, but just a few phillips bolts to take off the guard and a locking nut to remove the grinding wheel. The locking nut on the shaft is left handed threads so the saying is backwards ” righty loosey, lefty tighty”
It doesn’t matter which side you choose to retrofit, we wanted to keep the wire wheel and it worked well for our shop.
Step 2: Templates
We modeled everything on Fusion 360 and printed the sketches to scale, so we can use as templates.
There is a PDF of the templates if you want to try the retrofit your own! The only modification is the mounting hole locations vary from grinder to grinder, so use your old shield to transfer the hole locations.
Step 3: Cutting Out the Shapes
Using spray adhesive, we stuck the templates onto 3/16” steel plate and roughly cut them out with our angle grinder and cut off wheel as well as our bandsaw for the finer cuts.
Step 4: Drilling All the Holes
Moving over to the drill press, we drilled out all the mounting holes using a small bit as a pilot, then drilling them to size with a step bit. The remaining material for the slots were removed with the Band saw.
We removed the sticky paper and did the final shaping for all the pieces with a flap disc.
Step 5: Tracking Roller Hinge
To make the mounting bracket for the top pulley, we cut out a small square and drilled a hole in the center. Using a bolt to align the hole from the bracket with the pivot arm and a nut as a spacer in between we welded a make-shift hinge. Just two small tacks on either side is enough.
Step 6: Dry Fitting All the Pieces
With everything prepped, we can dry fit all the pieces.
The first thing is securing the main body by the three bolts…. Unfortunately I didn’t measure the hole spacing correctly when modeling, so we were off a bit. Using the guard that we removed earlier as a template, we marked where we needed to elongate the holes and filed them out.
Step 7: Backing Plate and Rest.
After bolting everything up, we cut a few square pieces to use as the backing for the sander as well as the rest. We first aligned the backing and tacked it into place then positioned the rest making sure it’s perpendicular to the backing plate and tacked that in place. Once we were happy with the position, we removed it from the assembly and welded them completely.
Step 8: Final Assembly
After everything cooled down, we sprayed a quick coat of paint and assembled everything onto the bench grinder.
Following the anticipation of turning the grinder on with all the components, we were thoroughly disappointed.
One major item we didn’t account for in the beginning was the power of our bench grinder. It was news to us, but our Craftsman is rated at 1/6hp and with all the added rotational mass, it never got up to full speed let along grind anything.
Luckily after searching through Offerup we found someone down the street selling a 1hp grinder with a super heavy duty stand for a steal, so we scooped that up!
Step 9: Disassembly!
The only modification we had to do was re-drill the mounting holes since the 1hp grinder had a larger hole spacing. Similar to before, we used the guard as a template to get the correct spacing.
Step 10: Final Assembly
This time around, we took paid extra attention to the spacing of the pulleys making sure to use extra washers where needed so that they’re all on the same plane. We just used a straight edge against the faces of the pulley to check this.
Step 11: A Functional Belt Sander!
After tightening everything down, we had a functional belt sander!
What a difference a 1hp unit makes, it eats through steel like it’s butter.
Thank you for reading our Instructable!
If you liked the project, don’t forget to share it. Комментарии и мнения владельцев and feedback are always welcome.
You can check out our other projects here on Instructables as well as our YouTube channel IMEE MADE.
Person Made This Project!
Did you make this project? Share it with us!
Make It Bridge
Комментарии и мнения владельцев
hi, do you have the fusion 360 file to share?
What type welder did you use. Looks like a Plasma Arc or Laser? I need to purchase some type of “cheap” welding system.
WAY to expensive to build using included links (as others have pointed out).Why build something that cost way more than buying it. and isn’t any better?If you already own a bench-grinder, and have some scrap plywood (or can get it cheap) then this is a nice build. Otherwise. not really.I can buy this for about 45 USD here in Sweden (Included picture).With that said. nice build though. AND. it’s ALWAYS FUN to build stuff!
Hello, I enjoyed your video and seeing how you do things. Please tell me a bit about that amazing little welder you used. Where could I get one like that? Thank you.
Thank you! It’s a budget TIG welder from Harbor freight, which unfortunately they don’t sell anymore. but here’s a machine that’s similar to what I’m using: https://amzn.to/3i59So2
Did you use inert gas when you welded in the video? Obviously I don’t know much about it but I’m trying to learn. Thank you.
Yes, for this I use 100% Argon gas when welding. No worries! Feel free to ask away, I honestly don’t mind and love to help. learning is always encouraged!!
Looks like a much simpler conversion than others I’ve seen. Thankyou!I did felt that the instruction seemed to miss the assembly of the backing plate and rest plate, (once I saw the downloadable template this made a little more sense but this could be improved). Also not sure why the tracking roller hinge is required.
Thank you! I agree, I could have went into more details for the backing and rest plate.
The hinge is just a solution to adjust the tracking of the belt. Since the whole assembly can be a little off plane, using a bolt to dial in the pitch of the tracking roller helps keep the belt centered in relation to the pulleys.
Nice instructible! Very sturdy looking tool that should provide years of good use. I want to do the same as I need a belt sander to help me sharpen chisels and the like. I bought one from Harbor Fright some years ago but, not surprisingly, it turned out to be junk. I need to solve these problems first: 1. How to make the Band move upwards rather than downwards;2. How to reduce the speed of the motor; 3. How to make the parts without requiring a welder and other exotic tools.I don’t have the budget, nor space for the added tools (welder, angle-grinder, bandsaw, etc.) that I’d need to make your metal one. I figure the first problem can be handled by moving the grinding platform to the rear. essentially assembling the parts in mirror image. The second problem will require a Variable Frequency Drive which can get expensive. The last problem will require the most thought, but I thank you for the inspiration.
I would caution heavily against making the belt travel upwards. The reason bench grinders sanders rotate towards the ground is so that if they catch or snag on the belt, the workpiece will be thrown towards the floor, not up towards your face, as will any filings or ground off material.
I use the belt sander to sharpen lathe and woodworking chisels. The problem with downward travel is that the belt is traveling towards the workpiece’s sharpening edge often catching it and shoving it into the table. That can ruin a fine chisel blade and/or send it flying into your hands, feet or elsewhere. There is also no easy way to hold the chisel at the proper angle. With upward travel the table is angled downward so the blade points up making the belt travel away from the chisel edge, not towards it. It’s important to wear a face-shield anyway and stand slightly to one side to keep sparks from flying into your face, but in my mind that has to be safer than downward travel. When I need the belt sander to sand wooden or metal parts I will use it in the “normal” fashion so the belt travels downward.
Thank you! Just my 2 cents on your list of constraints:1. Yes, assembling in a mirror image would solve the problem. essentially working from the back side of the grinder so the belt direction is upwards.2. Harbor freight has an inexpensive router speed controller like this: https://amzn.to/3iTVIHz which might work, but I don’t have first hand experience with that3. You can build everything with plywood using the templates provided. Some dimensions may need to be adjusted to account for the added thickness. Another solution would be to mark all the welded joints and ask a local muffler repair shop to weld the pieces for you. I’ve asked a few shops throughout the years before getting my own welder and most of the time they are more than happy to help if they’re not super busy.
The build looks great and I’m going to add it to the list. I’m not sure if the speed controller is going to work because I believe that type of speed controller also reduces the torque. I’m not positive and I refer back to https://youtu.be/gMVIdDKgG5A.
VFDs work with induction motors which is the type used here. They apply full voltage to the motor as they vary the frequency, which in turn, varies the speed. Torque is maintained more evenly than using SCR/Triac type speed controllers, like the Harbor Freight device mentioned above, which achieve variable speed by chopping the 60 Hz line frequency every cycle or half cycle depending on whether an SCR or Triac is used. This reduces the power you can get from each cycle which reduces speed but also the torque.
I bought the Harbor Freight device some years ago but it didn’t work at all. Very poor quality control so I don’t recommend it. I ended up designing my own circuit and fitting it inside the HF box. Works for incandescent lights and corded electric drills but not much of anything else.
Thanks for the link. Mr. Fielding is very knowledgeable and gives good, clear overviews of motor and speed controller types in his videos.