Finishing a surface may be one of the last steps you need to do to complete a project, but it doesn’t mean that it should receive the least amount of attention. This process can be very tricky. It can even make or break your whole project…
As a poor finish will definitely diminish the value and quality of the entire work. Belt grinder is one of the most commonly used finishing tools for various projects.
Its simple design makes it an effective equipment for smoothing surfaces, making products ready for use. But what exactly is a belt grinder, you might be wondering? Simply put, a belt grinder is a machine that makes use of a belt with an abrasive coating to smoother surfaces.
The belt rolls at a certain amount of speed on a wheel, providing you the traction you need to smoother the surfaces that you’re trying to finish. Also commonly referred to as a belt sander, its main goal is to remove material and practically file the surface to a smooth, clean finish.
How to Grind with Your Belt Grinder
1. Familiarizing Yourself
If this is the first time you’re using a belt grinder, ask someone who’s more experienced in utilizing such a machine to walk you through the basics. Familiarizing yourself with the machine is essential for first timers.
To do that, you can always get someone to teach you the ropes. It can either be a friend, relative, or even someone online. You can also watch videos how other people use the same machine you have to give you an idea how to operate your belt grinder.
2. Prepare the Workpiece You Want to Finish
Before you turn on your belt grinder, give your workpiece one last check if it’s truly ready for finishing. Give it a few more checks so you can still tweak, adjust, or even dry it more before giving it a run through the belt grinder.
3. Check If the Machine, the Belt and the Platen Is Clean
A clean belt grinder will help you prevent gouging, which can cause unsightly dents into your project. Using a new belt with 80 to 120 grits can help you get the job done. Constantly keeping the platen clean will also help you avoid such issues.
4. Wear Necessary Protective Gear
Finishing a project involves trimming and smoothing down surfaces. This will definitely have debris fly all over the place as chunks get dislodged from your work piece.
Protect yourself from getting hurt by wearing necessary protective gear like goggles for your eyes and a durable pair of work gloves.
Your safety should be the priority, so make sure to always ensure that you’re appropriately dressed for this kind of work.
5. While Holding Your Workpiece Away from the Machine, Turn on Your Belt Grinder
It’s best to wait for the machine to get its bearings before you start working with it. This way, you’ll get more consistent speed, allowing you to perfectly handle your work piece as it gets in contact with your machine.
6. Do Not Press
Whether you’re using a handheld or full-sized belt grinders, it’s a must that you shouldn’t press on either the work piece or the tool itself towards each other. This might create uneven dents which will be unsightly. Just let its weight do the work for you.
7. Let Every Part of Your Workpiece Get a Good Run on the Belt Nicely and Smoothly
To ensure an even and perfect finish for your project, make sure to run all the areas that need smoothing down against the belt.
Hold it firmly without pressing against the machine to create a nice, perfect finish. You can also use the techniques you’ve learned, but make sure to do so with care, so you won’t get hurt in the process.
Safety Measures to Observe when Grinding with a Belt Grinder. In addition to the safety precautions mentioned above, there are a few more ways to keep yourself safe while using a belt grinder. These tips include:
Wear ear protection like ear plugs as these machines are loud.
When working with wood, always wear a dust mask. You don’t want to inhale wood shavings as that can seriously affect your health.
When working with metal, clear your work space from inflammable materials. The sparks created by sanding metal can ignite a fire and cause a big disaster to your home.
Make sure to always switch off the machine every after use. This will prevent any mishap in the future.
Always unplug the machine before changing belts, cleaning the platen, or emptying sandbags. Accidentally turning the machine on while doing maintenance on your machine can hurt you.
Never use this machine if you’re sleepy, drunk, or disoriented.
Heavy machinery should never be operated if you can’t fully focus on handling it, so just give yourself a rest if you’re feeling a bit off instead of working on your project to “take your mind off things.”
A belt grinder is an excellent heavy machine to have if you like working with various materials. It can definitely help you create professional-grade projects that you will be able to enjoy for years to come.
It’s also very versatile, so you can do a whole lot of different things with it, ranging from wood works to metal works and everything in between.
However, like any heavy machinery, using it with care is a must. If you’re not sure that you can properly operate one just yet, it’s best to give yourself some time and arm yourself with all the information you can as to how you can use it without causing any harm to you or your property.
There are so many resources online for using a belt grinder, so you can be sure that you’ll be able to teach yourself a lot on this matter easily.
Use a belt grinder to finish your projects with a nice professional touch. It might be an additional machine that you’ll have to master, but doing so will truly boost your skills and improve the quality of your projects. For everything that it can offer, it’s easily worth exerting some additional effort.