Disc Grinder or Belt Grinder?
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  1. #1
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    Default Disc Grinder or Belt Grinder?

    I have a small shop and can't fit both a disc grinder (like a Burr King 12") and also a belt grinder (like a Burr King 760, three-wheel).

    If you had to pick between one of these machines, which would you pick? This is for general shop use. Deburring, shaping small parts, etc.

    Thanks!
    Jon

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    I gave away my Gr*zzly disc/belt sander to make room for a Burr King 760. Unless you have a certain compelling need for what a disc grinder has to offer, get the 760.
    Get it now.
    Right now.

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    I have 3 Kalamazoo 6x48s and 1 has a 12" disc in the side of it. You should get one of those. I see them at used equipment dealers and I don't have 900 into all 3 of them. 1 does have a broken belt mount which I just have to weld flatbar to

    Sent from my 2PS64 using Tapatalk

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    The 760 first. Try to get a machine with a contact wheel next, or add one to the 760.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcorsico View Post
    I have a small shop and can't fit both a disc grinder (like a Burr King 12") and also a belt grinder (like a Burr King 760, three-wheel).

    If you had to pick between one of these machines, which would you pick? This is for general shop use. Deburring, shaping small parts, etc.

    Thanks!
    Jon
    Belt, or belt, or if no other choice, belt. The SFM is always the same, edge-to-edge. A disc the SFM is NEVER the same across the working surface. Nature of round stuff.

    And it is trivial to ADD a disc to most any handy shaft, anyway - even salvaged old motors.

    IOW one should already HAVE the disc! It doen't need any thought nor kerfluffle over a purchased decision. Too easy!



    Bigger bucks?

    Belt.
    Last edited by thermite; 11-15-2018 at 01:13 AM.

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    +1 to the belt crowd. I have Burr King 960 variable speed and love it.

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    Wow. Thanks everyone. Seems like an almost universal consensus that the belt machine is a better option.

    Now - should I get the 760 three wheel model? Or a more traditional 2 wheel, like the 960?

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    Get the belt for sure. Discs do have an advantage in making flat square surfaces. The belt has a tendency to round over the edges. Still the belt is more general purpose and if you had both you'd use the belt 10 times for every time you used the disc.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    If I could only have one belt grinder and my space and funds were limited I'd pick one of these Multitool units. They look like toys in the photos but they are nice units. Get one with a good grinder motor for power. Tar heel has several choices and can supply a complete unit if you call on the phone..

    MultiTool 2" x 36" Disk & Belt Sanding Attachment for Bench Grinder






    – Tar Heel Parts, Inc

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    I think you want both a 12" (or larger) disk and a slack belt grinder. The belt grinder is great for knocking the edges off things. And I'd second Mud's suggestion for a Multi-Tool if space is limited (have two of them, running different grits, plus another belt grinder). But if you want to preserve geometry, the disk wins. It's great for cleaning up a cut, rounding corners, bring a patched surface back to square, etc. I have several disk grinders (8,8,12,12") and use them as much as the belts. Used to have a larger space-hogging disk and regret selling it.

    If it's floor space that's a premium, you could stack a Multi-Tool or other small belt grinder above the disk. If you have a 6-10" wheel grinder, chances are you'd be happier removing one wheel and putting the Multi-Tool on that side instead.

    Different story if you're a knifemaker needing high end belt grinder(s) or in ironwork needed to clean up stuff by the cubic inch.

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    Belt for sure, pay the extra to get one with a VFD controller on it. It only hurts once, you will thank me later.

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    I have had a belt/disc combination in my shop for 35 or 40 years. And I use the belt at most 5% of the time. We are often a 2 or 3 man shop, and its really rare we find the belt our first choice. I freehand sharpen drill bits on the disc. I chuck a tungsten for tig welding in a cordless drill, and sharpen them on the disc. I debur a few hundred pieces a week- on the disc. I routinely round over the ends of round bar by spinning em at an angle, on the disc. I like the ability of the disc to flatten wider pieces (12" disc) than the 6" belt.

    two things influence me in this-

    its really easy to cut a rip into a belt, and destroy it in seconds, with a sharp piece of metal- whereas a 12" disc can get snagged, and you just move over a bit, and keep sanding.

    and- 2- I buy really good abrasives. For both, I run the cloth backed blue alumina zirconia abrasives from klingspor, and it will just eat metal as you feed it in. Lasts a long time, although, always longer on the disc.

    The friends of mine who love their belt sanders the most are knifemakers. Which makes sense. But for a general fab shop, we much prefer discs.

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    I do a lot of tubing and small plate fabrication. I don't even look at disc sanders, only belt. They both have perks depending on your use. I only do deburring of laser cut edges and notches and having some contouring is helpful to me. A disc would be much better for squaring up stock, especially a larger disc. The small discs are not so fun to use, trying to square a 6" part on a 8" disc, you've got the edge of your part in the high speed area, part of it at the 0 speed area and part of it on the low speed area going the other way.


    As was said above, buy quality abrasives. They make such a huge difference. I absolutely love the 3M Cubitron II 80+ grit in a 3" Roloc disc

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    can't say im a fan of discs, my 2" wide belt grinder gets fed most days, wish i had made it sooner, yeh VFD driven variable speed rocks too. Its all on proper vibration mounts so its quiet too unless up at full speed. Good belt tension and a flat plattern properly adjusted gets things pretty dang flat too. Yeah every couple of years i pull the platern and give it a ride on the surface grinder, it does wear despite being hardox 450 on my grinder.

    FYI if you like zircona belts, try some ceramic ones, the difference is night and day! Zircon tends to glaze, ceramic cut till you wear it back to the cloth so long as your hard enough with it. Gotta feed it and spin it hard enough to get the ceramics self sharp magic happening and continuing to happen.

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    Belt. With enough horsepower.
    My 6x79" has a 5.5hp 3-phase motor and that thing is awesome with Cubitron belts when you have to move material in a hurry.
    My only complain about belt grinders would be that they usually make huge mess compared to anything else.

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    I use my shop-built 2x72 belt grinder every single day, mostly deburring parts and knocking the sharp edges off of cut stock. It's only 2 HP which is probably not enough for heavy fabrication work, but is fine for my needs.

    Regards.

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finegrain View Post
    I use my shop-built 2x72 belt grinder every single day, mostly deburring parts and knocking the sharp edges off of cut stock. It's only 2 HP which is probably not enough for heavy fabrication work, but is fine for my needs.

    Regards.

    Mike
    There have been several rather nicely done in-house belt sander projects shared on PM, and with solutions to challenges both simple and elegant.

    Disc? Kinda basic, yah?

    Hub has to not wobble on the shaft nor decide to do over time. Disc should run true and be flat. Size as fits readily available prepared abrasives seems easier than f**k-with.

    Any "Machinist" as can't get THAT ever-so basic set right - or just BUY such?

    Burger-King might smell more attractive than MickeyDee's for yah?


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    Hp wise the rule of thumb for belts is 1hp per 1" of belt, its not absolute, but it is a pretty good rule of thumb. 50% more is good if you want to really work it hard, 50% less is also fine if most of what you do is less contact area type stuff, i only have 1hp on my 2" and its lacking on much over 3/16" of any real contact, but bellow that and for the types of light deburr it sees most its plenty.

    Not sure what the rules say about discs, but your certainly going to want some HP to make full use of them over 12" dia.

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    I greatly prefer disc sanders... I think cheesy shitty ones give a lot of people a bad impression, as does cheap abrasives. I just scored a very sweet three phase 20" disc unit from HGR, it is SWEET. Adjustable height, table can go 45 degrees in both directions, weighs 472lbs according to the bill of lading. Gonna hook it up to a VFD so I can dial it around for different uses. My only singular complaint about them is inability to change grit on the fly.

    Belt sanders do have a place and if money and space were no object I would have two-three of each setup with different abrasives. In a space constrained shop I would have a disc sander and a cheapo bench grinder with some soft wheels for deburring.

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    I've got a 6x48 belt / 12" disk combo unit. I use the belt over 99% of the time, and use it heavily enough to make little mounds of iron filings on the floor under it (no dust collection hookup). The disk does come in handy on occasion, but it's pretty rare for me. Like others have already noted, spending on premium abrasives really is worth it.

    Once I got the belt/disk sander, I more-or-less stopped using my double-ended wheel grinder for anything except toolbit shaping and drill sharpening.

    If I were doing woodworking (patternmaking), I'd probably want a really big disk, like 36" if I could find one. Even a 20" disk, which seems to be what's readily available these days, only gives you about 8" of really useable width. Might be easier to adapt or make a wide-belt sander for those purposes. 37x60 and 37x75 seem to be standard belt sizes...


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