Best 6 x 48 Belt Sander?
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  1. #1
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    Default Best 6 x 48 Belt Sander?

    I'm looking to replace my old Rockwell belt sander, its getting pretty tired and I would like to get a new one. Its a general shop belt sander, used mostly to deburr parts and edges, but occasionally I will do some shape contouring or something on the table and its really nice to have the back platen be square to the table so I get a square cut.

    I want to get a nice unit that will last, I'm not interested in cheap crap like Jet or Baileigh. USA made is best for me, but I'm ok with a nice Euro unit if such a thing is available and comparable.

    I was looking pretty hard at a Kalamazoo S6MS, but I would like to see if there's something I am missing before I buy one.

    Burr King doesn't seem to make a belt sander with this size belt, and with the nice platen back and adjustable table on the front.

    Not too concerned with price, just want a quality unit.

    What else is out there?

  2. #2
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    Is your sander "tired" as in needing bearings, belts, and/or other "maintenance related parts, or has it been damaged through misuse. If it's the former nearly every part you can think of is available new through vendors, or used from eBay. To me none of the newer machines can hold a candle to the older Delta Rockwell machines. It might be well worth the time to rebuild it rather than spend the money on something newer that may or may not last.

    Mine was originally built in the 1960's. It's gone through a few sets of bearings, belts, and guards, but it just keeps on humming. It has a 1-1/2 hp 120/240 single phase Baldor motor. I'm not sure it's the original, but it more than does the job. It spent over 40 years in our machine shop and was used hard on a daily basis. The last 20 years have been a vacation compared to it's previous life. It still gets used just not abused on a daily basis. I expect to easily get another 20 years out of it if I don't do something stupid.

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  4. #3
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    The bearings are pretty decent yet, itís just been rode hard and put away wet. I bought it used a few years ago and the previous owner didnít really take good care of it. The belt tracking is super touchy and drifts over time, the platen is wore, the base and guards are not original and are pretty poorly fitted, and the motor is a slower RPM than I would like, so there is just a long list of little things that need attention.

    It works fine for the most part, it just is getting wore out.

    I probably wonít get rid of it, Iíll just take it home and use it there.

    I asked the guys what equipment they would like upgraded or purchased and the belt sander was a pretty popular item, so Iím looking into it.

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    +1 for reconditioning. Wilton makes a nice one but is almost identical to jet and Rockwell. If the platen is worn you may be able to mill a little off and screw a wear plate on.

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    I canít say as Iím interested in reconditioning this old sander. Itís really not a very nice unit, and I donít think itís as good as you guys seem to think it is. I know what it is, I own it and use it! If this old Rockwell is the pinnacle of belt sanders, well, Iím saddened to hear that.

    I donít have a lot of spare time and what time I do have I donít want to spend restoring a friggen belt sander. I would like to just write a check and have a new sander.

    Nobody makes one better than Kzoo?

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    I've seen but not used the Kalamazoo and own a couple of the Rockwells. Judging by appearances, I'd rather have the Rockwell/Delta/Milwaukee 6x48, especially if a 12" disc comes along for the ride. It will have effective dust collection and an easy adjustment from vertical to horizontal. Nice fence, etc. Only drawback seems to be the 1.5hp motor the Rockwell/Delta might come with. A smaller belt grinder might be better for hogging material. You could trick out an old Delta 6x48 with a 3 phase motor and VFD if you wanted to tweak speeds and power?

    The Kalamazoo 8x60" would be a noticeable step up, but $$$.

    Biggest problem with the older Rockwell/Delta units is people don't pay attention to tracking and it cuts through the side. That and accumulated gunk screwing up the tracking adjustment. The wear can be fixed with a wear plate epoxied in to the side guard - 20 minute job for someone. Though, sounds like you'd rather just buy new.

    Whatever you get, a then graphite pad can be added to the platen - gives back maybe a bit of hp and makes it run even smoother.

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    I have a couple of 6 x 48 belt sanders but the best one is a Powermatic with a 12 inch disc on the end and a built in vacuum.

  9. #8
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    Kalamazoo. 6x48 with Baldor 3hp motor. Solid
    Last edited by PT Doc; 12-07-2019 at 03:08 PM.

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  11. #9
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    My buddy has the Rockwell, came out of Boeing Surplus. I had the Jet JSG-6. I used both. The Rockwell was a little more solid, but the Jet machine worked well the 15 years or so I owned it. I replaced it with a 2x72 belt grinder I built as a co-project with a buddy.

    Don't knock the Jet until you have tried it.

    metalmagpie

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    Bought mine from McMaster, a Kalamazoo, when the old one I had died. It's been trouble free. I got the 3hp, 3-phase. Very happy with it. Might have paid too much, but got it the next day and needed to use it right away. Current price about $1700.

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    Default Best 6 x 48 Belt Sander?

    Does it have to be a new production piece? If I were looking to buy the best belt sander (especially an edge sander) I'd look for an Oakley. You may want to stick with a smaller model though.
    I'm toying with the idea of putting together a 4 or 6" belt grinder, built like a 2x72


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


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