What happened to all the Belt Sanders?
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  1. #1
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    Default What happened to all the Belt Sanders?

    In the last few years, my 4x24 Milwaukee belt sander, and my 3x21 Bosch both died, and the industrial repair shop I use told me parts were no longer available for either.

    So I check, and both Bosch and Milwaukee no longer offer belt sanders.

    In fact, hardly anybody does.
    There is ONE Metabo model, ONE Porter Cable, no Fein, No current Dewalt- the only company that actually makes a lineup is Makita, that I can find.

    I tend to buy beefy industrial tools, use the hell out of em, and keep em for decades- the Milwaukee that died was probably 30 years old.

    I ended up buying a Makita, and its Ok- not as hefty and strong as the Milwaukee, not as light and well engineered as the Bosch.

    But it makes me wonder- Whats Up?

    Is it because everybody only wants cordless, and you cant really make a cordless belt sander last more than about ten minutes on a charge?

    Does nobody use em anymore?

    I am not a full time woodworker, by any means, but I have had, and used, belt sanders since the 70s, and consider them a basic tool for metals and wood.

    Anybody know whats going on?

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    no idea haven't looked lately... i have a makita its design hasn't changed in years seems to be a unit that lasts. so i suppose they think why change it when it works.
    will have a look next time i am at the tool store.

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    Seeing your post I thought I would check Flex (my favorite angle grinder). They don't have them either.
    We had a similar problem trying to find a replacement for our slowly dying fleet of porter cable trim routers. We ended up buying several Makitas but there not as good and don't have all the attachments like the PC.
    We use belts sanders all the time. I have three different PC and a Milwaukee and at work we have bosch, PC, Dewalt and Makitas.
    We have not needed to buy one for some time.

    Andy

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    Hi there, I was reading this post, Best Oscillating Tool Under $50 $100 $200 & $200+ | Battery & Corded models reviewed [2018] is this what you are looking for?

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    A quick search over here turns up a variety of bosch belt sanders, in blue, green and cordless models. Otherwise makita has a large range. Fein only shows belt sanders for pipe and metal work. Festool makes 2 different models as well(excellent dust control, from personal experience). So they are still being made, maybe just not sold in your area?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    In the last few years, my 4x24 Milwaukee belt sander, and my 3x21 Bosch both died, and the industrial repair shop I use told me parts were no longer available for either.

    So I check, and both Bosch and Milwaukee no longer offer belt sanders.

    In fact, hardly anybody does.
    There is ONE Metabo model, ONE Porter Cable, no Fein, No current Dewalt- the only company that actually makes a lineup is Makita, that I can find.

    I tend to buy beefy industrial tools, use the hell out of em, and keep em for decades- the Milwaukee that died was probably 30 years old.

    I ended up buying a Makita, and its Ok- not as hefty and strong as the Milwaukee, not as light and well engineered as the Bosch.

    But it makes me wonder- Whats Up?

    Is it because everybody only wants cordless, and you cant really make a cordless belt sander last more than about ten minutes on a charge?

    Does nobody use em anymore?

    I am not a full time woodworker, by any means, but I have had, and used, belt sanders since the 70s, and consider them a basic tool for metals and wood.

    Anybody know whats going on?
    You've just answered your own question.

    What kind of market justifies a company making a durable product ... when a professional craftsman willing to pay a fair price for premum goods ... only buys a NEW one of..

    ONCE IN EVERY THIRTY YEARS!

    "Used", second and subsequent owners, don't put any money in the OEM's pocket but a few beans worth of spare parts.

    They'd starve to death, they didn't shift-over to faster-moving goods. ANY quality.

    As many old-line companies HAVE done. Starved. NOT shifted focus.

    I don't LIKE it, either. But they were never in business to lose their arses any more than the rest of us can afford to be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Piek View Post
    A quick search over here turns up a variety of bosch belt sanders, in blue, green and cordless models. Otherwise makita has a large range. Fein only shows belt sanders for pipe and metal work. Festool makes 2 different models as well(excellent dust control, from personal experience). So they are still being made, maybe just not sold in your area?
    Piek
    Can you post a link to the Bosch and Festool sanders or the model numbers? I didn't check Bosch as Ries already had. I did check Festool as we have a few of there tools but didn't see any.
    I know in the past I have found different tools that I wanted but could not buy here.

    Thanks
    Andy

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    They are still made, although the diy versions are less common. Finding a dealer that sells them might be much harder for the decent ones.

    Mine's 15 years old now though...

    sander:- GBS 75 AE Belt Sander | Bosch Professional

    spares:- 0 601 274 734 Spares for Bosch Belt Sander GBS 75 AE (BELT SANDERS) - Power Tool Spares

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    "My Area" being the USA, no, there are not any Bosch belt sanders available new here.
    Bosch, in its infinite wisdom, does not import any of the models you refer to.

    The GBS 75 in your link is exactly the Bosch I had that died, and no repair parts were available. I liked it a lot, and I would love another- but it would need to be 120 volt model, which, my guess is, they dont make, as only us wonky yankees use that voltage. .

    Most sensible european companies continue to make a full line of professional quality tools. But my basic complaint is that almost all of them have stopped importing to the USA.

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    Did some new regulations come into play recently, regarding dust/particulate control (mostly from grinders)? That might have an impact on what can be sold for pro use -- dust/vacuum shrouds required, perhaps? I seem to recall demolition hammers (hand-held electric/drill versions) getting some re-work in the past couple of years...

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    They came up with better shit, people started doing things differently? I had one of those hand held belt sanders and threw it away because I never used it.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    "My Area" being the USA, no, there are not any Bosch belt sanders available new here.
    Bosch, in its infinite wisdom, does not import any of the models you refer to.

    The GBS 75 in your link is exactly the Bosch I had that died, and no repair parts were available. I liked it a lot, and I would love another- but it would need to be 120 volt model, which, my guess is, they dont make, as only us wonky yankees use that voltage. .

    Most sensible european companies continue to make a full line of professional quality tools. But my basic complaint is that almost all of them have stopped importing to the USA.

    It is a bloody good sander. Mine's getting quite a bit of use at the moment.

    Bosch seem to be very good at not admitting to what they are making.

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    No, its not due to regulations.

    In fact, a lot of other sanders are being sold all over, which also produce dust. I think it has much more to do with the switch to battery powered tools.
    I have a relatively recent Bosch roto hammer- no different in its basic layout than the two Milwaukee roto hammers I wore out over the last 40 years.

    I cant imagine throwing away my belt sanders- for most of the last 30 years or so, I have had 3- a 1 1/8" x 21" makita, a 4x24, and a 3x21. I use them on all kinds of things all the time, and their material removal rates far outpaces my two random orbit sanders, my 2 orbital pad sanders, my 10 or so grinders that I have sanding disc attachments for, or my two air powered disc sanders. Each has a use, but for a lot of things, a hand held belt sander is the bomb.

    I also have 6" x 48" stationary sander, and a 12" disc sander...

    I see home depot and lowes being somewhat responsible- they have taken over a huge percentage of the market- several of my old school tool stores have gone under lately. And the box stores order low price, low power consumer grade stuff. At my local Home Depot, they probably have 100 different models of hand power tools, and less than ten percent of them are corded.

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    I feel old. And maybe like hand work is getting old too. I have one of the big Porter Cables that replaced my old Craftsman that died about 20 years ago. I also have one of these Skil 3 X 18 sanders:

    3x18" 6.0A Belt Sander

    Its surprisingly good for light duty stuff with a 3 X 18 belt size. Mine is older and has a bag instead of the canister.

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    I've got no problem with battery powered tools in general, but I would have a big problem with a charge life of five minutes on my belt sander when working on a wooden floor or a casting pattern.

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    Things change, it's inevitable, and often not for the better, at least from the perspective of those of us who've been around for a long time.

    Ries, maybe this has occurred to you, but I'd be tempted to watch the online auctions and buy a bunch of used ones cheap. They are often sold in bunches, usually cheap, and at least some of them will work. Or search on Craiglist (I use Search Tempest). Depends on how much you really need it...

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    One option that you have not mentioned is triton power tools . They are an Austrailian company although i imagine that the tools are made in Asia. They do have a belt sander with north American voltage that is an able looking machine but I have not seen one in person or used one. The second option would be watch ebay for a lightly used model that is the same as what you have . There are lots of power tools in hobist shops that don't get an hour of use a year and I would think tha they might show up on ebay at times

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    "My Area" being the USA, no, there are not any Bosch belt sanders available new here.
    Bosch, in its infinite wisdom, does not import any of the models you refer to.

    The GBS 75 in your link is exactly the Bosch I had that died, and no repair parts were available. I liked it a lot, and I would love another- but it would need to be 120 volt model, which, my guess is, they dont make, as only us wonky yankees use that voltage. .

    Most sensible european companies continue to make a full line of professional quality tools. But my basic complaint is that almost all of them have stopped importing to the USA.
    Which parts do you need? I have 2 parts GBS sanders and a new one here- but 240 v.
    Production has changed from Switzerland to Hungary recently and that may explain some of it, but usually its local market requirements that govern the decision which products to carry according to Bosch in Australia.
    There is also the PBS 75 sander, green , chinese and not well made but cheap enough to be disposable. I ran a PBS 75 hard for years but it was a swiss one- exactly the same as the GBS but no variable speed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenwud View Post
    Which parts do you need? I have 2 parts GBS sanders and a new one here- but 240 v.
    Production has changed from Switzerland to Hungary recently and that may explain some of it, but usually its local market requirements that govern the decision which products to carry according to Bosch in Australia.
    There is also the PBS 75 sander, green , chinese and not well made but cheap enough to be disposable. I ran a PBS 75 hard for years but it was a swiss one- exactly the same as the GBS but no variable speed.
    thanks, but, unfortunatel, the Bosch died over 2 years ago, and the repair shop tossed it. If I kept the old power tools that cant be repaired, there would be no room to work in the shop...
    Mine was a swiss one, with the variable speed, and they havent been available here for some years. Most likely they didnt sell well enough for Bosch US to keep them in the lineup.

    Bosch is actually one of the very few hand power tool brands in the USA that is still owned by a manufacturing company.

    Most of the others, here, have been bought by Venture Capitalists- KKR, for example, famous for their leveraged buyout of Houdaille, which led to the downfall of Powermatic, Di-Acro, Strippit, and other Houdaille divisions, now all shadows of their former self. KKR now owns Hitachi and Metabo- hence the shift in both lines of tools to made in china, and the dropping of many tools from their lineup. If you go on their website, about 1/3 of the tools have orange "discontinued" labels on em. Its all about asset stripping, for KKR.

    Meanwhile Wilton, Powermatic, Jet, Baleigh, Edwards Ironworkers, Promac, ToolAir, and others are owned by Gamut Capital Management- another asset stripping leveraged buyout company. Obviously, these companies are not interested in creating a line of the best tools- its all about profit, right now. Gamut just bought American Axles complete 10 plant iron casting division- expect more parts to be coming from China soon on your "american made" cars, because its all about "efficiency"...

    Techtronics, the Hong Kong company started by a German engineer, owns Ryobi, Milwaukee, AEG, Ridgid, Homelite, and even Dirt Devil and Hoover vacuums. They, at least, are not just a holding company, but a manufacturer- but obviously, the lineup, and quality, of Milwaukee has suffered under their ownership, and, again, many models have been dropped. Since none of its main officers are Chinese, I wonder if they will stay in Hong Kong after China is done cracking down on democracy there- they have 22,000 employees worldwide, so they are big enough to move their headquarters pretty easily if needed- Taiwan, or Singapore, maybe?

    Anyway, I am convinced that the leveraged buyouts, and the consolidation of the marketplace, has a lot to do with the narrowing of choices in the hand power tool marketplace.

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    Wow, that's pretty depressing stuff Ries. Everything going to shit so the vulture capitalists can amass even more wealth.


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