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Belt sander advice, cost?

Discussion in 'Tools and Materials' started by d000hg, 3 Aug 2018.

  1. d000hg

    d000hg

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    I've a random orbit sander but realise a belt is likely to be useful living in an old house, for sporadic use.

    As always I see I can spend £50-£250 so what should I bear in mind for domestic and garden use?
     
  2. Cheap ens are crap. That's all I've learned in my time using different ones.
     
  3. d000hg

    d000hg

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    As in no name brands or even decent names? What do you consider cheap, what would you spend to get something semi decent?
     
  4. The sort of thing you'd expect out of Wilko, if they even sell things like that any more.
     
  5. Tigercubrider

    Tigercubrider

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    .for occasional use something like a triton from screwfix will be good enough
     
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  6. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    If you want something which will last, do up an entire house, then still have enough life for you to sell it on, the there is simply no substitute for an industrial or trade type belt sander. They tend to be bulletproof. Probably the best brand is Makita (Hitachi and Sparky make them, but don't have the reputation - Festool are in orbit price wise - DW keep chopping and changing models and a couple of the more recent models were absolute lemons - Bosch have dropped out of the market whilst firms like Metabo were never in it) - simply because they are the most common ones you see. Parts are affordable (they burn through graphite pads and cork "soles" occasionally, and sometimes burn out brushes, but that's all). Go for a 4in model if at all possible and only buy one with a dust bag (they can be pricey). New 9904s can be had for under £225, but secondhand they go for £70 to £170 depending (in part) on condition. One thing, though, they are only really useful on flat, horizontal surfaces. Running one up a door casing leg is hard work - using one above your head is pure madness!
     
  7. d000hg

    d000hg

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    That sounds a bit above my usage level, though if a good tool should last forever for domestic use I'm not averse.
     
  8. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    Basically you can pick-up a used 9404 (sorry, got the model number wrong in my previous post :whistle: - this is the model used for smaller areas by a lot of guys in the flooring trade that I see) for under £100

    Makita 9404 Belt Sander 001_01.jpg
    I needed a "disposable" belt sander in a hurry on a job last year (oak flooring). Bought a secondhand 9404 out of the local free ads in the paper for £75. I inspected the brushes (good) but it needed a new grapite pad (£5) and a replacement cork pad (£10) - on the plus side it came with 30 free belts. So all it needed was a quick clean-up, £15 in bits and 10 minutes work with a screwdriver. Did the job, still had more than a dozen belts left over so it's now gone home with me. Providing I keep it clean and in working order I won't lose much money on it if/when I sell it. Against a 3in cheapo DIY model there is absolutely no comparison - the Makita a proper industrial machine with bags of power and reasonable dust collection (well, they are none of them that good) and parts probably won't be a problem for the next 20 or so years (based on the fact that you can still get the most consumed parts for the mid-1960s 9400, today, and that Makita models tend to be long lived).
     
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  9. Roger928

    Roger928

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    I have the 9404.
    Also have a festool rotex 150 which I find just as aggressive, easier to operate and almost dust free.
    And then you switch to fine finishing mode at the flick of a switch. Its like having two sanders in one.
     
    Last edited: 4 Aug 2018
  10. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    And at only three times the price! (new) TBH you wouldn't use a 9404 on Corian (other than to rough-down the joints) in the same way that a Rotex is never going to be a good floor sander.
     
  11. Roger928

    Roger928

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    Why not?
     
  12. Take your point but it's £400 and more.
     
  13. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    My belt sander is far faster at flattening stuff like solid wood floors than the Rotex is. For that sort of task the angle grinder grip of the Rotex induces wrist strain as well. Also the longer base of the belt sander makes it easier to actually flatten a floor (or a joint in a door casing) - with the Rotex it is more difficult to prevent/remove peaks and troughs in coarse mode because the pad is so small. That's why (in the USA at least) the Rotex isn't king for Corian - there are larger (and faster) surface sanders like the Gem and the Surcare (which admittedly you rarely come across in the UK, although one outfit I did some work for a while ago did use 8in Dynabrades which were faster on joint sanding than the Rotex and less likely to dig troughs). I've had a Rotex more than ten years now (used to fit Corian - can't stand the smell or the taste these days) and it isn't a universal panacea, despite some users with more limited experience trying to say it is. For general use I've found the Metabo SXE450 TurboTec to be a better compromise - smooth finishing on the 3mm orbit, heavy stock removal on the 5mm orbit, under £200. It is still too small and too slow to do a large surface like a small floor, though. It depends on what the OP is really after
     
    Last edited: 5 Aug 2018
  14. Roger928

    Roger928

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    The area of the 9404 pad is 156 sq centimeters.
    The rotex pad is bigger @ 176.
    I find the rotex faster and gives better results with a flatter more even surface.
     
  15. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    Congratulations on being able to count, however rotary tools such as the Rotex have a well known tendency to pull "off line" and be a handful to control when used with very coarse grits (P40, P60) as you would when starting a floor. Still bloody expensive as well - 5 to 8 times the price of a small band saw/second hand trade tool. BTW have you ever done any flooring with a Rotex? Or is this just more theorising?
     
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