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 Post subject: Slack sander
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 2:04 pm 
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Finally made a slack sander to help with shaping pipes.

Ugly with a rustic design, but it works.

The 2" wide belt is a bit too wide for me to move the stummel around so I'll be going with a thinner belt. I'm also working on a belt support pad out of white plastic cutting board material.

I need to learn to weld to stiffen this rig up.




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 Post subject: Re: Slack sander
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 2:11 pm 
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I'm working on a slack belt sander now. I'd be curious to see pictures of what you've done.

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 Post subject: Re: Slack sander
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 2:29 pm 
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sandahlpipe wrote:
I'm working on a slack belt sander now. I'd be curious to see pictures of what you've done.


I tried to post a video, I'll try again below.

https://vimeo.com/165919022


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 Post subject: Re: Slack sander
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 2:46 pm 
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Interesting. What's the speed of the motor? If that's a 1750rpm motor, wouldn't that be a bit fast?

I'm basing my design on this one here. It's a bit more complicated, but it involves a step-pulley to reduce the speed, and a third axle to increase the distance behind the belt. My design is going to do a few things slightly differently.

http://workingdecoys.net/workingdecoysforum/index.php?topic=6558.0

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 Post subject: Re: Slack sander
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 2:48 pm 
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sandahlpipe wrote:
Interesting. What's the speed of the motor? If that's a 1750rpm motor, wouldn't that be a bit fast?

I'm basing my design on this one here. It's a bit more complicated, but it involves a step-pulley to reduce the speed, and a third axle to increase the distance behind the belt. My design is going to do a few things slightly differently.

http://workingdecoys.net/workingdecoysforum/index.php?topic=6558.0


I have stepped pulleys so I should work it into the design. I like the design of the one you posted.


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 Post subject: Re: Slack sander
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 4:28 pm 
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sandahlpipe wrote:
third axle to increase the distance behind the belt


You don't need that, just use big wheels and you'll have plenty of space.
Get an adjustable tracking mechanism for your crowned wheel, a belt that moves around like the one on the video by timberwolfer is very difficult to work with and can do more damage than good- the edges of the belt are your enemy, so if they jump around like crazy you're just going to put deep gauges in your stummel every time the edge touches the wood by accident.

Also, as a general thing, in my opinion a slack belt sander isn't a good tool for shaping. It's good for a couple of shapes like a horn, but generally you want to use it for medium and fine sanding, not for shaping. The idea of a slack belt is thet you hold the running belt with your fingers, so the belts need to be running slow and you don't want to use them to move a lot of material. That said, I sometimes do run my belt at full speed and support it with a hand held flat piece of wood and remove stock quite fast, but that's more of a side usage for this machine (btw I recently got a knifemakers type of belt sander and it's a very nice machine for fast stock removal, squaring blocks, roughing in profiles, but again, that's a very different type of tool).

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 Post subject: Re: Slack sander
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 4:58 pm 
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Big wheels would do the trick as well. The adjustable tracking idea is good too. Thanks for the tips!

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 Post subject: Re: Slack sander
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2016 8:52 am 
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Ditto to what Pastuch said.
Adjustable is very important. So is slow and so is a soft thin backing to the belt. You want to be able to "shape" the belt with your backing hand to fit the contour of the part of the pipe that you are busy sanding.
Also, a 50mm wide belt is, for a start, easier to work with in my opinion. When you've gain some experience with using it, you can always move on to thinner ones later.

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 Post subject: Re: Slack sander
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2016 1:38 pm 
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Charl wrote:
Ditto to what Pastuch said.
Adjustable is very important. So is slow and so is a soft thin backing to the belt. You want to be able to "shape" the belt with your backing hand to fit the contour of the part of the pipe that you are busy sanding.
Also, a 50mm wide belt is, for a start, easier to work with in my opinion. When you've gain some experience with using it, you can always move on to thinner ones later.


Thanks for the input Charl. I put a stepped pulley on the motor today and went to a mandrel setup with a stepped pulley and the drive wheel. That'll slow it down.

The belt I was using was 80 grit so it was rigid. It makes sense that the softer belt at 50mm will be easier to make fine adjustments to the pipe.

I have a rudimentary tracking adjustment with the idler wheel on a hinged plate with a bolt drilled thru the vertical support to control the angle on the idler wheel. It trues up the belt nicely.

The belt was jumping around because I hadn't screwed the assembly to my bench for the video. I screwed it to the bench now and the unit isn't bouncing around.

Again, thanks for the input.


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 Post subject: Re: Slack sander
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2016 1:58 pm 
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I'm a big time tool geek, and though I don't make pipes I know what's involved, and have had many conversations with slack belt experimenters over the years.

The bottom line is it CAN be done, but the resulting machine is considerably different than what people go into it expect---super-long custom-made sanding belts, ceiling brackets, 3-phase variable-speed motors, etc.---and are considerably more expensive and time-consuming to get working right than they planned on.

Given that, plus the world's best pipe makers find them unnecessary (shaping discs occasionally augmented with chisels are what 99.9% of them use), you might want to re-consider putting much more time and/or money into chasing the concept.

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 Post subject: Re: Slack sander
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2016 2:31 pm 
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I use 2 meter long belts and they work very well.
I also had a ceiling bracket but found out it was impossible to allign the holes for the bracket properly (I have brick walls, drilling into that is a pain in the ass, of course in America you make your houses out of cardboard so that's not an issue) and I had the two parts welded together into one piece.
Variable speed is always cool, but people made efficient machines before they invented vfd, so it really isn't so important. I power my belt sander with my lathe so I get a good selection of speeds.

Definitely not a "must have" tool, I agree, but I like mine.

EDIT: One more tip: last year I watched Tom Eltang work on his belt sander (simple, old machine, 2m belts, 3 speeds) and I changed the tensioning spring on my setup- you want a really light tension and easy extending of the spring, just barely strong enough to keep the belt rolling without slipping. That way you can pull and twist your belts with your fingers. Oh yeah, and none of the widely available sanding belts work, you want custom made super flexible backing- it makes all the difference.

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 Post subject: Re: Slack sander
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2016 4:37 pm 
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LatakiaLover wrote:
I'm a big time tool geek, and though I don't make pipes I know what's involved, and have had many conversations with slack belt experimenters over the years.

The bottom line is it CAN be done, but the resulting machine is considerably different than what people go into it expect---super-long custom-made sanding belts, ceiling brackets, 3-phase variable-speed motors, etc.---and are considerably more expensive and time-consuming to get working right than they planned on.

Given that, plus the world's best pipe makers find them unnecessary (shaping discs occasionally augmented with chisels are what 99.9% of them use), you might want to re-consider putting much more time and/or money into chasing the concept.


Agreed. I like to build things and learn as I go. This is a fun project.

I plan on using it to sharpen tools, lawn mower blade, etc... I figured if this can help me fine tune the shaping of pipes, then that's a plus.

Thanks for your input.


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 Post subject: Re: Slack sander
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2016 4:43 pm 
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W.Pastuch wrote:
I use 2 meter long belts and they work very well.
I also had a ceiling bracket but found out it was impossible to allign the holes for the bracket properly (I have brick walls, drilling into that is a pain in the ass, of course in America you make your houses out of cardboard so that's not an issue) and I had the two parts welded together into one piece.
Variable speed is always cool, but people made efficient machines before they invented vfd, so it really isn't so important. I power my belt sander with my lathe so I get a good selection of speeds.

Definitely not a "must have" tool, I agree, but I like mine.

EDIT: One more tip: last year I watched Tom Eltang work on his belt sander (simple, old machine, 2m belts, 3 speeds) and I changed the tensioning spring on my setup- you want a really light tension and easy extending of the spring, just barely strong enough to keep the belt rolling without slipping. That way you can pull and twist your belts with your fingers. Oh yeah, and none of the widely available sanding belts work, you want custom made super flexible backing- it makes all the difference.


I saw a pipe maker using a slack belt sander (Rainer Barbi I think) and his belt was almost loose (slack?...) and he used his other hand behind the belt to guide it to the briar.

From then on, I've been infatuated with making one. It's just fun.


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 Post subject: Re: Slack sander
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2016 5:51 pm 
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I wouldn't say the slack belt sander is necessary to my setup, but I enjoy the project and think it will save me a little bit of time with hand sanding on the lower grits after I'm done shaping on the disc.

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 Post subject: Re: Slack sander
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2016 9:41 pm 
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Slack sanders are usually used for fine tuning the shape or final sanding. Shaping on one is not ideal. There is also a very large learning curve to really get good use out of one.

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 Post subject: Re: Slack sander
PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 8:31 am 
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I have often thought about building one, and have got some parts set aside but I just know that it will go the same way as my other projects. I have over the years built variable speed sanders, reversible sanders, homemade discs, belt sanders, all sorts really. And what do I use now, a 3000rpm motor spinning anticlockwise with a basic disc, on my reversible machine I found I never reversed it, on the variable speed I never change from top speed and I only use one belt sander now for stems, again stuck on one speed.

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 Post subject: Re: Slack sander
PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 1:44 pm 
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Ditto to what Premal said. It is for final sanding (I use 400 grit) and tweaking, definitely not for shaping. You won't be able to use it for sharpening tools! :wink:
Like Pastuch, I also use a 2m one. The supplier I get it from, normally keep a few in stock. Apparently the one I use is being used by knifemakers. Different grits and widths, however, will have to be made up by them especially.
I agree, it is not a necessary tool for pipemaking, but then again it helps a helluva lot with sanding.

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 Post subject: Re: Slack sander
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 9:53 am 
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If'n my belt isn't tight enough, my pants fall down while I'm carving.

Hope this helps.

Todd

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 Post subject: Re: Slack sander
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 10:51 pm 
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Charl wrote:
Ditto to what Premal said. It is for final sanding (I use 400 grit) and tweaking, definitely not for shaping. You won't be able to use it for sharpening tools! :wink:
Like Pastuch, I also use a 2m one. The supplier I get it from, normally keep a few in stock. Apparently the one I use is being used by knifemakers. Different grits and widths, however, will have to be made up by them especially.
I agree, it is not a necessary tool for pipemaking, but then again it helps a helluva lot with sanding.


The belt sanders that Knife makers use are much different. The sanding surface that is used is up against a flat plate or a rubber wheel. The slack sander that some pipe makers are using have no backing.

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 Post subject: Re: Slack sander
PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 3:43 pm 
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Sorry Premal, should have explained myself better. I use a knifemakers belt on a (pipemakers) slacksander.

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