Make a stand for your belt sander and free a hand!

My wonderful wife bought me a boatload of Sears Craftsman power tools a few years ago. One of the tools in the treasure chest was a belt sander. However, I wasn't really using the belt sander for large surfaces. I was mostly using it to clean up my rough cuts on small parts. To do this I would hold the belt sander with one hand and the part with the other. No too safe and not very controllable. Using scraps of junk lying around my garage, I decided to make a stand. Now I can use both hands to hold the part for better safety and accuracy.

I also designed this stand so that you can quickly remove the belt sander from the stand by unscrewing two wingnuts. But to be honest, since making this stand, I've rarely used the belt sander in the hand held mode.

I apologize for the lack of photos in this Instructable. I threw this stand together a long time ago. I can't disassemble it for new photos because it is glued together. This belt sander stand is linked to another Instructable I previously posted. http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-footswitch-become-a-monkey./
The stand was in one of those photos. Some Instructable viewers were interested in how I made this stand. So I decided to create this Instructable, after the fact.

Oh yeah, as commented in my other footswitch Instructable, this will only work on belt sanders with a trigger lock. Or if you're desperate you can always zip tie the trigger and make a footswitch.

Note, my belt sander is a Sears Craftsman Model 315. It is an older model and is no longer available from Sears. All belt sanders are different. Shape and dimensions differ especially in the handle/grip area. My model 315 has a very angular shaped enclosure with many flat surfaces. Flat surfaces made it easier to mount to a stand. Newer belt sanders are more organic in shape. (Can someone tell me why a power tool needs to look like the head of Alien?) So the method I used in this Instructable may or may not apply to your belt sander.

If you don't own a belt sander, you can always go to Sears and purchase a proper bench belt/sander:
They're reasonably priced and not much more expensive than a handheld belt sander.

This is an easy Instructable that you can do in one day.
You can put this together with basic tools:
Rock, Paper, Scissors

1.5" x 1.5" lumber (I think tradesmen call this 2x2 since they're half of a 2x4,)
1/2" thick plywood
Sheet rock screws
Wood glue
Plastic sheet
Silicone adhesive
Double sided tape
Transwarp drive
Vacuum cleaner nozzle attachment
2 Bolts, wingnuts and washers

Step 1: Design

The belt sander stand is really simple. It basically consists of eight pieces.

Two-1/2" plywood sides
One-Vertical column 13" tall
Two-Horizontal legs 10" long
Two-Lateral feet 1/2" plywood 10" x 3.5"

The first thing to do is design the sides of the stand. Each side is made from 1/2 inch plywood.
The sides of the plywood are held together by screws, bolts and wingnuts. In essence what you're designing is a type of clamp that will sandwich the belt sander around the handle area. Typically, the handle area is designed to be pretty sturdy.

First thing to do is to make cardboard templates for the sides. Rough it out and keep trimming until the template fits perfectly. My belt sander required a different template for the other side since the enclosure differed on each side. Leave some extra room for the 2x2 vertical column. At the top you'll notice I left some room for a bolt that will secure both sides together.

When you're satisfied with the template, transfer it to the plywood and cut it out with a saber saw/jigsaw.

You'll also need to located and drill holes for the trigger and trigger lock. I drilled a hole for the trigger on the left side and a hole for the trigger lock on the right side. You'll also need to locate and drill holes for the second bolt and wingnut combo.
<p>Looks really nice, Maybe I can make one in the future</p>
<p>Loved the design, thank you for the help!</p>
<p>Here is a picture of one that I made. </p>
<p>Hey great design! I like it more than my vertical configuration!</p>
<p>nice work guys! I sanded my knuckles lately (not part of my usual beauty regime) so I really appreciate this inspiration. I think vertical is better so you use the width of the belt but it needs a table face to rest the work on like the horizontal. I have a sander that my dad, brother and I share, man it's done some years, I remember it from little, will be great to give it a birthday with one of these.</p>
Thanks a whole lot for dedicating your time in posting your project,very impressive and I will begin building mine this weekend,I may put a little twist on it but be it known I got the idea from you !! Thanks again.
<p>I build it but it didnt turned out as well as yours :D</p>
<p>Great! : ) </p>
Building this for my Craftsman belt sander right now. Thank you for putting this together! Such a big help in current and future projects!
You are welcome! : ) When finished post an Instructable. It is great to see all the different variations! : )
awesome, I have often done the same thing, by simply chucking the belt sander into my desk vise, but this is soooooo much better. Excellent!
Thanks for leaving the comment! : )
Nice Instructable. I have that same belt sander :0
Thanks! I use this rig all the time! : )
Hey nice... its a bit like my creation too: <br /> <br /> http://www.instructables.com/id/Fixed-Disc-Sander-from-Angle-Grinder/<br />
Nice job. If you do put a table on it might&nbsp;I suggest putting a protractor on it? Makes it easier to get the right angle.<br /> &nbsp;Curious though, it looks like the front of the sander is pointing down. Which means the belt is travelling up while grinding on it, a little iffy and harder to control.
My sander has a handle at the front. Using a G-clamp, I clamped it to a workmate.&nbsp;The sander has a lock button on the trigger. It works well.<br />
For stability, add a 2x2 bar laterally under the stand and then you can clamp it in a bench vice or Workmate. &nbsp;You can make the clamp bar removable with bolts and wing nuts. &nbsp;I've done this with one of those light weight drill presses made for portable electric drills.
Yes, good idea! I actually bolted this down to my workbench.
perhaps if someone was making one with a table as well as making a grrove for a guide you could mke it so the table could be rotated up and down so you can use it as a tool rest like in the this instructable<br/><br/><a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Tool-Rest-for-a-Belt-Sander-for-Sharpening/">http://www.instructables.com/id/Tool-Rest-for-a-Belt-Sander-for-Sharpening/</a><br/><br/>mdog<br/>
Great idea!&nbsp;:&nbsp;)
Brilliant! Brilliant! I had been trying to do something like this for quite some time when I found this Instructable -- and I did it. Really extends the use of the belt sander in my shop!
Yes, agree! Now I use mine all the time! : )
if it was was i would like to add a parts rest/ plate so if you want a perpendicular sand you can just slide it up and you know you'll get a 90 degree angle, but it could be taken off ( or adjusted to the right angle) if you don't want a 90 degree angle. just another idea mdog :)
Yes, thanks for the idea. Handyman1959 below had the same idea and built it! : )
Very cool! Nice wood working skills!
Thanks! : )
Simple, solid, and nicely finished. I'm on it . . .
Thank you! : )
Consider making the base extend 4-6" to the rear (motor side) of the support. This would reduce the tendency of the whole shebang to tilt backwards when you're pressing the wood against the sanding surface. I made this modification to the design when I built the thing and it stays solidly on a bench. Of course, you may be able to clamp it to a bench too; that would accomplish the same thing.
Thanks. I forgot to mention that I did end up bolting the stand to my workbench. Great idea though! : )
I love the idea it looks professional and i love the vacummn idea
Thanks for the comment! : )
Nicely done! you even thought of the dust removal :) And although I saw other projects for the beltsander stands I like how you moulded yours to the actual sander and how it looks more refined yet simple.
Thank you! : - )
Thanks for the idea, here is a pic of the one I made. I had to do it a bit differently and the table is so thick because I failed to account for the back slope of the belt past the plate. I set-up the vaccume to get the dust from the stand and from the duat collector port. Here is a pic
Great job! I like how you did your split dust pick-up! : - )
Great idea, however I would strongly recommend a foot pedal or other switch.
Thanks! I included a link showing how to make a foot switch. :-)
I'd like to do something similar with my portable ban saw.
Great idea! Go for it! :-)
An obvious improvement would be a table with a groove for a miter gauge. OT: Why doesn't the Instructables spellchecker recognize "miter" or even "instructables"?
Yes, great idea. My original plan was to include a table. Never got around to it. Thanks! : - )
Very Nicely Done Sir! May I add a suggestion. Perhaps you could add another foot switch to act as a rheostat foot pedal like on a sewing machine. This would allow you to control the speed of the belt sander. Very good job. You get a + from me.
Good idea. Thanks for the suggestion! : - )
I was going to get a standing belt sander but I think ide rather do this
That's a great compliment. Thanks! : - )
Awesome, looks very small and clean. :-)
Thank you! : - )

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