I wanted to make a stand for my belt sander so that I could use it as a linisher. My main requirements were:
• It had to be easy to mount and unmount. I didn't want it permanently fixed to the stand as I still wanted to use it as a hand held sander.
• Changing the belts must be easy. Even though it should be easy to remove, I didn't really want to do this while changing belts.
• The existing dust bag should be used. Ideally a vacuum should up hooked up to the sander, but I wanted to keep the standard bag for easy mounting / unmounting.
• The belt should be vertical so I could sand the end of long pieces, if the belt was horizontal, the work might hit the roof if it's to long.
• I wanted to be able to use the radius of the sander where the paper wrapped around the front roller as well as the flat bottom.
• It must be rigid, both the stand and the sander whilst mounted.
Step 1: Work Out Where to Support the Belt Sander
The first step was to figure out how to mount the sander, unfortunately the belt sander I have doesn't have a flat surface on it.
As I wanted the belt to be easily removable without unmounting the sander, the change lever must be on top which also means the dust bag will be on the bottom.
Step 2: Rough Mounting of the Sander
I used 30mm MDF for this job as I had a bunch of off cuts and the thickness of the MDF should provide a sturdy stand.
1. With one piece for the base, I cut 2 uprights for the sander to stand on which gave enough room for the dust bag (I later cut out the bottom of the base to give more room for the dust bag)
2. I shaped the top of the 2 supports, using the belt sander so that the sander would sit level.
3. once I was happy with the fit, I glued to supports down using a general purpose wood glue and left it to dry. I used the sander to hold the glue joint together.
I wasn't concerned about gaps between the sander and wood at this point, I just wanted to ensure it was sitting flat.
Step 3: Fine Tuning the Fit
I wanted the sander to sit snug on top of the wood supports. To achieve this, I used some automotive body filler (bondo) and pressed the sander into it to make an exact impression of the sander's curved surfaces.
1. First thing was to cover the sander with masking tape.
2. I then drilled some holes into the top of the supports so the body filler had something to grip onto.
3. I marked out where the sander sat on the supports so I knew where to place the body filler
4. I mixed up a small amount of body filler according to the manufacturer's instructions.
5. I spread a layer of the body filler on top of the supports.
6. I then pressed the sander into the body filler making sure the sander was sitting level and most importantly the front was sitting vertical. I used a small engineer's square to check it was sitting correct.
7. Once the body filler was dry I unstuck the sander. Some of the the body filler stuck to the masking tape but it was only the thin edges, it wasn't an issue
8. I sanded back the body filler where it has squeezed out the sides and any other sharp edges that where likly to break off.
Step 4: Making the Bed
To make the bed,
1. Using a piece of 30mm MDF the same size as the base, I cut out the rough shape of the sander.
2. The front of the 2 supports needed to be notched so that the bed will sit lower. The bed will later have an 8mm laminated flooring bored added to the top, so the final thick should sit just above the bottom of the sand paper.
3. To notch the 2 supports, I used a table saw and sat the stand upright on the front face. It's important to ensure the base of the notches are parallel with the base otherwise the bed might not sit square to the sander.
4. I cut some extra supports and glued them to the base.
5. I then glued down the bed to and left it to dry.
Step 5: Making the T Slot
I wanted a T slot on the bed so I could easily secure down an adjustable guide to use while sanding.
I cut a slot on the top of the bed which was the width and depth of an M8 hex head screw.
The slot ended up being a little bit to loose so I enlarged the slot further and glued in a thin 3mm stip of MDF to bring the slot down to the correct width.
The top of the T slot will be later formed with the top piece of timber.
Step 6: Putting on the Top Layer
For the top I used a piece of 8mm laminate flooring which are nice and flat and quite slippery.
1. I cut out 2 pieces, one for either side of the slot
2. I cut out the shape of sander, ensuring a much tighter fit around the shape than I had with the bottom piece of MDF.
3. I then glued and clamped down the laminate flooring piece.
4. Once the glue dried, I inserted a row of screws either side of the T slot to ensure it was secure
Step 7: Securing the Sander
At this point the sander was sitting flat on the supports, I glued on some thin rubber to prevent it from slipping, which helped a bit.
There was still some movement if I pushed on the front face (where the force from the sanding will be applied)
I wanted to add some extra stops in place to prevent it from sliding back.
On front side of the sander there was a 25mm boss, I cut out a 25mm wide slot in some wood, this piece fitted around the boss. I then glued it to the base.
On the rear of the sander I added a piece of wood which fitted behind the handle which preved the sanded from sliding back.
The weight of the sander seemef like it was enough to hold it down in place, so I avoided having any straps holding it down which would make it harder to mount and unmount.
Step 8: The End
I think achieved all the requirement I set out for this project
• The sander sits rigidly without using any straps or clamps so it's very easy mount and unmount.
• I can still use the original dust bag, although it has to be rotated 90deg.
• I can change belt while it's still mounted as the lever is on the top
• I can use front round section of the belt, although the gap around this area is larger than I wanted, so smaller parts may get jammed between the bed and belt.
If I could change anything
• I would have a large area in the front of the sander for support.
• it didn't have to be made from 30mm MDF, 12mm would have worked just fine
next project is to make a stand for my electric planner to so I can use it as a small jointer.