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is a belt sander any good for hss tooling

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brian jones 1127/07/2021 18:42:44
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Hi all

**LINK**

Ive seen vids of lathe tools being touched up using a belt sander with a tilting table. He had various settings for the angles on a typical hss lathe tool (not normally available on a bench grinder)

it was stressed that this method is only for honing a new edge on an existing form tools and not for creating a new tool from scratch

Does anyone think this is a viable method for maintaining tools (and drills with a drill jig)

Do the belts wear out too quickly to be useful?. I know how quickly wet n dry paper loses its edge unless used with soap n water

What type of grit is recommended (ive mostly seen these intended for woodwork?) Sand paper wouldnt work at all for example

Anyone had any success here, or do you just use a diamond pad (which type)

I find one is forced to ask these dumb questions cos of all the blow hard hype around and none of the sheep around me has a clue - not even Shaun.frown

i think i ve found some answer, you need 760mm belts of zirconia or ceramic (ca £5 ea)

Edited By brian jones 11 on 27/07/2021 19:07:10

Derek Lane27/07/2021 18:50:07
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507 forum posts
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In wood turning some use a belt sander(I use that term loosely) to sharpen there tools with which are HSS you can also get diamond belts to fit it but unless you want to layout for one they are not the cheapest option.

They are made by Robert Sorby

The sander

and the diamond belt

Edited By Derek Lane on 27/07/2021 18:58:03

Vic27/07/2021 18:58:34
2895 forum posts
8 photos

I’ve been using a Record Power Belt & Disc sander for sharpening HSS tools for many years. I normally use 80g Alox for sharpening but you can go to 120g for a more polished edge if you want. Belts last quite a while and aren’t too expensive. Belts for my machine are 6” wide but I sometimes split them into three 2” belts (easily done) for tool sharpening.

pgk pgk27/07/2021 19:20:18
2298 forum posts
293 photos

When I bought my set of Robert Sorby carving chisels (way back when) the guys in the shop recommended a belt sander to sharpen them. I chose to buy a Tormek wet stone system instead as I believed it would be a better way of dealing with the assorted shapes. Then maintain the edge with it's leather wheels and honing paste

I don't do nearly as much metal work as most of you here but for maintaining an edge on HSS lathe tools I prefer to just regularly stone them by hand or use a diamond hone to keep them slick but it's a habit I got into in my old job to keep dental tools sharp.

I have used my belt sander to tidy up some lathe tools after off-hand grinding and the alu oid belts last well so long as metal presented to them isn't oily 'cos that make a mess of one of those rubber cleaning blocks and ya ends up having to cut the end of the block off.

pgk

brian jones 1127/07/2021 19:29:19
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Thnx guys, so its not a mickey mouse idea

Sorby m/c is the business but £330 is big money for me.

btw have u noticed how your pension purchasing power diminishes every year (-10% pa?)

for example my maidens broadband fees have increased by 10% per year for the last 5 years - +60% (but at least its reliable and my only outside contact so I am stuck with them and darent go for a competitor, my pal had terrible service from the heaven provider)

Its a constant battle to stop all the vultures around cheating and lying to you.

Rod Renshaw27/07/2021 19:47:30
301 forum posts
2 photos

I use a belt sander to rough shape lathe tools of both carbon steel (not very often!) and HSS. The carbide coated paper belts cut well and last well and don't seem to load up or need as much maintenance as do grinding wheels. Though the abrasive looks very formidable I don't have to worry about bursting grinding wheels. I don't have any elaborate jigs on my belt sander so I finish tools on a conventional grinder once I have roughed out the shape. The belt sander is also very useful and quick for shaping and edge rounding of mild steel and brass parts.

Note that the diamond belt Derek has pointed to is not recommmended for HSS tools. Carbide yes, but not HSS.I understand that at high temperatures the iron content of steel will chemically react with the diamond and "eat" it away much more quickly than the normal abrasive wear.

Rod

not done it yet27/07/2021 20:02:19
6279 forum posts
20 photos

They are all abrasives - often Aluminium oxide - whether belts, discs or stones. They all can abrade HSS quite controllably with Al 2O3 abrasive. I simply touch up my parting-off cutter by holding it against a belt.

Easier to change a belt, for different grades of abrasive, than only having choice of one or two stones fitted to a bench grinder. Not so handy if you require a hollow ground finish.

After ~60 years of sharpening things, one should know the basics of the process, if not the latest technological progress with abrasives.

ChrisH27/07/2021 20:36:50
1003 forum posts
30 photos

Brian - I have a similar Warco sander to your link, but vertical belt is 4” wide, so much wider than the one you are looking at,

I rarely use it on that brown stuff unless I have to, far too much dust, but regularly use it on the usual workshop steels with no problem in removing quite significant amounts from smaller parts, saves filing and is very quick.

I have also used it for HSS tooling which is what you were asking, not for forming a tool - I do that on the bench grinder - but for final finishing and touching up prior to honing and for when it needs a bit more truing up before a rehone.

i wouldn’t be without mine, use it very often , if that is any help to you.

Chris

Vic27/07/2021 20:39:45
2895 forum posts
8 photos

These look pretty good for the money. There are very similar looking models for a bit less of the folding stuff.

Belt & Disc Sander

brian jones 1127/07/2021 22:09:55
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309 forum posts
56 photos

Good info here, so these belt sanders are ok for touching up the sharpness of hss, maybe easier than a more hit n misss grinder method cos of tilting table

Alox ok maybe 120g for polishing edges.

good thinking Batman

Robin Graham27/07/2021 22:27:39
866 forum posts
258 photos

My take on this is based on experience with Sorby Pro-Edge, but may be useful.

Posted by brian jones 11 on 27/07/2021 18:42:44:

...

**LINK**

Ive seen vids of lathe tools being touched up using a belt sander with a tilting table. He had various settings for the angles on a typical hss lathe tool (not normally available on a bench grinder)

it was stressed that this method is only for honing a new edge on an existing form tools and not for creating a new tool from scratch

Does anyone think this is a viable method for maintaining tools (and drills with a drill jig).

Do the belts wear out too quickly to be useful?. I know how quickly wet n dry paper loses its edge unless used with soap n water

What type of grit is recommended (ive mostly seen these intended for woodwork?) Sand paper wouldnt work at all for example

Anyone had any success here, or do you just use a diamond pad (which type)

...

i think i ve found some answer, you need 760mm belts of zirconia or ceramic (ca £5 ea)

Edited By brian jones 11 on 27/07/2021 19:07:10

Does anyone think this is a viable method for maintaining tools (and drills with a drill jig).

Yes, I frequently use the Sorby for this sort of thing. I can't see why the cheaper Clarke linked to wouldn't work, for HSS at least, given suitable belts.A caveat is that the Clarke runs quite a bit faster than the Sorby - 13.5 against 3.7 metres per second. I don't think that would be a problem for HSS (bench grinders run at an even higher surface speed), but it would be too fast to be comfortable for carbon steel.

Do the belts wear out too quickly to be useful?. I know how quickly wet n dry paper loses its edge unless used with soap n water.

No, they last surprisingly well.

My own experience with wet 'n' dry is that if used dry it clogs well before it lose its edge. My take is that using lubricant is more to do with mitigating the clogging problem than preserving the edge, but I may be wrong. Belts also clog before they become blunt, but can be restored to near pristine condition with a latex cleaning block such as this .

i think i ve found some answer, you need 760mm belts of zirconia or ceramic (ca £5 ea)

Personally, I've found alumina belts OK for most things - they don't last as long as zirconia, but are very cheap. I've never tried ceramic, so can't comment, but if you want fancy, 3M trizact are the dog's and last for ages - they seem to be available in most sizes.

Robin

Pero28/07/2021 07:36:28
143 forum posts

There is an American program called Forged in Fire in which contestants typically make a hardened steel knife from various materials.

Of interest here is the extensive use made of belt sanders for shaping the roughly forged blanks - both pre- and post-hardening. These frequently start with the use of 80 grit and moving on to increasingly finer grades for final shaping and initial sharpening. The amount of metal that can be removed using the coarser grades is very impressive and well worth a look.

Pero

brian jones 1128/07/2021 08:09:05
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309 forum posts
56 photos

Hi P

you mean this

**LINK**

We used to call these belts linishers for smoothing out castings

i never owned one of these hence my dumb questions

shows what you can learn here by asking

Neil Lickfold28/07/2021 08:40:32
719 forum posts
127 photos

For precision and nicely ground hss I use a white wheel stone. In a hurry I have used a linishing wheel to blank out a form, but finish with a hand lap stone or a fine white wheel.

noel shelley28/07/2021 09:13:39
720 forum posts
19 photos

I have an axminster 6" wide for first stage of polishing brass castings. Belts will remove plenty of metal. 80 or 120 grit and fine for sharpening. In use ALWAYS remember which way the belt is running and avoid a dig in which will spoil if not ruin/break the belt ! Noel.

Nigel McBurney 128/07/2021 09:29:08
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I had a uk built RHJ 4inch belt sander, did not think much of it certainly would not sharpen tools on it,Where I worked donkeys years ago they had big disc linishers, cast iron disc about 16 inches dia with emery discs glued on ,with a cast iron work table at 90 degrees to the disc,these gave a good flat finish to iron castings,plus trimming up brass castings,far better than a belt linisher, but replaceable belts must be cheaper to maintan/operate,Far better finnish than the belt sander I had at home. The disc sanders were never used to sharpen tools,and I would not use any type of sander to sharpen hss tooling,sharpen hss with grey or white wheels on a bench grinder ,white wheels on tool and cutter grinders.

JasonB28/07/2021 10:12:44
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Posted by brian jones 11 on 27/07/2021 22:09:55:

Good info here, so these belt sanders are ok for touching up the sharpness of hss, maybe easier than a more hit n misss grinder method cos of tilting table

Or you buy a bench grinder with a half decent adjustable table, there are also several designs about on the net for making your own rests or kits of parts to complete yourself

Bearing in mind your comments about Clarke bench grinders you probably also get what you pay for in the way of belt sanders/linishers

SillyOldDuffer28/07/2021 10:29:48
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7482 forum posts
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Posted by Pero on 28/07/2021 07:36:28:

There is an American program called Forged in Fire in which contestants typically make a hardened steel knife from various materials.

Of interest here is the extensive use made of belt sanders for shaping the roughly forged blanks - both pre- and post-hardening. These frequently start with the use of 80 grit and moving on to increasingly finer grades for final shaping and initial sharpening. The amount of metal that can be removed using the coarser grades is very impressive and well worth a look.

Pero

Recommended watching I think. The format is 'Great British Bake-off' except they make knives, swords, and replica historic edged weapons rather than cake.

Much to be learned about forging, and although contestants know their stuff, they have surprising gaps when it comes to ordinary metalwork technique. Watched dozens of episodes and only once has a milling machine been used, though blood is often spilled misusing a pillar drill to widen holes.

Anyway, the hardened steel blades on Forged in Fire are invariably finished with a belt-sander, much bigger than the device linked in Brian's question, and they remove a lot of metal. My small belt-sander is used as a linisher, and I hadn't thought of using it to touch up HSS. Although it would probably work I don't see any advantage compared with a wheel, and there are disadvantages too. A narrow HSS tool would wear the belt rapidly in one place unless it were kept moving side to side, in which case it would be hard to keep straight. Even done carefully, I doubt the belt on a small machine would last long because the layer of abrasive is so thin.

Horses for courses, I'd rather use the belt for linishing and a wheel for sharpening HSS. Both tools are worth having!

Dave

Vic28/07/2021 11:15:28
2895 forum posts
8 photos

The nice thing for me about using a belt sander is that you get a flat grind.

Rik Shaw28/07/2021 11:25:39
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1452 forum posts
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I have a belt/disk combo sander. I use the front facing disk for putting an edge on the 1/4" square HSS bits I use in my tangential tool holder - quick and easy using a little angle jig and the re/sharpened bits cut nicely. Mostly though I use inserts. The top belt I tend to use mainly for "surface grinding".

Rik

PS I forgot to mention and it now seems obvious in hindsight - but please hoover out any sawdust before fettling metal as the sawdust ignites quite easily. How do I know? - Guess! embarrassed

tangentialjig.jpg

Edited By Rik Shaw on 28/07/2021 11:33:45

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