Belt Sander as Sharpening Station

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tucsonguy
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Posts: 95
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:14 pm

Belt Sander as Sharpening Station

Post by tucsonguy »

I have completed rebuilding my 80s era Shopsmith belt sander and have turned it into a precision tool sharpening station the equal of any Tormek setup, at about 1/4 the price.
I rebuilt the machine using new lower power drum bearings, removed the upper idler drum bushings (oillite bearings) and replaced with four 5/8x13/16x1/2 needle roller bearings (two per side). Removing the oillite bearings was easy just using a $15 pilot bearing puller.
This reduced vibration to very low levels. (In combination with proper alignement to the headstock, and the use of a telescoping support leg.)
I switched from a new style plastic dust collector to the old aluminum one, and added a length of aluminum tube with a built in spark arrestor. This avoids the danger of sparks getting into my shopvac.
I installed a new $30 platen or backing plate (my old one was somewhat dished due to 30 years of PO pressure!). Not really necessary as I doubt you'd ever notice the slight 'dish' the old platen might have put on a tool edge, without a magnifying glass...
I mounted a steel plate on the right side using two bolts passing through the table leg post holes, and 4 right angle brackets. I drilled the plate to take an Axminster bracket (4 holes, 4 bolts)
I purchased an Axminster 12mm support bar bracket and mounted it on the steel plate.
This gives me a 12mm tormek bar leveled directly over the belt sander platen which can take any Tormek jig. The bar can be raised or lowered and moved from side to side with precision.
The result is a tool sharpening station that has dust collection, infinitely variable speeds, reverse, and uses inexpensive media (belts) for sharpening.
It gives me the same level of precision as an expensive Tormek. I use 2x48 trizact belts for the higher grit (1200).
I've added a worklight and a quench tray, and can run honing wheels off the accessory shaft easily.
The Shopsmith belt sander is a brilliant design, but it can be improved on.
I would recommend to anyone to replace the upper bearings with needle roller bearings.
I will be adding a zerk grease fitting to keep the needle bearings lubricated, in the Bill Mayo style, mounted in the hole in the middle of the upper idler drum.
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Geoff Baker
1951 10ER w variable speed electronic motor with reverse
1999 520 w PowerPro
Belt sander - strip sander - bandsaw - scrollsaw - jointer - overarm router - undertable router mounted on main SS saw table - speed increaser - speed reducer - forced air HEPA filter for headstock - 19" SS powered aluminum drum sander - index wheel system - lathe table crossslide vise system
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nuhobby
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Posts: 2238
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:34 am
Location: Indianapolis

Re: Belt Sander as Sharpening Station

Post by nuhobby »

That's excellent!
Do also tell us a bit about your buffing / stropping wheels :)

Chris
tucsonguy
Gold Member
Posts: 95
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:14 pm

Re: Belt Sander as Sharpening Station

Post by tucsonguy »

Chris, those are the standard Tormek honing wheels. I just had an arbor made to fit the Shopsmith 5/8 shaft with a 12mm 1.75 thread on the end.
Geoff Baker
1951 10ER w variable speed electronic motor with reverse
1999 520 w PowerPro
Belt sander - strip sander - bandsaw - scrollsaw - jointer - overarm router - undertable router mounted on main SS saw table - speed increaser - speed reducer - forced air HEPA filter for headstock - 19" SS powered aluminum drum sander - index wheel system - lathe table crossslide vise system
DavidMcM
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Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2020 11:53 pm
Location: League City, TX

Re: Belt Sander as Sharpening Station

Post by DavidMcM »

Geoff,

Awesome upgrade! Would you mind providing the manufacturer and part number for the needle bearings you used?
tucsonguy
Gold Member
Posts: 95
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:14 pm

Re: Belt Sander as Sharpening Station

Post by tucsonguy »

DavidMcM

I'm using cheapos from Amazon, here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RWNGZ9K
Toyo seems to be the best 'brand' I've come across for this size. Probably the best to get would be what they call "full complement" - all rollers, no cage - and avoid sealed as I don't think they need sealing (the existing bushings have no sealing) as there's a flat washer on the outside that keeps stuff out anyway.
You can even get full one inch wide ones, and avoid having to double up, but the cost might be too high. I haven't finished all my due diligence yet, I'm just running with 'what works'.... right now :)
Geoff Baker
1951 10ER w variable speed electronic motor with reverse
1999 520 w PowerPro
Belt sander - strip sander - bandsaw - scrollsaw - jointer - overarm router - undertable router mounted on main SS saw table - speed increaser - speed reducer - forced air HEPA filter for headstock - 19" SS powered aluminum drum sander - index wheel system - lathe table crossslide vise system
DavidMcM
Gold Member
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2020 11:53 pm
Location: League City, TX

Re: Belt Sander as Sharpening Station

Post by DavidMcM »

Geoff,

Awesome, thanks for the needle bearing info! I will check it out.
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