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I'm designing a cordless belt sander and need your advice!


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Hi!

I'm an industrial design student and this semester we are designing a cordless belt sander for one of the biggest tool manufacturers in the world (can't say who). I've been doing alot of research on belt sanders but I need input from people who actually use them!

 

Why have the big brands like Makita, Dewalt etc. not released cordless belt sanders yet? I know battery capacity is an issue.

What features would you like to see on a cordless beltsander that the current offerings on the market (Ryobi and Rigid) don't have?

Attaching a shopvac to a cordless beltsander seems a bit contradictory so can the dust bag be improved?

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

 

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Hi!
I'm an industrial design student and this semester we are designing a cordless belt sander for one of the biggest tool manufacturers in the world (can't say who). I've been doing alot of research on belt sanders but I need input from people who actually use them!
 
Why have the big brands like Makita, Dewalt etc. not released cordless belt sanders yet? I know battery capacity is an issue.
What features would you like to see on a cordless beltsander that the current offerings on the market (Ryobi and Rigid) don't have?
Attaching a shopvac to a cordless beltsander seems a bit contradictory so can the dust bag be improved?
 
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 



Dust collection not contradictory at all.

I often use one of my cordless sanders while hooked up to my cordless dust collector. I think it is even more necessary with a belt sander which produces more sawdust.


You working on a full size sander or a small one like the Makita?


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@conoride Quality is a must. I don't want stuff breaking or the belt falling off mid sand. I would probably prefer brushless motor over brushed.

 

Many pro grade rectangular, delta, and eccentric sanders have variable speed. Maybe we could have a variable speed dial on a belt sander? 

 

I don't know if an led is needed but they are usually nice to have and starting to be on just about every handheld tool.

 

In terms of dust collection it is a must. The fabric bags are ok for short sands but they fill up rather quickly. The same goes with the hard plastic dust containers you sometimes see on sanders. I would prefer a hard plastic case dust container over the fabric bag if one were to be included with the tool.

 

In terms of attaching a vac, I don't see any issues attaching a vac to the belt sander. With the cordless backpack vacs, they move as the user moves which is more convenient than a regular cordless vac. Also the belt sander needs to have the wireless activation many companies are moving too.

 

One thing I would like to see with the dust collection is just better collection at the source. From my experience better dust collection is beneficial in many ways. It saves time and money by extending the life of the paper. It extends the life of the paper because it keeps the sand paper cooler, keeps the paper cleaner by reducing caking/gumming, it speeds up the sanding process because caking/gumming is a big factor in reducing the effectiveness of the sandpaper, and finally it just collects dust better in general. Maybe the rollers could be modified in such a way to boost dust collection performance? The faster you remove the dust from the paper the better is what I've heard.

 

Would there be any need to have some kind of mounting points for a mini fence/table to allow the user to do more stationary work at the jobsite? A guy could possibly retrofit the rabbeting fence from cordless hand planers to work with a belt sander.

 

I know most cordless tools have a safety switch instead of a lock on switch but maybe they could both be used on the same tool. Some grinders even have a safety feature that if it detects an impact due to the tool being dropped it will automatically cut the power to the tool. The same or similar technology could be utilized in this sander to allow for the lock on features but at the same time retaining the safety requirements that may be required of the tool.

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I don’t know if Bosch really makes them anymore, but they had a belt sander that looked like a brick.

You could flip it upside down and put a fence on it.

I would certainly buy one of those in a cordless version in the yellow variety.


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Dust collection is asking a LOT of a cordless tool. Cordless vacuums last just long enough to get the job done...about 10-15 minutes. The extra torque/power of a sander with a vacuum gives you maybe 3-5 minutes run time if that. Plus where would you fit a reasonable size canister? Face it vacuum attachment makes the most sense and keeps it a student project.

Might want to look at frameless motors. For your application best would be a motor where the belt rides on the outside and the center is fixed (stator and rotor are swapped) which you can get in a frameless style motor but requires you supply bearings and similar parts. In conveyors you can buy a motor roller which is similar except it also has a planetary gearbox inside the roller.

Fixed speed. In a belt sander you don’t cary this.

Look at First Robotics for parts. REV Robotics sells a nice inexpensive small 12 VDC brushed or brushless motor controller. For testing we rig them to run fixed speed or off a pot (program everything via USB and a small setup program on your laptop).

Look to Panasonic for Li-ion batteries from say Digi Key. Power Tool manufacturers (Makita, Dewalt, Milwaukee) use 5-15 cells in their battery packs. 5 cells in series is 18-20 V. You need more like 2-4 cells but to start with I’d recommend a small NP12 which is a sealed 12 V lead acid battery common in alarm systems for instance, cheap with decent Ah ratings, and can be charged with a common car charger. Step it up to Li-ion once you have a working prototype.

That gets you quickly to a working prototype.

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@paulengr Could they just modify an existing cordless planer? Of the cordless tools out right now, the cordless planer is the closest I can think of. It might not be optimized for belt sanding but it could at least get a proof of concept working. Some of tho components could be repurposed like the battery mount, trigger/handle, circuit board, and motor.

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Its seems like in general belt sanders have fallen out of favor at the moment. Some of the new random orbit sanders are pretty aggressive with material removal. The only major brand right now that makes a cordless version is ridgid.

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Its seems like in general belt sanders have fallen out of favor at the moment. Some of the new random orbit sanders are pretty aggressive with material removal. The only major brand right now that makes a cordless version is ridgid.

I would tend to agree somewhat and it’s annoying. Random orbit sanders though are really finishing or edge tools, not large area. If you try to use a random orbit sander over a large area for say stripping, you get a much less even surface. That’s where the belt sander shines.

But you won’t find much if anything cordless when it comes to belt sanding or say large grinders for good reason. With a grinder or a random orbit sander (I do mostly metal work) there are lots of small quick jobs where I might need the tool for maybe a minute or two like cleaning up the rough edges after sawing. And some jobs are just better cordless. Like hitting a painted metal surface where I’m attaching an electrical ground. But for large areas or say beveling an edge prepping it for welding even with three chargers I can’t recharge batteries fast enough to keep up. That’s why I reach for the corded tool on bigger jobs. But I’m not a finish carpenter or cabinet maker so to me a belt sander is not an every day tool compared to a random orbit sander or grinder that I use every day.

Plus back in the day belt sanders were cheap and what the average homeowner bought. Random orbit sanders were purely professional grade tools. Random orbit sanders have come down in price and the skill level is almost zero so that’s what homeowners get these days.
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19 hours ago, DR99 said:

Its seems like in general belt sanders have fallen out of favor at the moment. Some of the new random orbit sanders are pretty aggressive with material removal. The only major brand right now that makes a cordless version is ridgid.

Ryobi as well unless it is discontinued.

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Power over runtime, the Ridgid I have is severely underpowered, I would rather swap a battery pack after 10 minutes than have 20 of under powered. Dust collection is an absolutely must like everyone voiced, and if the dust port could switch between sides that would be a huge plus.


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