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Trouble with my belt sander


Jeff Leites

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My Craftsman belt sander is about 30 years old, but is not used very often. I had a problem with it today. When I squeezed the trigger, it would just hum. I got it going again by manually rotating the drum (while off), but the problem repeated itself several times. I also noticed a lot of sparks and a kind of clicking noise inside. I don't know if there were more sparks than usual, since I never paid much attention to it before. The brushes look like they still have a lot of "meat" on them. Is there anything I can do to fix it myself? If not, is it worth having repaired?

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it just sounds like an old motor that has gone bad. Over time these things just happen. Personally the only reason I would ever keep an old tool is if it were my grandfathers otherwise I would just buy a new one. The sanders now a days have more option such as variable speeds for different types of woods etc, plus they are a little lighter than the old ones. Don't get my wrong, they don't build like they use to, but I don't think it is worth the trouble trying to fix it, when the new ones are on sale all the time. The only other suggestion which I am not sure if it will work, is looking around for an old model and swapping the motors.

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Old, all metal belt sanders are still great tools. To fix this, you're going to have to disassemble this tool. Here's what I think: Pull the brushes and look at them. They should be shiny and slightly curved on the ends that contact the armature (actually the commutator). If one or both are powdery and the brush spring is blue and has lost its springiness, the armature or field coils or both are no good. However, if the brushes look good, pull the armature out and use some fine sandpaper on the commutator - the copper bars on the brush end of the armature. Clean 'em up! Then make sure the brushes can freely slide in their holders all the way down. Next check bearings or bushings are free. WD-40 is the pixie dust of choice. If all is O.K. and there are 2 wires coming down from the field coils to the brush holders and they are O.K., put it back together. It should work!

I've been in the power tool repair business for 49 years. I have an old Stanley belt sander that I still love.

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