We highly recommend using belt sanders for stripping, shaping materials, or grinding things faster than usual. Belt sanders are very effective tools, but they are very prone to be affected by dust and residues. When the belt surface is affected by dust and debris, your sanding jobs will take much longer than usual, and the clogged dust can scratch or burn the workpiece. As a result, you will get a substandard finish on the surface. This article is about how to clean wide belt sander belts, which will help you regarding the issue.
Is The Cleaning Process Of Wide Belt Sander Belts Difficult?
Over time, the sanding belts get clogged with dust and residues, especially when you have something to do with paints, soft metals, or resinous woods. The heat generated by the sanding process causes these items to be softer than before, stick to the belt surface, and acquire an increasing quantity of dust or debris.
However, this is not much of a worry as wide belt sander belts are easy to clean and reuse. Fortunately, the time and effort you need to spend cleaning or washing away all the build-up material are significantly lower than the replacement belt cost. So, you can save a significant amount of money.
Why It Is Good To Clean Sanding Belts
Sanding belts get clogged up quickly with dirt and residues when you frequently work with wood or metal. For this issue, you sometimes become frustrated at replacing the sanding belts because their replacement is expensive. It is also another worrying thing to manage space for them to store. If you have little space in your house, it becomes irritating to keep them in space. The cleaning process of sanding belts is so easy that you don’t have anything to worry about burning or scratching your surfaces. Some options are more affordable than replacing sanding belts constantly. So, it would be best to clean sanding belts following those easy methods.
Read: What Does Hook And Loop Sander Mean: Differences & Benefits
5 Different Effective Methods To Clean Wide Belt Sander Belts
It is a good thing for us that it is possible to ensure a long lifespan or durability of sanding belts. There are some options available for you to get rid of dust, dirt, or residues responsible for the belts losing efficiency. Check out five different methods below to extend the sanding belt’s lifespan and prevent headaches when sanding.
Using A Belt Cleaning Stick
Some cleaning sticks available on the market are specifically designed for sanding belts. Those sticks are made from rubber. After they are made, they look more like a giant pencil eraser. The cleaning sticks are of different sizes. For a larger sander, you should open the belt housing to access the belt. Please don’t remove what you can do to lift and secure the housing properly.
If you have handheld sanders, clamp them upside down onto the work table using a vise to ensure the belt properly faces the ceiling. After turning on the sander during the cleaning process, run the cleaner stick back and forth across the belt surface. It would be best to keep moving until all the grimes are cleaned up.
Don’t use too much force while doing the process. If you have a small cleaning stick for working on a wide belt sander, you should secure the stick to a piece of scrap wood. Shut the machine off once you are done cleaning the sanding belt. However, if you are still worried about the build-up, you must turn the sander back on and hold the stick against the uncleaned area. Even after this work, if you still see build-up after a few rotations, consider changing or replacing the belt as early as possible.
Related: Can You Use An Angle Grinder As A Sander: Most Effective Ways
Use A Specialty Cleaner
Specialty liquid cleaners can be used for a wide belt sander to help remove stickiness and grime. Most of the specialty cleaners are nonflammable water-based alkaline cleaners. After applying a specialty cleaner, you will see how easy it is to remove stickiness and grime from paper or cloth-backed belts.
Loosen the tension on the belt first and rotate it correctly. You must maintain extra caution when spraying the solution on the abrasive and blowing the dirt off. Let the belt dry and repeat the same process if it is still dirty. Remember one thing, you need to apply the liquid cleaner when the belt is standing up. Lastly, leaving it dry for two days before using the belt further is essential.
Storing Wide Belt Sander Belts
In addition to acknowledging the cleaning methods of wide belt sander belts, you should also know how to store or maintain them. Maintaining and storing them is essential to get the best out of them. Once the sanding belts are cleaned, you can store them by hanging them on some suitable conditioning racks. The racks should be close to your belt sander and have nonmetallic hangers. It should also have an accurate distance from the wall. The belts should be kept so that they don’t touch each other. It would be better if the belts were far from direct sunlight exposure or other elements.
Use Your Old Shoes
Using the old shoes is an excellent DIY method to clean wide belt sander belts. The sole of an old shoe can be used to clean the belts. You can use this technique as you clean with a cleaning stick. It is good to use old shoes because rubberized products are fantastic equipment to clean sanding belts. You can take ideas from some DIY online videos to see how easy it is to clean a sander with a shoe. A crepe-soled shoe can give you the best result because it is made from latex layers. The material can trap a significant amount of dirt and dust, for which we consider using old shoes as a suitable solution for cleaning sanding belts and discs. It relieves that an old pair of shoes can be an excellent element in cleaning a wide belt sander belt.
Also read: How To Use Angle Grinder for Sanding Wood in Proper Way
Determine What Coating You Need To Use
Choosing the accurate coating for your belts can reduce the stress of cleaning the sanding belts frequently. To determine the coating you need, you should first know the coat type. There are three main types of coats:
- Closed Coat
The grain is spread across the belt smoothly where there is no gap or void. If you want a smooth finish in solid materials, go for a closed coat.
- Open Coat
The grain can cover less of the surface of the sanding belt. It will let more material build-up to repulse when you are sanding. You can go for an open coat for any of your woodworking applications.
- Semi-open Coat:
The grain coverage falls in between closed and open coats.
Additional Tips To Remember
Be careful about the temperature
Temperature can be a harmful thing that can damage the sanding belts. So, it would be best if you tried to store your sanding belt within the temperature of 60-80 degrees.
Think about the humidity
Besides heat, humidity is another significant factor responsible for damaging the sanding belts. Keep the humidity level around 45 percent. If the humidity level is lower, the belts will become brittle. Similarly, high humidity is also harmful as it will soften the belts.
The level of humidity and heat are crucial things that must be aware of to ensure the belts’ longevity.
What is used to make a belt cleaner?
The abrasive cleaning stick is made of synthetic rubber that is soft enough not to reduce the abrasiveness of your sanding belts. Synthetic rubber is used because the material gets stuck between the grains of the belt sander and sticks to the rubber.
What do you mean by a belt cleaner?
The belt cleaner is an essential part of the belt conveyor system. This crucial element can remove carryback from the belt. The carryback requires frequent cleaning up.
Is belt cleaning essential for a belt conveyor?
Yes. Belt conveyor increases the amount of dirt and debris on the return strand. So, to prevent the increasing number of dirt or to decrease the number to an acceptable level, the belt must be cleaned frequently after the discharge point.
What is the approximate duration of a sanding belt?
There are many things related to determining the longevity of a sanding belt. However, according to the experts, sanding belts usually last 1 to 1.5 years in a workshop.
You may need different types of cleaners based on your requirements. Sanding belts are expensive, and many can’t replace the sanding belts frequently when they are clogged up. Choose the one for your project that is preferable and useful. Exploring the techniques above may have fulfilled your requirements on how to clean wide belt sander belts. Besides, getting ideas about different cleaners may help you to choose the correct one for cleaning the wide belt sander belts.