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I'm thinking about converting my Central Machinery (harbor freight) 6X48 belt sander into a 2X72 grinder.  I think the motor is on its last leg because it's bogging down much faster than I remember, and I know there's a lot of work involved, but I don't have much money for the darn thing because I fund my shop through part time shop sales.  I don't exactly know where to start on this project, but I figure y'all are the best group of people to ask.  Seems like a bunch of you have done home-built 2X72 jobs, and I really think the conversion would increase my productivity and allow me to work to my fullest potential.  What are your thoughts?  Is this project going to be more expensive than it's worth, considering the crappy quality of Harbor Freight tools?  Is there an economical way to do a weld-free build?  (I don't have a welder).  Any and all advice is welcome.

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Lots of info on belt grinder builds on this site and bladeforums.  Search for the No-Weld Grinder kit online as well. I've even seen some belt grinder builds with wood frames.   If motor on your HF unit is crapping out possibly because it isn't a TEFC motor and is getting loaded up with metal dust you may be able to salvage things like bearings, but those aren't all that expensive.  Depending on your scrap pile you may be able to do a build for between $500 and $800 (depending on motor selection, pulley/drive and idler wheel availability, choice of platen type and how well you can scrounge).  Typically they cost more, if you use less sweat equity.  All depends on what your time is worth. If you are really creative there are alternatives that may be cheaper, but a good, stable, belt grinder is a godsend for making knives.

On the other hand, you can always break the scale off with a 4- 1 1/2" angle grinder with a floppy wheel and draw file...

Edited by latticino
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I have seen a larger motor poed to a craftsman 4x sander. Frankly the amount of work converting a 6x4 to a 2x6 is prohivitive. Scrounge the parts and materials (1-2hp motor) frame (materials for) related pullies and wheels. You armt going to det off scot free but the time, money and agrivation will be less. They aren't complicated criters (TJ build one after all ;-)

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Lots of info on belt grinder builds on this site and bladeforums.  Search for the No-Weld Grinder kit online as well. I've even seen some belt grinder builds with wood frames.   If motor on your HF unit is crapping out possibly because it isn't a TEFC motor and is getting loaded up with metal dust you may be able to salvage things like bearings, but those aren't all that expensive.  Depending on your scrap pile you may be able to do a build for between $500 and $800 (depending on motor selection, pulley/drive and idler wheel availability, choice of platen type and how well you can scrounge).  Typically they cost more, if you use less sweat equity.  All depends on what your time is worth. If you are really creative there are alternatives that may be cheaper, but a good, stable, belt grinder is a godsend for making knives.

On the other hand, you can always break the scale off with a 4- 1 1/2" angle grinder with a floppy wheel and draw file...

Is there a way to clean the dust out of the motor?  I don't imagine that the motor is actually burning out because I had another Harbor Freight sander that worked fine for years with no issues.  I've been using an angle grinder with flop discs to grind blades... not a fun process, but I'm finally getting precise enough that I don't have weeks worth of file work to do.

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If it was assebled it can be reassembled. If it hasnt goten hot and let out the factory smoke, disasibly, compresed air, falowed by electric mottor and contact cleaner (dont use somthing that will desolve the enamel or damage other plastic, phenolic, fiberglass or paper parts) falowed agin by compressed air should clean it out. Bushings and brusshes wear, especialy if contaminated by abbrasive grit. The bushings must be greased after cleaning, but if they are worn it will only be a temperary fix, fitting new bushings, is ideal. 

Reasembly is the trick. Use your camera phone to document the disassembly, also look for holes for pins theat may have held the brushes, or imagine what fictures and jigs may be nessiary to effect reassembly. 

Edited by Charles R. Stevens
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You can try to blow it out with compressed air, but if the motor windings are compromised by existing conditions it is likely not worth the effort.  Metal dust in unsealed motor bearings, bushings and armature are not any better.  I'm no expert, but I'd replace the motor.

 

 

 

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Usually the quality is low all over so the trouble of conversion will then be followed by the trouble with bearings, the trouble with frame pieces, the trouble with switches, etc and so on.  Build your own to a set of plans and use *good* components!

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Forbidden

You don't have permission to access /topic/42645-is-converting-my-harbor-freight-6x48-worth-it/ on this server.  Because it wouldn't let me post to this thread. I really didn't have that much to add, so, never mind

 

but this IS posted to this thread. Does not compute

 

Edited by Steve Sells
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There might be a benefit to cleaning it out but use an electric motor or contact cleaner that way you won't have to guess whether it will damage it or not. Well, HF motors may have, who knows what on the windings. Be careful with the compressed air, I blow them out while they're running but from a little distance.

Naw, converting a HF sander to a square wheel isn't worth the trouble. Use or buy the plans available online and put one together. It may take time to collect quality components but will be well worth the time and effort. Once you've spent a LITTLE time on a 2x72 square wheel grinder you'll be kicking yourself for not doing it a long time ago.

Frosty The Lucky.

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This is posted too Steve but after half an hour of trying to post earlier and getting that message every time didn't compute either. Hence the c & p. Not sure why my reason for editing ended up in the body of that message. It was in the reason for edit area earlier

Edited by Dodge
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