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Hello everyone, I was wondering if anyone out there has built a 2x72 grinder out of one of these (see attached picture). I love blacksmithing but since I am a carpenter by trade, fabricating machines doesn't come naturally to me, so any advice would be awesome. Buying a belt grinder isn't in the budget right now.


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Belt grinding sucks up quite a bit of HP to operate right.  One of the problems with these little versions or even the 1 x 42 versions that can be bought fairly cheaply is that they are very easy to bog down.  They can be used but are questionably passable---and most people outgrow them pretty quickly.  It is a judgement call though as it's always easy for me to spend YOUR money for you.

If on a really tight budget, I'd personally save for the Grizzly 2 x 72 (G1015 is the part number).  It's pretty steep (relatively) at $ 575 but not as steep as the fancier offerings.  Lots of people seem to like it and at a fairly true 1 HP, is strong enough to not be totally frustrating.

The Grizzly version of the one above (they all copycat...or just stick their own brand on the same thing) is $ 139 and rated 1/2 HP which is likely stretching the truth on HP a little.  I'd personally go with the 1 x 42 before I went with this one because the claimed (and fudged) HP is more appropriate to a 1" wide belt than a 2" wide. Having used the 1 x 42, I know that it is serviceable and can do some real work...although it is just another low end compromise as mentioned.  At the very least, the 1 x 42 can eventually become a useful wood sander when you upgrade to something better.  Another point on the 1 x 42---you CAN get top quality belts in that size just about everywhere:  The quality of the belts you buy is as important as the sander itself.  Never go with crappy belts to save a few pennies as it's NEVER worth it.

Or... there are lots of ways to roll your own and get a great machine.  You need to start with a good base and enough HP though to make it worth the trouble.  The above examples are about throwing as little money and time at the issue as possible to get the most bang for the buck.  

Many people also get by for a long while with a simple angle grinder and the sanding type discs.  For the same money as a fairly bad belt grinder you can get a pretty good angle grinder that'll last most of a lifetime if not abused.  The trade off is control.  A benefit is ability to bring it to the part instead of bringing the part to the machine---something important if you get beyond the basics (so you will eventually need an angle grinder anyway).  They can also be fitted with cut-off wheels although that operation can be a little dangerous and should be done carefully.

Obviously there is a LOT of opinion involved here....YMMV

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