One of the most worrying aspects of this machine build is that it’s been essentially impossible to tell if it will work until it’s all but complete. The only major piece of functionality that I didn’t absolutely have to fit before having a trial run was the tracking system. I have, however, finally got to the stage where I’m able to see if the machine at least mostly works.
What you see below is the belt sander essentially complete with the exception of the tracking system, platen and any tables / covers I want to fit.
Another shot showing how everything holds together.
Of course it’s not enough to just put all the pieces together it needs to be set in motion and I’m happy to report that when I pressed the big green button the motor went round, the belt went round and, amazingly, the belt didn’t fall off!
After running it for a couple of minutes I was able to determine a few areas that needed some attention. The belt wheels aren’t very well balanced which is leading to quite a lot of vibration – it shook nearly all the tools off the workmate. The tensioning system works but as I feared idler stock rotates towards the belt whereas the tracking system I currently have in the design expects it to rotate away from the belt. That sounds like a disaster but it’s actually not that much of a problem.
The crowning on the wheels works really well but is far to severe, 1.5mm of crown across the wheels would easily be enough. The belt runs pretty true but tends to flap about quite a lot. Hopefully this will be dampened out but the platen.
I also captured a short video showing the first run with a belt fitted – I’ve removed the video from this site, when I get a chance I’ll stick it up on YouTube.