Powermatic 6" Belt/12" Disk Sander

I’ve had this since 2013 and it is, definitely, an essential to my shop. In that time, I’ve learned:

  • ASSEMBLY

– Assembly was simple. I spent around an hour and a half, including adjustments of tables and tracking, then was able to plug the unit in and run it. For the most part, assembly could be figured out without the directions, but are still important for setting gaps between support tables and the belt or disk for safe operation.

  • QUALITY

– The unit operated without any vibration.

– I had no trouble with any parts missing or being misaligned.

– Belt tracking was good. After setting tracking, it remained where initially set.

NOTE: After moving the belt by hand to roughly set position, it was simple to finish the minute
adjustments by pulsing the unit off and on. The combination of steps avoids tracking damage
to guards.

NOTE: Buy good quality belts. Bad glue joints cause thumping, as the belt goes around and presses
between the platen and against your material.

– See “CONS,” regarding the cabinet, below.

  • NOISE LEVEL

– This unit ran reasonably quiet. Most noise appears to come from movement of air and the belt running over the platen.

  • DUST COLLECTION

– Connected to my little 1-1/2 HP dust collector, dust collection was reasonable. Some dust does escape, but much of that has to do with the collection system attached to it. Even with good dust collection, you should wear a nuisance mask for any significant sanding operations. When I hook my 3hp collector to this, dust collection improves vastly.

With the top cover flipped back to allow use of the end of the belt, for sanding contours, auxiliary dust collection directed at the area being worked will solve a lot of dust problems.

  • POWER

– Before upgrading to this unit, I had a $ 150.00 sander. It proved useful over and again, but was easy to bog down when working even small (e.g., twelve inch long) boards, on the belt. That is less a problem with this unit. However, after some use, I’ve found this unit is not difficult to bog down too. So it would be nice to see a more powerful motor on it.

  • EASE OF USE

– Changing the position of the belt between horizontal, vertical or any position in between just takes seconds. Just loosen the lever, pull the knob, set the position, then lock the belt in position using the lock and, if setting to horizontal, vertical or at forty-five degrees, using the positive stops. My little sander required an act of Congress.

– Taking the end cover off is just a matter of turning a thumb screw and flipping it out of the way.

– Changing belts just requires backing off the belt positioning adjustment and three thumb screws.

– Removing end guard for the belt quickly, for couture sanding, is a critical part of the value of this unit. To do so only requires loosening a couple thumb screws.

  • VERSATILITY

– Being able to remove the table and stop to run boards the full length of the belt is also a critical part of the value of this unit. However, see the “CONS” section.

  • CONS

– As others noted, in use, the belt table leaves only about half the belt for use.

– Re-positioning or removing the belt table for other uses is not a quick process and requires an Allen wrench. [For that reason, I may fabricate a table dedicated for work to be done at ninety degrees to the belt and which will attach with knob type bolts.]

– The cabinet could use a reinforcement on the bottom. My cabinet saw has a three or four inch trim piece, with rounded edge, and juts out on the bottom. This adds a lot of rigidity to the base. This base is straight, so can’t be moved by dragging it, or the sides flex too much and could be damaged. If this were mounted in a mobile base, the flexibility of the base would no longer be an issue.

Woodworking Reviews at LumberJocks.com


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