Make a stand for your belt sander and free a hand!
My wonderful wife bought me a boatload of Sears Craftsman power tools a few years ago. One of the tools in the treasure chest was a belt sander. However, I wasn't really using the belt sander for large surfaces. I was mostly using it to clean up my rough cuts on small parts. To do this I would hold the belt sander with one hand and the part with the other. No too safe and not very controllable. Using scraps of junk lying around my garage, I decided to make a stand. Now I can use both hands to hold the part for better safety and accuracy.
I also designed this stand so that you can quickly remove the belt sander from the stand by unscrewing two wingnuts. But to be honest, since making this stand, I've rarely used the belt sander in the hand held mode.
I apologize for the lack of photos in this Instructable. I threw this stand together a long time ago. I can't disassemble it for new photos because it is glued together. This belt sander stand is linked to another Instructable I previously posted. https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-footswitch-become-a-monkey./
The stand was in one of those photos. Some Instructable viewers were interested in how I made this stand. So I decided to create this Instructable, after the fact.
Oh yeah, as commented in my other footswitch Instructable, this will only work on belt sanders with a trigger lock. Or if you're desperate you can always zip tie the trigger and make a footswitch.
Note, my belt sander is a Sears Craftsman Model 315. It is an older model and is no longer available from Sears. All belt sanders are different. Shape and dimensions differ especially in the handle/grip area. My model 315 has a very angular shaped enclosure with many flat surfaces. Flat surfaces made it easier to mount to a stand. Newer belt sanders are more organic in shape. (Can someone tell me why a power tool needs to look like the head of Alien?) So the method I used in this Instructable may or may not apply to your belt sander.
If you don't own a belt sander, you can always go to Sears and purchase a proper bench belt/sander:
They're reasonably priced and not much more expensive than a handheld belt sander.
This is an easy Instructable that you can do in one day.
You can put this together with basic tools:
Rock, Paper, Scissors
1.5" x 1.5" lumber (I think tradesmen call this 2x2 since they're half of a 2x4,)
1/2" thick plywood
Sheet rock screws
Double sided tape
Vacuum cleaner nozzle attachment
2 Bolts, wingnuts and washers
Step 1: Design
The belt sander stand is really simple. It basically consists of eight pieces.
Two-1/2" plywood sides
One-Vertical column 13" tall
Two-Horizontal legs 10" long
Two-Lateral feet 1/2" plywood 10" x 3.5"
The first thing to do is design the sides of the stand. Each side is made from 1/2 inch plywood.
The sides of the plywood are held together by screws, bolts and wingnuts. In essence what you're designing is a type of clamp that will sandwich the belt sander around the handle area. Typically, the handle area is designed to be pretty sturdy.
First thing to do is to make cardboard templates for the sides. Rough it out and keep trimming until the template fits perfectly. My belt sander required a different template for the other side since the enclosure differed on each side. Leave some extra room for the 2x2 vertical column. At the top you'll notice I left some room for a bolt that will secure both sides together.
When you're satisfied with the template, transfer it to the plywood and cut it out with a saber saw/jigsaw.
You'll also need to located and drill holes for the trigger and trigger lock. I drilled a hole for the trigger on the left side and a hole for the trigger lock on the right side. You'll also need to locate and drill holes for the second bolt and wingnut combo.
Step 2: Assembly
Next cut out a length of 2x2 for the vertical column. Take into account the belt sander cord. If you make the vertical column too short, you won't have enough room to route the cord. Just mock it up by clamping the sides to the 2x2 and mark off the approximate length. Mine just happened to be 13" long.
From the 2x2 lumber, cut two horizontal legs. The length should be long enough to stabilize the belt sander fore to aft. Mine was 10" long.
At this point, you can mock up everything together with clamps. Make sure everything is square and level. You can see in one of the photos that I made the face of the sander as vertical as possible.
When you're satisfied, you can screw it all together. Since 2x2 is pretty thick, predrill holes before screwing together. I also added wood glue prior to final assembly. In the photos you can see there are two screws in the corner for added strength.
Lastly I created the lateral feet. Design these so that the stand is stable left to right. Mine turned out to be 10" x 3.5" and I used 1/2" plywood. Glue and screw these to the horizontal legs making sure everything is square.
Step 3: Dust Collector
I also added a homebrew dust collector to the stand. Belt sanders make a ton of dust so I hook up my shop vacuum when doing any sanding. The dust collector consists of an old vacuum nozzle attachment and a handmade funnel. I lined up the nozzle with the belt sander and trimmed off the ends to align with the edges of the belt. I secured the nozzle to the end of one the legs by double sided tape and a single sheet rock screw.
The funnel is made up of plastic sheets. The plastic came from a large liquid detergent bottle.
(Can you tell from the color we use Tide?) I first mocked up the funnel in cardboard then transferred them to the plastic. You can see I cobbled this together by punching holes in the plastic with an awl
and then using a needle and thread to tie everything together. I used clear silicone adhesive to seal the "stitching." Ugly but functional. :-) The funnel simply slips over the vacuum nozzle attachment. There is no securing means but I haven't really needed one.
Step 4: Finishing
That's about it! Clean off an area on your bench so you can mount your new stand to it. I'm still trying to find a clean area. :-)
I know most Instructables viewers are from the breed of "Makers." You enjoy making and creating things, even though you never finish them. :-) A stationary belt sander should help you make more things and make them faster. So once you're done with your belt sander stand, make more stuff so you can post more Instructables!
Please feel to leave comments! Thanks! :-)
P.S. - I found a similar project after I posted mine:
Great job and an alternative if you don't have a belt sander but do have an angle grinder! : - )
JT slim made it!