Hi Gang - How does the link belts work on the mill / drill? My original v-belt
is so tight and is hard to change. Thinking of replacing it with a link belt.
They're OK, but the best belt is an A/AP belt, expecially for ganged belts.
This is a re-post of a message I posted not too long ago on the subject
over in rec.woodworking. Hope you find it useful.
I have the twist-lock belts on a lot of my metalworking and
woodworking machinery, including my cabinet saw, which takes three
"matched" belts. Everything works just fine; my cabinet saw easily passes
the "nickel" test.
IME, the Accu-Link belts are not as nice as the PowerTwist brand.
However, they appear to work just as well. They've been running some of
my machinery for about two years now, at heavier levels of use than is
typically encountered in the home-shop, although perhaps not so much as
industrial-level use. I have no major complaints.
I wrote a mini-review on the belts awhile back. It's at
Despite the glowing praise in that write-up, I have since found that the
link belts are no better than cogged v-belts in some applications, and no
better than top quality ordinary v-belts in others. I learned much of
this by experimentation after writing the review, but haven't gotten
round to updating the page.
Cogged belts share many of the advantages of link belts: excellent
vibration dampening characteristics, reduced slippage, higher energy
efficiency, longer life, and resistance to taking a set.
Additionally, there is no waste, as occurs with a link belt when there is
a leftover, unused portion, and which drives the already high cost of
link belts up even more. On the down side, cogged belts are not
adjustable, and in the event of a broken belt (exceedingly rare) the
entire belt is lost, as opposed to one or a few links. Personally, I'm
quite willing to give up these latter two advantages in exchange for the
cost savings. Apparently the only unchallenged advantages of the link
belts are (1) the ease of replacement -- especially in cases where
machinery must ordinarily be disassembled for it -- and (2) the ease of
maintaining spare inventory. (Anybody, please feel free to jump in and
correct me if I'm missing something here.)
While both the link belts and the cogged v-belts dampen vibration, the
link belts are a little better with lower frequency vibrations such as
are cause by pulley or load imbalances and such. However, both types of
belt also introduce some higher frequency noise owing to their "teeth."
In this respect the link belts are noticeably worse (louder in the higher
frequencies), and they also "squeak" a bit from the links rubbing against
one another and the pulleys or sheaves.
Because of this, a particular machine may sound quieter or louder with
the link belt than with a cogged or regular v-belt. On all my machines
that run them, save one, the link belts seem as quiet or quieter than
regular or cogged v-belts. The oddball is a woodworking bandsaw whose
sheet metal stand apparently oscillates in harmony with the higher pitch
of the link belt links. That saw runs about 3 dBA quieter with a cogged
v-belt and 2 dBA quieter with a regular v-belt.
Here is some slightly dated pricing information I collected from MSC
, one of my favorite industrial suppliers. Prices for
36", 48", and 60" classic v-belts are $6.80, $8.16, and $9.35,
respectively. Cogged belts in the same sizes run $8.43, $10.14, and
$11.47. Assuming no waste, the same link belts would cost about $12, $16,
and $20 each at Harbor Freight pricing. Something to think about.