Link Belts

I've got a line on an RF-30 at what seems like a decent price. Went and checked it out the other day, and I've been doing some research on that line of machine from various vendors.

One thing I ran across from a couple different sources is that the motor causes vibration that results in only fair finish quality for some types of cuts. One thing I'ld seen mentioned a couple times was using link belts instead of v-belts. Since both of my drill presses and my one small manual mill all use v-belts I was wondering if I could benefit on them from changing over to link belts?

Additionally since I know absolutely nothing about link belts how do you order them? By size like a V belt, or can you just order a bunch of it and make belts to length as needed?

My other thought was, if the right deal comes along would these machines experience less vibration with a 3 phase motor? Maybe running a nice VFD for infinite speed control?

Reply to
Bob La Londe
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You usually run the link belts when the device has one pulley "captive" (often lathes, but there are Equal Opportunity Offenders...) on a shaft with bearings at both ends, and it's a Royal Pain In The Keester to take the gearbox apart enough to slip a standard V-belt over the shafts - then put it all back together so you can use it.

The sectional link belts you just thread it through that captive pulley and assemble it in place - and you're DONE in 30 seconds, not 4 hours.

If you are making really sensitive stuff like watch parts, the bit of vibration might be an issue, but I doubt you'd ever notice.

And it normally comes in a 5' length, or a box of 25' or 50' worth. When you run low, you get another box of the same make/size/style and you can use up the leftovers with some from the next package.

Don't try reusing it by adding more new links, though you can take links out and shorten it. The worn stuff will be narrower and it'll jump in the pulleys every revolution when it reaches the six new links you extended the old belt with. This is bad.

If you ever do something really sensitive like a Surface Grinder you can't run a static converter - the output is choppy. You get the natural phase, then the 'manufactured' phase to kick it in the right direction, then it coasts for a phase.

You only get 2/3 or less rated motor HP out, and really pulsey like a

3 cylinder car with one dead hole, and a second that isn't putting out full power...

In that case, you get a Variable Speed Drive that's rated to run on

240V Single Phase input. Not perfect 3-Phase power (usually Modified Sine Wave) but pretty darned close - a lot better than a Static Converter, and more balanced than a Rotary Converter over the full range of running loads


Reply to
Bruce L. Bergman (munged human

My testing of one new RF-31 from MSC suggested that 0.1mm or perhaps 0.05mm accuracy was the best it could deliver for multiple reasons, and correcting the easiest of them wouldn't help much. I brought a few demanding jobs home for the better accuracy and surface finish of my 50+ year old Clausing.


Reply to
Jim Wilkins

"Bob La Londe" wrote in news:2bXyq.34789$ snipped-for-privacy@newsfe16.iad:

I have used the Fenner red PowerTwist link belts on a couple things. You buy it by length (circumference of belt). Comments:

You can buy it by the foot off eBay, Amazon, or at Rockler Woodworking stores.

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Rockler has frequent sales & discounts so you can get it cheap(er). For example, they have a 25% off coupon right now. I once bought 5 feet, and there was only 3 feet left in the box, so they gave me 8 feet for the price of 5.

On a quiet machine, it can be a bit noisy until it wears in. It makes a sort of zipping sound that is high enough pitch to be annoying.

While it's settling in, it makes a fair bit of red dust.

While it settles in, it may "stretch" a bit. Don't be surprised if you need to drop a link after a while.

My biggest success was on a Jet 4" x 6" band saw. The original belt had a stiff spot, and the machine would heave every time that bit went around the small pulley. The PowerTwist belt solved that very nicely.

Doug White

Reply to
Doug White

=A0Since both of my drill presses and my one small manual

My experience is that machine tools made in Taiwan or China come with belts that are not high quality. Replacing the belts with quality vee belts makes a difference.

Another experience I had was replacing belts on a can crusher at a scrap yard. Some link belt was available so I put it on. I forget why it did not work well, but do remember replacing the belts again with regular vee belts to restore the can crusher to good performance.

Again just my experience. The link belt would probably work fine for a machine that is lightly loaded.


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