I have a new machine shop doing small amounts of sheet metal work. After cutting out the 1/8" aluminum parts I need the surfaces to go through a timesaver sander. However, I can't afford this machine right now so I am looking for a smaller version of this machine. Is there any machine out there that works just like a timesaver, but has only a 10 to 12 inch belt sander? I would love to fine a sander that is similar to the benchtop planars that you can find at Home Depot. Any help is appreciated.
Performax is one of the names to look for in smaller machines. Delta I think also markets a small one. Should be able to gander them through the Amazon tool site. Both of these guys are roll machines, and the roll is only supported on one side; the thinking being one can sand something almost twice as wide as the roll, if two passes are made.
I thought these things were primarily for wood. I don't know how well they would work with metal. Even with light cuts, I would be worried about heat buildup. I have belt sanded aluminum before, and it is easy, especially with a worn belt, to get the piece smoking hot. I could just see such a piece melting right through the rubberized infeed mat.
If you are looking for a decorative brushed finish, I thought the current thinking was non-woven, abrasive pads, like 3M's scotchbrite products. For small parts I have made for laboratory fixtures, I have used purple scotchbrite pads, both by hand and clamped in a Porter-Cable 1/4 pad sander. The pattern is more frosted, as opposed to linear, when used with the palm sander. Of course, you could also mount a pad on a drywall sanding handle.
For a more pronounced texture, 3M markets a grill cleaning tool that is basically a very coarse scotchbrite glued to a plastic handle.
Either way, less than ten bucks could get you going.
If you think the Timesaver sander is going to be the thing, you might try contacting a local production wooddorking shop. I paid my one of my local shops $30 to sand an old door I came up with. With metal, it might be prudent to ask if you can be the last job through just before they change the belt. Generally, if you are asking a guy to run an 'unknown' the cost of a torn belt falls in your lap. They aren't cheap.
There is a table top drum sander made by Ryobi (????) that sells for the $400 to $500 range. Performax has one at $800 with 16" drum and power feed. Grizzly has floor models for $750, $1200 & $1500 depending on size.
Look at wood working machine sellers. They sell a sander that would work. Grizzly sells one, a 16" drum sander, for $750.00. Just do a google search for drum sander or thickness sander. There are also plans on the web for a home made thickness sander. Cheers, Eric R Snow
Sorry, but I don't know what a "timesaver sander" is. Is it what I might call a stroke-sander, where you lay the work on a flat surface, bring an open pulley sanding belt down to just above it, then do the sanding by applying pressure to the belt onto the portion of the work you want sanded?
Happy New Year.
Brian Laws>I have a new machine shop doing small amounts of sheet metal work.
I worked on a machine years ago that was referred to as a graining machine, which was similar to what you described. It was used to put a directional finish on metal machine parts. It was fairly large, and a padded paddle was used to press and hold the belt down on the workpiece, in a fashion similar to ironing clothes.
The table was on bearings and as the belt traveled over the workpiece, the table could also be moved perpendicular to the belt travel.
It did a great job of providing very nice finishes on large parts.