In this article I’m going to show you how I made these wheels for my new edge belt sander. I needed them to have a small diameter, so I decided to use aluminum pipes rather than wood. I’m going to make two wheels; one for the end of the sander and another for the belt’s tightening system.
This is the SketchUp 3D model of the belt sander I’ve been working on over the last few days (first photo). Here you can see where I will put the wheels. This is the system that will tighten the sanding belt and adjust its position, which I will also build in this video.
I’ll need some 6000 ZZ bearings, aluminum and steel pipes, and a threaded rod. First I’ll cut all the necessary materials, leaving two extra millimeters, with a metal-cutting saw. Then I place a template on the sanding disc table that will allow me to cut the pieces to the exact length, perfectly straight.
I make sure all the pieces are straight and cut to the correct length. Otherwise the wheels might be strained and not work correctly.
The steel pipe will function as buffer between the bearings, like this (first photo). And at the same time the bearing must fit into the aluminum pipe. This aluminum pipe has a diameter of 30mm with a 2mm wall; which means its inside diameter is 26mm… same as the bearing.
But these pipes often are a few tenths of millimeter thicker so the bearing doesn’t fit. I’ll sand the inside of the pipe with a dremel so the bearing will fit, and so that we can lock it inside the pipe.
We do this little by little making sure at the end that there’s half a millimeter sticking out more or less. Now I’ll mount the wheel with all its parts. It’s best to use locking nuts on the ends.
We shouldn’t tighten them too much to avoid straining the bearings. When tightening them, the bearings will go half a millimeter into the pipe until they touch the inside pipe.
Now I’ll cut all the necessary parts for the belt tightening device with my saw table. I stick the printable template on the board and make holes with the column drill. I’ll also machine all the rebates for the adjustment of the wheel itself.
I’ve machined a rebate for the threaded rod which measures 2mm less than the rod itself, and now I’ll sand the rod until it’s flat so that it fits into the piece, this way it won’t turn. I’ve also flattened the part that will touch the screw that adjusts the tilt of the wheel.
I make a groove in the threaded rod with an angle grinder (first photo) and cut open a washer to put it inside. It will serve as stop to prevent the wheel from moving. At this point, I can put the tensioner together.
With a bit of aluminum I’ll make the wheel adjuster. We could also use an L-shaped aluminum piece. I put it in place with a couple of screws… and here you can see how it works (third photo). This will allow me to move the sanding belt up or down while it’s turning.
On the bottom I’ll insert this wood screw (fourth photo) that will protect the board, also giving me an additional setting for the wheel in its lower part by tightening or loosening the wood screw.