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Belt Sander Safety
Warning: Before using the belt sander, read and understand these important safety instructions:
Danger Zone--The belt sander danger zone is 3" out from the abrasive belt in all directions. When you're working with the worktable parallel to the belt or without the worktable, the danger zone also extends 6' in back of the belt sander; the moving belt can throw stock in this direction. Never stand in line with the rotation of the belt.
- Wear proper eye and ear protection.
- Connect a hose from your dust collection system to the dust chute on the belt sander or wear a dust mask. When doing a lot of sanding, wear a respirator.
- If you're not using a dust collection system, always keep your hands away from the dust chute when the machine is running.
- Be sure the bottom edge of the worktable is not more than 1/16" above the abrasive belt when you are working. Because of the direction of rotation of the belt, small pieces of stock--or a finger, for that matter--can be drawn down between the abrasive belt and the worktable. The smaller the clearance between the belt and the worktable, the easier it is to prevent accidents. However, never let the edge of the worktable touch the abrasive belt. This will grind away part of the worktable.
- Never tilt the table toward the belt. The rotation of the belt could wedge your hands between the table and belt.
- Use the belt sander in either the vertical or horizontal position. Avoid positions in between unless you install the extra bolt.
- Do not use worn belts.
- Let glued-up stock dry at least 24 hours prior to sanding.
- Never sand particle board or paint that contains lead.
Don't attempt to sand pieces that are too small or too large to be safely controlled. To maneuver small workpieces on the belt sander, grip them in a pair of pliers (Figure 19-5), clamp them in a drill chuck, or make a special fixture to hold them. (Metal jaws should be covered with tape or leather so they don't leave marks on the stock.) This will give you better control and keep your fingers out of the danger zone.
Figure 19-5. To safely sand small workpieces, hold them with a pair of pliers, clamp them in a drill chuck, or use a special fixture you make yourself..
- Always check the machine before you turn it on. Remove any adjusting wrenches or anything that may be resting on the belt.
- Be certain the abrasive belt is tracking properly and does not rub against any part of the belt sander.
- Whenever possible, support the workpiece by backing it up or guiding it with the worktable.
- Check that the worktable is locked securely in place.
- Always turn the belt sander on first; then put the workpiece in position. Never turn the machine on with a workpiece resting on the belt.
- Never spin the abrasive belt, drive shaft, pulley, or V-belt to start the belt sander. Keep your hands away from these parts when the machine is plugged in.
- The belt sander must be unplugged from its power source before performing any adjustments or repair procedures, with the exception of belt tracking and crowning. Do not rely solely on the power switch.
- If you use the belt sander to grind or sharpen tools, first clean the sawdust from inside and around the machine 50 sparks do not ignite the sawdust. Work with the cutting edge pointing away from you and in the same direction as the rotation of the belt. Never mount wire or grinding wheels on the auxiliary spindle. Never grind or sharpen tools freehand; use the table, a fixture or clamps to support and guide the tool.
- If you're using a Shopsmith Power Stand, be sure that you're using the proper pulley and belt combination, and that the pulley and belt are properly guarded.
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