If you’re working in construction, or if you’re an extreme woodworking fan, then you know how important it is to own a belt sander.
This power tool allows you to smooth out rough surfaces to deliver that flat and even finish. It is essential in multiple construction projects, which is easy to see why it’s a must for carpenters, woodworkers, and hobbyists.
Like all other machines and power tools, a belt sander also requires frequent maintenance work to perform at its best every time. And at times, you might even have to replace the switch when the engine no longer responds to it.
But how will you know if you’re using the appropriate switch for belt sanders? That’s what we’re here to discuss with you today.
What is a Belt Sander?
Before anything else, we want to discuss what a belt sander is. This discussion will help you understand how this power tool works.
As previously stated, a belt sander is a power tool that smooths out rough surfaces. It does so through a continuous sandpaper-like belt that’s attached to its main motor. Once it’s switched on, the sandpaper belt loops continuously to sand out the rough areas on the surface of your material.
Since it uses a motor to run the sandpaper through the surface, it gets the job done more efficiently – especially as against manually sanding it out yourself. As a result, it’s bound to help us finish projects a lot faster. It’s especially helpful for large-scale or multiple projects.
What are Appropriate Switches for Belt Sanders
Now that you know what a belt sander is and how it works, let’s now proceed to the heart of this article – what are appropriate switches for belt sanders?
From a layman’s perspective, people often think that any switch will do on a belt sander. However, that is not the case. It has to comply with the industry’s safety requirements, so not all types of switches can be used.
So without further ado, here are the appropriate switches for belt sanders.
1. Momentary Contact On/Off Control
This type of switch has a single push button that controls when the machine is turned on or off. When it is depressed or pushed down, that signifies that it is operational. When it returns to its resting position, that’s when you know it’s turned off.
This simple control makes operation easier, which is why it’s one of the recommended switch types for a power tool like belt sanders.
2. Momentary Contact On/Off Switch with Control Lock
Another appropriate switch for a belt sander is a momentary contact on/off switch with a control lock. This is similar to the one above, with the added locking mechanism.
This locking mechanism usually appears in the form of a lever, which you can toggle up or down to lock or unlock the device. This is an added safety feature that prevents the power tool from turning on by accident.
However, for this control lock to be appropriate for the job, the user has to be able to switch it off using a single finger action. This guarantees that the added lock-on control won’t cause any delay in switching it off. And we know how disastrous it could be on the project if it’s switched off a little too late.
3. Positive On/Off Switch
And finally, another appropriate switch for belt sanders is the positive on/off switch. This switch has a double-ended button that with “on” and “off” labels clearly marked.
When the “on” part of the button is depressed or pressed down, that means the machine is operational. Similarly, when the “off” part of the button is depressed, that means it’s turned off.
Like the previous control types, this switch also allows you to turn the machine on and off without much effort. Just a single pushing movement from one hand and you’re good to go – and it’s the same process for turning it off once you’re done.
Importance of Finding the Right Switch
At this point, you may be curious as to why there are limited options for belt sander switches. The answer lies in the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Act or OSHA.
According to its guidelines, hand-held power tools like belt sanders should have a momentary contact on/off control switch. The same provision states that it may also be fitted with a lock-on control switch, but only if turning it off can be done in a single movement of the same hand that turned it on.
Bear in mind that OSHA is responsible for the safety and welfare of laborers and similar workers in the industry. As such, it is in their best interest that power tools must be equipped with an easy-to-use switch to prevent untoward accidents while ensuring the best result on their works.
As for the positive on/off switch, this is added by experts by analogy. Since this type of switch can also be turned on and off with a single-finger motion, it’s also a safe option for use on a belt sander.
When Do You Need to the Replace Switch?
We have previously mentioned that belt sanders need frequent maintenance work, which includes switch replacement. But, how exactly do you know when it needs to be replaced?
The answer to this question is quite simple. If you notice that the machine doesn’t instantly turn on or off whenever you push the power button, that’s one of the biggest signs that you have to have it replaced as soon as possible.
If you ignore this telltale sign, you might end up with bigger problems in your hands. Not to mention, it could also cause damage to your project and other similar accidents. And we don’t want that to happen.
Belt Sander Maintenance Tips
Aside from making sure that the switch is replaced whenever needed, here are other maintenance tips for you to bear in mind. These will help you make the most of your sand belter – giving you the best value for money in the long run.
- Regularly inspect the belt. Since the belt is at the heart of this power tool, it must always be in great shape to perform at its best.
- Always clean the belt sander, especially the drum, after every use. This will help get rid of any debris that gets stuck within its internal workings.
- Once you’re done cleaning, always make sure that it is stored in a space that fits it perfectly. If you try to keep it in a cramped space, the belt and wheels might wear out easily.
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