I'd appreciate some input regarding a belt sander conundrum. I have a very old Craftsman 6x48 that runs pretty well, with a 1/3 hp motor. The rubber sleeves in the spindles are shot, and I haven't been able to find any new ones. Dust collection is non-existent, and this machine is probably the worst offender in my shop for fine dust air pollution.
I am an advancing hobbyist woodworker The belt sander is used several times a week in my shop for less than a half an hour each time. I am considering two options:
1) somehow source new rubber spindle sleeves, and build a custom cart with a built in dust collection shroud for the old Craftsman;
2) dump the Craftsman, and buy a new belt sander. Criteria for a new one are: a) 6x48 if at all possible; b) less than $350, c) if the machine has a disk (not imperative), it must be below the axis of the belt.
So, the price rules out most of the nice Grizzly and Jet belt sanders, but I saw a Rikon on the Woodcraft site that looks good, Model 50-120:
Disc is below axis of belt
2.5" dust port
Machine weighs 104 pounds (seems pretty burly for a cheapie)
Cast iron table
3/4 hp 110V motor
I haven't been able to find any information on this machine, like:
1- How powerful is it?
2- How is the overall build quality?
I also looked at the popular Ridgid oscillating belt and spindle sander, but I'd like a larger belt, and the Ridgid does seem a little light duty. the oscillation facotr is very nice, though.
The table for the disk on the Rikon looks nice. The support for the belt on the Rikon looks like an afterthought. Maybe I should just keep saving and get something in the $500-700 class?
I haven't been able to find much in the way of user reviews of the Rikon tool. Any input would be appreciated.
Link to the Rikon website for this tool: