Bolt-Together Belt Grinder for the No-Weld Shop

Belt grinding offers a lot of advantages for the metalworker, and since belt grinders are pretty simple machines, shop-built tools are not an uncommon project. A bolt-together belt grinder makes this tool even more accessible to the home gamer.

With no access to a welder but with a basic milling machine and an ample scrap bin at his disposal,  [IJustLikeMakingThings] had to get creative and modify some of the welding-required belt grinder designs he found online to be bolt-up builds.  The key to a cool running belt grinder is for the belt to be as long as possible, and the 2″x72″ belt seems to be the sweet spot, at least here in the States. Machined drive and idler wheels with the crown needed for proper belt tracking were sourced online, as was the D-bracket for holding the two guide wheels. But the rest of the parts were fabricated with simple tools and bolted together. [IJustLikeMakingThings] provides a lot of detail in his write-up, and it shouldn’t be too hard to build a belt grinder just like this one.

Looking for other belt grinder plans to compare notes? Here’s a grinder with an even simpler design, but with welding required.

19 thoughts on “Bolt-Together Belt Grinder for the No-Weld Shop

  1. Who has a milling machine but not a welder? Lol but in all seriousness, this looks like a great project and a good addition to the shop. I’ll save a small bit of cash on hardware with my welder.

  2. So, I’ve used several machines over last 40+ years that we all referred to as “belt Sanders” when does one begin calling a machine a belt grinder? I just assumed if it had an inflexible abrasive medium it was a grinder, and when it had a flexible, sand bonded paper or fabric substrate it was a sander. What gives?
    Or is this one of those regional things?

    1. I think if it works on metal it grinds, whereas if it’s only for wood it sands. … though I’ve got an older 4″ belt 6″ disc black and decker piece that’s called a sander and ground aluminum on it, but I’m just contrary.

    2. Yeah, this business of calling a sander a grinder has always seemed odd, but I guess that is how it is. I guess if I rub a piece of metal on sandpaper, I am grinding not sanding. I’ll have to work hard to get my language straight. I do want one of these belt sanders though so I can grind metal with it. I can hardly wait. But do I order grinding belts instead of sanding belts? This is all so confusing.

    3. Belt sanders run slower than belt grinders. Belt grinders typically have adjustable speed motors so you can slow them down, or speed them up depending on the material you are grinding. They will almost always have beefier motors as well. This keeps them from stalling out while you are removing material from metal stock. Can you sand wood on a belt grinder? Sure, as long as you slow it down, or like the smell of burning wood. Can you grind metal on a belt sander? Sure, but it’s going to be slower than a belt grinder.

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