Homebrew Attachment Turns Angle Grinder Into Slimline Belt Sander

If there’s a small power tool as hackable as the angle grinder, we haven’t found it yet. These versatile tools put a lot of power in the palm of your hand, and even unhacked they have a huge range of functionality, from cutting to grinding to polishing and cleaning, just by choice of what goes on the arbor.

With a simple homebrew attachment, [Darek] turned his angle grinder into a micro-belt sander that’s great for those hard-to-reach places. The attachment that clamps where the disc guard normally lives adds a drive roller to the grinder’s arbor; idler rollers ride on the end of a small pneumatic spring that keeps the belt under tension. The belts themselves are cut down from wider sanding belts, and the attachment can take belts of various widths. And best of all, he did it all without any fancy machine tools. No lathe? No problem – the drive roller was ground to the proper crowned profile needed to keep belts centered using the angle grinder itself. The only problem we see is that the attachment can’t be easily removed from the grinder, but that’s OK. Grinders are like potato chips, after all – you can’t stop at one.

This isn’t [Darek]’s first angle grinder hacking rodeo, of course. And if you’re looking for inspiration on how to hack yours, look no further: a floor sander, a precision surface grinder, or even an e-bike can be built.

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An Extremely Useful Shop-Built Belt Grinder

What’s green and black and used all over the shop? It’s [Make It Extreme]’s newest build, a scratch-built belt grinder. And as usual, the build video gets us in the mood to cut metal.

We’ll go out on a limb here and state that the lathe, and not the belt grinder, is the essential metalworking tool. That’s pretty clear from this build – the running gear is machined entirely on a lathe. But as central as the lathe is to machinery making, belt grinders like this one have to rate right up there in terms of shop utility.

You can sharpen with them, quickly remove stock, clean up welds, form chamfers, and remove rust and corrosion. They’re great all-around tools, and with the quick-release idler feature that this one has, fast belt changes for different jobs make it even more flexible. We’d like to see more adjustability in the work table – the ability to angle the table relative to the belt is very handy – but in all this is a great build and a nice tool to have.

On top of it all, watching the [Make It Extreme] builds – like this sandblaster, spot welder, or belt sander – is like high-speed shop class. There’s a lot to learn, although we have to admit that welding in shorts and a T-shirt gives us the willies.

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Turning An Angle Grinder Into A Belt Sander

Faced with a project requiring a lot of sanding, [George] had two options. Suck it up and buy a belt sander — or re-purpose a tool he already had to do the same job. He chose the latter, and turned an angle grinder into a belt sander.

Part of a series called Make It Extreme on YouTube, [George] built the entire project from scratch using raw materials. Using a lathe he created the aluminum rolling dowels the sanding belt will sit on. He pressed bearings into them, and then welded up a frame using scrap steel to hold them apart. He’s even added a spring-powered tension device to ensure the belt stays on.

As for mounting the angle grinder in place, it couldn’t be easier. It slides in between two metal guides, and attaches using the threaded hole for the angle grinder’s handle.

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Matthias Builds A Belt Sander

[Matthias Wandel] is the preeminent YouTube woodworker, with dozens of machines constructed from wooden gears, amazing machines that produce perfect mortise and tenons, and home-built table saws and jointers. Actually building something instead of buying it is a hallmark of [Matthias]’ channel, and he’s at it again, building his own woodworking machines. This time it’s a 1″ wide belt sander. Of course anyone can go out and simply buy one of these sanders for under $100, but what’s the point in that when you can build one out of plywood and a motor you picked out of the trash?

The design of this belt sander – just like the commercial version he’s improving upon – uses three wheels to guide the 42″ long strip of sandpaper around its course. [Matthias] is using rollerblade wheels for the front wheels. Rollerblade wheels aren’t the best shape for bearings, this can be fixed by using a table saw as a lathe. Yes, [Matthias] lathes with a table saw. He’s just that good.

The rest of the frame was carefully constructed out of plywood and powered by a 1/3 horsepower furnace fan motor pulled from the trash. There are a few interesting features that make this belt sander exceptionally useful: a rounded platen behind the belt makes sanding interior corners very easy, and is something that isn’t usually found on commercial belt sanders.

You can check out [Matthias]’ video below.

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