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How To Fix Abrasive Belt Tracking Problems

Abrasive Belt Tracking Troubleshooting

Abrasive belt tracking problems can be a woodworker's worst nightmare. It can shut production down and it also creates scrap and waste. In both scenarios loss of time and material can severely affect the bottom line. Here are some of the most common problems that can cause improper abrasive belt tracking. 


1. Tension Pressure 

Check your tension pressure and set the tension for the type of abrasive belt you are using. Here are some general guidelines. 

  • Paper – 45-55 psi 
  • Cloth – 55-65 psi 
  • Polyester – 65-85 psi.


2. Stock Removal Rate 

Trying to remove too much material in one pass can cause the belt to grip the workpiece and dislodge the abrasive belt on the roller causing it to track off-center. Make sure you're not trying to remove stock too aggressively with your abrasive belt to help keep it aligned and tracked properly. 


3. Abrasive Belt Quality 

It seems obvious, but cheap belts are often cheaply made. Poor quality belts can have a poor splice connection, improper splice or be cut incorrectly. It is always best to choose belts from a reputable manufacturer. Also, a quick visual inspection of the new belts should be done before installation. 


4. Abrasive Belt Storage 

It may seem trivial, but improper storage of belts can affect their ability to track properly. Abrasive Belts should be hung and not laid flat or on their end. They also should never be stored on the floor exposed to contaminants. This can make them out of round or off-set and potentially damage them upon the first startup. Remember, if you want your abrasive belts to last a long time, hang your belts on a rod to help maintain their shape. 


5. Roller Maintenance 

Rollers should be in good shape and not have any worn or uneven spots. If you notice imperfections on your rollers, they should be repaired or replaced to ensure even stock removal. Also the rollers must be parallel to each other, these can be adjusted using a dial indicator to reset them into proper alignment. If your rollers aren't aligned properly you risk premature wear on your abrasive belts. 


6. General Equipment Maintenance 

Check any normal wear items periodically. This includes items around the conveyor. The service or user's manual for the machine should have detailed outlines for routine adjustments or Maintenance items. Sometimes a simple adjustment or wear item can cause irregular sanding performance. 

Check out these great quality abrasive belts from reputable manufacturers. 

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