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Metalworking Belts: The Basics of Selection

Choosing the Right Abrasive Belt for Metalworking

In metal-working production environments abrasive belts are often used to increase throughput on objects that need consistent dimensions or a consistent finish for processing further down the line. Inconsistent belt performance can slow down processing further down the line. What follows is some basics in selecting the right belt for the application. 


Identify Your Metalworking Application 


High Pressure applications are for heavy stock removal.  This application uses coarse grades for speed and rapid cut rates.  Also using a serrated contact wheel on the belt grinder will help speed up the cut rate and improve the life of the belt.  You can learn more about selecting the correct contact wheel and belt speed here.  For high pressure applications it is advised to choose a belt with a durable YF, X  or ZF weight backing as well as a Ceramic A/O or Precision Shaped Grain (PSG) mineral.  To learn more about various abrasive minerals and their best uses click here.

Medium Pressure applications are for light stock removal & blending.  This application can use coarse grades for material removal, but also includes grades that are finer.  Finer grades are used for blending the high pressure stock removal scratches on the work piece.  Choose belts that feature X or YF weight and abrasive with a grinding aid for best performance. 

Low Pressure applications are for blending & setting the grain.  This application uses finer grades, for example 150 grit and finer.  The goal is not necessarily to change the dimensions of the work piece, but to put a particular finish on the work piece.  Choose belts with flexible XF or J weight backing and A/O, Ceramic A/O or Precision Shaped Grain (PSG) abrasive.  Also as with high pressure applications the choice of contact wheel should be considered. 



Finishing, Deburring, & Polishing 

Non-Woven (Scotch-Brite) belts are a great choice when removing burrs or refining the grain form the previous blending step.  Choice of grade will largely depend on the substrate as well as the ultimate finish desired and the depth of scratch that is being refined.  Grades typically come in Coarse, Medium, Fine, Super-Fine, and Ultra-Fine.  Some experimentation may be necessary to choose a proper grade. 

Specialty polishing belts are a good choice when a consistent polish type finish is needed.  Polishing belts are usually graded in microns or 3M's Trizact A grades versus traditional grit grades.  Micron or Trizact grade belts typically can be used wet or dry depending on belt type and the substrate.  These belts generally come in J-Flex and medium Flex X weight belts. 


Shop Our Huge Selection of Metalworking Abrasive Belts

Choosing the optimal belt doesn't have to be hard if you know what you need out of a belt for you application.  Check out selection of Metal Working belts or Contact us if you need help with your application. 

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