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HF Belt/Disk Sander

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  • HF Belt/Disk Sander

    Has anyone had any experience with belt/disk sanders from HF? The one I'm looking at is on sale at my local HF for $59.00 from the normal price of $89.00. Item number 5154.

    I'm trying to decide between this one and the Ryobi ($99.00) which I've heard good things about. Thanks.

  • #2
    ryan, i've had good luck with their 12'' disc sander. has plenty of power and a decent dust port connection. i do more metal than wood with it.
    they do make a larger version of the unit you're looking for. i think it's in the 270 range. much stronger and the disc is 12''.

    phoebe it is


    • #3
      ryan, I've looked at them at the HF store here and they seem rather junky to me. Granted, I was looking at a display model that probably gets manhandled to death but I was unable to get the table to set flat in relation to the disc. Maybe it's one of the HF jems but I seriously doubt it.
      I decided to change calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.


      • #4
        Correction, it's actually on sale for $69 rather than $59. What belt/disk sanders do you guys use?


        • #5
          I use the Delta Shopmaster SA180 for the smaller or more detailed things and the Ridgid EB4424 for my oscillating and edge sanding. Both work great for me and I have had no problems with either one. I suppose it might also depend on what you plan to use it for?

          Still enjoying all 10 fingers!


          • #6
            Looking at the picture from the web link, it looks like the table fixed to the front of the disk sander has only adjustment parallel to the face of the disk. Do you know more about this?

            I have the Ryobi BD4600. It sells for $99. I looked at several other units before I bought the Ryobi and wasn't as impressed. The Ryobi is heavy, with a cast-iron base/motor housing. Except for the accessory table, everything else is plated steel. The table is an aluminum casting which is adustable along three axis and can also be quickly relocated to use against the belt. The 6-inch disk is solid aluminum and runs true. The Craftsman and Tradesman units I looked at were pressed aluminum plate and they wobbled.

            I've had my Ryobi going on three years and have been very satisfied with it. There are bigger units for sure, but this particular size (same as the HF unit) works well for trim work, toys, etc. and the belts and discs are much cheaper. Here is a complete review of the product that I have written:

            Also, here is a link to Ryobi's product page:

            Hope this helps,

            Last edited by CWSmith; 02-08-2006, 02:34 PM.


            • #7
              I’m not trying to highjack your thread Ryan, but I was just thinking yesterday that I needed a fixed base sander but I was thinking more of the 9”-12” disc only models. Help me out here folks, what part of the combo units would you use for what functions? I was mostly concerned with sanding to a line on long sweeping curves that I cut proud of with the band saw. What other aspects of sanding would you employ the use of these instead of your ROS, help me, I need a fix, I haven’t bought a tool since before black Friday.



              CW: I commend you on your excellent review of the Ryobi model, does it go sale for that price very often?


              • #8

                Regarding your question about the "sale" price. Man, I sure wish it did. Back in Christmas 2003, Home Depot had a 20% sale on ALL power tools. I robbed the savings bank and took advantage, buying several bench-top tools. The crazy thing about it was that Ryobi put their "bench-top" tools on sale for $87 about a week before and with the additional 20% it was just too good to pass up.

                Howeve, during the last few months of 2004 and the first few months of 2005, most of the Ryobi benchtop tools were marked at $87. I guess the "sliding" dollar value has pushed the price back up to $99.

                Regarding the use of the disc or belt feature of these bench-top sanders; I've used both, but probably most often the belt. The table with miter is a nice feature and like the Ryobi, most allow the table to be adjusted at compound angles with referance to the sanding surface. Therefore it offer some precision to sanding an edge. I've used it to square-up a few cuts as well as evening up an edge that I've cut on my little bandsaw (Ryobi BS902).

                When using the disc, it should be noted that you really only use one-half of the available surface... the half that spins down! If you use the half that spins upward, it blows sawdust in your face. For that reason, I limit my use of the disk. On the Ryobi, the table can be easily relocated to the end of the tool, on the left, just above the vacuum port. With the belt raised to the vertical position, I find much better control for sanding small pieces, as the downward travel of the belt takes the dust directly into the vacuum port just below the table (at that position). With the belt in the horizontal position, you can use the flat surface against the provided stop and with care, it evens up any ragged straight edges. Also in that position, the right end can be used for sanding inside curves.

                The only negative that I saw was that the advertising gives the impression that the belt can be positioned at any angle between 0 and 90 degrees. The only way that can be done is to remove the belt guard entirely, which I wouldn't recomment. The belt guard has access holes to the two socket head capscrews that lock the belt in position. You stick the provided hex wrench through two access holes in the guard and loosen these screws and then swing the belt up into its vertical position and then tighten the screws through two different access holes in this new position. Anywhere in between horizontal and vertical, there is no access to the screws.

                The one last thing that should be mentioned is that the belt can remove a lot of material very quickly, so you need to take care when using it. But, there is a good variety of grit weights for that particular size belt and because it is a very popular size, belts are readily available from a variety of sources for rather good prices.

                Oh, one last thing I should mention. If you are only interested in a sanding disk, there are a couple of sources for double-sided steel plate sanding disks that fit on standard saw arbors. (Each side has a different grit) I've used them on my RAS, but mounting and unmouting a blade on the RAS is a bit easier than on many table saws I think. Perhaps not as handy or sturdy as a dedicated disc sander, but the price is nice. Sears has them and they are listed in the Craftsman catalog, as well as others.

                I hope this helps,



                • #9
                  I have this same machine.
                  The table for the disk moves too much, has too much play/tilt.
                  The guide track is 5/8 inch.
                  The drive wheel for the 4' belt is plastic with very fine teeth pressed on a steel shaft, which stripped. I used superglue to lock it back on.
                  And a good belt will slip on the wheel, can't put too much pressure on work piece while sanding.
                  Would I buy it again? NO


                  • #10

                    I'm not sure if you're referring to the Harbor Freight unit or the Ryobi, but I'm sure yours must be the Harber Freight base on your description of the "plastic" drive roller used on the belt; the Ryobi is uses aluminum or an alloy for both the belt rollers. Either way, I've had none of these problems on my Ryobi. The hardware holding the table is steel and can be tightened significantly with no slippage. While that has been my experience, I never placed anything really heavy there, as the table is too small for anything but trim, toys, crafts, etc.

                    The spring-loaded latch/pressure release mechanism on the belt is quite strong, in my opinion, and I've never experienced any slipping. But again, I'm not using the sander for anything really heavy. As I mentioned, the belt rollers are metal. Overall, the BD4600 uses cast iron and steel components in most areas with the acception of plastic on the adjustment knobs and the miter gauge, however, I do not recall what material they use for the drive gears.

                    I am sorry to hear that your experience has been less than satisfactory, regardless of what brand it might be.

                    Last edited by CWSmith; 02-09-2006, 05:08 PM.