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15" Grizzly Wide Belt Sander Review

aaronb's picture

After several inquiries regarding this tool I finally purchased one and just received it. Since there was little feedback regarding this tool or other tools of this class I figured I would throw my 2 cents in as a review. Please note at this time my review is without significant use, but I have have nearly 1,000 bf of wood to send through the machine over the next month or so I will update it after I get more use.


I had researched these style machines for a few years and found a few reviews on them, all of which were fairly positive. For my situation I have a small shop and do a few project a year. Woodworking is not my primary occupation. After review I decided that the 15" open ended sander would fit the bill for my use. I liked the footprint of the 15" machines which is relatively small at about 24" by 30" and the machine is single phase 5 hp. There were several machines in this category that I considered and they all seem to be of similar design and in about the same price range between $3K-$4K. Sunhill, Grizzly, Bridgewood (no longer manufacturing I'm told), Shop Fox and I believe Powermatic. I was able to see a Shop fox machine locally so I had a good idea of what the Grizzly would look like. I decided against the Sunhill as they do not have a platen. I called Wilke machinery which distributed the Bridgewood machines. I was told they no longer make this machine, but they stated that they used the same machine as the grizzly, but put a Baldor motor on the machine (that would have been a sale for me). I went with the Grizzly over the Shop Fox and Powermatic based on price for what appeared to be the exact same machine.


I was able to download the Grizzly manual for this machine before shipping. I wired a 40 Amp 220 Volt outlet, wired a cord and ran a compressed air line to the location of this machine before delivery. I had also set up a 6" dust collection line to the machine. The machine has a 5" dust port so a reducer was necessary. Having the manual before hand does help to get things set up if you want to get things running in a short time.


My delivery came three days after ordering the machine and it came by semi and I was responsible for unloading the machine. The machine weighs about 900 pounds so forks are necessary or you would need to request a lift gate. Forks are also necessary to get the machine off the pallet. I built mobile base for the machine to allow for movement in the shop. I also sized the electrical cord, air and dust lines to allow for about 10 feet of movement.


The machine arrived in perfect condition. There were very few items to assemble on the machine so set up goes very quickly less than 1 hour if you have all of the cords, wire, DC and air set up. The machine came with two fine grit 220 16"x48" sanding belts. I had also ordered three of each of the 80, 100, 150 grit sanding belts from Grizzly.


The machine tensions and tracks the sanding belts using a pneumatic system. Air pressure required for the machine is 75 psi. Air is turned on and pressure is set on the belt automatically. There is a slight noise from the air system, but less noise than what I had expected. The air requirement didn't seem to take much.


Once the DC and the air is running the conveyor belt is turned on by its own switch. The motor is so quiet you don't know it is running other than the movement of the conveyor. Even without the air and DC running it can't be heard. Next the main motor 5 HP which powers the sanding belt is turned on by its own switch. This motor again was surprisingly quite for its size. I checked the belt tracking and found there to be no problems. The belt was smoothly oscillating from side to side. There are limit switch that would shut down the machine if the belts go out of track. Mine was oscillating about 1/2 to 3/4 of inch.


In all I was very impressed with the finish of the exterior of the machine the height adjustment wheel is very large and smooth, and the post holding the conveyor is very substantial.


With the cantilever design the machine has a outfeet post that slides out to accommodate wider work. This was another nice feature that sold me on the Grizzly. My only complaint is that the height indicator gauge scale should be finer. owning to the fact that the sanding should be taking about 1/64th of an inch per pass, 1/8 inch sale and indicator doesn't provide for overly accurate readings.


I have sent a few boards through the machine and the machine effortlessly turned out extremely smooth boards. The 80 grit quickly took planer marks and indents in the wood. I will provide more comment after I get through some more finish sanding. I have about 500 BF of cherry for cabinet doors that will be going through so I will provide more information later.


This was my first Grizzly machine and I think that this machine offer a great balance between quality industrial machinery with a value price.


Aaron


Edited 7/9/2007 11:38 am ET by aaronb

RickL's picture

(post #100878, reply #1 of 14)

Too bad it doesn't have platen for finish sanding. With the plain drum type you have, you still have to sand the drum marks out. The platen allows you to send the piece right into staining. Any reason you didn't look at stroke sanders?  Pretty much misunderstood machine and can be picked up used for cheap.


Edited 7/9/2007 1:23 pm ET by RickL

aaronb's picture

(post #100878, reply #2 of 14)

The Grizzly does have a paten, the Sunhill did not have one, but the Grizzly does and was the reason for chosing it over the Sunhill. Did you mean Stroke sanders. I have heard good things about them, but didn't pursue them.


Aaron

dgreen's picture

(post #100878, reply #3 of 14)

Too bad you did not read his review.


The wide belt sander he reviewed does have a platen with a graphite cover. It is not a drum sander.


What stroke sander sits in a footprint of 32 x 35 inches? I believe he said size was a factor.


------------------------------------


It would indeed be a tragedy if the history of the human race proved to be nothing more than the story of an ape playing with a box of matches on a petrol dump. ~David Ormsby Gore

 

 

................................................

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.
~ Denis Diderot

brownman's picture

(post #100878, reply #4 of 14)

dgreen,
Sorry to bother you, but in defense of Rickl, the Grizzly 15" wide belt sander doesn't have a platen, despite what the original poster said in his review. He obviously doesn't understand what a platen is. I went to their web site an confirmed this fact before I responded. A platen on a wide belt sander is a flat surface, between the two rollers around which the sanding belt travels, that presses against the surface of the wood to provide more sand paper contact surface to the wood being sanded. Danny

dgreen's picture

(post #100878, reply #5 of 14)

Hello;


No bother, I also went to the Grizzly site before I first responded. Here is the page with the link to the exploded view and parts list.


http://www.grizzly.com/products/G9983


If you look at page six I believe you will see the flat graphite covered platen between the two rollers. I do know what a platen is and have seen more than a few while repairing wide belt sanders made by Jet and Powermatic.


The parts list calling out the platen and associated parts is on page seven.


Take a look and let me know if you still think I'm mistaken.


I'm interested to see what you think and glad to know I'm not the only nut that goes and looks up the workings!


Don


------------------------------------


It would indeed be a tragedy if the history of the human race proved to be nothing more than the story of an ape playing with a box of matches on a petrol dump. ~David Ormsby Gore

 

 

................................................

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.
~ Denis Diderot

brownman's picture

(post #100878, reply #7 of 14)

My apologies. I stand corrected! I did see a small platen in there after all. I'm surprised that they didn't put a platen in there 18" closed wide belt sander. I own that one and it sands very nicely without a platen.
Danny

dgreen's picture

(post #100878, reply #8 of 14)

No problem, pretty nice looking machine all in all . I too am surprised they did'nt put one in the sander you have but I'm not surprised it does a nice job. I have the 26" Shop Fox double drum sander and it does a way better job than I expected when I bought it.


I would have liked to have gotten a wide belt rather than the drum but the dual grits was necessary for what I needed to do and the dual belts were out of my budget.


I was not as polite as I might have been when correcting RickL but it irritated me that someone would go to the trouble of writing a review and have someone who obviously did not read it launch into his usual "if it's not a stroke sander it's junk" spiel.


Happy sanding!


Don


------------------------------------


It would indeed be a tragedy if the history of the human race proved to be nothing more than the story of an ape playing with a box of matches on a petrol dump. ~David Ormsby Gore

 

 

................................................

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.
~ Denis Diderot

polarsea1's picture

(post #100878, reply #6 of 14)

According to the manual it has a platen.

aaronb's picture

(post #100878, reply #9 of 14)

Not to take offense, but I obviously do realize what a platen is since I had to install the platen before using it. I also understand the benifit of the platen and is one fo the main reasons I went with the Grizzlyl. LOL>


Aaron


Edited 7/23/2007 3:28 pm ET by aaronb

aaronb's picture

(post #100878, reply #10 of 14)

On a side note, I have now run about 100 BF through the sander and am please to say that it does a great job.


Aaron


Edited 7/23/2007 3:25 pm ET by aaronb

Steve50's picture

(post #100878, reply #11 of 14)

Aaron - Thanks for the review as I have been pondering the idea of a 15" sander with the platen.  I was looking at the Northstate by LeNeave Machinery.  After you get more experience with the machine, I would like your impressions of whether the 5HP single phase is adequate.  I was thinking of the 7.5HP three phase model but would have to upgrade the phase converter (which could happen anyway due to another possible purchase).


Steve

aaronb's picture

(post #100878, reply #12 of 14)

Steve,


The Northstate looks very similar. do you know the retail price of that machine. As far as the 5HP, I have run some boards as wide as 12 inches through and the sander doesn't miss a beat. I guess it depends on your use for the sander. If it is continuous use for long hours on wide stock that you are trying to take down the 7.5 may be the way to go. For me as a hobby, 5HP is more than enough power.

Steve50's picture

(post #100878, reply #13 of 14)

Aaron - last year it was around $3800 if I remember correctly.  I know several people have them and have been happy with the performance.  I just haven't seen them in person.


Steve

devilchicken3's picture

Air Compressor CFM (post #100878, reply #14 of 14)

I am looking at possibly purchasing the 15" Wide Belt Sander for Hobby Purposes and am wondering what the CFM of your air compressor is? I know the manual asks for 75 psi but it doesn't mention the recommended CFM @75 psi. I just would like to avoid having to purchase a huge air compressor.

Owen