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Belt grinder for $250? Update.

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by scs.knives, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. scs.knives


    Mar 5, 2010
    Update: Picked up a Craftsman 2" x 42" belt sander today for $100 brand new, it has a 2/3 hp motor. Was it a good deal?

    Hey guys anyone know of a belt grinder for under $300, I convex grind most of my knives but I need to upgrade from my 1 x 30.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
    Last edited: May 12, 2012
  2. panch0


    Jun 16, 2008
    Craftsman 2x42 is what i started out with as did alot of guys on here.
  3. scs.knives


    Mar 5, 2010
    Yeah I keep looking for a craftsman but all the ones I see are kinda over priced, $150 or more.
  4. tedinatl


    Nov 1, 2010
    For $150, I think you'll find the craftsman very hard to beat.
  5. PT Doc

    PT Doc

    Dec 24, 2011
  6. Salem Straub

    Salem Straub

    Oct 20, 2008
    There are a few belt grinders out there that IMO should be priced down in that range, unfortunately these things tend to be somewhat overpriced as a rule. Jet Square Wheels retail for like 3 grand now, single speed 1hp. Building your own is increasingly the only sane option for a person of modest means to get a grinder with decent features.

    Seriously, I don't know how good you are in the shop, but I can build a pretty darn good grinder for $250 or less with some scrounging.
  7. 12345678910


    Jul 13, 2009
    One of the biggest costs is a proper contact wheel.

    I can buy used motors for fairly cheap, but a real eight inch rubber contact wheel is now $275 ish

    You can find some other wheels cheaper like the Poly wheels at knifemakerusa but they still aren't cheap.

    Scrounging can work, but your design has to be flexible to what you can lay your hands on and that requires a really good understanding of different grinder and their features.

    Now you have the internet, there are plans as well as thousands of photos and videos available.

    For 300 I would pursue a kmg / nwg type
  8. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    At 17 years old, I would recommend you getting the following for the $250-$300 you have:

    Craftsman or Jet 2X42 - the 3/4HP models can be found used between $100 and $250. They come in two motor sizes. The 3/4HP model is a good unit, but runs about $450 new. The 1/3 HP unit only costs $150 new, but is underpowered for knife work. You want to look for a 3/4HP on ebay, Craig's List, or your local trader paper. Most any brand of 2X42 with a 3/4HP motor should do fine.

    Any left over money after the grinder should be spent on belts and sandpaper. To start, you want three coarse belts - 80 grit; six medium belts - 120 grit; three medium fine belts - 220 grit; and six fine belts - 400 grit.
    Also get 3M Wet-or-Dry sanding sheets or Rhyno-wet brand sanding sheets. You want 220,400,800,1000,2000,2500 grit. It would be best to get a 10pak of each, but three sheets each is minimum.

    A backup low budget plan is to look for a good deal on a 3/4HP 4X36 or 6X48 belt sander/grinder and run 2X36 or 2X48 belts on it. This won't be a perfect setup, but will work if funds don't allow more. These can often be found for less than $100. If you are fairly handy, you can easily modify one to have a 2" wide platen, but you can just track the belt left or right and it will work as is.
    If you are shop savvy, you can convert one into a 2X72" belt grinder.

    The alternative is to save longer, and make knives by hand sanding and filing for now. Once you have $500-$800 saved, you can build a EERF, NWG, or similar kit grinder for about that price with a little scrounging.
    The Grinder-in-a-box from Polar Bear Forge is a good build kit. The full package with multi-platen is less than $800 complete. If you can scrounge up a proper motor, you can knock $200 off that. Anyone with a wrench set and some shop experience can build it.
  9. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley

    Oct 17, 2007
    If you're very patient and good at scrounging, you can easily build a NWGS with a slack belt/flat platen arm for $250.... biggest cost is usually the motor and next the wheels, but it IS doable.
  10. Salem Straub

    Salem Straub

    Oct 20, 2008
    I'll add to that that the wheels can be casters if you find OKish ones and then true them up to work. I've used casters I bought from Grizzly for drive, tracking, and contact wheels before. Motors can be found often at scrap yards or on CL or Ebay. Machinists will sometimes have a few they've hung on to that they might sell.
  11. scs.knives


    Mar 5, 2010
    I could easily find a motor but I don't think I'm quite handy enough to build a complete grinder, I'm not good at welding :(.
  12. PT Doc

    PT Doc

    Dec 24, 2011
    There are no weld grinder plans out there and MANY have been built. Expect some play in the figment but there are mods for this too.
  13. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley

    Oct 17, 2007
    NWGS = NO WELD grinder sander

    no need to weld. Plans can be purchased at USAKnifemaker.com for about 25 bucks or so.
  14. Vulcanite


    Jan 16, 2009
    I didn't have the time to hassle w/ making a no weld grinder, so I got the 3/4 HP Sears/Jet/Wilton 2x42 belt/disk unit. It is good.

    If you are really into hollow grinding though... you might could put a curvy patten on there and put an adjustable tension spring shaft on there to take off some of the pressure on the tension springMaybe you cuold run 2x48 belts on it w/ a big rounded patten... I dunno, may as well just build the no weld grinder b/c I assume it would give you a contact wheel right?
  15. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley

    Oct 17, 2007
    The contact wheel would be an option. That's one of the great things about the nwgs. It's fully customizable, expandable, etc....

    Build it as cheap or expensive as you like, and you can build it at your own pace as time and money allow. You definitely get out of it what you put into it, but ultimately you can have a very solid and versatile grinder for little more than the cost of scrap and a motor.
  16. scs.knives


    Mar 5, 2010
    Picked up a Craftsman 2" x 42" belt sander today for $100 brand new, it has a 2/3 hp motor. Was it a good deal?
  17. Atlas Knife Company

    Atlas Knife Company KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Basic Member

    Feb 16, 2010
    Here are some pictures of a 4x36 and a conversion like Stacy mentioned. I've made lots of stuff with it and it's holding up very well. 4x36 grinder is around $110 new and $50 worth of parts to build it.

    Attached Files:

  18. Matt Markell

    Matt Markell

    May 12, 2012
    Zaph1, do you have any more info about your belt grinder mod? I have that exact Grizzley sander and would like to make it better for knifemaking. Thanks
  19. damienfr6


    Aug 24, 2013
    I'm new to knife making and I would love to make a darn good grinder for around $250. is there any way I could get some advice? i've got my propane forge from castable refractory cement, a rail road track rail...and a cheap 1x30 belt grinder. I would appreciate any information more than i can express! how I understand what parts are needed but I can't find a group of pieces for cheap. I'm not looking to do any complex grinds at the moment...but i'm serious enough to put some money down.

    Thank you in advance.
  20. nuckingfuts


    Dec 20, 2011
    Im just starting out too and I have the craftsman. With some good belts its been working great.

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