Dressing a Wide-Belt Sander Conveyor Belt

How to touch up an old, stiff, hard conveyor belt on a wide-belt sander. May 18, 2010

I recently purchased a 7 year old EMC (Laguna) wide belt sander that has been sitting unused for a couple of years. I'm in the process of setting it up in my shop, and I noticed that the board conveyor belt has become hard on the surface. While test sanding a few boards yesterday (very light sanding), one of them shot out of the machine because the conveyor belt adhesion is so poor.

What options do I have to address this, other than purchasing a replacement conveyor belt? Is there anything I can treat the conveyor belt with to soften it up?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor R:
One thing you could do is use the sanding head to lightly touch the conveyor belt. This will just take off the top surface of the belt and calibrate your conveyor belt to your sanding head. You would need to run the conveyor belt fast and take off only the smallest amount. This will make a mess. Likely you need to take off a limit switch, which limits the table travel so that you don't sand the conveyor belt.

From contributor J:
Ditto what contributor R said. Use a coarse belt. I keep a 60 grit just for this. I also found it helpful to take a magic marker and make a few lines from side to side at a couple of spots on the belt. A side benefit to dressing the conveyor like this is that you will be sure that the drum is parallel to the belt. Keep micro adjusting upwards until all magic marker lines are removed all the way across the belt.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. I'll give that a try.

From contributor B:
Are you sure your front and rear hold down pressure rollers are in working order?

From the original questioner:
I'll double check the setting on the hold down rollers; thanks for the advice. Compared with other sanders I've seen, the conveyor belt sure seems hard. The hardness is similar to that of a pencil eraser that's been sitting in a drawer for 20 years...