View Full Version : Large Belt Sander/Grinder

Peter Miles
05-30-2006, 11:37 PM
Yesterday I resolved my search for a good-sized belt sander with the purchase of this rather plain-looking machine.

According to the data tag on the other side of the machine, this is an Auto Crafts Belt Grinder. According to the brochure from its manufacturer, Automotive Craftsman, Inc. (ACI), it is a Model 1486-2S Dry Belt Surfacer.

It was designed for automotive machine shops to surface cast iron and aluminum cylinder heads, blocks and exhaust manifolds.

I was able to talk to the semi-retired owner of ACI, and he assured me that it should work just fine as a general-purpose belt grinder/sander.

It occupies a roughly 24" x 48" footprint. The platen or work area is 15" x 30" and it uses 14" x 86" belts. It is a 2-speed, 7.5 HP machine.


The top canopy is hinged on one end and locks in the raised position.

The driven end of the machine is on the left side, along with the speed selection mechanism. The quick-release lever for changing the belts is on the right hand side in the above view.

There are supposed to be two belts on the machine, but there is only one mounted in these pictures.


Note the two idler pulleys, one for each belt, and the linkage, round knob, and small lever for rotating the idler mechanism so that one belt is taut and the other is slack. Sort of like the clutch mechanism on some of the Helve hammers except here one belt or the other is always taut while the machine is running.

The speed lever is moved to the forward position is the next position.


The dual pulleys on the drive roll (and on the motor) are of different diameters, but the two speeds are fairly close together: approximately 3800 and 4200 SFPM, according to the brochure.

Below, the Belt Quick Release lever is moved to the released or open position.


Both of these mechanisms are simple, adjustable over-centering mechanisms.

It does have some wear on the platen, about 0.004 is the worst that I measured with a straight edge and a set of feeler guages. Since I'm not going to use it to resurface a head, I don't think that should be a major issue for me at present.

It came with about 16 sanding belts ranging from 36 to 160 grit, so as soon as I get it wired up I should be able to use it to help make parts for the other dozen or so machine projects that I have awaiting attention.

We have a lot of motorheads in this group. Has anyone seen or used one of these machines before?

05-31-2006, 08:48 AM
hi peter,

that platen would be easily squared up on a surface grinder. :evil:


05-31-2006, 12:52 PM
Hi Peter,

Has anyone seen or used one of these machines before?
I have seen them used in automotive machine shops to do just what you said: resurface heads and manifolds. They work quite well from what I have seen.

05-31-2006, 03:47 PM
hey guy it sure is a nice big one BUT you know them big belts are xxpensive and hard to get plus some times on a deburing job ,it might snag and tear off ! i like the small narrow belts for deburing or the 12" od type of sander! but im sure it was cheap or you wouldnt of bought it ?my 2 cents mike "carryallman"wahl

Dutch Comstock
05-31-2006, 05:31 PM
Hi Peter, This is an excellent belt sander. Every once inawhile I am over using one of my friends head surfacer just like that to finish large work.The only problem is now you have to hunt for a narrow belt quality sander to use the raius end and the loose belt so that you have all of the options. Dutch

Peter Miles
06-02-2006, 08:14 PM
Thanks for the feedback, guys.

I talked with the manufacturer today and verified some wiring/voltage details and ordered some of the graphite spray that they use to lubricate the platen.

Gary, Getting the table ground is certainly an option if objects don't grind flat enough. The NAPA auto shop that was using it was still doing heads and manifolds on it and only got rid of it because they bought a bigger version of the same thing to be able to do large diesel heads.

If I do decide to get it ground, I would hope that I can get a much better price locally than the $1,000.00 that the Mfg. wants for an exchange on a remanufactured platen!

Mike, the belts are in the $25-$45 range, but I think that enough came with the machine to last me a long time for my purposes.

Compared to large diameter PSA discs, the prices aren't at all unreasonable! Plus, I can do a remove and replace in 30 seconds and be able to reuse the belt. You sure can't do the speed of change or the reuse on a disc sander.

The purchase price didn't meet my normal good deal guideline of being no more than 10% of the new price. I paid almost 20% of the new price. This is relatively new, however, having been made in 1998.

Dutch, I guess that I'll just have to keep my eye out for a good used Burr King 2" belt sander to fill in those gaps in my sanding tool capabilities. :grin:

I'll also have to decide whether I need to keep my 20" diameter disc sander for its tilting table and mitering capabilities.

06-02-2006, 08:55 PM
hi peter,

i used a sander like this a lot in my past life (auto machinist) , and found its great for surfacing exhaust manifolds, you are much better cutting heads on a cutter surfacer.

my comment about surface grinding the platen was an encouragement to buy a surface grinder, but sometimes the humor doesn`t work online.


Peter Miles
06-02-2006, 11:13 PM
Or, I could have just purchased a large surface grinder instead of the sander in the first place, right!

06-02-2006, 11:19 PM
i didn`t think of that peter, i`m sure you can aquire a surface grinder by weeks end.

also, the sander is very handy so you need both pieces of equipment.


06-03-2006, 07:56 AM
Hi Peter

I just found one on craigslist I couldent get the link to come up on this message but its in a lot with weeds growing around it,,asking 300$