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  1. #1
    Contributing Member MXtras's Avatar
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    Arrow Handheld Belt Sanders - a comparison of a handy tool

    Having used Dynabrade hand held belt sanders in the past, I was in the hunt for an electric replacement. I am not against air tools unless there is an equivalent electric version and then I will drop the air tool like a cheap hooker. Air tools are great for some things, but economics isn't their strong point.

    I think to make this thread a little easier to follow, I am going to break it into three or more posts.

    'Dynabrade', for those that don't know, is an air tool company that has made quite a name for themselves with a tool that uses a small sanding belt driven by an air motor. These are called DynaFiles. These are handy for de-burring parts and getting into tight areas that would be difficult with most other methods.

    Dynabrade now makes an electric version, too. I am not sure how long they have had it on the market, but I can tell you it was not an option when I was in the hunt - at least I was not able to locate it. It's a bit pricey for what it is, but then again so was my other option. Read on....

    Below are photos from the Dynabrade site showing two of their numerous options for this type of tool.

    Here is a link to their site:

    http://www.dynabrade.com/regions/1/ind/index.php

    Scott
    If it wasn't for the last minute I wouldn't get anything done

  2. #2
    Contributing Member MXtras's Avatar
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    Re: Handheld Belt Sanders - a comparison of a handy tool

    I had heard that Harbor Freight had a small, hand held belt sander on sale, so I donned a disguise and marched my happy ass down to check it out. I really don't like to be seen there....

    The HF unit was on sale for $26 and it looked pretty decent so I, in my typical HF fashion, picked up 2 - one for a spare.

    This thing takes 1/2-3/4" wide belts, 18" long. Very common and pretty darned cheap, too.

    Here's a link to the HF "bandfile" - a handheld, mini belt sander:

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=92158

    Normal price is $35.00.

    A pic of the HF band file is below.

    Scott
    Last edited by MXtras; 10-18-2007 at 02:00 AM.
    If it wasn't for the last minute I wouldn't get anything done

  3. #3
    Contributing Member MXtras's Avatar
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    Angry The Milwaukee Band File

    I had previously purchased a Milwaukee band file to the tune of $235.

    When I recieved it, I was not all that impressed. In fact - I really wish I had sent it back for a refund prior to even using it, and I had considered doing so for several days.

    Dislike #1 - the wingscrew that tightens the pivot clamp is just about as cheap as you could possibly make it. If the wing portion had been made from a firm candle wax it would be less likely to bend. What a complete disgrace for Milwaukee.

    Dislike #2 - the tracking of the belt for these narrow belts, as you can imagine, is pretty important. One of the advantages of this style of tool is that you can use both sides of the belt. When going around rectangular tubing, for example, you can use one side of the belt for two sides and then rather than repositioning your grip, you can simply use the other side of the arm to get the remaining two sides. The belt tracking on this sander will change dramatically when you switch the pressure from one side to the other. I know - you are pulling the belt on one side and pushing it on the other. I know, I know. But read on.

    Dislike #3 - this thing is heavy - especially at the gearhead.

    Dislike #4 - it has a rear mounted paddle handle.

    Dislike #5 - add #3 and #4. What in the hell were they thinking? This tool has to be gripped from the back to operate it and the point of use is about 13" from the switch. This mandates either forearms the size of watermelons, brief useage, or two hand operation. Why? Did they not test the design? If someone at Milwaukee thought the balance of this tool was fine I would not want to shake his hand - he must be a 35 year old single guy who has been dating Rosy Palm and her five sisters several times a day. I've raced bikes for 25+ years and have a very strong set of grippers and it is impossible to use this thing with one hand for more than about a minute at a time. Rediculous. And there is no reason for it. Put some thought into it, Milwaukee.

    Like #1 - The cover for removing the belt requires no tools. It slides on and off. It's plastic, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

    Like #2 - it is well powered and the belt doesn't slip easily. This can actually be a bad thing - if you bind it up, it will break the belt.

    Like #3 - it came with a few belts and they are good quality. The seams are smooth and they are well made.

    Like #4 - It came in a really nice, heavy box that looks great sitting in storage.

    That's about it for the Milwaukee. If I think of anything else, I will edit.

    Scott
    Last edited by MXtras; 10-23-2007 at 12:23 AM.
    If it wasn't for the last minute I wouldn't get anything done

  4. #4
    Contributing Member MXtras's Avatar
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    Re: Handheld Belt Sanders - a comparison of a handy tool

    Here's a side by side pictorial comparison.
    Last edited by MXtras; 10-23-2007 at 12:24 AM.
    If it wasn't for the last minute I wouldn't get anything done

  5. #5
    Contributing Member MXtras's Avatar
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    Re: Handheld Belt Sanders - a comparison of a handy tool

    So, If you are in the hunt for one of these, give the HF version a try.

    If you are against buying products made in Asia (I usually try not to) then I strongly suggest looking at DynaBrade. Except for the fact that the DynaBrade appears to be at least partially MIA. Everything on the motor except the colors appears to be very similar to the HF unit.

    The Milwaukee may made in the US, but I doubt it. It's quality is not even up to snuff with the HF version in my opinion. The few niceties of the Milwaukee do NOT justify the $200 difference in price. Milwaukee should be ashamed - I know I am for buying such a POS. At least I supported the US economy, huh?

    Scott
    Last edited by MXtras; 10-23-2007 at 12:44 AM.
    If it wasn't for the last minute I wouldn't get anything done

  6. #6
    Administrator Cebby's Avatar
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    Re: Handheld Belt Sanders - a comparison of a handy tool

    I can't believe the HF ones look so similar to the Milwaukee. So that thing is just attached to a grinder body? Would seem that it would be easy to salvage when the grinder body gives up the ghost.
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