I purchased this sander about three months ago and have had excellent performance come from it. I am amazed at the amount of accessories that are available for this machine. There are many things available for it-from a felt buffing belt to all the little grinding and sanding attatchments that can be used for the accessory flexible shaft, which I own and am very pleased with. The removable belt platen is a very desirable feature, as it allows the user to sand in tight or odd shaped places. The only complaint I have about it is that when I got it home and opened the package, the "body" of the sander was bent, though I am inclined to believe that the problem arose in shipping and handling or at the home improvement store. I ended up returning it for another one that apparently had been stabbed by a forklift(really assuring), but since I took it out of the box and assembled it (which took less than 10 minutes because of the detailed instructions), I have had optimum performance out of it(and as a tip, just use the included hex-wrench in place of a padlock on the switch if you aren't very concerned about young kids). And also, hook a dust collector up to it, as it creates lots of fine dust. Just the quality you'd expect from Delta! Happy woodworking!
I bought a Delta 1" belt sander ten years ago when I started to build my first airplane. This tool has more applications than you can ever imagine. It shapes pieces, sharpens tools, grinds metal and makes pieces fit. Ten years later, and after completing a second airplane, the bearings are getting a little noisy, but it still works. The price of this machine is so reasonable, that I am buying another with the disc sander which will make it just that much more useful. I'll sell the old one in a yard sale and make someone else aware of this great tool. Buy one.
I got one of these yesterday and immediately took it back. I am a woodworker by hobby and needed to do particular sanding. I found the packaging excellent, but that's where it stops. Yes it sands. The verticle plate in back of the 1" belt was 1/4 inch to the left and cannot be adjusted. It was also bent back 15 degrees and not flush to the belt. The throat is not deep, so, sanding a part of a piece of wood longer that a 10 inches cannot be done. Metal parts were jagged and dangerous, especially the little tables. The miter gauge with the disk sander table is small and wobbled in the miter slot and therefore useless for any specific angle of cut. All in all a very cheesy product. If a straight line or a 90 degree angle is of any interest to a user, leave this product on the shelf.
I bought this sander in October 1998 for $69.00 plus tax.
The switch burned out in 2008. The motor is finally failing now-June 2012, so I can't complain about getting my money's worth.
I've used this with Klingspor's middle priced 1" metal cutting and wood shaping/planing belts from 40 grit to 400, to sharpen, round, smooth and polish metal, wood, rubber and plastic and aside from occasionally bogging down when too much pressure was being applied, and needing to be blown out from accumulated debris once in a while and a few drops of oil on the belt bearings once or twice over the years, this little sander has been amazing. I don't use it every day or even every week, but there are times when I use it for 2 hours at a stretch for polishing/smoothing/sharpening metal and a conservative estimate of hours run time would have to be well up into the mid to high hundreds by now. Figure $75/500 hrs. and that's something in the neighborhood of $.15 per hour lifetime cost (plus belts). I use this little sander more frequently than any other sander I have and for some things that i used to use a grinder for. With carpal tunnel and arthritis starting, it's been a blessing to have it on hand to save effort when doing some finicky and tedious hand work that I used to do manually with various tools.
The main drawback that I've found so far is the work piece size limitation resulting from the 1" x 30" belt coupled with it's path, which results in a fairly shallow throat that requires some finesse to work on objects larger than a certain size-I'm sometimes doing a lot of freehand twisting and turning and switching the orientation of the object being worked to keep the belt in a position to be able to continue cutting. That being said, for it's SIZE it's a little gem and I'd be very happy if the next one lasts anywhere near as long as this one did.
This one was made in 1998 with a Taiwanese-built motor that held up well, but I suppose that the newer ones may not have the same motor supplier, and the quality may have slipped by now. I hope that the new version of this size checks out comparably, but I may also be looking at a slightly larger/longer belt size version this time around.
Worked fine for exactly 6 months; then the motor quit. We probably had about 20 hours of use. Will see if Delta fixes it without too much expense on our part (the warranty states that the electric motor may have to be shipped to the mfgr for inspection.) Update: took about 6 months to fix at the nearest Delta repair center, 45 minutes away. Works fine again.