Kalamazoo 1SM 1" Belt Sander, 32 lbs, 1725 RPM, 1/3 HP Motor, 1" x 42" Belt, 4" Contact Wheel
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Specifications for this item
|Brand Name||Kalamazoo Industries|
|Item Weight||32.0 pounds|
|Number of Items||1|
|Power Source Type||Motor: 1/3 Hp, 1 Ph|
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APPLICATIONS Used for deburring, sharpening, sizing, sanding, smoothing, shaping metal, wood or plastic. FEATURES Uses 1" x 42" belts. Motor: 1/3 HP, 1 PH Speed: 1,725 RPM Tilt work table. 4" contact wheel. Belt supporter. Weight: 32 lbs.
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Tracking adjustment is very easy. Just loosen the screw on the column, turn it on and let the belt shift to its natural position, then tighten the screw. It's that easy. The belt will automatically center itself on the drive pulley below. It sure beats the old Delta which ran out of tracking adjustment, and I had to pad the idler wheel on one side with electrician tape to make the belt shift over.
The only con is the part rest. It is very weak. It is attached with a single bolt which also secures the platen, and I found that a moderate bump would make it slip. That bolt is so close to the motor that you need a narrow wrench to engage the bolt head. Finally, the part rest is too low, if you hold the workpiece on the left side, it hits the motor. I made a sturdier and taller rest assembly out of 1/8" steel plate, 1" angle iron, and some 3/8" grade 8 bolts.
For my purposes this gets 5 stars.
This is better than the 1" x 30" in every way. The platen is more secure, the belts are easier to change, the tracking works better, and the machine has enough power that the only way to stall the motor is to get a piece of material wedged between the belt and the platen.
This works very well for slack belt grinding, but I have been struggling to grind good looking, consistent flat bevels with this unit. Some of that is due to my inexperience, and even my impatience, but the machine definitely isn't making things easy for me. The table is positioned such that you will hit the motor while grinding anything bigger than a chisel, and it is largely worthless for knife-related jobs. The platen does extend high enough that if you use the top third of it, you can clear all the obstructions and grind blades of any length. It works, but it's pretty awkward. Slack belt grinding on this machine is vastly more comfortable.
I have invested a fortune in belts for this machine, and that is where I am really starting to see why I am going to need to upgrade as soon as possible. This is a comparatively obscure size, and there are many fewer options in belts this size, although very good belts are available. Good quality belts for a 1" x 40" and a 2" x 72" cost almost the same, and you simply get more square inches of abrasive per dollar out of the longer, wider belts. Short of engineering some rather radical solution with scratch-built parts, there is really no way to do hollow grinds with this unit. The belt speed is slow enough to make it easy to avoid burning your work, but when you are grinding a forged blade down to clear steel, there is a lot of material to skin off, and little danger of overheating the thick steel. The blade I just ground had hammer marks 0.004" deep, and I was amazed by how many passes it took to remove such a slight amount of material consistently.
I knew the machine would have limitations when I bought it, but I did not anticipate burning through 4-5 belts to make one knife. I usually use up 2-3 36-grit belts, an 80 and a 100 on every single project. Even if I burn through the same square inches of longer, wider belts, I should be able to do at least three times the work per dollar spent on abrasive. Belts are definitely the largest consumable expense I have getting a blade done, and if I ever hope to sell work for profit one day, I'm going to have to get this cost under much better control.
In spite of its several shortcomings, the machine really is particularly excellent for some jobs, like refining the curves on full-tang blades. A narrower belt is a bonus here, and many of my finer-grit belts are very flexible, so they work even better for this kind of job. I can't imagine being able to get into the same tight inside curves with one of the big knife grinders, so I feel like this Kalamazoo will continue to prove itself useful long after I have finally had the means to give this little guy a big brother.
The only reason this is a big deal is because I bought it to go with a horizontal sander kit I bought for this sander and the Baldor motor had the correct screw locations for the angle brace. With a little bit of “redneck engineering”, I was able to get it to work by bending my horizontal angle brace in three locations, but it’s not as clean or sturdy as the Baldor mounts would have been. As far as motors go, Baldor vs. Leeson is a bit like the Ford vs. Chevy comparison - they are both good, high quality motors.
Would like to see the Seller update the photo to reflect the blue, Leeson motor vs the silver Baldor motor.
Top international reviews
This review will focus on using belt sanders for knife sharpening, although I do use mine for multiple purposes on occasion.
The Good: Quality Baldor motor, Good quality roller guides, Good quality bearings, Simple hinged design on belt guard for easy belt changes.
The Bad: Simple design could be perceived as expensive.
Price - The Kalamazoo is a very simple design and could be perceived as overpriced. My experience is that less is more with the 1SM. My first Kalamazoo 1SM is now 6-8 years old, sees regular use, and usually runs 1-2 hours at a time when I'm sharpening. The quality is outstanding and these belt sanders are solid.
Design - Very simple two roller design. The top roller is spring loaded to provide belt tension, rotating the top roller slightly left or right provides belt alignment, and is locked in place with a thumb screw. The hinged belt guard opens easily with no clips or screws securing it, belt changes are quick and simple. This is a real plus for me because you change belts often when sharpening knives as you move from coarser belts through to extremely fine polishing belts. There is no Sanding Disc on this model, not a consideration for me, but may be a deal breaker for some. I believe Kalamazoo has a combination belt/disc sander, but it is not common to see them advertised.
Performance - The 1/3 hp Baldor motor is more than adequate for any grinding/sanding task you would want to do on a 1" wide belt. The belt runs smooth and pretty much "chatter" free, and the unit runs quiet compared to others I have experienced.
Belt Speed - The Kalamazoo has a belt speed of 1750 FPM (feet per minute) The other belt sanders I have experience with have a belt speeds of around 3000 FPM. Either speed is suitable for knife sharpening, however, faster belt speeds are more prone to heat build up, which can be a consideration when sharpening. I still sharpen on 3000 FPM belt sanders, but my personal preference is a slower belt speed for sharpening.
My Thoughts - Each of the belt sanders I have used over the years have their strengths. The Mastercraft/Harbour Freight 1x30 sanders were very inexpensive to buy and the 1x30 belts are less expensive as well. Both mine are still operational and occasionally still see some use. They were great starter units, but don't expect them to hold up under hard use. The King Canada (I believe similar to the Rikon brand) 1x42 has potential, but also some short falls, see my review here on Amazon.ca for details, but in short I would consider it a decent medium duty sander. The Kalamazoo 1SM is, in my opinion and experience, the best commercially available 1" belt sander available. Short of building your own, I think you would be hard pressed to find better.