How to Remove Sandpaper from a Belt Sander

Replacing sandpaper on a belt sander is important to make sure you get the optimum use from the device. The belt sander usually uses coarse grit paper but may require removing 1 grade and replacing it with another when a particular sanding project calls for use of different grits. Unlike a finishing sander, belt sanders are often used to remove paint or other types of finishes from wood. They operate very much like a wood plane, adjusting door edges and other items when a rough sanding is the necessary and immediate goal. Therefore, it is important to know how to remove sandpaper from a belt and to understand when and how to conducting maintenance checks when replacing it.

Step 1 – Pull the Plug

Almost all bulky shop-sized belt sanders run on electricity supplied through your home circuitry. Make sure to pull the plug on your belt sander and turn the switch off before attempting to remove the belt.

Step 2 – Place Sander on its Side

In order to remove the belt, carefully flip the tool onto one side--the open side facing up. Pull the roller (drum) release handle so the rollers will move closer together, giving slack to the attached belt.

Step 3 – Remove Old Belt

Slip the belt off the rollers while you have the roller handle released, providing enough slack so it will move freely.

Step 4 – Maintenance Checks

While you have the old belt off, perform a few maintenance checks. One of the most important checks is to make sure the rollers are correctly aligned. Perform a roller adjustment each time you replace the belt. If the rollers are not correctly aligned--exactly parallel to one another--your belt will not track down the center and will either run into the housing side or slip off the rollers on the open side. Adjust the roller alignment, using the roller adjustment knob on the side of the sander. Check your operator’s manual for the exact location. If the rollers are tilted, the belt will definitely not function properly. If poorly aligned, the belt can be pushed upward damaging the housing or the belt.

Step 5– Replacing Belt

Make sure the belt is installed in the same direction indicated by arrows displayed on the bottom of the belt. If you put the belt on backwards, it will travel in the wrong direction--backwards--and spray dust into your face as you operate it. Place the belt over the rollers, holding it in position while you push the handle down to tighten the belt against the rollers. Make sure to align the rollers, adjusting these with the knob, to make sure they are parallel.

Use compressed air every time you remove a sandpaper belt to remove dust and other particles from the tool.