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Which tool in your shop do you find the most useful ??

Which one do you simply use the most ??

Are they one in the same ??

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Where did you source it ??

Have you modified it ??

Be specific.

Add ons .. again .. be specific.

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What alternatives are out there.

Do be specific.

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Enjoy

D ale

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Replies to This Discussion

I'll start it off with my G8689 mini mill from Grizzly Industrial Inc. It's the one pictured below. I chose Grizzly because they have a brick & mortar storefront about 1.5 hrs from my residence. It's not light .. shipping is NOT negligible. SO0oo.. I drove down & picked it up .. on sale .. of course.

I spent about 75% of the cost of the mill in initial tooling ..which.. is to be expected. That included a std set of small 2 & 4 flute HSS end mill sets, a comprehensive 115 pc drill bit set , a rotary table , a couple different size vices , T-slot clamping kit, and numerous small items .. metal scribe, etc.

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And YES .. I've modified it. Go figure !!!

I've since added a belt drive system & an air counter balance system .. both .. from Little Machine Shop.

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If / when I add something further .. it'll likely be digital readout or C&C control.

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If I had it to do over again .. I think I'd get Little Machine Shop's version .. Seig X2D .. instead. The Seig X2D garners better reviews & comes with some of the upgrades I added to the Grizzly .. already installed.

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Note .. I've 2 belt sanders that see fairly heavy use. However, it's the mill that allowed me to take a stride forward in my knife making capabilities.

I really like my drill press, sure makes drilling straight holes so much easier. I modified it by making a larger simple plywood table for it. It allows me to clamp homemade jigs on easier. 

Most used: 

MicroLux Heavy Duty Flex Shaft Machine

This is a very recent purchase when it was on a too good to be true sale.  Turns out he uses it almost daily.  The foot pedal and flexibility make it perfect for working on just about anything and makes detail work a breeze.

Most useful: PH 454 X10 & flat platen  We listened to the maker and went with a 10 inch, which has worked out well.  the variable speed is essential.  This has been the piece that turned the page on learning to freehand grind.  The 1X30 was a great starter but you dont get the same view or the ability to remove metal evenly

Since I have so little in power tools at the moment - a Dremel 4000 rotary and accessories, and a Chicago Electric (Harbor Freight) 1x30 belt sander - sad really I know, but I'm starting out - for me the most useful of what I have at the moment has to be the belt sander. I can use it with coarse belts to rough sand, then fine belts to fine sand / set an edge / sharpen, and a leather strop belt to hone.

I also bought a Pro Sharpening Supplies angle guide that is made to slip easily onto the platen of the belt sander and allow easy angle setting for novices who are not comfortable or experienced enough to free hand grind or regrind angles on blades, anything from 10 - 45 degrees. It really helps me.

A mill with CNC, and of course space for it and other tools - that would be heaven ...

I have a bench top milling machine and use it frequently. I would say the most used tool in my shop is my air compressor or my 1" belt and 6" disc sander. I do more wood work than anything else, but I do work with all types of materials. 

An interesting series of photos of sharpening systems on Pro Sharpening Supplies' page includes among others, one Indian's absolute most useful tool! (Well, I assume Indian, but maybe Pakistani or other nationality) 

A self powered, portable knife sharpening workshop


Donnie says get some of this, it helps keep the grinder from skipping and you get a cleaner grind :)

Platen backing
allanm said:

Since I have so little in power tools at the moment - a Dremel 4000 rotary and accessories, and a Chicago Electric (Harbor Freight) 1x30 belt sander - sad really I know, but I'm starting out - for me the most useful of what I have at the moment has to be the belt sander. I can use it with coarse belts to rough sand, then fine belts to fine sand / set an edge / sharpen, and a leather strop belt to hone.

I also bought a Pro Sharpening Supplies angle guide that is made to slip easily onto the platen of the belt sander and allow easy angle setting for novices who are not comfortable or experienced enough to free hand grind or regrind angles on blades, anything from 10 - 45 degrees. It really helps me.

A mill with CNC, and of course space for it and other tools - that would be heaven ...

I have the same small belt sander from harbor frieght, where fo you get good belts for that size, the o es I have have a huge seam that is very noticable when sanding. And what is platen backing? Im guessing its slippery. 

Micheal,

It is a cushion between the belt and the platen to give just enough cushion to get a smoother grinds.  It glues onto the platen.

Any belt you get is going to have the seam where they are glued together.  The backing will help with that because you will have just enough give to compensate for it

Jantz has the belts but ordering from True Grit is awesome because you can get the scotch bright belts, the cork belts, and any grit you want because they will make them for you.

Actually that platen "backing" is part of the angle guide. The angle guide just slips over the top end of the platen with a spring on the back to hold it in place. It's a really ingenious design and works well for less experienced makers/sharpeners like me to get a consistent angle.

I bought the angle guide and a $45 set of various grit belts along with a leather stop belt from Pro Sharpening Supplies, all through amazon. Angle guide here  and belt set here - I even left a review on the angle guide with a few more photos and a short video of it in use

The belts seem really good, no issues with seams and gluing

Ah yes .. the ubiquitous 1*30 belt sander.

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I'm on my second unit .. would not want to live with out it. Big bang for the buck.

Belts are readily available in numerous grits. Brick & morter .. Menards, Lowes, etc ..to.. mail (online) ordering.

It offers versatility for < $100.oo .. very useful !!!

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A 72" belt sander is definitely on my list of highly desired shop tools.

I hope not to wear my sander out any time soon ... :-)  But, with that said, and talking of "tools should be modified" mentioned elsewhere - has anyone added a speed control to a small belt sander like this? I was hoping that the $20 "router speed control" sold by Harbor Freight (or similar on amazon and other sites) would allow me to control the speed. It claims to work with any tool of 15 amps or less but made no difference to my sander.

So I'm not sure at this point if the sander just does not see the change from the control, or if the control I have is faulty. I want to take it back to HarborFreight and ask them to test, or give me another to try before I abandon that path. But I really would like to be able to slow my sander down sometimes.

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