Question about Delta 31 - 255X X5 18'' x 36'' Drum Sander

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New belts on drum sander shear off inside clip

I have a delta 18x36 Drum Sander (31-250) Everytime I put a new belt on the drum it rips off within a few passes. The belt cuts itself off clean where the belt come out of the clamp that holds it in place. Part C in Figure 35 on page 14 of the manual. It happens over an over again. I go though a belt or two, then I usually get one that holds up for a while. When that one wears out I'm back to destorying belts again. I can't figure it out.

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  • Anonymous Feb 12, 2009

    I had the same problem when I tried to use cloth-backed rolls that I cut to size.I found that they don't hold up like the Oxide strips. also, make sure that you wrap the strips TIGHTLY, especially at the clamps. if you look, you'll see the strips begin to "rise" at the clamps, as centrificle force moves the clamp.
    but mostly, use stiff paper...I've broke too many brand new cloth -backs to use 'em again.

  • Anonymous Mar 11, 2009

    I have the same prolbem with my 31-250 model and I called Delta and they said that was a problem with that particular model, so what do we do , I tried the oxide paper but the same thing......any help out there...

  • Steven Jaynes
    Steven Jaynes May 24, 2009

    Does it seem to matter which way the arrows on the paper point. Are they supposed to point in the direction of rotation or direction of wrap? Hmmm... maybe they are the same. I have to go look again...

    Steve J

  • cutterboards May 11, 2010

    I have a model 31-255x not a 250. I also buy Klingspor 2" wide strips for my machine. They are AL oxide with cloth back and pretty tough. If the belt sticks out beyond the end of the drum, just cut it off flush. It must be catching on something. Make sure that the belt is shooved down in the clamps on the ends and wrapped tight around the drum. I have even trimmed some of the oxide strip along the angled end so that it fits better and doesn't overlap. These belts will have slight variations in length.


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Belt sander are very tempermentel and require a light machine oil (3-in-one) on the metal slides and Tension lever and springs to opperate properally, if not they will drive you nuts, it will make a big differance, a few drops will do ya, more it needed, to much will cause a reverse action and collect dust, clean areas before oiling with air preasure and fluids if needed to get rid of build up from wood dust

Posted on Jul 18, 2009

  • slivermetimb Oct 16, 2010

    I have had my Delta 31-250 since 1999. I developed the same problem of the end of the roll slipping out of the spring. So I started using duct tape on the end and that helped. But the other thing I did"nt realize is that the part on the clip is made out of spring metal. After extensive use it will crack and become more flimsy therefore not holding the cloth sandpaper unless you get it just right. Then it will eventually not hold at all.Had to take a hammer and screwdriver to pop the pin out that holds it. now looking for a replacement.


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Remove table assembly.
Remove pointer and then slide cover up and out from dust reflector.
Release belt tension by pushing tension lever toward idler drums.
Note: there may be an arrow on the inside of the belt.
The arrow should point in the direction of belt travel to ensure that the splice in the belt will not come apart.
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I've never had any particular problems with norton belts. All belts will require some adjustment as they wear in,however.
Try this: Put a new belt on, turn the sander upside down and rest it on the front handle. Get a good grip on the rear handle and turn it on while you use your other hand to turn the tracking adjustment. Just center the belt on the drum. I don't know what the manual tells you to do, but that's what matters, that the belt rides across the platen without hanging out loose in space or running up against the housing of the machine. If it does ride in against the housing, and you don't track it away, eventually you'll have a groove worn right through the side of the machine.
If you try this, and it still doesn't work, make sure the drums are secure and look right. Is it possible the machine was dropped and the drum bent? If so, parts will have to be replaced.
The only other cause I can imagine is that there is some kind of something jammed inside the housing that is protruding into the belt pathway that they're getting caught on, but that seems unlikely. Check anyway. Look with a flashlight.
There are better belts available than Norton, but they should work.
Some belts have an arrow on the inside of the belt indicating the direction of travel. Make sure if yours does, that you put it on that way. I try to install them so the joint will tend to ride up over the work instead of the work tending to want to tear the joint apart, but this is not always obvious, depending on the mfr.

I hope this information allows you to resolve this issue. If you need further assistance, please post back with a comment to this thread. If I've managed to answer your question or solve a problem, please take a moment to kindly rate this post....thanks!

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