I am in the process of removing a 60 year accumulation of exterior paint from an old building. During the previous re-paints, it had never been properly prepped and was a real mess. About 2000 sq ft of wood siding (105) and trim. Pressure washing, scraping and sanding seemed to be the course to take. I started with a $25 dollar sander from **************, but the wear plate, wore out and I couldn't get a replacement. Next up was what I thought was a very well made Porter Cable 352VS. It lasted a little over an hour before the plastic fan self destructed. I've always had good luck with Craftsman tools, they aren't top of the line but they get the job done for me, so I gandered a look at this Craftsman/Ryobi EBS9576VFHG model as I didn't want anything too large for the type of work I'm doing. First off, the weight listed on this page is wrong. According to the manual, which I can't find at the moment, the weight is about 10.5 lbs, if that is a concern to you. Powerwise, I'd say it keeps up with the Porter Cable with no problem. Using a heavy 36 grit belt, I've yet to bog it down. Balance could be a bit better for fine woodworking, but for what I'm doing, I don't care. It seems to do a decent job of dust collecting. I did mange to clog it up once when a large chip of latex paint was sucked up inside of it, but that wasn't the tools fault and removal of the side cover cleared it out. I blow it out with compressed air at the end of each day and it is holding up well so far. I did start to wear through the wear plate, but thanks to Sears Parts Direct, had a new one in about a week. My one and only complaint is with the belt tracking. They have a weird design for this mechanism. It involves a spring attached between the adjustment **** you see on the top of the housing and the roller. That spring allows an up and down movement of the roller if too much pressure is applied to the front roller. That is why the manual has a warning against doing this as it will throw the tracking off. Working horizontally or on a bench top, this would probably not be a problem, but it you are having to work in odd positions it might. If they would use a solid bolt rather than a spring, the way they've done on the 4" Craftsman Pro model, it would help to eliminate this. Would be 5 stars if not for this one problem. Overall though, I am happy with this model so far and don't know of anything close to this for the price.
I bought this sander to sand down my front patio which the previous owner just continued schlepping more and more paint on. Now all our that paint is peeling off. I bundled this with a five pack of belts. Off to start the job.... started sanding and quickly broke a belt. Tracking was off and it shredded to the motor side. Okay fix tracking on the next belt once I put it on. Sand for a bit and another belt beaks. Not tracking this time. Put on another that breaks quickly. Lather rinse and repeat, my five pack is exhausted before finishing a single 4x4x8 post. I chalk it up to sears belts. Off to the local helpful plACE for more belts. Sand almost an entire post before breaking my first belt. Put on a new one which quickly breaks. Finally I realize the front wheel is scorching hot, hot enough that you can't keep a finger on for a second. This is probably a great light duty, non-continous use sander.
I bought this sander for what it is, a great sander for under $100. After reading other reviews, people are expecting more out of this sander than I would a $200 unit, The under $100 sanders are not going to hold up to continuous abuse and industrial work. This is the best under $100 sander I have used.
One big issue with many belt sanders is balance, many want to tilt to one side, typically when belt sanding you don't have much room for error. This sander sits stable and balances well.
As with any belt sander, you need to adjust the tracking on your belt and make sure it is lined up and does not veer off. On this sander that can be a little tricky and not hold the tracking so you need to keep an eye on it. I have only had very expensive sanders not need to be treated this way.
Power is good. It's first job was taking down high spots on OSB before underlayment went over it. OSB is not the easiest sanding wood out there and this little guy did a great job. You do need to check the dust bag, when taking off lots of wood, it will fill quick.
You can't go wrong with this sander for it's price point.
A powerful tool that knocked my sanding time in half. It took a like while to get the hang of it since I had never used a belt sander before. But once I did man, it sure made the job go a lot faster.
Excellent belt sander, much better than many of the low-end sanders available. Heavy construction and very strong running, you'll just need to spend a little time practicing to get a feel for balance and belt tracking. Like with any belt sander you can easily damage the wood you're working on if you haven't developed some skill with the tool.
This is replacing my first Chraftsman belt sander that gave up after over 35 years.
This belt sander has plenty of power for most jobs, both heavy and light duty, and it's plenty easy to operate and configure, but just like a lot of the other reviewers noted, the belt tracking system is bad and the dust collection system is even worse. The belts constantly drift in and out on the rollers because the spring loaded adjustment mechanism never stays locked in, causing uneven sanding and/or belt destruction, and the dust collector really only collects about 4% of the dust created. For a 1 or 2 time use, maybe for light duty only, this belt sander is probably OK. For anything more than that...I'd use a different belt sander (I still use mine fairly regularly, but having to adjust it literally every couple minutes aggravates me to no end).
Makes quick work of any project