Belt sanders can have a very aggressive action on wood and are normally used only for the beginning stages of the sanding process, or used to rapidly remove material. Fitted with fine grit sand paper, a belt sander can be used to achieve a completely smooth surface.
Belt sanders are used for removing non-ferrous metals. Non-ferrous metals tend to clog grinding wheels, quickly making them useless for grinding soft metals. Because the small grooves in the sandpaper are opened up as they go around the arc of the drive wheel, belt sanders are less prone to clogging.
Belt sanders can vary in size from the small work piece to wood that wide enough. Sanding wood produces a large amount of sawdust. Therefore, belt sanders employed in woodworking are usually equipped with some type of dust collection system. It may be as simple as a cloth filter bag attached to a portable sander or a large vacuum system to suck dust particles away into a central collector.
Belt sanders are easy to use, and quickly provide a finishing touch to materials. When used properly, they can provide shape and smooth surfaces with minimal effort. When using a belt sander, it is important to hold the device straight, avoid tilts, and use minimal pressure.
Belt sanders are multiuse tools. They are commonly used for trimming to sanding very rough surfaces, leveling surfaces and freehand rounding and shaping.