Tracking Advice Needed

nthe10ring

Well-Known Member
I have been forging and filing blades for some time but just recently built the Grinder In A Box
with variable drive, everything runs out smooth and I had a few old belts from a friend of
mine till I ordered some belts. Just put some new Gators and Blaze on there and they cut
great but seem to bump side to side . The belt tracking adjusts fine just when its
running its constantly bobbing side to side some. Is this this just the nature of the beast on
new belts or could there be some other problem. I did notice this was not that evident on
the old belts. Any advice or information would be appreciated.

Thanks
Jerry
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
I would suspect that it's more about the belts than anything. To explain, I've gotten several batches of belts over the past couple of years that were not cut straight from the factory.....a few of the lots were so bad that I sent them back for replacements. It seems to be more prominent on heavy grits with X or Y weight backings.

The "wiggle" will also occur on lighter weight backed belts if they absorb moisture, or are stored in a humid environment....the best way I know to describe it is that the belts "warp". It's very annoying....especially when you're finish grinding in the plunge areas.
 

Mike Martinez

Well-Known Member
Jerry, I had the same issue and mine was resolved by using a MUCH stronger spring. Apparently, there was not enough tension on the tracking arm. Ed posted on "My GIB Build," and excellent solution to convert the GIB from a tension spring to a compression spring set up for improving tracking.
 
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nthe10ring

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the info. I just checked a few things as far as alignment on the grinder and it appears the the tracking wheel is not co planar with the drive and idle wheels, the rear is kicked out a bit. I'm going to take the mounting bracket off and shim it out a bit so the the wheel is in alignment front to rear to see if that helps. I'm sure having everything in the same plane would
be ideal. If I still have the problem then I will check spring tension, although I have a pretty strong one on there now, the first was too weak.

Thanks
Jerry
 

Michael Kemp

Well-Known Member
Jerry - if the shim doesn't reel in the belt wobble, what helped me (I am NOT a machinist) was to put several wraps of blue tape on the tension wheel to build up the middle slightly fatter than the sides. I suppose this might stretch the center of the belts but I have not noticed a problem with it and it definitely helped with keeping the belts from slopping left or right - particularly when working on the slack belt area.
 

BossDog

KnifeDogs.com & USAknifemaker.com Owner
Staff member
I trouble shoot a lot of grinder builds over the phone. Every time I hear belt wobble i think loose belt tension. 99 times out of a 100 that is the issue. A belt needs to be so tight it twangs like a guitar string when you strum it. A loose belt will track fairly straight until you start to use it and then it wobbles all over.
 

nthe10ring

Well-Known Member
I shimmed up the tracking wheel, everything in alignment. I have a heavy spring and the belt will just about twang when you
pluck it. I even tried the tape thing but still bobbing side to side. I'm going to see about running these on another persons
grinder and see how they do.
Thanks for the help Ill keep you posted when I get the problem solved.

Jerry
 

BossDog

KnifeDogs.com & USAknifemaker.com Owner
Staff member
A couple other things to try:
Change belt brands and try it.
Turn the belt and run it the other way (I don't understand it but it works occasionally)
Leave a wobbly belt on the grinder under tension, they stretch and straighten out.
Tighten the tension more.
 

Tom Militano

KNIFE MAKER
It can get aggravating. I have a Bader 2 that I had tracking problem with after years of use and abuse. I replaced the spring with a lot stronger one and it solved the problem on mine. I might have gone overboard with the spring, but it tracks good. I have had some new belts that didn't track right, but not very often.
 
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