Bench belt sanders are extremely useful for putting the final touches on a project, especially something small which requires refined work. It’s also a great option when you need to sharpen a blade. The Kalamazoo 1SM is exactly that, a simple and minimalist approach to a bench belt sander design, that will fit neatly on any workbench
Dust & Abrasives
Some bench sanders can be purchased with a disc sander as well, but the Kalamazoo’s minimalist approach leaves it with just the single belt with which to sand. The belt in question is a rather long 42” belt, that is 1” wide. Kalamazoo don’t bundle any belt with the product, but sell their own range of aluminum oxide belts, in 50, 80 and 100-grit variants. Other manufacturers are able to supply a wider range of products as required.
The standard 1SM does not support dust removal of any kind, but an optional DCV-4 vacuum base can be purchased. Alternatively, the Kalamazoo 1SMV can be purchased which includes the vacuum base. Changing the belt takes less than a minute, with a spring-loaded tensioner with simple screw lock to finalize the position.
Power & Speed
By default, the 1SM is supplied with a 1/3 HP, single phase, 115V motor. At 115V, the motor runs at 1725 RPM. If you require, the unit can also be purchased for a 220V line as well as a 50hz supply which results in an operating speed of 1425 RPM. At 1725 RPM, the motor has a 4” drive wheel which results in an SFPM of 1800.
If you need to adjust the tracking of the belt, there is a simple lever at the top of the tool which allows you to get the belt running true. Turning the machine on and off is done by flipping a simple switch mounted on the front of the motor.
Size and Ergonomics
The 1SM is a fairly small bench sander. Its footprint is just 8 by 12 inches, and measures 22 inches high. It comes with mounting points for bolts, but if you’re not wanting to install it permanently, the sander can be mounted to a lightweight board, giving it a bit of stability. Even with the small footprint, the device’s motor adds a fair bit of weight (35 lbs) meaning it doesn’t move much when trying to sand.
To aid in grinding a work table is provided. It comes fixed in place at a horizontal position, but is held in place by a bolt which can be loosened and adjusted should you desire. The design leaves a fair amount of belt exposed, allowing you to sand in areas with a platen (which is removable) or a section higher up that is not supported. A belt cover at the top ensures the belt never slips off accidentally, and a full OSHA guard unit is also available.
The Kalamazoo 1SM is a simple and light-duty bench sander. It is well built and reliable and should give you many years of service. It’s easy to use and although a bit pricy, is made in the USA and backed by 1-year warranty.