Link belt replacement woes on my bandsaw...
Hello to the group,
I recently decided to replace the 10 year old continuous "V" belt on my 18" 3HP, Italian bandsaw with one of the new red link belts that have gotten good reviews lately on some of the newsgroups.
Although I have read many good things about using link belts on machinery, I could not find many postings that indicated use on large bandsaws. I decided to give it a try anyway, as I did not fancy the idea of removing the lower wheel to reinstall another continuous "V" belt.
I replaced the belt with a new red power link belt and it lasted for about 2 hours. Whilst resawing some really wet and sticky green wood, the brand new band stalled for a second as it was going through a knot and the link belt separated. Upon close inspection, it appeared that the link belt melted when the band stalled.
Humm... I've had my band stall a few times over the years, buts that's not really uncommon when cutting thick, wet and sticky green wood. The old "V" belt never had a problem and just kept on going. As I mentioned, the original belt lasted 10+ years and delivered day in, day out with brutal usage.
Undaunted, but with a wee bit of trepidation I repaired the link belt and reinstalled it once more. The reinstalled band lasted about one day. The second time the link belt failed the band did not stall at all. I was cutting some 1" thick dry pine strips for stickers when it failed.
After the second failure, I opted to go back to the continuous "V" belt and installed it as soon as it arrived in the mail ($28.00 incl. shipping). I'm once again a happy camper as my new "V" belt operates just like the old reliable one and has seen some really nasty, thick green, sticky wood go through it in the last couple of weeks.
I'm not sure why these link belts died so fast... Maybe it's the fact that these Italian motors run really hot normally and the link belts can't take heat too well. Or perhaps, they are not well suited to heavy duty bandsaws and brutal usage. I've since heard that link belts don't do well in high torque applications and I found one woodworker who said that link belts continually failed on his jointer, so he returned to "V" belts with no problems.
Whatever the case, I'm not going to buy link belts anymore for my bandsaw and I will think twice about using them on anything else. Been there, done that and got the "T" shirt to prove it. Take care and best wishes to you all!
P.S. As a side note, the link belt was installed in the correct direction and was tensioned properly. In addition, the belt was run-in, per manufacturer's instructions. The band was also tensioned correctly (I use a tension gauge to set band tension, not the one on the bandsaw) and was brand new. I also use ceramic guides to support the band and lubricate the band when cutting green wood. The pulleys were also inspected an found to be straight and true.
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