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Thread: Link belt replacement woes on my bandsaw...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    The Woodlands, Texas
    Posts
    83

    Unhappy 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.
    Better Woodturning and Finishing Through Chemistry...

    Steve Russell
    Eurowood Werks Studio
    Professional Studio Woodturner

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Placitas, NM in the foothills of the Sandia Mt
    Posts
    688
    Hmmmh

    What a puzzle! I've had a link belt on my bandsaw for years with no problem. Never heard of one melting
    Don't believe everything you think!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Wake Forest, NC
    Posts
    292
    I have got one on my 14" bandsaw, and it seems to do OK. I haven't done any heavy resawing with it, just some light resawing. I have wondered whether or not they would hold up on anything 3hp plus myself.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Central Ohio
    Posts
    72
    This doesn't surprise me. I used to work for a v-belt manufacturer and the link belts never tested well compared to rubber v-belts when run at higher loads. They are made of a thermoplastic so melting could definetly be an issue if slippage occurs.

    Of course I am biased but I have always felt a good cogged v-belt gave me much better performance at a much cheaper cost than link belts. Most auto supply stores are now carrying these type of belts or you can order from an industrial supply house.

    Wes Billups

  5. #5
    Steve Clardy Guest
    Steve
    Did you use the Fenner belts or the lower cost import stuff?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    The Woodlands, Texas
    Posts
    83

    The belts were...

    Hello Steve,

    (Great name by the way) The belts were made by Fenner. I've never even seen any knock-offs of these around, but I'm not surprised. I've heard from several other folks recently saying that these types of belts have failed on larger machines, so maybe my problem is not that isolated?

    I've also heard from a few folks who have reported no problems at all with their link belts. However, all of these have been installed on smaller machines like contractor saws and drill presses. One has had them on a lathe without any trouble, but he did say the lathe has only a 1.5HP motor... Take care and all the best to you and yours!
    Better Woodturning and Finishing Through Chemistry...

    Steve Russell
    Eurowood Werks Studio
    Professional Studio Woodturner

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    The Woodlands, Texas
    Posts
    83

    What size bandsaw???

    Quote Originally Posted by Jesse Cloud View Post
    Hmmmh

    What a puzzle! I've had a link belt on my bandsaw for years with no problem. Never heard of one melting
    Hello Jesse,

    What type and size of bandsaw are you running? How large is the motor? Take care and best wishes to you and yours!

    P.S. Your Avatar is way cool... Did you do that yourself?
    Better Woodturning and Finishing Through Chemistry...

    Steve Russell
    Eurowood Werks Studio
    Professional Studio Woodturner

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    The Woodlands, Texas
    Posts
    83
    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Billups View Post
    snip - I have always felt a good cogged v-belt gave me much better performance at a much cheaper cost than link belts. snip -Wes Billups
    Hello Wes,

    I would tend to agree based on my recent experience. It also seems to me that the continuous "V" belt would have a greater bearing surface against the sides of the pulley... Whereas the link belt has voids caused by the interlocking links (imagine side view of link belt vs. standard "V" belt). All other things being equal, the "V" belt should give a greater "pull", but I'm not sure. What do you think?

    The only reason I went with the link belt in the first place was my reluctance to remove the lower wheel/bearing. I was told by the manufacturer that I would need a gear puller which I did not have, so I opted for the link belt. As it turned out, the wheel came off with a slight tug and the bearings were pressed inside the wheel's inner rim and not onto the shaft, so it was a piece of cake. The owners manual may have indicated this, but it was written in Italian and I can't read Italian!
    Better Woodturning and Finishing Through Chemistry...

    Steve Russell
    Eurowood Werks Studio
    Professional Studio Woodturner

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Independence, Kentucky
    Posts
    1,293
    Link belts are directional. If you look at the links there is an arrow that shows direction of travel. Are you sure it wasn't on backwards? I have not had any problems with the link belts, and I am just throwing this in for discussion.
    Chuck

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ozarks
    Posts
    4,992
    steve, i regularly toast fenner belts on my williams-n-hussey......but i use them for a weak link in the drive train `cause i`ve got a tad bigger motor on it than they recomend ......i agree with you that they don`t fare well when used in a high torque application.....tod
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

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