Belt Sander for removing welds?

Hello,
I produce a lot of products which are boxed and welded sheet metal. This usually leaves the majority of the corners welded which I cannot bend in a brake. As I go into production, I need a more efficient method of removing all of the excess meld material other than hand held grinders and flap wheels.
I saw an episode of "How Its Made" featuring the production of metal caskets. They have a similar issue and solution using a large belt sander, which appears to be a custom machine:
How Its Made - Metal Caskets - YouTube (1:52 into the video)
I have also seen larger belt sanders which seem to be for woodworking but would seem useful if they offered abrasive belts for steel.
WMH TOOL GROUP/JET OES-80CS OSCLLTNG EDGE SNDR - Belt/Disc Sanders - 42W971|OES-80CS - Grainger Industrial Supply
Any help would be most appreciated!
Thank you,
Greg

Belts are not a issue for the wood machines, any good abrasive supplier can supply pretty much any grit in any size you want, Custom sizes are really not any more expensive than stock sizes so long as you buy a dozen or so a time in the larger sizes.
Above all though i would look at your welding process, Whilst there's always a need to blend welds, if you don't add the excess then you don't have to remove it! Sounds obvious, but way to often you see people grinding away for hours when a faster hotter pass with possibly a larger welder would just need a quick light clean up. Equally good joint design is also key to reducing clean up times.

What material, and how big of boxes do you make? What process do you weld them with? A TIG fusion weld needs almost no clean up. Do you want a grained or smooth look or does it matter? What is the weld joint? Pics?
Rob

Greg,
I think a belt sander is definately your best option. How big are your parts? Kalamazoo makes a 14" belt sander. If that will do, here is a link to Kalamazoo's belt sanders.
Belt Sanders | Kalamazoo Industries

Thanks for the input guys!
I'm using 14ga mild, parts are about 2'x2' roughly (see attached pics), Miller 210 hard wire, smooth finished look.
I'm considering converting an older CNC plasma table I have to run straight line mig welds which would give me the consistency and of course automation for better efficiency.

IMAGE(http://factorydaily.com/fdattachs/fdattachs1/112414302811.jpg)

IMAGE(http://factorydaily.com/fdattachs/fdattachs1/112414302812.jpg)

IMAGE(http://factorydaily.com/fdattachs/fdattachs1/112414302913.jpg)

IMAGE(http://factorydaily.com/fdattachs/fdattachs1/112414302914.jpg)

IMAGE(http://factorydaily.com/fdattachs/fdattachs1/112414303015.jpg)

Greg if you check out this sander you will see the kind of adjustable mount I think you are looking for. Been thinking about making my own like this one as well, I just dont need it as often as I wish I had it...
Stroke Sander - YouTube
Charles

Can you not fold most of that out of one sheet, bend it between holes 3 and 4, take a triangle notch out of the fore and aft legs, and do one weld in the front corner and one (horizontal) at the notch? It'll take a little more material, but much less grinding. If you put on your origami hat, you might be able to fold the whole thing. Unless, of course, there are inside reinforcements I don't see, in which case I'll shut the hell up...
Chip

For sure Chip, I will definitely bend as many corners as possible as soon as I get my new finger brake.
Thanks for the input!

Those look nice btw good job with them!

Thank you Evan, I appreciate that!

You can certainly try a stroke sander- but my guess is you will eat a lot of belts. Which are not cheap.
Generally, for sanding sheet metal, if its flat, people use Timesavers style belt sanders. But they are very expensive machines- think 20k to 80k.
Deburring | Timesavers - World's Largest Manufacturer of Widebelt Abrasive machines
I think you can get really fast with a 4 1/2" grinder and a flap disc- I know I am- and that it is generally not worth buying a really expensive machine until volume means it runs 8 hours a day, hopefully 16.

Have you considered a dynafile? I use one daily and they are really versatile. Tons of belt selections and head shapes to choose from.
Might be to small for you still, but at about $500 new, it's a relatively cheap experiment in comparison to $20,000 machines...
Cheers
Tom

i find the grinding process is dirty if anything,a belt sander may contain the dirt a little better.
something has to be said about quality flapwheels,as some arent worth the plasic they are packed in.
abrasive grinding wheels can be quick but too agressive.
walter has about the best selection and durability i have ever seen,never disappointed with their performance.

For something like that I would use a 9" grinder with a rubber backed sanding disk- 80 grit. If there are any bad high spots on the weld take it down first with the 4 1/2 or 5" grinder. Hold the 9" as flat as possible to the metal. I have 4 or 5
9" grinders and use them alot for this type of thing. The larger the surface of your grinder disk the more likely the metal will stay flat IF you do it right.
A place I used to work had a stroke sander for graining sheetmetal. You could make one easy enough. All it was was a flat wood table the sheet sat on with the belt (4" maybe 25'-30' long) above it by 6" or so. The guy running it had a plastic paddle- kind of looked like a concrete finishing trowel- that he would use to push the inside of the belt down onto the metal. This was for stainless panels for machine tools, the grainer was used to blend in welds were the panels were welded so the grain was consistant on the whole panel.
Nice looking parts by the way.
Rob

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