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Belt sander not picking up dust. what to look for and how to solve the issue. (From experience)

Belt sander not picking up dust. what to look for and how to solve the issue. (From experience)

I had a call recently from a customer who has a Cobra 09 belt sander, and the conversation started with that. The belt sander isn’t picking up any dust! It’s leaving it behind on the floor as I go over it, and the bag isn’t getting anything in. So, my first reaction is to ask to check where the dust bag fastens to the dust tube. Make sure that while removing that sticky top coat, it hasn’t blocked up, and also check the dust tube is free of any blockages by dropping something through the tube with the hop so it goes around the bend of the pipe and doesn’t get stuck. They did this, and there was no blockage. The next step we took was checking the duct tube holder on the main body of the machine to see if anything had been lodged and blocked in there. Still, nothing is blocking it, and I am still having the issue. 

This made me think that something might have been caught in the propeller of the extractor fan. Inside the body of the belt sanders, there is a propeller fan that draws air from the bottom of the machine where all the work is being done, up the dust tube and into the bag. It doesn’t often happen, but this can be jammed up if something big enough gets caught in it. On the size of the machine where the drive belt is fitted to the motor and the drum, there is a plate with 4 screws. Behind this plate is where you will find the extractor fan. So, after a WhatsApp video call showing the customer where the plate was and what screws to loosen, they had the plate off and had access to the fan. And we found half a ripped up 50 grit belt wedged inside the fan. The pictures below prove this! 

 The belt must have taken some brunt to rip how it did and make its way off the drum and into the dust fan propeller. This could be due to many reasons. Hitting a protruded nail in the floor, poor quality of the abrasive belt, tracking on the machine off, sliding the belt left or right instead of central on the top roller causing rubbing and ripping, Etc. This isn’t the first time we have found foreign objects stuck in machines. We have found it all from clumps of hair, dust, and even false nails! Most commonly, it is caused by not vacuuming the floor before belting or debris coming out from under the skirting board or edges of boards because of the vibration. 

If you have any downtime while waiting for a coat to dry or find yourself doing a maintenance check day on all your machines, make sure to check out behind the plate to see if anything is blocking the fan or any of the pipes inside. This can avoid it for a job at a later date, and if this happens to you while you are on-site, you know what to look for and how to remove it. Below is a step-by-step point on what to look for and how to unlock the fan. Please note this step-by-step guide is for Pallmann Cobra 09 belt sanders. The process may vary for other machine types and brands. It is best to give us a call if you have a different type of machine) 

  • Switch off the machine and remove the drive belt from the motor and chassis. 
  • Find the pully and the plate closest to the nose of the machine. 
  • Undo the 3 screws. The pully and plate will just slide off.  
  • Clean and remove any debris inside and on the propellers. 
  • Once dusted down and checked, it’s free; push the plate and the pully back on. 
  • Screws to be tightened and drive belt fitted back on the motor and chassis. 

If the problem continues after you have completed this check and clean, feel free to give us a call on 01223 081405 or email us your challenge to 

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