FPD has been selling Baldor grinders and various attachments for a number of years. Grinder set ups have become an integral part of the professional farrier’s rig. One of the most effective attachments is the expander wheel. The wheel does not have any “tension adjustment” similar to a traditional belt sander and that makes fit of belts a significant challenge. The wheels are designed to expand, a result of the slots cut in the rubber wheel. However, getting a belt fit that allows the belt to be easily installed or removed and still tighten sufficiently in use is difficult. Any slight change in the length of the belt can either make the fit looser or tighter. We found that there were many more problems as a result of loose belts so we chose to have the belt manufacturers target a length that can be very tight, taking into consideration that they have tolerances in production of belts that can have enough variation to cause changes in the fit. This proved to reduce the risk of the belt sliding on start-up or in use, but also made installation and removal more tedious.
We will have an article in the fall issue of The Natural Angle with more details on expander wheels and proper use and safety precautions. We saw in another farrier bulletin board recently a warning not to run the wheel without a belt. This is one of the key warnings in the information that is included with the wheels. Two significant problems can occur. The wheel can be damaged by the expanding rubber making contact with the guard or the rubber can separate from the metal hub. Either of these problems can cause problems with use and create a dangerous situation for the user. And of course we stress the importance of wearing gloves, eye or face shields and not putting your body in a position right against the work area. We also urge users to inspect belts on a regular basis to make sure there are not irregular wear points or excessive wear that might indicate a problem with the rubber material or a wheel that is not balanced. Users should call FPD at 800-468-2879 if they are experiencing any uncertainty or concern about their expander wheels.