Ridgid Oscillating Edge Belt/Spindle Sander
The reason there are so many different models of benchtop oscillating spindle sanders and belt/disc sanders on the market is that they are so darn useful in the shop. When you only have a few pieces to sand it's just as quick to do it by hand. However, it's another story when you have a production run with dozens of pieces to sand, especially when it comes to odd profiles and shapes. For this you need power. Oscillating sanders are unbeatable for shaping or finish sanding just about any concave or convex surface, while belt sanders make quick work of the flat surfaces. Of course, all machines take up precious shop space – which can be particularly vexatious if you work in a small shop. This is what makes the Ridgid EB4424 so appealing – it's a combination oscillating spindle sander and a belt sander (albeit a small belt sander) in one trim, compact unit.On-board storage and easily accessible components
The body of the EB4424
is made of a durable ABS plastic while the top is made of aluminum. All the various components that come with the unit store on-board, which is very convenient as you don't have to search around for parts, and it lessens the chance that things will get misplaced. With a footprint (and a work surface) of approximately 17" by 20", and weighing just 40 pounds, it's easy to move the unit about the shop or store under a bench. Distance from the spindle to the front edge of the table top is a generous 12".The EB4424 is almost vibrate free, thanks in part to a smooth running motor, and soft rubber feet on the bottom of the unit. I've been using it atop my router table, which has a fairly smooth surface, and the EB4424 doesn't move about at all. However, there are pre-drilled holes in the base that enable you to bolt it to a workbench or sheet of plywood so that you can easily move it around the shop. The spindle mounting system
The EB4424 is powered by a 3/8HP, 5-amp induction motor that is surprisingly quiet in operation.
The sanding belt and drums mount on the Spindle (A), which is attached to the motor shaft. The spindle is made of 1/2" stainless steel, and has a threaded portion at the top that accepts a Spindle Locking Knob (B). I found that the spindle was aligned square to the table top. When using the sanding drums Washers (C) are installed on top of the drums and Throat Plates (D) are installed over the Table Insert (E). The washers and throat plates are matched to the drums sizes. When using the sanding belt the throat plate is removed and can be stored at the back of the unit.Sanding belt assembly storage
When not in use, the sanding belt assembly stores at the back of the unit. Even if you push the unit tight up against the wall the assembly is easy to retrieve and store. When the sanding belt is in use, the table insert stores in place of the sanding belt assembly. Everything is neat and tidy.Integrated dust collectionAll sanders generate a lot of dust, and you really need to connect a dust extractor or dust collector to the 2 1/2" O.D. dust port located at the back of the unit. The dust port draws dust through a recess below the table insert, and through a series of louvers located atop the table. But don't expect dust-free sanding, particularly in belt mode. I'd estimate that it will capture 70 to 80%
, more so when using the drums.
Tilting table topThe folding portion of the aluminum table top is reasonably large (10-1/2" x 17" of usable space). The table tilts to one of five pre-set angles (0°, 15°, 22.5°, 30° and 45°) or you can lock it at any other angle between 0° and 45°. The locking knob holds the folding table secure. Another nice feature is the standard sized (3/4" x 3/8") miter slot on the table top. You'll be able to use your table saw miter gauge to sand stock against the belt more easily. There's an adjustment to ensure that the miter gauge slot is parallel to the belt – I found it to be correctly set at the factory.
There is also an adjustable work rest which is handy for use with small stock (it helps to prevent stock from flying off the left side of the work table).Easy table adjustment
There are two set screws on either side of the folding portion of the table that enable you to adjust it flush with the stationary table.Leveling the table insert
Likewise, the table insert (which you use only with the sanding drums) can be adjusted flush to the table top.Quick installation of the sanding beltInstalling the sanding belt takes all of 10 seconds. It simply slides onto the spindle, and is secured in place with a locking nut (top photo). On the right side of the assembly is a knob that enables you to adjust belt tracking (middle photo), and a belt tension lever (bottom photo) that tightens the belt so that it doesn't ride off the platen in use.
The rigid platen on the belt assembly keeps the belt perpendicular to the work surface.
Effectively you get a 7" flat work surface on the sanding belt. While this works fine for short stock, it's really too short for use on long stock. I find it awkward sanding stock longer than about 3 feet.Simple drum installation
Installing the sanding drums couldn't be easier. There is no drum for the 1/2" sleeve; it slips right onto the spindle shaft.
The other 4 sleeves each have their own drum, which slips over the spindle. Each drum has its own throat plate that snaps into the table insert, and a washer that sits atop the drum. A spindle lock knob applies pressure to hold the drum/sleeve combination in place.
The largest drum size is 2", however you can use the left end of the belt sander as a 3" drum. When doing this you'll need to remove the work rest.
Sanding large stock on the left end of the table is a tad awkward, as there is only about 4" of table support. The best of both worldsThe oscillating action, powered by the 3/8HP motor, really makes for very effective sanding – in both belt and spindle sanding modes. You don't have to apply all that much force against the belt or drums, and regardless of the grit you use, material is removed very quickly. While you can sand stock up to about 4" wide, I usually sand stock less than half that size, which means the bottom portion of the belt and drums gets all the use. Of course, you flip the belts and drums 180 degrees and remount them. A crepe block is a good investment if you purchase this machine; it removes dust and resin from the sanding belt and sleeves – regularly cleaning them will not only make them last longer, they'll do a better sanding job.
Fine, medium, and coarse belts and drums can be had at Home Depot and KMS Tools.If you're in the market for a spindle or belt sander, then do yourself a favour and check out the Ridgid EB4424 – it's solidly built, has ample power for sanding concave or convex surfaces and flat surfaces that aren't overly long, is practically vibration-free, and has reasonably good dust control. KEY FEATURES:
- Motor: 3/8 HP, 5 Amp induction
- Speed: 1,725 RPM (spindle); 1,350 FPM (belt)
- Oscillations: 60/minute
- Table size: 16-5/8" x 18-7/8"
- Spindle diameter: 1/2"
- Spindle stroke: 3/4"
- Belt size: 4" x 24"
- Drum sizes: 3/4", 1", 1-1/2", 2" X 4-1/2" high
- Bevel tilt: 0° to 48°
- Weight: 40 lbs
- Power cord: 12'
- Warranty: 3 years
- Includes: Table insert, 4 drum sleeves; 4 throat plates, 4 washers, one medium grit sleeve for each spindle and one medium grit belt, hex key, rubber feet.