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Viel Variable Speed Motor Conversion - Alternative Method
After well over a year of wanting and waiting, I finally ordered and received a Viel 1x42" belt sander, from Steve Bottorff.  I also order and received the variable speed motor from Penn State Industries.  With all the work Ken S and others put into designing and building this combination, with the adapter plate to mount the motor to the sander frame, I thought I'd be up and running in no time.  Didn't really work out that way.

I did not receive the pre-made adapter plate from Steve, so I embarked on making my own.  That was not particularly difficult, but I sure didn't like it.  I didn't like how the motor is mounted by its face to the vertical part of the frame.  And since the motor is so long and heavy, I was concerned about vibrations.  I also didn't like the lack of adjustments for locating the motor and tracking, and how long the shaft was that stuck out beyond the drive pulley.  So, I started thinking of other ways of mounting the motor.  

You can buy mounting brackets for a lot of motors where the motor rests on two partial arc pedestals where the bracket mounts to the floor of a frame or table top.  I liked this method as it fully supports the motor and it can be moved around a bit for alignment.  It would also allow locating the motor a little back from the vertical face of the sander frame to allow less of the shaft to protrude.  

With a little reverse engineering, layout and CAD work, I came up with a design that I liked and proceeded to fabricate it.  It all went fairly well, except on the base plate, I put the flat head screw countersinks on the wrong side, so had to flip it over and put in another four mounting hole for securing the base plate to the sander frame.  

For the arced pedestals, I took a piece of 3/8" aluminum plate and trepanned out the center and then bored it to size, giving me a square plate with a 3+" dia. hole in the middle.  I drilled and tapped the mounting hole locations and then spit it into two piece and trimmed them to size.  

Putting it all together went better than I expected. It all just bolted up clean.  It should, if the design work was done right, but often it doesn't, most often because I missed something about the design.  This time it worked.  The motor is mounted very rigidly and as desired can be located so there is almost no shaft protruding.  Tracking was a little odd at first, but after figuring it out, the belt rides clean and smooth without wandering or fluttering.  I have not yet cleaned up the parting lines on the belt pulleys, so if that is done, it may smooth out the belt more.  

Setting up the stock platen and tool rest was delightfully easy as they went together and adjusted easily.  It will take some getting used to keeping the work piece down on the tool rest if I'm going to use the tool rest as it is set up now (perpendicular to the belt).  It will be interesting to see how the tool rest works when angled upwards for sharpening blades, etc.  

I went into this planning on setting it up with a Tormek Bench Grinder Mount (BGM) and with the "Frontal Vertical Base" (FVB) to provide a wide range of adjustments and hopefully be able to use some of the Tormek jigs.  I'm particularly interested in doing the initial angle grinding on the belt sander, as a faster alternative to the Norton 3X grinding wheel I'm currently using on the Tormek, in the water trough at the slow Tormek speed.  

Video of the Viel belt sander variable speed motor mount modifications in action.  

I made my motor mount out of aluminum, but I think it would work fine to use a high quality plywood, like Baltic birch plywood.  Cutting/sanding the arced pedestals would be lots easier in wood. 

I can now turn my attention to using this sweet little belt sander. 


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Nicely done! I like your bracket. The dual support cradles are a definite step up, especially if (as occasionally can happen) a shim is necessary.

I will be interested in reading your future usage posts. I predict you will find your new modified Viel 
"just the ticket"  for many sharpening and around the shop tasks.

I think you and your Viel have earned the title "Gen IV". Congratulations.

Nicely done Rick Kr and thanks for sharing! If our resident Viel expert, Ken, says it good then it must really be good. 

I did get a personal chuckle out of your countersinking bolt holes on the wrong side. I've always said that given a 50/50 chance to get it right I'll get it wrong every time.
Guess I didn't just move on to using it.  I do not plan on getting or using any of the Viel attachments, so I am setting up the Tormek BGM and FVB on this so I can use the Tormek jigs, primarily for knives, but I figure there will be some other tools that get put to it.  The sander frame interferes with positioning of some of the jigs, so it is proving challenging to find a good setup.  

Also, I just couldn't stand those two little spring loaded screws that are supposed to serve as tracking adjustment.  I had to change them out for nylon set screws with a jam nut for locking their positions.  I also added two down towards the bottom of the plunger for greater control.  The new setup is actually making a difference.  Tracking is substantially improved AND the plunger rises and falls more easily, whereas at least before the plunger did not rise & fall smoothly or easily.

I had the 1/4-20 nylon set screws from another project and just had to get the thinner jam nuts.  It also meant drilling out and tapping for 1/4-20.  I was a little concerned about how thin the wall of the square tubing is, but there is enough to get about 1-3/4 turns in.  I figure that is enough since there isn't a lot of tension on them, just vibration that could work them loose.  


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