A good stand buffer has been on my watch list for the past few weeks, and I'm still wondering some pro-specs. Grizzly doesn't sell any buffers with a larger arbor than 5/8" or 3/4", but the large wheels (above 12") require at least a 7/8" arbor. I've got the small 1/2 HP 3000 RPM buffer which works good on parts, but it's too wimpy for the whole thing.
Does anyone have one of the Baldor or Grizzly buffers and just put an adapter on the arbor for a larger wheel?
Is the Stewmac Buffer too slow at around 720 RPM with a 1/2 HP motor? Does anyone have experience with it and does it seem robust?
The big question is, does anyone know exactly what stand buffers big companies use for production? I'm seeing the Baldor 1250 series showing up often, but it seems a little pricey.
What buffers does everyone use? Speeds? Horsepower? Wheel size?
For years I used the Baldor 1800 rpm buffers, and basically coped with the speed by adjusting the wheel size, with 8" being the absolute biggest one I could handle.
Now that I have the big Grizzly (now discontinued, unfortunately) 5HP variable speed three phase number, I couldn't be happier. Infinitely variable 100-1500RPM, with serious power in all ranges, using 12-inch flannel buffs. It was expensive, but worth it because we have a busy shop and can justify the expense.
Looking back, I would have been much better off setting up my own rig with an arbor, pulleys and maybe a two-speed motor to get a good range of speeds and maintain power. You could take a look at Grizzly's H3559 arbor setup - it's like the StewMac one, but cheaper and it has three pulleys. Combine it with a 1-hp two-speed motor and you'd have six speeds. They recommend not exceeding 1/3HP, but I wouldn't hesitate to go higher because we don't use a lot of pressure the way metal buffing guys do.
I find that changing speeds has a great deal of influence on my ability to get a good buff on various finishes and surfaces.
Not using a lot of pressure is a reason why we need less power, not more. I find 1/2 horse (honestly rated) works just fine.
I haven't used this buffer, but the 1100 rpm model appears to be a good value:
The motor is 1725, the pulleys slow it down to 730.
I'll look into a variable speed DC motor with a control for the Stewmac buffer. I like the arbor size on the Stewmac a little more than the Grizzly, though I suppose I can make some arbor size adapters with a good inner/outer diameter combination pipe.
Another interesting thing was the idea (I saw it in the buffing video on LMIs guitar tips du jour) of the loose belt on the pulley to act as a clutch when too much pressure is applied. Any thoughts?
I use a old Baldor which has a 1800 (approximately) motor. Baldor products seemingly are built like a tank. No doubt this is a bit fast, particularly when used with a 12" wheel. The solution, in my mind, is paying attention to how hard you apply the guitar to the wheel. I sand my guitars to a minimum 600 and mostly to 1000 before I buff so I am only polishing, not leveling the finish (i.e. the orange peel is removed with sanding, not on the buffer). I use the Menzerna medium, fine and extra fine bar polishes and they work very well. One thing I do is mount my buffer from the wall upside down (look here: http://www.hoffmanguitars.com/tools_and_techniques.htm#buffer ).this idea came from Frank and from Huss and Dalton (if I remember correctly). The benefit is more room to maneuver the body of the guitar without striking the base. Since we polish on the lower quadrent of the wheel this is very useful.