Most belt sanders come with a dust collection system in the form of a dust bag. Attaching the dust bag is an easy process of connecting the bag to a nozzle on the belt sander and making sure it fits snugly. Some attachments might be a little more complicated so if you are not sure read the instruction manual that came with the sander. Once the bag is properly secure it is time to start sanding.
Dust Bag Maintenance
Dust build up can cause problems with operating the belt sander. Much like when a grass catcher in a lawn mower it will stop collecting grass. If the dust bag gets full it will stop collecting dust. Once the dust bag is you will start to see dust flying off to the side of the sander causing a mess. So it is a good idea to clean out the bag regularly. The process is fairly simple, just detach the dust bag from the sander and there should be a zipper you can unzip and dump the dust into a garbage container. Make sure there is no extra dust on the nozzle and then just simply reattach the bag back onto the sander. On big jobs you will need to empty the dust bag more then once.
Dust bag Design
Different model of belt sanders come with different designs. Most manufacturers use the same type of dust bag on all their belt sanders so it is not hard to find a replacement. You should probably not use a bag that was not made for a different company though.
Dust bag Safety issuesbosch sander dust bag
Even though the dust bag prevents most of the dust from flying back into your face you should still use safety protection as there will dust and particles flying around when you are sanding. It is very important to use a dust mask and eye protection when operating a belt sander. Regular eye glasses and sunglasses do not count as eye protection
Even the best dust collection will not be able to collect everything so make sure after you finish sanding to manually sweep up the extra mess. Wood dust leftover is very flammable and if left unclean a spark from other work can be very dangerous.
Other options for dust collection
Another option instead of a dust bag is to attach the belt sander to a shop vacuum and use that as an alternative. This is a better option if you want a higher capacity of dust collection. Although it might limit your maneuverability as you will have to move the vacuum around. Also some belt sanders that do not come with a dust bag can also be connected to a vacuum depending on the model. Check the specification on their instruction manual but in most cases if the attachment fits then you are good to start sanding