Makita 9403 Belt Sander Review
The Makita 9403 is an excellent belt sander, intended for professional artisans, contractors, and other persons in need of a heavy-duty, long-lived machine that can handle both large and small jobs.
Although it does have plastic through much of its construction, the heavy-duty plastic, combined with metal on all high-wear parts, is designed to make this tool function properly for thousands of hours worth of work.
The most critical part, the contact base, is made of a replaceable ceramic, which can not only handle the intense friction of the belt but is designed to prevent heat from spreading to the rest of the unit, optimizing lifespan.
The double-insulated and labyrinth construction likewise enable the unit to work many hours per day for many days without a breakdown, by channeling dust and heat away from the machine's vital components.
Belt replacement and tracking are smooth and consistent.
What's it suitable for?
At 13 pounds and moving a 4" wide strip, the Makita 9403 is too large and too heavy for fine, delicate work, and is more suited to floor repairs, table planing, paint removal, or other large-scale work that requires a large belt sander with proper weight and surface area.
Additionally, the non-adjustable speed of 1,640 ft./min is capable of removing significant amounts of material in very small amounts of time, meaning that this device is optimal when asked to do heavy duty by experienced hands.
The Makita 9403 is most at home on a floor, where its large size and weight can best be put to use.
It would also be at home stripping paint off of walls, wooden boat hulls, or sturdy outdoor surfaces, as well as leveling table tops and other large surfaces.
The flush design makes it ideal for working alongside walls or other perpendicular surfaces.
The two-handle design offers solid control options, but the large size and weight of the unit make it too bulky for most delicate furniture work and small craft jobs.
With a heavy-duty cord coming out of the top of the handle, and the dust bag located on the side, the entire device has been carefully engineered to optimize ergonomics and operator comfort.
The small vibration of the device helps to reduce repetitive stress injuries as well as enable longer-term use.
The dust bag is fully adjustable to 360 degrees of motion and can be moved off the device with proper adapters, although they are not provided with the main unit.
Adapters and hoses are also required to connect the device to a large bag or shop vac for the removal of dust on large jobs.
Otherwise, it will be necessary to remove the bag regularly to empty it, as it is only large enough for a few minutes worth of dust with most grits of sandpaper.
Dust removal is, however, highly efficient, helping to reduce total cleanup time.
The sealed nature of the interior prevents the need to clean dust out of most of the machine.
Size & Power
Despite its large size and 11 amps of power, it is relatively quiet, producing only 84dB of noise.
This makes it ideal for jobs where it might be necessary to work during business or living hours, as it is less likely to disturb others.
Likewise, despite its size and weight, the optimal placement of hands, as well as the fact that the belt does not protrude from any part of the machine, reduces the likelihood of injury due to any part of the body, or any loose clothing, coming into contact with the moving belt.
The design of the vacuum and bag, as well as their placement, also helps reduce the likelihood of dust being propelled into the eyes.
What we liked
What we didn't like
The Makita 9403 is too much and too powerful for the beginning craftsman or casual woodworker, but its size, power, and capabilities make it ideal for contractors and dedicated carpenters.
It can quickly and safely remove a significant amount of material, substantially reducing the time needed to strip paint or level surfaces. Its comfort, insulation and ceramic friction plate enable it to be used for extended periods of time on large jobs, although it will be necessary to stop regularly to handle the dust.
With such an intense emphasis on maximizing the longevity of the parts, as well as reducing the risk of damage due to heat and dust, the machine is a good investment for anyone who thinks they will need to use it for many jobs over an extended period.
The size and weight make it awkward in tight places, but its flush design enables it to work up against walls and other perpendicular surfaces.
Therefore, while the Makita 9403 is not ideal for all users or situations, it stands out within its class and can significantly reduce the work involved in certain jobs thanks to its ruggedness, longevity, high power and high utility.