For those of you who are put-off by the cost of a sander you might take a look at Harbor Freight. No, I'm serious! They have a 4" X 24" sander (ITEM 96435-1VGA) that is only $79, and it looks just like the Makita 9403 (I wonder why...). The 9403 has become hard to find and rather expensive in recent years, so I'm tempted to give this one a shot. There was one person in 2007 who ran the orange Harbor Freight sander as a stock racer, but it made an embarrassing run, so make sure you modify it if this is your sander of choice.
Here's a late entry! Harbor Freight just introduced a new sander that has some impressive stats, and with a light weight chassis, this might just be the ticket.
Here are the facts from Harbor Freight's site:
"The magnesium gear housing of this belt sander is 75% lighter than steel and 34% lighter than aluminum, but superior in strength, giving this rugged tool a higher resistance to impact."
- Industrial ball-bearing mount 10 amp motor aggressively removes material in a variety of applications
- Efficient dust collection system with dust bag
- Large front handle with nonslip grip for increased comfort and control
- Quick release lever for fast belt changes
- External brush cap for easy servicing
120 volts AC, 60 Hz; Amps: 10; Speed: 2750 RPM; Belt speed: 1640 feet/minute; Dust port opening: 1"; Belt size: 4" W x 24" L; Power cord: 6 ft; Overall dimensions: 14-3/8" L x 6-3/4" W x 7-1/2" H Weight: 13.6 lbs.