I’ve lost a couple of small pieces to the innards of the belt sander by having them sucked down between the belt and the table. Inspired by various zero clearance inserts/whatever from Matthias and Jimmy DiResta, it occurred to me that a very quick and cheap zero clearance arrangement for the sander would avoid or greatly reduce the problem.
Just put a flat piece of sacrificial wood on the table up against the belt – not even clamped down. For the small work that is the problem case, it works pretty well. Not profound, but a simple technique where a bit of scrap greatly enhances what you can safely do with the tool.
I’m hoping having written this and maybe running back across it from time to time will remind me of this simple, effective technique.