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Shop made drum sander with a difference

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Blog entry by BigTiny posted 02-19-2011 01:58 PM 3473 reads 4 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Like many other LJs, I’ve dreamed about having a drum sander in my shop. Also like many of us, I have the usual problems, lack of funds and lack of room.

While doodling on a few ideas of how to build one that would fit my shop, I was suddenly hit with this idea…

I have a lathe; why not build my sander on it? It has a good motor, the bearings are already set up for heavy side loads, and since it will fit on my lathe as an accessory it won’t take any more room.

I figure on a drum made of MDF disks on a pipe axle, an MDF table and a base to lock onto the lathe bed of the same material. Add a piano hinge and a mechanism to raise and lower the table plus the Velcro and sandpaper and I’m in business!

Any comments or suggestions welcomed.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!



29 comments so far

View sras's profile

sras

3946 posts in 1880 days


#1 posted 02-19-2011 03:51 PM

I am thinking about the same thing, but with my ShopSmith. One of the benefits is that you get to adjust the drum speed. The lathe’s bearings and structure should easily handle the forces generated by a sander.

If you have enough room to pass stock between the drum and the lathe bed, it seems like a good idea to me. Need to make sure you have space for an adjustable support table (and maybe a feed belt).

I am leaning towards the version where a sufracing sander is on the top side of the drum. Just need to be able to get to both sides of the drum to use it.

For me, the biggest challenge is that it is too far down the “Build it next” list!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6272 posts in 1551 days


#2 posted 02-19-2011 04:05 PM

This is an interesting idea, I never thought about it. I think there must be a hundred different things you can do with a lathe if you use your head!

If you keep the drum small in diameter you should have plenty of space between it and the lathe bed for even thick cutting boards, etc to pass through, and it would accept even very wide stock, much wider than the standard drum sander.

Pipe for the center would be fine, but you may consider steel conduit because it is cheaper and much lighter. If a heavy length of pipe is not perfectly balanced it’ll really vibrate while lighter conduit will effect it less. You’ll also need a good way to glue the MDF discs to the pipe. Even a tight fit will come loose over time, and once the drum starts to slip on the pipe it’ll wear itself looses very quickly. Maybe epoxy?

I was thinking of using a length of 3” PVC for the drum. You could run a pipe with three or four mdf discs inside it. The benefit would be that you could attach the rolls of sandpaper that delta drum sanders use. They spiral arounf the drum from one end to the other and are secured by sliping the ends of the paper through slots cut in the ends of the drum and held by a little clasp on the other side. The benefit would be that there’s no velcro which is nice if you want to change the paper back and forth between grits. With velcro, after two or three changes the soft part on the paper wears out and it won’t hold well.

I really like this idea, I was thinking of building a drum sander (not because I need one, but because I have to have every kind of tool I ever see!) Can I use your idea?

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4525 posts in 1825 days


#3 posted 02-19-2011 04:09 PM

I have often thought about building something for my ShopSmith that would serve as a drum sander.

However, I almost always work alone and I’m leery about feeding boards into the sander at a steady rate (no stops) by myself. I really think I need a power feed mechanism. That raises the complexity of this project a lot.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Florida_Jim's profile

Florida_Jim

65 posts in 1629 days


#4 posted 02-19-2011 04:35 PM

Building a drum sander for my Shopsmith is aways down on my massive “to do list”
Years ago Nick Engler did a “The Workshop Companion” series of books. I bought the sanding and Planing book. In the book there’s an excellent chapter on building a drum thickness sander for a Shopsmith.
It’s probably a little too complicated, but I’m going to use a lot of his idea’s.

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6272 posts in 1551 days


#5 posted 02-19-2011 04:51 PM

Most people don’t want to hand feed bacause they fear the piece will shoot out at them. This is solved by making a thin sled from hardboard with a lip along the bottom of the leading edge and another along the top of the edge you are pushing. The lip on the top keeps the board from shooting off the lsed back at you, the lip on the bottom will catch on the tilting feed table if the entire sled were to shoot out at you. It’s very nice for small pieces too! Very long boards won’t work with it though.

Of course slowing down the speed of the motor and not trying to take too much off at once will make the rise small anyway.

BTW- does your lathe have a reverse feature for the direction of the spin, or will you be feeding from the back?

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View BigTiny's profile

BigTiny

1664 posts in 1639 days


#6 posted 02-19-2011 05:54 PM

Hi all.

for the Shopsmith owners, I’m not sure how it would work for you as I’m not that familiar with that particular tool other than knowing it is a great way to set up a shop in a tiny space but has the drawback of having to switch setups to change tools.

As for clearance issues, my lathe has roughly 10 – 12 inches between centers and bed, lots of room. Yes, I intend to feed from the “back”, which will become the “front” for the converted tool.

I’ve thought of a power feed but discarded the idea as too complicated and expensive. As an alternative, how about a crank feed using a threaded rod under the feed platform? Wouldn’t need much extra, just the threaded rod, a way to attach the ends, a crank to feed it through and a way to hold the platform to a nut of some sort.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View johnzo's profile

johnzo

72 posts in 1547 days


#7 posted 02-19-2011 06:57 PM

As somebody who has already built a DS (see my “Full Featured DS”), I recommend starting out by reading the Vol. 15, issue 86 copy of Shop Notes magazine. The article is probably on line too. It assumes the part-time use of your tablesaw for the power (V belt to a pulley on the saw’s blade arbor). It’s a challenging but rewarding build-up, uses cheap and stable MDF for the frame, drum and most of the other components. It goes with a hand cranked belt transport which may be a level of complexity you may want to skip. Anyway, the whole thing costed-out at around $200. which isn’t bad considering the belt transport. You may get some good ideas from this article. FYI.
John Z

-- 70 is the new 50!

View sras's profile

sras

3946 posts in 1880 days


#8 posted 02-19-2011 07:10 PM

It seems like one could start with a hand fed solution and always upgrade to a belt – either hand crank or motorized – later. A threaded rod might be a little slow for a hand operated solution – even at 12 threads per inch it would take 12 turns to advance 1 inch. Seems like a crank directly attached to one of the shafts might be ok – or maybe reduce it with a set of pulleys.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View rance's profile

rance

4147 posts in 1911 days


#9 posted 02-19-2011 07:16 PM

BT, I thought of this, but ended up going with the ShopNotes version, but with a dedicated motor. I don’t like the idea of multipurpose machines. I think if you put your creative thinking into how you could accomodate this in a smalller shop you’d be much more satisfied. Just my 2c worth. :)

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View BigTiny's profile

BigTiny

1664 posts in 1639 days


#10 posted 02-19-2011 07:19 PM

Johnzo; I figure we can bring this one in a lot cheaper, as we need a lot less stuff. No need for a floor stand as it mounts on the lathe bed. No need for the belt as it is powered directly by the lathe chuck. The sliding platform with the threaded rod drive will be a lot less expensive than a belt to run the work piece through.

Sras: as I mentioned, I thought of using wooden gears to drive the rod at a 4 to 1 ratio, so using your example of 12 TPI it would only take three rotations of the crank to advance the work piece an inch. One of the sites has a program that generates gear patterns you can print out with whatever size you desire and it’s free to use, so cutting your own gears out of some scrap 1/4 or 1/2 plywood from your scrap bin is easier than using pulleys.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View toyguy's profile

toyguy

1373 posts in 2588 days


#11 posted 02-19-2011 08:24 PM

I have had the same thought a number of time. This would be ideal for segmented turning rings….... Have you ever seen this web site…........ might be just the help you need.

http://www.woodturningonline.com/assets/turningarticles/lathemounteddrumsander/lathemounteddrum_sander.html

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6272 posts in 1551 days


#12 posted 02-19-2011 08:32 PM

Big Tiny- i have to tell you, the more I think about it, the better I like this idea. Especially just using the lathe head and tail stock to support the sanding drum. That means the drum would be very easy to remove so you could have three or four drums with different grits of paper. It would be quick and easy to switch them. This makes me rething the PVC idea above. hook and loop backed paper would be great because instead of peeling it off to change grits, you just pop off the drum and add a different one.

I am definately going to make one of these. My only issue is that my lathe is against a wall and I’d have to pull it out to use as a sander. It’s HEAVY and I worry that putting casters on the bottom would reduce the stability, which is vital for a lathe. But that is a problem that, with thought, should be workable.

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View Pimzedd's profile

Pimzedd

467 posts in 2555 days


#13 posted 02-19-2011 08:35 PM

Shopsmith has some information on this idea. It has a photo of the setup on a Shopsmith. It is located down about 2/3’s of the page.

-- Bill - Mesquite, TX --- "Everything with a power cord eventually winds up in the trash.” John Sarge , timber framer and blacksmith instructor at Tillers International school

View BigTiny's profile

BigTiny

1664 posts in 1639 days


#14 posted 02-19-2011 08:49 PM

Greetings again.

Brian: Thanks for the lead. That is almost exactly what I had in mind! I’ll have to go back and look it over more carefully and see what changes it would take to make it fit my lathe and shop.

Jim: I’m glad my idea hit home for you. That’s what this place is all about, right?
As for your problem with the lathe location, I’ve seen guys make a rig with casters on it that flips up out of the way when not in use, then you flip it down to move the lathe using a lever attached to the rig. That would work for you as it keeps the lathe stable while in use but easy to move out to convert to the sander.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6272 posts in 1551 days


#15 posted 02-19-2011 09:05 PM

Tiny- The flip down casters would work only if you lift the lathe up while you flip them in place and then let the weight back doen on the casters (if I’m thinking of the setup you mean). I’ve mover that lather around the shop a few times and I’d hate to have to lift it every time I want to use the sander. I’m all about tools being setup and ready to go without much work.

I’m milling it around in my head while I watch “The Woodwright’s Shop” right now…

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

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