Here is my down and dirty drum sander. I got the Radial Arm Saw for free off of Craigslist. A couple of weeks later I saw the ad for the Performax S/T drum sander, very inexpensively. This was their first product offering and without a power feed table, is pretty hard to control. Then I found a solution, I aquired the extruded aluminum slides and table soon after, again, a Craiglist find. The table has four ball bearing rollers that ride in the aluminum channel.
I have never used a traditional drum sander with the power feed, so I can’t compare the performance, but with this setup, you can feed the project back and forth under the drum without picking up the work. You basically grab the handle, pull the board through, and then hang on tight and let it go backwards through the drum. I’m sure someone will speak up to say it can’t be done this way, but it really works fine.
I also lucked out and got several Timesaver sanding belts (free) that I was able to cut into strips for the drum. Total investment in the whole rig is less than $100.
I have caught the cutting board bug since hanging out on this forum, and the drum sander literally shaves hours of sanding time away when making those end grain boards.
Appreciate your comments…..
-- Jeff - I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.