I’ve probably seen every drum sander that’s been built and posted to youtube and other various websites. What I found was that most of them differ in size, design and power.
I am starting my project next week. If you’ve built one I would love to hear the dos and don’ts you discovered During gather process of your build.
To give you an idea of what on my mind here’s a list of things I’ve thought of. Nothing’s in stone here even though I’ve already purchased some parts.
1) I want it to have a conveyor feed. This kind of build is a lot of work not to come away with a conveyor feed.
2) The conveyor will be motor operated, not crank operated. (I already have a 72 RPM motor which has a medium torsion rating). I’m not knocking the crank style if that’s what you have but I want to be able to set a board or boards on the conveyor and walk on around it immediately and remove the boards, thus saving time. Maybe I’m wrong but I believe a motor driven conveyor will sand more consistently than me cracking on it and hoping I can keep it going steady. The conveyor size will be 24 W x 31 L (I’ve already purchased the belt).
3) I’m planning on making the main sanding roller from PVC with each end reinforced with wood like is seen on Stubby Nubbs DS plan. I’m not sure if it will be as durable as the wooden ones I’ve seen.
4) I’ve noticed the size sanding motors of others vary from 1/2 HP to as much as 4-5 HP. I’m not certain why there’s such a great difference except that maybe it doesn’t really matter—choose what power you want. I have my eyes on a 2 HP motor with 1740 RPM from Surplus Center. It comes wired for 110 but can be switched over to 220.
5) It must be made out of wood. The tools I own are woodworking tools not metal.
6) It must have 4” dust collection. Sanding dust is one if the worst to breath.
7) The conveyor must have tension adjustments on all four corner to eliminate tracking issues.
8) The conveyor lift must be simplified. I’ve seen so many variations of the lift and it has been the most frustrating part to decide. Although my budget will probaly determine how suffisticated I get during the build. One thing I really liked about Stubbys plan was the front adjustment to the conveyor table. It is simple and practical yet helps to level the table to there’s no downward sanding to attend with. The adjustable side design is one thing for certain I’ve not determined direction for. Thinking along the lines of a sissor jack but I’m not sure if it would offer the necessary precision a woodworker would require.
9) All moving parts will have covers for safety.
There’s a few more areas that aren’t as important.
I don’t make wood projects for a living but I want all of them to be built with as much care and precision as I possibly can. A drum sander will certainly help and especially when it comes to sanding hickory door panels and face frames for our new kitchen I’ll be starting as soon as the room contruction has been completed. And since I’m only a few months away from the kitchen project makes this drum sander my top prioritiy which is why I’m calling on you to tell what you think.
-- There's no crying in woodworking. Just measure and cut again.