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Ongoing Projects #1: Drum / Thickness Sander Project - Input requested

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Blog entry by MikeSpanky posted 08-06-2015 05:17 AM 1108 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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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.

Thanks
Mike

-- There's no crying in woodworking. Just measure and cut again.



8 comments so far

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile

kaerlighedsbamsen

1177 posts in 1178 days


#1 posted 08-06-2015 08:08 AM

Have no experience with thikness sanders but want to add a comment to this:
“5) It must be made out of wood. The tools I own are woodworking tools not metal.”
For ease, accuracy and efficiency of make it is worth remembering that aluminium, brass etc are perfectly workable with woodworking gear (tablesaw, lathe, router). Layouts can be made super accurate on metal.

Looking forward to hear how your build evolves!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View lew's profile

lew

11340 posts in 3220 days


#2 posted 08-06-2015 07:58 PM

Like you, I watched the videos and read the blogs on everything I could find on making a thickness sander before starting to build one. My approach was “as cheap as possible and still work”. I ended up going with hand feeding the materials. It took a little practice but feeding the stock slowly and continuously is not that hard.

Here’s a link to some of the things I did. The first part is linked to the second and so on.

http://lumberjocks.com/lew/blog/27660

The only parts I bought special were the pillow block bearings. Everything else was materials on hand. The motor was from a furnace blower. In retrospect, a larger horsepower unit would probably be better but this one works for what I need. The other thing that would have “beefed up” is the diameter of the metal rod used in the drum. I don’t notice any flexing but it couldn’t have hurt anything. Also, I need to go back and design a more accurate method of adjusting the table to make it parallel with the drum. Over time the drum/table parallel configuration changes a little.

One thing I went back and forth on was the attachment of the sandpaper to the drum. I’m glad I opted for the Velcro method. The hook and loop mounting seems to provide a small amount of cushioning. This seems to lessen the chance of the sandpaper burning.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View MikeSpanky's profile

MikeSpanky

178 posts in 828 days


#3 posted 08-07-2015 03:58 AM

I understand kaerlighedsbamsen about brass and aluminum, I just know I’m better with wood. I know some parts must be metal. The trick is joining them to the wood so they hold up over time.

Lew, I followed your link. The pictures there make me want a lathe, that’s for sure. Unfortunately right now I don’t have the room. I really like the way you used the wood with the PVC pipe. That’s about what I had in mind. I’m thinking about 7/8 – 3/4” for the shaft. What size is yours if you don’t mind me asking? I agree on the crank but I’ve seen some that were motorized and know that would be great to have. But like you money is an issue or I would be purchasing one from Grizzly. If I cannot workout the speed/timing on the conveyor using what I have, a crank may be the final result. But I plan to give it my best shot.

-- There's no crying in woodworking. Just measure and cut again.

View lew's profile

lew

11340 posts in 3220 days


#4 posted 08-07-2015 07:39 PM

Mike,
The shaft I used was 5/8”.

I guess I could have made a hand cranked feed table but I decided on the least expensive route. Just push it thru by hand. I’ve made several “push sticks” to assure the work piece clears the drum when sanding. The sanding table was cut from an old school library table. It is flake board covered with a slick Formica like material which reduces the friction.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View MikeSpanky's profile

MikeSpanky

178 posts in 828 days


#5 posted 08-09-2015 04:51 AM

Hey Lew, I had on my mind to use Formica on the table but was worried it wouldn’t hold up. Seeing you’re using it is convincing enough to give it a try. I saw one may use a piece of granite he found at a local box stores. Said he used a saw to cut it down to size for his conveyor table. I would love to find a small piece but Not sure about the extra weight it would add.

Right now I’m in hold mode waiting for the belt to arrive. It’s supposed to be 24” wide but I must be certain before proceeding. Should be started though before the end of next week. Looking forward to it.

-- There's no crying in woodworking. Just measure and cut again.

View lew's profile

lew

11340 posts in 3220 days


#6 posted 08-09-2015 11:10 PM

Man, granite would be awesome although it might be difficult to find a secure way of mounting the elevation mechanism. I wonder about Corian counter material??

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View MikeSpanky's profile

MikeSpanky

178 posts in 828 days


#7 posted 08-10-2015 03:16 AM

Lew you’re right. I’ll check on it see if any of the stores have a broken piece.

-- There's no crying in woodworking. Just measure and cut again.

View lew's profile

lew

11340 posts in 3220 days


#8 posted 08-10-2015 01:46 PM

Depending on the size you need, you might check with any kitchen installers/contractors. A large sink cutout might be just the thing.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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