Building a drum/disc sander #3: It's getting out of hand.

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Blog entry by WoodenSoldier posted 02-29-2012 06:48 AM 13663 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Prototyping the size Part 3 of Building a drum/disc sander series Part 4: Gathering materials, making parts, prototyping »

This did start out to be a simple shop made drum sander but it has mutated into something larger (and a bit of an obsession). I’m having fun just thinking about building it, the question is how well I’ll actually be able to replicate my design.
Still haven’t located a motor since my last update, but I did mess with the design a little more. I added 4 struts to the table to stabilize it when it’s raised and lowered. I found some brass sleeve bearings that should fit nicely and keep it tight.

Drum-Sander Phase 2

I also am thinking about scrapping the conveyor belt idea, and just using power feed rollers (like a planer). Does anybody see any reason for not doing this? I’ll just make a stainless steel table top so that the workpiece slides easily once it’s gripped by the power feed rollers.
What I haven’t figured out is how to link the two rollers since the drum sander will be in the way. I don’t really want to get too complicated and add additional belts and pulleys but if I don’t come up with a better solution, I might have to.

Drum-Sander Phase 2.1

Another Lumberjock (Sarit) reminded me that I need to add springs to the rollers as well so they compress onto the workpiece. I’ll have to make some kind of bracket for that too I suppose.

I know I can make this thing, but the trick will be making the whole thing square and dimensioned correctly. I think it’s still small enough to fit into my flip-top cabinet, but if not no big deal.
Right now I’m having plenty of fun just figuring out how to make it. As always, advice from any of you is greatly appreciated.

-- Create something everyday.

3 comments so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19738 posts in 2909 days

#1 posted 02-29-2012 01:02 PM

You could put another smaller gear/pulley on the drum shaft and a larger grear/pulley(s) on the roller shafts, to drive the rollers. Not overly complicated, but would work. You would probably need a spring loaded idler to maintain tension, an added complication though.

Good luck. Looking forward to watching your progress!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3471 days

#2 posted 02-29-2012 01:03 PM

Here’s a link to an online plan for building a thickness sander. The website has lots of diagrams and photos of this sander. I also have Shopnotes #86 that features a DIY thickness sander with some design details that I like and in 1991 Wood Magazine published a hardback book of wood working tools that includes a thickness sander. The same plan was published in issue #7 on page 48.

I simplified the construction of my thickness sander by using an old Sears lathe that I found on Craig’s List. I wanted to see if I liked turning before I spent a lot of money on a lathe… Yep, I’m hooked and I’ve bought two more lathes that I also found on Craig’s List. I was going to sell the Sears lathe, but when I started building a thickness sander, I thought of sanding the drum round on the lathe. I took a few pieces of scrap and made a flat table with a hinged feed table and used it to sand the drum to final size. To test the sander, I wrapped sandpaper on the drum and pushed a figured maple board through the sander… It worked so good that I scrapped my plans to build a thickness sander. I just made a hood that fits over the sanding drum to collect dust and I use the Sears lathe only for thickness sanding.

Shipwright made a more elaborate thickness sander attachment for his Shopsmith multitool. Mine is much more basic and is made from some unpainted scrap plywood.

Good luck with your project. A cheep or free thickness sander is just a great addition to any woodworking shop.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3221 days

#3 posted 02-29-2012 09:43 PM

You might check out woodmaster drum sanders. I think some of them had rollers and no conveyor.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

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