My Home Made Thickness Sander

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Blog series by lew updated 01-24-2012 12:46 AM 10 parts 93463 reads 75 comments total

Part 1: The Drum

01-19-2012 05:40 AM by lew | 11 comments »

When making my rolling pins, I use the thickness planer to bring the thin strips down to 1/8” thick. Unfortunately, if the grain in the wood is not uniform- or there are knots- the strips shatter. This wastes a lot of wood and doesn’t do the planer any good either. It seemed to me a thickness sander would be perfect for this process. Well, Craig’s List wasn’t producing any results and I couldn’t afford a new one. Time to take action!Starting with what seemed to me to be the most critical/diff...

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Part 2: Testing The Drum

01-19-2012 06:06 AM by lew | 4 comments »

After building the drum, a test was in order. After all, if this part didn’t run true there was no sense in moving forward.Using a piece of Corian, the motor and drum were clamped down in position. The motor is a 120v 1/3 HP motor salvaged out of our old furnace. The belt is the one from my table saw- a link belt replaced it. With some anxiousness, power was applied. Holy Cow, It Worked!! The pulley ratio is about 1:1.5- the drum being larger- so the speed of the drum is slightl...

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Part 3: The Table Adjustment Mechanism

01-19-2012 06:42 AM by lew | 11 comments »

After researching many sander designs and knowing my tendency to over engineer everything, there was only one choice for the table adjusting/lifting mechanism.The source of the lift came from this site and I give the author full credit- The only change/addition I made was to add springs the help eliminate any “backlash” in the movement. The author of the site felt this mechanism gave more support over the full width of the table.The arm piece...

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Part 4: Building The Frame

01-19-2012 07:21 AM by lew | 4 comments »

Now that the drum runs true and the table lift works, it was time to start building the frame. My intention was to use mortise and tenon joinery but my choice of material was 2×6 for the top and bottom of the sides. This was larger than my mortiser could handle. I know, I could have chopped them out by hand. I opted for half lap joints. The overall width of the frame is 23” and the table height is about 31”. The length, at the bottom, is about 36”. The table is 16” x 24”. The frame is ma...

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Part 5: Mounting The Drum And Motor

01-19-2012 07:55 AM by lew | 5 comments »

Time to mount the drum and motor to the frame. The choice of 2×6 sides was made to hopefully eliminate any flexing when work pieces were in contact with the sanding surface. However, that lead to difficulty in figuring out how to be able to mount the drum bearings to the sides. Long carriage bolts can be expensive! The sides are counter bored about 3” and then drilled to match the bolt diameter. An area around the mounting surface was mortised for an aluminum plate. The pillow block bear...

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Part 6: Mounting The Table

01-19-2012 08:31 AM by lew | 3 comments »

The final major part of the assembly is the table. The piece of ¾” Melamine is from the scrap box at the local Vocational School and the piano hinges are pieces left from a project made for my brother in law. The top is reinforced with a frame of ¾” plywood on three sides and a 1” piece of oak on the hinge side. The hinge is then screwed to a mounting/adjusting bracket that fits between the two sides of the frame. A slotted hole in each side of the bracket allows for vertical adjus...

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Part 7: The Sandpaper

01-19-2012 08:55 PM by lew | 7 comments »

It was finally time to add the sand paper to the drum. Having decided on a Velcro (hook and loop) system, it was off to Super Grit . Their store is only a half an hour drive from here. The hook portion required 5 feet of material. This PSA stuff is 4” wide and is $2/foot. Also bought 3 different grits of the 3” wide loop paper. Their minimum purchase is 3 yards but at between $1.50 to $2.00 a yard it is reasonable. It took about 73” to wrap the drum but I think I can...

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Part 8: Some Refinements

01-19-2012 09:10 PM by lew | 4 comments »

Most of the photos used for this blog were taken “along the way.” As with everything made in my shop, there are always changes, modifications and “S**t! I should have…”. The first thing was when Mimi passed by and said, “it’s nice but where are you going to put it”? Anyone who has been in the shop knows you need a road map and a course in choreography to get around all of the stuff crammed in there. OK, we are gonna need some wheels to move this thing out of the way. ...

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Part 9: Dust Collection And Finishing Up

01-19-2012 09:21 PM by lew | 18 comments »

Better add some sort of dust collection to this thing before I do anymore testing!This is what the finished “hood” looks like- Had the ½” plywood from another project. This is just a simple box. I wanted some way to hold it in place and be able to remove it without tools. Made two brackets from 1” aluminum angle “iron” to catch one side and some button magnets for the other side. Dust collection is a 2 ½” angled port that connects into the collection system. The ...

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Part 10: In Operation And A Bit Of Reflecting

01-24-2012 12:46 AM by lew | 8 comments »

Had a bunch of requests (OK, only two) to see the sander in operation. Here is a very short video of how it works. The sound is natural- the sander and the dust collector in operation. A little over 1/64” of material was being removed. For the astute observer, you will notice the addition of the broom like door sweeps to both sides of the dust hood. It seems to work but I’m not sure how much more effective it is. Also, the addition of the wheels up/down mechanism was compl...

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