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Thickness sander

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Project by Bob, Oregon posted 01-05-2011 04:03 AM 8818 views 87 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Made this with the inspiration of an Internet article and the patient advice of a buddy in my ship modeling club in 2008. I had an old reliable 1 h.p. working motor remaining from a table saw that I had junked and this was the ideal new home for it.

The body of the sander is almost 100% 3/4” Baltic Birch ply (used up a good-ish bit of a 5 X 5 sheet) and the drum is laminated oak. The table is covered on both sides with Formica.

This project was my first real endeavor at making a motorized tool of any sort and I learned a wealth of things from doing it. Turning the drum was a unique project and it required a somewhat bizarre, but effective setup on my 20” lathe. Necessity being the mother of invention and all that.

I designed the tool so that I can sand wood up to 5” thick. Don’t ask me why. I have yet to try sanding down a railroad tie in the thing. :) There is a coarse adjustment on one side of the table and a fine adjustment on the other end that will allow moving the table in the thousandths of an inch at a time. Dust collection is almost 100% effective with the enclosed little Quonset hut-looking thingy on top. What little doesn’t get sucked up is just lying on the table.

A fun project; very useful and very satisfying.

-- 73, Bob





27 comments so far

View Cozmo35's profile

Cozmo35

2199 posts in 1783 days


#1 posted 01-05-2011 04:09 AM

MAN!,...I want one SO bad but I never seem to get around to it!! Great project!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View rance's profile

rance

4147 posts in 1908 days


#2 posted 01-05-2011 04:11 AM

Nice job Bob. Thanks for posting for the inspiration of others(like me).

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Condor1's profile

Condor1

64 posts in 1725 days


#3 posted 01-05-2011 04:22 AM

O.K. I’m hooked on the concept. Are you just pushing the stock under the rotating drum? Also, what diameter is the drum and what R.P.M. is the drum turning? I would also like to see a little more of the table adjustment setup. Good job and workmanship. Thanks for posting!

-- There are times when a mistake is remembered as your best work.

View Mark's profile

Mark

26 posts in 2478 days


#4 posted 01-05-2011 04:23 AM

Very nifty, and what a clever setup to turn the oak drum concentric with the axle. I too would like to know how you made the fine height adjustment mechanism for the table, and how much pressure it takes to feed the wood through.

Bob, I see you’re an Oregonian too – whereabouts?

-- Mark

View ShopTinker's profile

ShopTinker

881 posts in 1516 days


#5 posted 01-05-2011 04:23 AM

If it works half as good as it looks it will be a great tool. You have to get a thrill every time you use it.

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 1519 days


#6 posted 01-05-2011 04:24 AM

Very nice, I am curious, would it be possible to “turn” the drum when it’s attached to the sander itself, instead of using a lathe?

I don’t own a lathe but would love to build one of these things.

-jeremy

-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer: http://www.1024studios.com/cuttingboard.html

View SteveKorz's profile

SteveKorz

2131 posts in 2461 days


#7 posted 01-05-2011 04:29 AM

This is great… I’d like to see more pictures of the completed project if you have any… from the top and front, of the motor, etc.

I would love to build one of these… maybe this year. Thanks for the post, this looks very nicely done!

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View Blake's profile

Blake

3439 posts in 2622 days


#8 posted 01-05-2011 04:36 AM

Its great to see people building these sanders. I absolutely LOVE mine, which happens to be very similar. I think I got the idea for my design from the same person, but the link to the original website I saw it on doesn’t work anymore. I do remember that it was intended for model ships though.

You didn’t show any photos of your table-raising mechanism though. Is it just a hinge on one side and a threaded rod on the other like mine? Can you post some photos of it?

Click for details

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View souichiro's profile

souichiro

369 posts in 2093 days


#9 posted 01-05-2011 04:40 AM

This is seriously cool, I need to put this on my wish list of things to do for myself. Plus, it LOOKS great, very impressive. Thanks so much for sharing, Bob!

-- Dale, Oregon

View twokidsnosleep's profile

twokidsnosleep

1063 posts in 1721 days


#10 posted 01-05-2011 04:57 AM

That is a thing of beauty!!
Absolutely love it

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View KDO's profile

KDO

61 posts in 1517 days


#11 posted 01-05-2011 05:09 AM

Bob,
Great looking tool.

Could you share the plans/article that you used to build it with?
Thanks,
Kelly

View bigike's profile

bigike

4035 posts in 2036 days


#12 posted 01-05-2011 05:48 AM

nice, i need to get the parts together an make one my self. It’s cool i have afew people to ask questions if i get stuck.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://www.icombadaniels@yahoo.com

View Mark Colan's profile

Mark Colan

209 posts in 1593 days


#13 posted 01-05-2011 05:51 AM

Very inventive!

-- Mark, hack amateur woodworker, Medford (greater Boston) MA

View NormG's profile

NormG

4510 posts in 1751 days


#14 posted 01-05-2011 06:16 AM

Very nice work indeed, looks like you will be receiving many years of service for very little money spent. Very handy tool

-- Norman

View RonPeters's profile

RonPeters

708 posts in 1628 days


#15 posted 01-05-2011 06:22 AM

How cool is that! If you buy one it’s $900 or so. This probably cost $50 in parts!

One question, how do you get the sandpaper to adhere to the roller?

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

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