Shop Made Drum Sander

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Project by Charles Maxwell posted 01-05-2011 04:47 PM 17246 views 147 times favorited 46 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just finished building a much needed dual use drum sander with culled woods from Home Depot. Cheap, cheap, cheap. I needed a tool to flat sand my clock gears. The gears are small, less than 12 inches in diameter, and I don’t want to pass them through my De Walt planer anymore! This sander is a combo drum and V sander. The design is borrowed and adapted from numerous home-made sanders available on the internet. I used 3-1/2” PVC as the drum with oak caps. It’s extremely light, strong, straight and uniform/balanced (no wobble) which places less burden on the 1/2 HP motor I had sitting in storage. The belt is 3/8” X 40” and purchased online for 3 bucks! I adapted a some scrap metal (old heat vent pipes) to collect dust during thickness sanding mode. Oddly enough, the electric switch was the most expensive part! The table adjusts with a simple 3/8” threaded rod device (see the photos). In V-Drum mode I add table annexes and adjust the level of the sanding drum using the same leveling device used in the thickness sander mode. By adjusting the table I expose the sanding drum through the table annexes. Works great and does the job.

-- Max the "night janitor" at

46 comments so far

View SgtSnafu's profile


959 posts in 2114 days

#1 posted 01-05-2011 04:54 PM

Well done drum sander – Looks like you saved much $ and have a great and useful tool…

Thanks for sharing

-- Scotty - aka... SgtSnafu - Randleman NC

View jayman7's profile


217 posts in 2348 days

#2 posted 01-05-2011 04:56 PM

seeing all these drum sanders makes me want to build one!

Does the PVC pipe stay pretty rigid without any major flexing?

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1015 posts in 2649 days

#3 posted 01-05-2011 05:04 PM

I’m still testing the PVC concept but, so far it holds up well. The proof is in the result of my sanded gears. The gear planks are flat and ready to be glued after a few passes under the PVC drum. No chatter and flat as a planed board. I can always change to a turned wooden drum but, this PVC concept is working well.

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View dbhost's profile


5386 posts in 2074 days

#4 posted 01-05-2011 05:07 PM

I am in progress on one of these. My major hangup is the motor. I am planning on upgrading my bandsaw to a 1.5 HP motor, and swapping over the 1HP motor to the sander. Nice to know 1/2 HP works though…

It looks like you made pillow block bearings out of wood. Aren’t you concerned about wearing them out quickly?

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4492 posts in 1878 days

#5 posted 01-05-2011 05:07 PM

You’ll find your sander a lot gentler on your gears. Enjoy. Excellent surface sander attachment I must make one for my drum sander.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View mynoblebear's profile


722 posts in 1949 days

#6 posted 01-05-2011 05:16 PM

Well Done
If you can build it yourself why pay someone else to build it for you.

-- Best Regards With Personalized Rocking Chairs And Furniture On My Mind,

View rance's profile


4153 posts in 2003 days

#7 posted 01-05-2011 05:32 PM

Clever addition of the V-Drum mode.

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

View mpounders's profile


760 posts in 1737 days

#8 posted 01-05-2011 06:01 PM

Man, that’s great! I like the dual function aspect also. I was wondering about the pillow blocks also….no bearings or bushings? That really looks like something I can afford…...whether I really need it or not!

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View shipwright's profile


5631 posts in 1640 days

#9 posted 01-05-2011 06:10 PM

Nice innovation!

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

View SPalm's profile (online now)


5061 posts in 2724 days

#10 posted 01-05-2011 06:11 PM

Sweet. Lots of nice build ideas there.
As other said, the Vdrum feature is cool. I tried to do that to my Proformax, but gave up.

And I love the height adjustment assembly. Tapped wood and it swivels. That is my best take away.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4440 posts in 2805 days

#11 posted 01-05-2011 06:16 PM

Good looking outfit, Charles

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1015 posts in 2649 days

#12 posted 01-05-2011 06:50 PM

Mike, The bearings are 1/2” (inner diameter) that I bought for a couple of bucks at the local lawn and garden! The axle that supports the drum is 1/2” threaded rod, also from Home Depot. All very affordable.

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View stefang's profile


14002 posts in 2176 days

#13 posted 01-05-2011 07:12 PM

This looks brilliant Charles. A very flexible tool. Your pics illustrate it pretty good, but I would sure appreciate some more details, especially how you fitted the bearings to the blocks, etc. I also like your height adjustment fitting. I would love to make this particular design if I can just find a place for it in my shop!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Raymond's profile


676 posts in 2569 days

#14 posted 01-05-2011 07:16 PM

Great idea. That is the next project for me. Very good design.

-- Ray

View helluvawreck's profile


16616 posts in 1709 days

#15 posted 01-05-2011 07:17 PM

That’s a very nice shop built sander. You really did a good job on it and I bet it works great.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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