Disk Sander Project

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Project by William posted 03-29-2012 02:43 AM 8962 views 8 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This will be sort of a project and blog all rolled into one. I was going to just blog about it, but figured it fit into the project section since it is made of wood.
I used to have a twelve inch disk sander. It was the only part of an old Total Shop machine that I actually used. Well, when I decided to use that motor unit for my shop made band saw, it left me without a bench top disk sander. Afer searching high and low locally and not being able to find a new one, I decided to make a disk sanding station on the outboard side of my lathe.

Day 1:

I used a compass to mark a circle the same size as my mounting plate for the outboard spindle on my lathe. Then I used the same center point to drill a quarter inch hole so I could use a router circle jig to cut a twelve inch circle.

Then I glued and screwed that piece of plywood to another piece. I wanted it thick so there would be less flex to it. Next I screwed the mounting plate to the center by carefully lining it up with the circle I marked with the compass.

Then I trimmed the second piece of plywood with a pattern bit on the router table. I done it this way to try and keep everything as balanced as possible.

Then, before going any further, I attached it to the lathe to test it. I wanted to test it before even thinking of going further. I had a concern with the motor being powerful enough. My old sander was a horse and a hlf. With this lathe only having a half horse motor, I was curious if this was even going to be powerful enough. It works fine, so I was ready to call it a night and think about how I wanted to build my table.

Day 2:

This is where things went way off track.
As I was removing the disk sanding pad I’d made, I noticed something that had never caught my attention before now. There was some play back and forth on the spindle of the lathe. So I started disassembling the spindle assembly to find out why.
As it turned out, it was only a loose locking collar that needed tightening. However, I figured that since I was that far into it, I may as well completely disasseble it and make sure everything was in good shape. Besides needing some cleaning of old sawdust that was packed in there, it was.

Why stopthere though?
This motor still has plenty of power. Something is causing problems at startup though. Sometimes I have to spin start it like an old Model A Ford. My friend, SuperD, had given me a newer half horse motor a while back to put on it. I just hadn’t taken the time yet to do it. I figured since I was this far into it, I may as well go ahead and get this little task done as well.

So I replaced the “made in China” motor for a “made in Mexico” motor. This one though, at least the writing on it is written in English. I don’t have to spin start it now though, so I’m happy.

I decided to go simple with the table. I don’t need it to tilt. I had my other twelve inch for over two years and never once tilted it. So here is the frame. It’ll bolt on the side farthest from the disk so the table can swing out of the way to remove the disk when needing to use the lathe. Also….....

The side closest to the disk has adjustment knobs under it. These are just two long knob bolts ran through a piece of wood. On the top side, I chiseled out the profile of the nuts so they are set into the wood and holds them from moving when adjusting the table.
Anytime I make a wooden table on a tool, I like it to be adjustable because it is wood. Wood moves. I find that without adjustment, some days, especially humid and rainy days, squareness may have to be adjusted to actually be square.

Then I built a box to raise everything up to a height I like working at on my disk sander. This is attached at the back with bolts. Then I attached a piece of plywood on top of that to serve as a table.

That’s it. I’ve only run a few test pieces so far, some cottonwood, pecan, and oak. The sander seems to work plenty good enough for what I need it for though.


20 comments so far

View andyboy's profile


565 posts in 3414 days

#1 posted 03-29-2012 02:46 AM

Let the dust begin. Very handy!!

-- Andy Halewoodworker. You can't finish if you don't finish. So finish it, because finish is everything.

View boxcarmarty's profile


16569 posts in 2501 days

#2 posted 03-29-2012 02:55 AM

That’s multi tasking…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View William's profile


9950 posts in 2983 days

#3 posted 03-29-2012 03:00 AM

That can’t be multi-tasking.
I done it and I can’t walk and chew bubble gum at the same time.


View DIYaholic's profile


19655 posts in 2816 days

#4 posted 03-29-2012 03:10 AM

That looks great!!! I’m impressed. It would take me a year & a day to complete a project like that!!!

Makes me want to look at my little Ryobi 6” disk & belt sander and see if I can upgrade it to a 12” unit. Let’s face it SIZE does matter!!!

-- 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 Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2981 days

#5 posted 03-29-2012 03:12 AM

Is it suppose to spin like that?
And why do you have lathe tools mounted on your sander?
Yuo are a cofused pesron.

All fun aside William you needed that. Good job. I like it a lot.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View William's profile


9950 posts in 2983 days

#6 posted 03-29-2012 03:19 AM

Thanks Super.

There is something I forgot to mention in the post.
Something I did not take into account when building the table was squareness. I squared the frame for the table to the table itself. What I didn’t realize was that the lathe is not square to the table. This made the table frame out of square with the sander.
I scratched my head a little on this one.
Then it hit me. This table is only going to be for sanding square to the work piece, so it doesn’t matter. I just made the table a tad oversized and squared it to the sanding disk. If noone gets on the floor and looks up and the frame, they’ll never notice it.


View DIYaholic's profile


19655 posts in 2816 days

#7 posted 03-29-2012 03:22 AM

If I’m on the floor, ther’s a good/bad reason for it. Notice what!!!

-- 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 William's profile


9950 posts in 2983 days

#8 posted 03-29-2012 03:23 AM

DIY, go back to Harbour Freight.

Seriously, I done this out of necessity.
If my funds were better, they sell a 12” bench top disk sander at Harbour Freight for $129. It has a one and a quarter horse motor on it and it gets good reviews. The problem is, with my financial state, I can’t justify $129 for no more than I use this big of a sander.
Most of my sanding is done on my Ridgid combo sander. The main time I use this big sander is when I make the large rocking toys. If you haven’t seen those, the fenders for the motorcycles for example, are close to six inches wide and has to be sanded smooth. I could do them with a hand held sander, but the 12” disk saves a lot of time and work.

By the way, if I can find a bigger horse motor in the future, I’ll be redoing this. The half horse gets the job done, but I would like more power.


View ralbuck's profile


5097 posts in 2408 days

#9 posted 03-29-2012 03:30 AM

Nice job; Many inventions came from “laziness”! Make it easier for me!

I have made many jigs; just to make things easier for me!

Everyone knows what a “Bobcat Loader” is. It was actually invented to make barn cleaning easier! A farmer
needed a loader to clean his turkey barn—it was the second story of a converted barn. He need something he could lift up there and then be light enough to do the job and not fall through. It also had to be extremely manueravable too boot.

Rest of the story; he told his handy dandy neighbors about it. Cyri\l & Louis Keller of then Foxhome MN. Made the firtst one in a farm shop.
Bobcats are still made in a small town in ND!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View William's profile


9950 posts in 2983 days

#10 posted 03-29-2012 03:36 AM

Thanks for the history on Bobcats. RJR. I didn’t know that. I used to do the mechanic work on Bobcats at a plant I worked at. I also didn’t know that anyone would have considered them light.


View a1Jim's profile


117232 posts in 3718 days

#11 posted 03-29-2012 03:41 AM

great idea,nice work.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View William's profile


9950 posts in 2983 days

#12 posted 03-29-2012 03:47 AM

Thank you Jim.

You touch though on an interesting point, the idea.
What made me think of this was the original disk sander I had. It was one of the accessories on a Total Shop 5 in 1 wood working machine, a Shopsmith clone. The idea came about because it was part of a system that had a lathe on it. So I simply figured that if it worked on that, why not on my other lathe?


View Rick S.'s profile

Rick S.

10514 posts in 3174 days

#13 posted 03-29-2012 09:07 AM

Now …... THAT’S a SANDER!!! Good Stuff William!!

I could do my Fingernails on that, right back to my Elbows …LOL….

INNOVATION! It’s what makes the World Go Round!!


-- _

View JL7's profile


8684 posts in 3106 days

#14 posted 03-29-2012 11:42 AM

Great idea William. Looks very functional….I have been thinking about a 12” disc sander for awhile now, even stopped at HF yesterday and looked at their $129.00 version, but not in stock. I might have to borrow your idea if you don’t mind…...thanks!

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View William's profile


9950 posts in 2983 days

#15 posted 03-29-2012 06:44 PM

Thanks everyone.

JL7, it is not a new idea, so borrow away.


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