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Not at all what I was expecting for the money

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Review by Neil posted 12-14-2017 06:42 PM 2994 views 0 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Not at all what I was expecting for the money No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Hey guys, this is not the review I wanted write over a year ago when purchased this machine. I had high hopes that it would be as good as advertised. I was wrong.

Ive been working as a cabinet maker full time for 8 years now and wanted a machine to help with all the sanding. I saw this video https://youtu.be/vG_8ASCUWnQ
After watching that and and hearing of Supermax Tools as a company thats been around a while I took the leap and spent $2,400 or so on it and some paper.
It was pretty easy to setup but it wasnt long before i had problems. First the tension roller adjustment bolts stripped, which was because of cheap steel bolts. I replaced those myself with good quality bolts. Not really a big deal. On the subject of the tension rollers, they are very poorly designed and cannot be set with any fine accuarcy. The tension roller springs also soon broke and they sent new ones, which i dont have any confidence in lasting.
On to the operation!
I work with hardwood, mostly maple. Dont expect this to sand a maple board thats more than 2” in width, it will bog down. I was hoping i could skip sand some 3/4 boards after coming off the planer but thats not gonna happen. So I use the drum sander for smaller pieces like faceframe material and door rails and stiles.
At first when you get a fresh roll of paper on, lets say 80 grit, its works ok for an hour or so of sanding. Then it starts getting cloged and you need to clean it with a rubber block. And yes i use supermax paper, rolled the correct direction, and start at 80 grit. Before too long it has a spot in the paper that just burns everything that passes by it, and you have to change the paper.
The flatter brush!! What joke, ive tried using this on profile doors just like in the video above and what happens is you get these grooves that you can see and feel. You need to sand the doors more after using the machine then if you didnt use it at all.
I could go on and on like this, but im sure you get the point. I bought this thinking it would save me time and the physical strain of hours of sanding i do almost daily. However its been a waste of time, money, and resourses.
Hope this was helpful.

Neil Blodgett,
Blodgett Woodworking
St. Johnsbury, Vermont




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Neil

25 posts in 705 days



20 comments so far

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

4142 posts in 768 days


#1 posted 12-14-2017 08:35 PM

1i thing for sure about cabinets is you have to sand and then sand and just when you think your done sand some more :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

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sawdustjunkie

384 posts in 1772 days


#2 posted 12-14-2017 09:21 PM

Wow!! Sorry you’re having problems with the sander. I have had mine for almost 2 years and have never had a problem. Yes the sandpaper clogs up and you need to keep it clean.
I use mine to sand cutting boards all the time and it’s all hard maple an other hardwoods and have never had a problem.
Unless you’re willing o pay a lot more for a larger sander, I really don’t think you can get one any better than the Supermax.
As a cabinet maker, I would think you would have a much larger sander than the 19/38 anyway.
Again sorry to hear you are having a problem.

-- Steve: Franklin, WI

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splintergroup

2153 posts in 1278 days


#3 posted 12-14-2017 09:51 PM

I hate disappointment like that!

One thing to remember is that the scratches will always be linear and thus very visible, unlike that produced with a random orbit sander. I find that after sanding to 180 grit, I need to start with a 120 grit disc on m ROS to get rid of the lines. Burning is just the nature of the wood. Once the paper burns, you usually cannot “undo” it with the belt cleaner. At that point, I place the paper in a bath of ammonia or Simple Green for a few hours to release the burnt debris.

How “fat” of a cut do you take per pass? In my experience, more than 1/64” is asking for trouble, 1/32” on the coarser grits (80 and below).

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Neil

25 posts in 705 days


#4 posted 12-14-2017 09:51 PM

@Gr8hunter You’re not just whislin’ dixie. If you think you’ve sanded enough you better sand some more!

@sawdustjunkie. Do you have the same model as I do? The combo? Im starting to think its a problem with the swapable drum heads. I can see how it woukd work with cutting boards, but for production work its not up to the task. I keep close watch for it to clog and have the rubber and air hose handy. It just more work trying to mess around with it. Id be hapoy to trade it for a new festool 6in RO sander.

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Neil

25 posts in 705 days


#5 posted 12-14-2017 10:50 PM

@splintergroup yeah when i get a burn i toss the paper in the bad paper collection ive got. Didnt know you could clean it, ill try the amonia trick cause ive got dozens of old rolls.
I only do a quarter turn 1/64 or less per pass on 80 and 100, i dont even mess with higher grits anymore.

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sawdustjunkie

384 posts in 1772 days


#6 posted 12-15-2017 01:12 AM

The ammonia bath really works! Let the roll soak for a few minutes and then I unroll it and take a brush to clean the gunk off and just let it dry. It works really great. Depending how bad the burn marks are, you can get almost all of it cleaned off and you’re ready to go. I have been using that trick for about a year now and have saved many rolls from being thrown out. I also buy my rolls in 50 yard rolls and cut it down to size. It’s a lot cheaper.
Online Industrial supply is one of the companies I buy from.

-- Steve: Franklin, WI

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AlmostRetired

215 posts in 770 days


#7 posted 12-15-2017 06:49 AM

Dang, I was looking at some of their lower priced ones myself. Guess the ROS it is. Maybe I need a good (Festool) ROS instead.

Thoughts?

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

5147 posts in 2259 days


#8 posted 12-15-2017 07:32 AM

Neil,

FWIW

1. If your breaking stuff I would tend to think its operator error, (no real nice way to say it)
2. Did you read the manual before using it I see you are a 8 year Cabinet maker and have just decided to go with the sander, its exactly that a sander and not a thicknesser in disguise although it works in a similar role.
3. If you are burning paper in particular you have possibly got too much pressure on it otherwise resin gum can clog the parer but unlikely with hardwood.
4. After 1 hours work I would expect the paper to be worn out regardless of the brand.
5. Take light passes and expect to pass the material through up to 5 times without any adjustment, dont be concerned all you are doing is passing it in and collecting it at the outfeed your not physically doing the sanding its working for you.
6. Cleaning. You can clean the belts with a pressure cleaner 9After soaking) to unclog them and return them to a looks like new condition, it however does not return the grit. If its worn out its now clean and worn out.
7. Grits. You can fit 36 grit to remove paint, keep the fingers well clear with this grit as you wont just get a friction burn this time! as You need long fingers to change the belts (similar to a prostrate examiner!)
8. I cannot comment on the brush aspects as I have no experience with them but would be skeptical as to the professional sanding finish expected by a cabinet maker.
9. Consumable costs, expect to spend more than the purchase price on belt consumables if you get it purring!

Conclusion: Now that you have heaps of experienced info to operate the machine more effectively I want to see a retest and rewrite later to see if there is any improvement. Otherwise thats $2400 you could have used on Chrismas booze wasted.

-- Regards Rob

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Bumpy

40 posts in 536 days


#9 posted 12-15-2017 11:46 AM

I have the 19-38 also, I have experience some of the same issues as Neil.
My calls to S/M were not returned for over 30 days, I finally got someone on the phone, some assistance but they said it is possible that i received a lemon. Nice answer for spending over 1600.00.

They referred to to a third party that provided more answers than the mfg. Currently I am about 70% satisfied, but Super Max could do better. is not is not

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Bumpy

40 posts in 536 days


#10 posted 12-15-2017 11:53 AM

Super Max also stated that the 19/38 is not intended for production, just a home shop. They failed to mention that in their advertising.

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finns

167 posts in 3172 days


#11 posted 12-15-2017 01:20 PM

Sorry to hear that. I watched the video. Looks like a glorified flap sander and wouldn’t expect much out of this unit. Also, 1/16 per pass is asking a lot for any sander, belt or drum. Bets of luck Neal.

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Neil

25 posts in 705 days


#12 posted 12-15-2017 01:44 PM

@AlmostRetired I do not recomend this particular machine. You wont be sorry, however, if you purchase a high quality ROS like Festool or Mirka. These are great tools that will make sanding jobs easier on you and will last a very long time. The results will speak for themselves.

@Robcastle ill answer you point by point i guess.
1. I understand that its hard to believe an expensive machine would have inferior parts, but when you strip the heads of bolts only using an allen wrench and finger tightinging it probably a chinese bolt. In my opinion the machine is expensive because of the tricked out 3phase motor and the little phase converter/speed dial. Then they cheaped out on the small parts. The only grade 8 bolts ive found on this are the four that hold the drum bearings.
2. Believe me ive read the manuel, all 22 pages, it lives next to the machine. I actually do know that its a sander and not a thickness planer. Never said i was planing with it.
3. Ive run mostly maple and cherry through it, hardwood will clog an 80 grit roll with gentle light passes, feeding at offset angles, doing multiple passes without ajustment.
4. If I had known i would be replacing rolls every hour that would have been enough for me to not buy it. Its priced at a production level machine, it should be up to the task.
5. I can tell when its working you can hear it. If I run say 20 small doors through 5 times before making any ajustment id be spending too much time. I bought this in hopes of saving time, not wasting it.
6. I agree, when theyre worn out theres not much point in cleaning. I might give that amonia bath a try. Ive got plenty of worn out rolls.
7. Yeah i figured that out without putting my hands on the moving drum.
8. Are you skeptical of my expectations or that a brush that is advertised to sand profile doors wouldnt be acceptable to a professional?
9. Ive gotten her purring, but ill run out of paper, time, and patience before i can get a days work out of it.

You havent told me anything that would make me think you have heaps more experince with this machine than I already have. I will continue to use it at some compacity but not as a go to “daily driver” machine. My review was intended for others who are in the business of making cabinets. Take away from it what you will. It was 15 below zero outside my shop this morning, you dont have to believe me but that doesnt make it any warmer out.

-Neil

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Neil

25 posts in 705 days


#13 posted 12-15-2017 02:11 PM

@bumpy They actually admitted it could be a lemon, that speaks volumes! Did they tell you its not for production work or did you find that written somewhere?

@finns yes its pretty much a flap sander. They say on their website it gives profile doors a hand sanded finish, i couldnt screw up sanding a profile door by hand that bad if i tried. I couldnt make a 1/16” pass if i tried, more like multiple passes then a 1/64” pass.

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

1287 posts in 2403 days


#14 posted 12-15-2017 07:04 PM

I found an old Supermax drum sander that I cleaned up and used for a while and I had all of the same problems Neil was talking about. My dad also had one and he was able to baby his to keep it from burning the paper. I never was able to get a light enough pass to keep from burning the paper. Eventually, I sold it, bought a Jet version because I thought the Supermax was just old and not well tuned. Same problems, so I sold it too and bought the Dewalt 735 (?) planer. It does such a good job planing the wood that I rarely have to get my belt sander out. Most of my sanding is with the Mirka Deros ROS for finish sanding.

I don’t regret trying the drum sander out but I’m satisfied that I don’t need one in my hobby shop.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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robscastle

5147 posts in 2259 days


#15 posted 12-15-2017 11:40 PM

Well Neil thanks for the reply, sounds like you hve done everything correctly, and reading the comments it definately sounds like a lemon, sadly.

Point 8 I agree with your results its not capable of producing an acceptable standard a tradesperson would accept let alone present it to a customer.

Sub standard Chinese Bolts and screws. Yep been there done that have a look at this rubbish.

Supplied with Euro style hinges absolute garbage

As for my experience its nil in respect to the machiine and as per the FWIW no workshop no trade experience I do have a couple of drill flap discs though that might redeem me!

Merry Christmas

-- Regards Rob

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