Quick, Cheap Thickness Sander for ShopSmith or Lathe #4: Tuning Up

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 12-02-2011 08:16 PM 6479 reads 6 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Finishing up the build Part 4 of Quick, Cheap Thickness Sander for ShopSmith or Lathe series Part 5: Test Drive.. She works a treat »

So I went out to the shop this morning, all set to get the sander all tuned up and ready for the velcro kit which should arrive today. Unfortunately I didn’t get to do much tuning up because everything was OK.
First I stuck a straight edge on the cylinder to see how much I needed to sand off to straighten it. It was dead straight so I just ran some sandpaper on it by hand to de-gloss it for the velcro adhesive.

Then I started to check the drum / bed parallel situation and the effectiveness of the elevator setup. In this photo I have raised the bed with the right elevator only (leaving the left one loose) until it just contacted the right hand plywood piece. When I checked the left side it took one veneer (about 1/32”) to get friction. Not bad.
When I did the opposite, I had the same result, so the drum is not off parallel.
(The front skirt has been removed for access)

Next I left both elevators loose and supported the center only. Here I have slid the left end of a piece of plywood in until it just slides under the drum with a tiny bit of friction.

When I rotated the other end in it contacted at exactly parallel. I guess this means that I will be adding a center elevator and will likely just use the left and right ones for very fine tuning when and if necessary. Too much thinking has obviously made this harder than it had to be.

Imagine my disappointment as I had devised a diabolically clever way to align the drum with the bed. I will include it here anyway as everyone may not be as lucky as I was. Had I found that one side was a veneer loose as in this photo…

I would have added exactly that veneer (or veneers) between the sander and the way tubes on that side. This is an adjustment you don’t usually find on a drum sander because on most drum sanders the drum is directly attached to the bed assembly. Here they are independent so it would be a permanent and effective fix.

Now if that velcro / sandpaper kit would just show up…...........................


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

6 comments so far

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2932 days

#1 posted 12-02-2011 08:27 PM

That will be a clever setup. much cheaper then commercial ones.

Would the wood mouvement (tiny,tiny for ply) throw alignemnt off?

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Druid's profile


1754 posts in 2793 days

#2 posted 12-02-2011 08:45 PM

Looking better all the time. I’ve been looking at making a dedicated thickness sander, so all of your comments and tips will be very helpful when I get to it. Thanks again.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3879 days

#3 posted 12-02-2011 09:10 PM

Half the fun of projects like this is over-thinking them :)

And you are diabolically correct, that adjustment trick is really simple on this type of design. Good show.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View ChuckC's profile


828 posts in 2932 days

#4 posted 12-02-2011 10:15 PM

I really like this. It would be nice if the roller rested in it’s own pillow blocks so it became decoupled from the lathe. You could extend the left side of the shaft to connect to the lathe to transfer the power. That way, you have two distinct components that simply plug into each other. It would probably make setting up each time you take it on/off easier.

View peteg's profile


4284 posts in 2820 days

#5 posted 12-02-2011 11:00 PM

Now I know why your projects always come out spot on, yep, it’s the care & attention to detail, you are a perfectionist my friend.
Cheers Mate :)

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3158 days

#6 posted 12-03-2011 07:08 AM

I think the most important thing about this project is that you are getting it done, not that it comes out perfect. The fact that it will probably come out perfect will be an added bonus. Rock on Paul. :)

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

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