My proposed sanding station

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Forum topic by Bob #2 posted 10-25-2007 11:35 PM 6702 views 1 time favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bob #2

3810 posts in 4262 days

10-25-2007 11:35 PM

I have lived long enough without a decent panel sander and have decided to modify the one in Shopnotes.

I need advice for the following obstacles:

1. The design/plan show uses the table saw for a power source.
I had hoped to make the unit stand alone.
So how much hp do you think I should need to run say 20-22” of 3” drum at 80 grit?
I’m thinking 3/4 hp may be enough?

2. Where should I hang the motor to make it the least difficult to service and keep it away from, the adjustments on the panel sander?

Heres a pic of the sander that Shopnotes built to start your creative juices.

Cheers Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

28 replies so far

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4115 days

#1 posted 10-25-2007 11:48 PM

This is a pretty cool idea. What are they using for the drum and the bed? Are you thicknessing or just surfacing? At 80 grit I assume you are trying to remove material, not just smooth it out. I managed to stall our 2hp sander a couple of times thicknessing maple panels. You’d have to go pretty light with 3/4hp.

Oh, and could you build it so the motor was directly below the drum and bed, and then have a panel below the bed that could be removed for access?

-- -- --

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4231 days

#2 posted 10-25-2007 11:52 PM

Lets see, what would “Tim the Toolman” do? If you hook it up to say a smallblock Chevy V8 you wouldn’t have to worry about it bogging down, and the dust it throws out would eventually settle in another state. LOL!

Ok, punnin’ aside…3/4hp should be fine but will depend on the feed rate and depth of cut (if you will). What’s the tablesaw they’re using have for a motor? I’d also experiment with a step-pulley config to allow speed changes. Or, just leave the transmission attached to the V8. Arr-Arr-Arrrr!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View mot's profile


4922 posts in 4277 days

#3 posted 10-25-2007 11:54 PM

I’m of the “More Power,” school and might suggest that 3/4 HP rated motor might make it pretty slow going. I think, if you make a custom stand, you can sling the motor underneath, in-line with the drum and have it out of the way…so, instead of the motor being behind and to the left of the unit as this picture would suggest, put it so the motor is sticking under the drum with the pulley’s inline, just making the cabinet deep enough to enclose the motor? I might have to get out my crayons to describe what I’m saying.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4231 days

#4 posted 10-25-2007 11:54 PM

Hey Bob, are there any chances of finding this plan on-line?

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Karson's profile


35154 posts in 4641 days

#5 posted 10-26-2007 12:40 AM

Dadoo: The plan is in ShopNotes Tools and Jigs. I just bought it in the last week. Page 82.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4229 days

#6 posted 10-26-2007 01:28 AM

3/4 horse might be a little small. My Performax has a 1 3/4 horse and it will bog down on wide pieces.

But that will depend on how much you are taking off at a time. I find that it takes about the same time to go slow and heavy, as it does taking lighter passes many times.


-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Gord Graff's profile

Gord Graff

140 posts in 4135 days

#7 posted 10-26-2007 02:10 AM

Hi Bob,

I’ve sent you a number of links that I’ve collected on this topic, I hope they help.
This is one tool that I’d love to see built, please document what you do because as soon as you’re finished, I’ll be building one.

All the best

-- Informing & Inspiring Today’s Woodworkers:

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 4262 days

#8 posted 10-26-2007 02:23 AM

Hi Peter: the 80 grit was a worst case scenario to allow for a reasonalble feed speed with a finer grit.
I don’t want to dimension the wood just level it and smooth it out.
I’m hoping to keep the motor out of the dust it possible or I may get lucky and find a sealed unit (TEAC??)

Dadoo; I counting on the feed speed to determine the rate and keep the motor at a constant to keep the cost down.
Mot: I hear you. I will have to mount the sander anyway so parking the motor under on a hinge is probably the easiest. I am thinking now that I should consider a beefier motor but how much ??
This one is going to be fun.

Gary, I have and open roller sander now and find that clean sharp paper does wonders with a few passes so I am not considering hogging wood off with this unit.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

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Bob #2

3810 posts in 4262 days

#9 posted 10-26-2007 05:05 AM

Hi Gord:
Good idea to document his project because there is quite a lot of interest in a small shop sanding device.
I hope we can all learn a bit bout the project and serve as a guide for others to tackle this one.
P.s. I wll start by checking out those links you so lindly offered.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View WayneC's profile


13809 posts in 4338 days

#10 posted 10-26-2007 06:05 AM

Hmmm. You could mug Tom after the woodshow this weekend… I hear he may be leaving the show with a sander in hand….

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Tony's profile


986 posts in 4271 days

#11 posted 10-26-2007 12:27 PM

Hi Bob

I am in the preocess of designing a drum sander and belt sander also based on the articles of Shop Notes.

I was going to make m ydrum sander little wider (24”), with different speed (stacked pulleys) adjustments. Both units would be free standing so plenty of space in the stand area to mount the motors. I was thinking about using 1.5 to 2 hp (TEAC) morors as there is not much difference in price. I may even run a second motor for an automatic feed instead of the hand crank.

I have priced up all the the parts and materials, the total cost for both should be just under 1000€ (US$1200), but I am going to have to wait to get some cach before I proceed.

I have only one major problem with the design, where to put them in my little shop.

Yoú need to blog this one´- I think a lot of people will be interested and would be surprised how simple it could be!

Good luck, I will follow this item with a lot of intrest

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

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Bob #2

3810 posts in 4262 days

#12 posted 10-26-2007 02:29 PM

Tom, If I cancionvince him to move to my neck of the woods my festool worries could be over too.

Tony, good to hear you are interested too.
Like you I dont see anything too difficult building this except the sizing of the motor and setting up of the sotck drive belt to it’s adjustable and can be leveled.
I thought of using a reeves pulley off the motor to allow for variable speed. I will be checking on avialablity of that part from and old printing press.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View SPalm's profile


5326 posts in 4123 days

#13 posted 10-26-2007 03:43 PM

Bob, I just sent you some links too. I also would love to build one. Good shop made machines are very possible.

I need to find that Shopnotes article….


Edit: here are the links from another forum on this subject. Very detailed.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4231 days

#14 posted 10-26-2007 04:01 PM

Found it advertised on under “Tools and Jigs”. The book is around $10.00. Thanks Karson!

Bob, definately blog this if you go thru with it. I would design the motor to lie underneath, which would lower the center of gravity a bit and help stabilize the unit. I would also tend to adopt a pulley/tension device like what you find on drill presses. K.I.S.S. Right?

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4115 days

#15 posted 10-26-2007 04:34 PM

I think you might be making things harder than necessary by trying to do variable speed on the sanding drum. The speed at which the drum is contacting the wood is a combination of drum speed and feed rate. If your drum is turning at 1440 rpm (for instance) and your feedrate is 16 fpm, you are running 70 feet of sandpaper over 1 foot of material. If you bring the feedrate down to 8 fpm, you are running 140 feet of sandpaper over a foot of material. (Justification: 2(pi)r=9.42”, 9.42*rpm=13565”/min, 13565/12=1130fpm, 1130/feedrate=f/f). It seems like the speed at which you crank the handle (or run the feed motor if you upgrade) would give you a lot of adjustment. I don’t know of any production sander that uses variable speed on the drum (except Woodmaster, and that’s because it’s primarily a planer/moudler. And I think their machines that are strictly drum sanders only have variable speed on the feedrate, not the drum).

Oh, wanted to add one thing … the 2hp machine that I bogged down on maple was a dual drum sander. Twice as many drums means twice as much drag (theoretically). So 1hp might be good for a single drum sander, and 3/4hp could get you by if you took it easy.

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