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Either a Brilliant or Stupid Idea: Planer to Drum Sander

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Forum topic by Don Broussard posted 12-28-2015 05:56 PM 1198 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Don Broussard

3023 posts in 1718 days


12-28-2015 05:56 PM

Please note that this idea is more likely academic than practical at present but I want to consider this for some future time if it’s practical.

I’ve been needing drum sander for doing cutting board flattening and I’ve considered a few options:
building my own from scratch; buying a used unit; buying a new unit; repurposing another tool, like using my Shopsmith lathe as the driver (like LJ shipwright).

I was wondering why I could not repurpose a planer into a drum sander.

Advantages:
I already own a Parks 12” planer
The planer already has a transport mechanism.
The planer has a hold-down mechanism and includes infeed and outfeed tables.
EDIT: Adjustable depth of cut
EDIT: High speed bearings already installed.

Disadvantages:
Drum diameter could be limited to 3-½”.
Difficult to transition from planer to sander (replacing the cutter head with a sanding drum)—major obstacle IMHO.
May need a specific pulley to change the speed of the drum.

Question: Is this idea worth pursuing, or is there some fatal flaw that I’m missing?

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!


28 replies so far

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Don W

17971 posts in 2034 days


#1 posted 12-28-2015 06:06 PM

I don’t know if it would work, but it seems like it would be easy to try. Just buy a roll of adhesive backed paper, remove the knives, stick the paper to the cutter head and try it.

I’m assuming the head would lower enough, but you should be able to tell that. If not, getting a slightly larger (or making) cutter head shouldn’t be difficult.

Grizzly (and others I’m sure) also makes adhesive backed velcro, which would expand the cutter head (maybe just enough).

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

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AZWoody

697 posts in 690 days


#2 posted 12-28-2015 06:21 PM

I’m sure it can be done. It would probably take getting an existing sander drum and then having to adapt it to fit the planer.

There are some combo machines that already do that. They can do planing, sanding, straightline ripping and moulding.

Whether it’s worth it is up to you. Not sure on how easy it is to access the drive mechanism on your planer but some people like to tinker and adapt, others don’t.

I used to be adventurous and would have tried it in the past. Now, it’s more worthwhile for me to purchase the individual tool for each job. What did intrigue me on that was someone telling me of a drum sander adapted and turned into a straightline ripper. I could use something like that.

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Tennessee

2410 posts in 1981 days


#3 posted 12-28-2015 06:26 PM

Boy, now you guys are going to make me mad I ever sold off my Rigid straight blade planer when I finally got a spiralhead planer.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

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kaerlighedsbamsen

1177 posts in 1180 days


#4 posted 12-28-2015 06:33 PM

Love tinkering myself and think that you should give it a try. Homemade or repurposed tools are much cooler than new ones.

I am not familiar with the Parks planer but if it is familiar with this one http://estrategy.net/bill/website/tools/restorations/parksrestoration/parksplanerrestoration.html it should be a fairly easy task. It even looks like the bearings for the cutter head could be rised and give room for a larger drum. Would think that a lower rpm would be good as well.

Let us know how it ends!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

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jusfine

2405 posts in 2392 days


#5 posted 12-28-2015 07:00 PM

Sounds like it could work.
My thickness planer has two speeds, so maybe it would be sufficient.

My Performax 22-44 has a variable speed drive table, which allows the proper speed for maximum use of various sandpaper grits on different species of hardwoods, without it you may have feed issues.

How easy will it be to switch paper? I find I switch more often than I ever imagined.

Please post follow-up or additional info if you go ahead with it, I would be interested to see how it works.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

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Gene Howe

8259 posts in 2895 days


#6 posted 12-28-2015 07:17 PM

Hey Don, I’ve got an old Delta 12” you can have. I’m just a few miles west. :-)
I’d do the Shopsmith thingy. I’ve seen and used Shipwright’s and it works really well.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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eddie

8443 posts in 2080 days


#7 posted 12-28-2015 07:31 PM

Stumpy has a set of plans for a drum sander ,may be able to use ,and Jeff uses a RAS for one ,

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

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geekwoodworker

354 posts in 926 days


#8 posted 12-28-2015 07:43 PM

Don, I would try the way Don W suggested by removing the knives and adding velcro. Then stick on some sand paper and go to town. Remember you are only sanding off a few thou at a time anyway. If sand paper comes off then just use some tape on the ends to hold it in place.

Enjoy and good luck. Let us know how it works.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4859 posts in 2280 days


#9 posted 12-28-2015 08:05 PM

I think the speed of the planer would be far too great to make a good sander.
Something like 1000 vs. 10,000 rpm is the difference on some common machines (cutterhead speed).
Granted some planers have two feed rates, but that doesn’t change the cutterhead speed.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View AZWoody's profile

AZWoody

697 posts in 690 days


#10 posted 12-28-2015 08:41 PM


Don, I would try the way Don W suggested by removing the knives and adding velcro. Then stick on some sand paper and go to town. Remember you are only sanding off a few thou at a time anyway. If sand paper comes off then just use some tape on the ends to hold it in place.

Enjoy and good luck. Let us know how it works.

- geekwoodworker

The problem I see with that is where the slot is, for the knives would be have the sandpaper flat instead of having the round continuity of the entire drum. I would think it would either cause extra heat at that point where the flat part hits and or will cause it to “hit” a little extra hard on each pass and that would be 2 times per revolution on a 2 knife cutter head.

A way to use the same cutterhead would be to make some kind of insert that has a cap that would fill the gap and also keep the round profile intact.

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Don Broussard

3023 posts in 1718 days


#11 posted 12-28-2015 08:53 PM

Good comments so far—thanks for all the comments.

DonW—I don’t think that any adjustments on the cutterhead/drum would be needed since the table to adjust the depth is adjustable. If i have to sand some very thin stock, I’d probably just put it on a sled.

Gene—Arizona is not that far from me—don’t tempt me!

eddie —I might have to hit up Jeff for more info about the RAS sander. Sounds interesting!

pinto—I would likely have to get a different pulley to drive the drum sander.

AZWoody—I was thinking that if I move forward with this idea, I would overwrap the cutterhead to smooth out the cylinder.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

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Don Broussard

3023 posts in 1718 days


#12 posted 12-28-2015 09:23 PM

UPDATE: I did check on a few things. My existing planer motor is 1750 rpm with a 7” driver pulley and a 3” driven pulley. By my calculation, that translates to about 4,100 rpm at the cutterhead. It also looks like, based on preliminary research, that a drum speed of 1,000 to 2000 rpm seems to be the norm for drum speed. If I put a 7” driven pulley on the driven shaft, that would give me 1750 drum speed.

I also added two items in the “Advantages” list.

I haven’t done it (nor have I committed to it) yet, but the idea is intriguing.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View teejk02's profile

teejk02

424 posts in 592 days


#13 posted 12-28-2015 09:50 PM

Think you would need to seal the gear mechanisms from dust and ensure that your dust collection system can clear the remainder. Your paper changing might be a PITA though. But you do give an idea for a meat tenderizer.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2156 days


#14 posted 12-29-2015 01:48 AM

Woodmaster has a sanding drum attachment for their planers so your concept seems sound. I too have concerns re: the high rpms of the planer vs a drum sander.

How would a 6” stationary belt sander work for those?

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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oldnovice

5731 posts in 2834 days


#15 posted 12-29-2015 02:18 AM

Interesting indeed so I want to follow this post!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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