Drum Sander Construction Motor Power Question

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by jmhockey23 posted 02-24-2016 03:33 AM 792 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jmhockey23's profile


3 posts in 820 days

02-24-2016 03:33 AM


Hopefully I’m posting in the right section and someone can help me with this. I’m building a drum sander that will be used primarily for carving canoe paddles. I was originally planning on making the drum 6” in diameter with 3/4” MDF board circles glued together to create a 18” wide drum. After cutting a circle I decided I wanted a larger drum…10” diameter. Then after cutting the circles I realized that the weight of the drum was adding up quickly and I questioned the strength of my motor. The motor I purchased is a Grizzly 1/3 hp 1725 RPM, 110v/5.3a, TEFC. I have a keyed 3/4” steel shaft that it will spin, what I was hoping was a 10” diameter 18” wide drum of MDF. I’m wondering do I need to upgrade the motor? Or would making the drum smaller say 15” or 13” wide or going back down to 6 or 8” diameter be better. The weight of 12 3/4” of the discs was about 26 lbs or about 2lbs per 3/4” thick 10” diameter MDF board. Any opinion would be appreciated before I keep building.


7 replies so far

View Ub1chris's profile


116 posts in 1377 days

#1 posted 02-24-2016 04:19 AM

I’ve never built a drum sander but have been reading about it as its on my “list” I think your motor will have problems. Most plans I’ve seen have a motor at least 3/4 HP. Also I’m not sure why you would want the drum diameter to be so large. Make it smaller but keep the length long.

View jmhockey23's profile


3 posts in 820 days

#2 posted 02-24-2016 11:54 AM

Thanks for the response. For carving a canoe paddle the larger drum is better for the larger contact area. Not making something this big but this gives you the idea.

View tomsteve's profile


784 posts in 1216 days

#3 posted 02-24-2016 01:15 PM

working on a 23” wide drum sander myself even though only 5” dia drum, everything ive read suggests at least 1 1/2 hp motor.

View dhazelton's profile


2767 posts in 2294 days

#4 posted 02-24-2016 01:29 PM

Are your discs solid or did you drill some holes in them to eliminate some mass? I think your motor will be underpowered, too.

View ChrisK's profile


1964 posts in 3079 days

#5 posted 02-24-2016 01:38 PM

The added diameter means you need extra torque from the motor, it will be too much for the 1/3HP motor. You will only be able to take very light cuts. The high inertia will help keep the speed up for a little bit. Most commercial drum sanders run at around 2200 feet per minute. A 10” drum will run at 4400 feet per minute. Pretty fast. You might be able to build a speed reducer to turn the drum at 800 RPM. It will just about double the torque, you loose some in the transmission.

A 1 HP motor will be a better choice.

-- Chris K

View jmhockey23's profile


3 posts in 820 days

#6 posted 02-24-2016 02:03 PM

Thanks for the feedback. I haven’t cut holes in the discs to reduce weight, although I have considered it. I think I will upgrade the motor.

View lew's profile


12056 posts in 3752 days

#7 posted 02-24-2016 02:52 PM

The one I built uses an old furnace blower motor- probably 1/4 to 1/3 hp- the drum is 3” PVC reinforced with wooden inserts. I can stall the drum if I try to take too much material off at a time.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics