Make your own V Drum?

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Forum topic by DRomano posted 06-08-2010 02:27 AM 2945 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 2334 days

06-08-2010 02:27 AM

I’m a newbie to this forum, but not to woodworking and look forward to sharing alot of great ideas with everyone. I’ve been eyeing the V Drum sander for a few years (probably like a lot of others have), but am a little hesitant about the price. It seems like something I could make my self – sound familiar? I hope so. So, I’m looking for feedback on techniques to try and to avoid. I’d like to build one in the 12” – 18” long range, and 4” in diameter. The hard part is the drum itself. It seems to me that if a keyed sahft can be located fairly accurately in a cylinder, that simply assembling the box around it and turning the motor on, gradual sanding would nicely finish the cylinder into a concentric, round drum. I’m not sure of what material to use. The sanding method would only work on plastics that wouldn’t melt. If I used a tube, it would have to be well centered, I can make it round and centric, but it would be forever out of balance. How round and balanced does it have to be anyway? There is a fully equipped machined shop where I work where I might be able to get something turned on the metal lathe. I need to talk to the foreman about doing a G-job for me.

All ideas welcome


10 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2999 days

#1 posted 06-08-2010 03:47 AM

Hey Dave
Welcome to Ljs
Here’s a link to a member who just finished a long blog on the subject

-- Custom furniture

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8101 posts in 2850 days

#2 posted 06-08-2010 04:21 AM

I bought the sander kit from Stockroom Supply after watching a demo at a WW show.
The real genius in the design is the roller. It’s velcro covered and uses velcro back strips of sandpaper that lift during rotation of the roller. It’s the lifting that causes such a nice finish. I never get sanding lines like I did with the Performax I had. And changing grits is a 3-4 minute process. Again, unlike my old sander.

Building the sander was a 1/2 day project. IMO, it was worth every penny I spent on it. I use it almost every day.

-- 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

View jm82435's profile


1284 posts in 3164 days

#3 posted 06-08-2010 04:55 AM

Click for details

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View swayze's profile


97 posts in 2510 days

#4 posted 06-08-2010 09:02 PM

I started mine a couple of months ago but haven’t finished because I don’t have time for it until fall. But I do have the drum finished. I used plywood and a hole saw to cut the donuts then epoxy’d the donuts to the shaft. When I get the box constructed and the roller mounted I will use course sandpaper mounted to a piece of plywood and level the roller out. My roller is going to be 30” wide. Not sure if I need it that wide but I had the room so why not. I think I might build mine into a larger table and use it as a outfeed table/setup table as well. Lots of helpful people on here with ideas

View TheDane's profile


4938 posts in 3085 days

#5 posted 06-08-2010 10:11 PM

I bought the kit from Stockroom Supply (see: ). I figured that by the time I scrounged up the parts, including shipping and tax, the kit was a better deal. It only took me a couple of hours until I had a functioning sander that I am really happy with!

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View DRomano's profile


9 posts in 2334 days

#6 posted 06-09-2010 01:12 AM

Thanks for the advice everyone. I’ve come a little closer to a plan. I talked to our machine shop and they can make me an aluminum drum, 4” diameter and 18” long by welding some end caps on a section of aluminum pipe, and welding the shaft in as well. The wall thickness is 1/8”. Then he’ll turn it true on the lathe, all in a couple of hours. That’s awesome since I always wished the V Drum came in that size. Aside from that, I’ve priced the rest of the “kit” to be about $110. I’ll get the pulleys, belt and sandpaper from stockroomsupply and the pillowblocks/bearings and aluminum drive shaft from McMaster and/or MSC.

Dane, you could really help me by telling me how long the shaft is on your 18” drum and how many inches protude from each end. Then I can maybe use some existing plans from people that have already built the 18” sander, and I’ll just adapt them to accomodate the 4” diameter drum. Also, which side of the Velcro is on the drum, the hook side?


View TheDane's profile


4938 posts in 3085 days

#7 posted 06-09-2010 02:44 AM

Drum overall Measures about 22 3/4” ... the end with the block & pulley extends 3 1/2”, the end with the block extends 1” (drum has about a 1/8” chamfer on each end). You definitely want the ‘hook’ side on the drum. I use Klingspor paper with the ‘loop’ or fuzzy side on the back of the paper.

You realize, of course, that the help and advice you get on LJ’s is NOT free … you have to post your machine in Projects when it is done so the rest of us can ooh-and-ahh, and you must also agree to help other folks in the future who are trying to build their shops and skill sets (LOL).

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View DRomano's profile


9 posts in 2334 days

#8 posted 06-09-2010 02:29 PM

Thanks for the info. I’ll definitely post pics when I get some progress made. My biggest problem now will be where to store it my shop!


View DRomano's profile


9 posts in 2334 days

#9 posted 06-21-2010 06:38 PM

I’ve got most of my components together now.
I just have to build the box and assemble.
So far:
Unused 3/4 hp motor (Grizzly TEFC) from Craigslist for $50
Pillow blocks from MSC for $22
24” Aluminum drive shaft from MSC for $23
3” pulleys from Grizzly for $23
A link belt that I already own
And best of all, an 18” long aluminum drum, 4” diameter, welded, trued on the lathe, for free from our machine shop at work. (Thanks Dennis!) It’s a thing of beauty. Pics to follow.

View DRomano's profile


9 posts in 2334 days

#10 posted 09-13-2010 12:21 AM

Well, I’ve finally finished my sander. Without many good blocks of time to work on it, it took me all summer. I got most of my design from the great looking sander that treeman made. The drum is 18” long and 4” diameter. The table is about 25”x25” and made of 2 layers of 3/4” MDF, kept flat with 1.5” angle iron and solid poplar wood edging. The angle iron is fitted into the left and right edges of the top and is hidden by the wood edging. It is also visible running along both sides of the opening in the top where it also helps in the dust collection. I finished it with polyurethane, which it greedily drank up quite a bit of, then a couple coats of wax. I bought a 3/4 hp motor for it, which was probably a bit of an overkill and adds extra weight to it. It actually turned out to be somewaht of an advantage though, because the aluminum drum hadn’t really been turned fully on the lathe and still had some wobble to it. This meant I had to build the entire sander, including the top, and make the top perfectly flat before I could integrate the drum. In order to do that, I had to carve out the underside of the table by gluing 60 grit sandpaper to the drum, spin it with my electric drill, and gradually lower the table down, hollowing out the slot in the table. Once that was done, I had a make the drum round.

To make the drum round, I stripped off the sandpaper and I glued the 60 grit sandpaper to a granite surface plate and ground the drum flat. To do this, I had to use the power of the 3/4 hp motor. It took some time, but the drum is perfectly round. There is still some inbalance to it though, and I think the reason is that the aluminum tube used probably had a bead of weld down in the length of the inside. I could add weights, like used on car tires, but the vibration is minor. Mounting the stick-back velcro was a bit tricky.

In these next photos, you can see the underside of the top and the drum. There is a 4” dust port on the end and foam pads help seal the end where the dust port is to ensure that the airflow comes from the slot in the top and the opposite end. This made a big difference.

I had to add a guard over the belt because the thought of getting my hand caught up in that sucker was pretty scary, and it came close to happening once or twice.

In the last photo, you can see the on switch and the power cord that runs from the motor, inside the sander box to the switch, then out the side. The 4 foot cord gets stored inside the sander, via the dust port. I also added an eyebolt/hook to keep the table down which helps help me lift the unit, which is pretty heavy.

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