DIY Drum Sander Size and Speed

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Forum topic by Redoak49 posted 04-02-2017 02:30 PM 2200 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3664 posts in 2190 days

04-02-2017 02:30 PM

I am about ready to start building a thickness drum sander like Shipwright and other have built. I am going to build the drum from plywood disks cut with a hole saw and will be using Velcro with hook and loop abrasives.

I am trying to figure out the size of the drum..some have built them with 4” PVC. The Supermax has a 5” drum. So, I have found drum Sanders from 3.5” to 5” and the V Sander down to 2”.

Stockroom Supply sells a V Drum sander and is either 2” or 4” drum

Is there an advantage to a certain size?

I am also thinking about the speed. I looked at some drum sander projects and found the speed to be from 1779 – 2302 surface feet per minute. I will be using my Shopsmith to power my drum sander and so can easily vary the speed. Any thoughts about what would be best?

5 replies so far

View JRsgarage's profile


309 posts in 711 days

#1 posted 04-02-2017 02:51 PM

a friend made a similar sander using 2” laminated, using a 1725vs motor but wished he had used a larger spec for the drum. he ended up buying a drum sander…

-- Two is One, One is None

View splintergroup's profile


2429 posts in 1424 days

#2 posted 04-02-2017 03:02 PM

Many (most?) drum sanders run directly off of the motor shaft. Induction motors (1 phase) run at line frequency minus some slip (5% or so), so the motors spin at 1725 or 3450 RPM (for common 4 pole and 2 pole motors).
That aside, my 1.5 HP DS runs at 1725 RPM with a 5” drum. Variable speed will be nice to fine tune things.

I should add that a larger diameter (with the appropriate changes in RPM) will allow for better belt life and reduced burning. My DS has an aluminum drum which carries away much of the heat. If you go with a non-metallic drum, consider going larger to reduce this heat effect.

View shipwright's profile


8166 posts in 2999 days

#3 posted 04-02-2017 03:18 PM

Mine uses 4” PVC pipe and I find it to be just fine using it as you will with a completely variable speed SS headstock. I haven’t ever even checked what speed I use but it is easy to “get the feel” for the speed once you start running it.
In hindsight, if I were to do something differently it would be to make the table more rigid, maybe metal plate and possibly make the drum solid as you are doing.
Mine is over five years old now and still going strong. In fact it’s better now with the PowerPro headstock.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Redoak49's profile


3664 posts in 2190 days

#4 posted 04-02-2017 04:06 PM

With a 4” PVC, the OD is about 4.5” I think I will go with 4” from my drum sander.

Unfortunately, I do not have the Power Pro Head for my Shopsmith and am very jealous. I plan on getting my headstock rebuilt sometime this year. I really would like the PowerPro but will have to get approval from my CFO.

View shipwright's profile


8166 posts in 2999 days

#5 posted 04-02-2017 04:14 PM

You may have noticed that my sander in the photo above is mounted with the infeed on the control side of the SS, opposite to what it was originally. That’s an advantage of the reversible PP headstock.
As far as what you can do for what you pay, the PP makes using the SS a real pleasure and it’s quiet power is a treat but if I’m honest, there isn’t much I can do now that I couldn’t before.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

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