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Choosing a drum sander

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Forum topic by SweetTea posted 07-15-2017 12:38 PM 2151 views 1 time favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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SweetTea

352 posts in 780 days


07-15-2017 12:38 PM

Hey guys, I would like to get some opinions on what would be the best drum sander for my shop. I plan to use what ever I end up getting to sand cabinet doors as I am a small one man cabinet shop. I won’t be sending face frames through this machine, so anything from 22” to 25” compacity is what I am looking for. Budget is $3,000 or less. Some of the makes and models that I am considering are:

1.) Jet 22-44 Pro (this unit has a 3HP motor and is computer controlled with a digital readout, which is a plus)
2.) SuperMax 25-2 (5HP motor and a double drum which are both nice features)
3.) WoodMaster 2675 (5HP motor)

Which of these would you guys prefer? I love the Jet with the digital readout and computer control features. It has only 3HP but it would be very convenient to be able to type in 1/32nd on the key pad and know that is exactly what is being taken off.

The SuperMax has more power and sizzle than the Jet, plus it has two sanding drums, however, it lacks the computer control.

The Woodmaster is a 5HP beast, but it doesn’t really stack up to the SuperMax, and although more power than the Jet, it lacks some other things as well.

Opinions?


18 replies so far

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

2434 posts in 3991 days


#1 posted 07-15-2017 12:56 PM

Having used a drum sander forever and having owned several here is my .02

the open end ones are not what they are cracked up to be .. hard to keep from cantilevering
dual drum can also be an issue .. novel idea but getting it all set up just perfect can be an issue, i had a dual Super Max 37 ” , sold it and got a single drum and never looked back.

As to brand I have Super Max and they have always been top notch .

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

2253 posts in 1343 days


#2 posted 07-15-2017 02:45 PM

As Mr. Neil implied, the open ended designs (which is what I use) don’t always allow you to flip the board around and effectively double your drum width. There always will be a slight lip where the drum passes overlap. You can use a ROS to flatten this “seam”, but if you really want to speed up your work, get a sander with a drum as wide as the widest piece of stock you regularly sand.

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joandust

24 posts in 513 days


#3 posted 07-15-2017 03:10 PM

Hey SweetTea, I’m glad I caught your question, drum sanders are my favorite! I’m a little spoiled since I have a few at my disposal including the Jet 22-44 Pro and the Supermax 25-2 (not the woodmaster though). The Supermax is great for the price as well but lacks a few technological advancements. Have you considered the Powermatic PM2244? I’ve recommended it before and I can’t help but to do it again, although the HP is only 1-3/4 HP it performs very well and has both an high-quality body and a superb LED control panel with DRO, all of this at about $2500.
Other than that, the Jet 22-44 Pro that you mentioned is an EXCELLENT choice in my opinion. Superb machine at an incredible price as well, it’s potent, sturdy and the performance is top-notch and of course it has a digital readout screen too and it sits at basically the same price as the Powermatic PM2244.
I’ve mentioned this site before, feel free to check it for the drum sander reviews and to quickly compare all of these machines, makes it easier to choose the perfect one.
Go for the either of these and you won’t regret it.
Hope I’ve helped!

-- Joan

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a1Jim

117203 posts in 3697 days


#4 posted 07-15-2017 03:20 PM

Heaven forbid I should differ from Charles :)) but what little I’ve used my SuperMax 25-2 it’s been fine and the reviews are good on it I couldn’t afford or have room for a super Max 37” or I would gotten one. I know the jet has had problems and not as good of reviews. If budget allows get the 37” like Charles suggest.

-- https://www.artisticwoodstudio.com/videos wood crafting & woodworking classes

View SweetTea's profile

SweetTea

352 posts in 780 days


#5 posted 07-15-2017 03:37 PM



Hey SweetTea, I m glad I caught your question, drum sanders are my favorite! I m a little spoiled since I have a few at my disposal including the Jet 22-44 Pro and the Supermax 25-2 (not the woodmaster though). The Supermax is great for the price as well but lacks a few technological advancements. Have you considered the Powermatic PM2244? I ve recommended it before and I can t help but to do it again, although the HP is only 1-3/4 HP it performs very well and has both an high-quality body and a superb LED control panel with DRO, all of this at about $2500.
Other than that, the Jet 22-44 Pro that you mentioned is an EXCELLENT choice in my opinion. Superb machine at an incredible price as well, it s potent, sturdy and the performance is top-notch and of course it has a digital readout screen too and it sits at basically the same price as the Powermatic PM2244.
I ve mentioned this site before, feel free to check it for the drum sander reviews and to quickly compare all of these machines, makes it easier to choose the perfect one.
Go for the either of these and you won t regret it.
Hope I ve helped!

- joandust

Joan, thank you for the reply. I should note, I am not particularly concerned with an open ended design. I plan to sand mostly cabinet doors, which are rarely more than 22” wide. For the occasional door that is more than the Jet or similar drum sanders compacity, I will just sand by hand with a ROS. With that being said, I will definitely check out the Powermatic 22/44.

Joan, how would you rate the Jet 22-44 Pro versus the SuperMax 25×2? Do you feel the need for the power of the Supermax over the Jet?

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1006 posts in 615 days


#6 posted 07-16-2017 12:21 AM

+1 on the PM2244. I have used mine mostly to sand cabinet doors and it works quite well. Your other option is to outsource your doors.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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SweetTea

352 posts in 780 days


#7 posted 07-16-2017 09:05 AM



+1 on the PM2244. I have used mine mostly to sand cabinet doors and it works quite well. Your other option is to outsource your doors.

- TungOil

Do you guys think that the 1.75HP on the Powermatic is sufficient? The SuperMax has 5HP and the Jet has 3HP. I love Powermatic and would really like to own some of their equipment, I just wonder if the 5HP SuperMax is going to be a better machine due to it having substantially more power?

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SweetTea

352 posts in 780 days


#8 posted 07-16-2017 09:11 AM

With that being said, how important is horse power in a drum sander? Would the fact that I will be sanding cabinet doors almost exclusively negate the need for more horse power?

Other priorities of mine include; belt tracking reliability and ease of adjusting the conveyer belt. Keeping the platen and drum perfectly parrelell with out having to constantly fiddle with it, and last, easy to change the sand paper. I would much prefer a unit that uses something like Velcro to fasten the sandpaper to the drum versus using spring clips like my current Delta 31-250 uses. (I hate this old Delta btw)

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joandust

24 posts in 513 days


#9 posted 07-16-2017 02:33 PM


With that being said, how important is horse power in a drum sander? Would the fact that I will be sanding cabinet doors almost exclusively negate the need for more horse power?

Other priorities of mine include; belt tracking reliability and ease of adjusting the conveyer belt. Keeping the platen and drum perfectly parrelell with out having to constantly fiddle with it, and last, easy to change the sand paper. I would much prefer a unit that uses something like Velcro to fasten the sandpaper to the drum versus using spring clips like my current Delta 31-250 uses. (I hate this old Delta btw)

- SweetTea

Hello again SweetTea! The PM2244 can easily handle cabinet doors and similar work, it’s a real beauty. I really wish you could try all the machines we’ve talked about to get a feel for them.
About the previous question of “how would you rate the Jet 22-44 Pro versus the SuperMax 25×2? Do you feel the need for the power of the Supermax over the Jet?”, I’d say I don’t feel that the 5HP makes it that much better. With all the work I’ve done 3HP is more than enough (as I’ve said, even the 1.75HP PM2244 has been able to do everything I want).
When comparing between those 2 alone though, I really love the Jet 22-44 Pro. The SuperMax is a great machine but the Jet wins in my book.
In the end, they are all extremely solid machines and you will be very happy with any of them. If I had to choose I’d go for the PM2244 for general work (it’s an all-around excellent machine) and the Jet 22-44 Pro if I was going to be handling tougher, harder surfaces that would really justify the need for extra power.

-- Joan

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1006 posts in 615 days


#10 posted 07-17-2017 12:41 AM



With that being said, how important is horse power in a drum sander? Would the fact that I will be sanding cabinet doors almost exclusively negate the need for more horse power?

Other priorities of mine include; belt tracking reliability and ease of adjusting the conveyer belt. Keeping the platen and drum perfectly parrelell with out having to constantly fiddle with it, and last, easy to change the sand paper. I would much prefer a unit that uses something like Velcro to fasten the sandpaper to the drum versus using spring clips like my current Delta 31-250 uses. (I hate this old Delta btw)

- SweetTea

I don’t think horsepower is much of an issue because you are limited to very small stock removal by the nature of the design. As I mentioned I have used my PM2244 mostly for sanding cabinet doors and I don’t have any issues with power. The nature of the drum sander (as opposed to a true wide belt sander) makes it unsuitable for anything but very light passes. With mine I have found that 80 grit seems to be the sweet spot but I also use a lot of 60, 100 and 120. The finer grits clog easily then burn and leave lines so I avoid them.

For cabinet doors I typically flatten them with 60 or 80 grit on the drum sander then a couple passes with 100 grit to reduce the lines, then I switch to the ROS starting with 100 grit, 120 then 220. Ready for finish. I don’t use a back cutter on my raised panels so I sand the backs before I assemble the rails & stiles, then sand the rest after assembly.

Years ago we had a Timesaver wide belt sander in the shop. THAT is a machine that is accurately named. With a belt that tracks back and forth you get very few lines in the finished work and the longer belts don’t overheat and burn the work as easily as the drums do. While I really like my drum sander, if I were looking at setting up a production shop it would be a widel belt hands down.

The belt spring clip thing on the PM2244 works well as long as you take your time when installing the belt and get good tension on the motor side. The trick is to get the belt wrapped very tight, then check it after the first piece goes through and retighten if needed. I have had no issues with parallelism and the conveyor belt is self tracking on my machine. They were perfect right off the crate I’ve never needed to adjust either.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View jbay's profile (online now)

jbay

2603 posts in 1019 days


#11 posted 07-17-2017 12:50 AM


if I were looking at setting up a production shop it would be a wide belt hands down.

- TungOil

^I second this.^

I bought my SCMI 37” wide belt at an auction for 1100.00
I’ve had it over 15 years and it’s still going strong.

View SweetTea's profile

SweetTea

352 posts in 780 days


#12 posted 07-19-2017 11:51 AM

Well unfortunately I was not about to purchase the Kuster Sandstar wide belt sander. I made an 8 hour (each way) trip to go pick it up and sadly was not able to make the deal.

With that being said, I am now considering the drum sander options again. Right now I have completely narrowed it down to either the SuperMax 25×2 versus the Powermatic PM2244. The SuperMax has 5HP to the Powermatic’s 1.75HP and is capable of sanding 25” versus 22” with the Powermatic. I like the digital controls of the Powermatic, and their reputation for building quality machines, however, it just seems inferior in every possible way to the SuperMax 25×2. Would you guys recommend the SuperMax over the Powermatic? If I had the SuperMax I could also have the capability to sand butcher block counter tops, should the need ever present it self. I like the horse power too. This will be used almost exclusively for sanding bare cabinet doors. I am 90% of the way sold on the SuperMax, I just need a little nudge in the same direction. lol

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 3768 days


#13 posted 07-19-2017 03:23 PM

The added HP is a real good thing in a
drum sander imo. I had a 5hp Woodmaster
drum sander for awhile and while it was
as slow as any drum sander, it didn’t have
a tendency to stall and dig in if the cut
was any more than the tiniest nibble.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1006 posts in 615 days


#14 posted 07-19-2017 04:45 PM

Bummer, what happened with the Kuster? What about continuing to look for a wide belt? Outsource your doors to conestoga (like everyone else does BTW…) while you find the right machine

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View SweetTea's profile

SweetTea

352 posts in 780 days


#15 posted 07-20-2017 09:17 AM



Bummer, what happened with the Kuster? What about continuing to look for a wide belt? Outsource your doors to conestoga (like everyone else does BTW…) while you find the right machine

- TungOil

I have given up on finding a decent wide belt for $3000. The deal with the Kuster didn’t work out the way I understood it to work before I drove half way across the country to pick it up. I have no desire to out source my doors. I own 4 shapers (soon to be 5 or 6.) and I actually enjoy building the doors. I tried ordering the doors a while back on a couple of jobs but my one and only local door supplier just didn’t end up with the quality that I expect. I have even considered getting out of the cabinet business and doing doors only, lettng other shops, contractors and home owners order from me. If I were to do that, I would most definitely have to get a nice wide belt sander, maybe a Biesse. Just out of curiosity, what company do you get your doors from?

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