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Forum topic by Andrew714 posted 08-10-2017 04:13 AM 332 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Andrew714

17 posts in 1113 days


08-10-2017 04:13 AM

Topic tags/keywords: drum sander powermatic pm2244

Hello. The next big tool I will be adding to my shop is a drum sander, and I’ve pretty much settled in on the Powermatic PM2244. I did have a couple questions about it for someone that owns one though, as I have not owned or used a drum sander before.

A lot of what I am doing right now is cutting boards which require various thicknesses to be very precise and consistent, as any differences will get compounded across the width of the board, and then things won’t line up correctly.

- If I were to set the sander to 5/16” for example, is it likely that they would come out spot on at 5/16”, assuming I had put in the effort to ensure that it was calibrated correctly? Or is it likely that they will be very close, but not right on the dot? One feature that really sold me on this unit is it’s ability to sand thicknesses down to 1/32”. I don’t know if I would sand that thin right away, but I have 1/16” pieces in my shop right now that I would send through it.
- If the sander is not necessarily intended to provide a precise measured thickness, will everything at least be consistent without adjusting the height?
- Should I expect any snipe, or similar issues? I have a DeWalt 13” thickness planer which will do this from time to time, but it’s entirely possible that part of it needs an adjustment that I haven’t done yet. One issue that comes to mind (which in reality I wouldn’t expect out of powermatic) is a wavy surface, like if you tried to sand a straight edge manually on a spindle sander.

I know Powermatic is top notch quality, which is why I am attracted to them, but I also just wanted to answer all the questions I had before buying one.

Thanks in advance :)

Andrew


6 replies so far

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Loren

9631 posts in 3486 days


#1 posted 08-10-2017 04:15 AM

If you want consistency in a drum sander
I would steer you away from a cantilever
model.

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Andrew714

17 posts in 1113 days


#2 posted 08-10-2017 02:00 PM



If you want consistency in a drum sander
I would steer you away from a cantilever
model.

- Loren

To a certain extent, I would agree with you there. I looked at the DDS225 as well, as dual drums would be really nice, but I just don’t have the budget for it. Maybe later on down the road. I think the only pieces I will need the precision for will only be about an inch wide, 1.5” at the most, so I think that will be much easier to ensure consistency and precision than if they were half- to full-drum width. Just about anything else I sand will likely not matter on precision thickness, the main goal will simply be expedited sanding. Thanks for the thoughts.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

747 posts in 333 days


#3 posted 08-11-2017 03:04 AM

I have the PM2244. I’ll try to answer your questions:

- If I were to set the sander to 5/16” for example, is it likely that they would come out spot on at 5/16”, assuming I had put in the effort to ensure that it was calibrated correctly? Or is it likely that they will be very close, but not right on the dot? One feature that really sold me on this unit is it’s ability to sand thicknesses down to 1/32”. I don’t know if I would sand that thin right away, but I have 1/16” pieces in my shop right now that I would send through it.

It doesn’t quite work that way. The digital readout is relative, and it resets to zero when you start the machine. For my use, I take the first pass with the sander and zero the readout, then use dial calipers to get to the thickness I’m after. depending on the width of the piece and depth of cut I can usually get within a few thousandth of spot on. Remember you are working with wood here, even if you could mill it to +/- 0.001” today, it would change size tomorrow when the humidity changes. I have sanded veneer down to 1/16” no problems.

- If the sander is not necessarily intended to provide a precise measured thickness, will everything at least be consistent without adjusting the height?

yes, within reason. there will be some variance in thickness across the piece depending on hardness variations, what grit paper you are using, depth of cut and feed rate. Not unexpectedly, slower feeds, lighter cuts and finer grits produce the most consistent finished pieces. In my opinion 80 grit is the machines sweet spot.

- Should I expect any snipe, or similar issues? I have a DeWalt 13” thickness planer which will do this from time to time, but it’s entirely possible that part of it needs an adjustment that I haven’t done yet. One issue that comes to mind (which in reality I wouldn’t expect out of powermatic) is a wavy surface, like if you tried to sand a straight edge manually on a spindle sander.

No appreciable snipe from mine, and no waves either. What you will get is sanding lines, with any grit, even 220. you must complete the piece with a ROS to get a finish ready surface in my opinion.

Overall it is a very nice machine and does a good job for what it is. Don’t expect to be able to hog off 1/32” or 1/16” on a pass like you might with a wide belt sander, you must take light cuts. Use the machine within it’s limits and it produces very nice and consistent results. Hope that helps!

-- 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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Andrew714

17 posts in 1113 days


#4 posted 08-11-2017 03:52 AM

Thanks for all the input. For whatever reason, I hadn’t even thought about wood movement in all this, so it’s good to keep that in mind. It sounds like it takes material off very slowly (which is good), how much would you say it takes off per pass? I know this can be relative based on grit and wood type, but let’s just say 120 grit and oak? For example, 4 passes usually equates to 1/64”.

I have the planer for taking off larger amounts, so needing to take off less than 1/32” or 1/64” at a time works just fine. One other question though, have you leveled end grain with it at all? I have made end grain cutting boards before as well, but I haven’t had anything besides a ROS to level it out with. I figure it would just take a lot of passes with rough sandpaper, and then just start working the grit levels up to smooth out the lines, then finish with a ROS.

Thanks,

Andrew

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

747 posts in 333 days


#5 posted 08-11-2017 02:50 PM

how much per pass depends on material & grit. with 60 grit I can take off about 0.015” on a pass, with 120 grit I’d say closer to 0.005” would be about the max. I doubt you could take off more than 1/64” on a pass.

I’ve done several end grain cutting boards, they come out excellent. I use a coarse grit to flatten, switch to 80 grit to clean up the heavy sanding marks, then switch to the ROS for final sanding.

-- 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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Andrew714

17 posts in 1113 days


#6 posted 08-11-2017 03:18 PM

I’m OK with small amounts per pass. Even though my planer can take off up to (I think) 1/8” per pass for smaller widths, I rarely ever do it. I’d rather just do it more gradually.

Thanks again for the advice, I’m looking forward to being able to order this thing. I need to sell a few things at home to make some money first though. :)

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