Building a drum sander - question about the drum itself

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Forum topic by Earache posted 01-19-2015 02:20 PM 917 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Earache's profile


37 posts in 1258 days

01-19-2015 02:20 PM

I’ve decided I need a drum sander as I think I’ve detected a few square feet of open space in my shop and it must be filled.

I’ve read many threads about drum sander construction and wonder what the consensus is about the drum itself as far as materials go. Most use some sort of wood disk stacking system, some use thick walled PVC pipe and rarely some other materials.

Any ideas on what the best material would be? I thought about using some thick walled aluminum pipe and possibly wrapping the outer wall with thin (1/8” or so) rubber. I’d turn the pipe in a lathe to make sure it was smooth and true and thought the rubber might help provide a smoother finished product. Am I over-thinking it?

I’d like to have a 25” / 50” open sided width drum sander when done for table tops. Plan to use a welded steel frame for support due to the width / weight of the drum.

Ideas? Comments?

-- Eric - Black Hawk, Colorado

4 replies so far

View ChrisK's profile


1964 posts in 3080 days

#1 posted 01-19-2015 03:37 PM

I understand people use the MDF because the MDF can be made round by sanding it round on the machine. They place sand paper on the flat bed and turn the drum. From my experience with pipe, it most likely will not be round. If you can turn the pipe and machine it round it should work fine. You may not need the rubber either.

Let us know what you come with. I want to build one myself.

-- Chris K

View DIYaholic's profile


19620 posts in 2674 days

#2 posted 01-19-2015 03:51 PM

My Grizzly 0458 open end drum sander has a metal drum…. no rubber.
I haven’t heard of any, commercially made drum sander, that has rubber.
I’m thinkin’ the rubber is not needed. The belt actually lifts off of the drum, due to centrifugal force.

Looking forward to seeing your progress…. Good luck!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View waho6o9's profile


8191 posts in 2576 days

#3 posted 01-19-2015 03:54 PM

woodenteeth just posted a great thickness sander in the projects forum

View Earache's profile


37 posts in 1258 days

#4 posted 01-19-2015 04:49 PM

Thanks guys.
Chrisk – I have metal lathes at my shop, so turning some 1/4” wall aluminum pipe is no problem at all. I just thought it would last longer and be more robust in Aluminum.

DIY – makes dense. No rubber then.

Wahoo – I saw that earlier today, thanks for the link.

I may make a smaller unit first – just to make sure my designs make sense and will work – and to save a few bucks on materials before I go big. Maybe something like a 12” roller, 3” diameter. Make a 5” diameter 26” one later.

I was going to use 2X2 X.250” angle iron to make a box for the drum roll to sit in. The box will be only supported on one side and I want it to remain rigid across the length. Pillow block bearings on both ends of the drum roll shaft to support it.,

Just gotta steal a 2 HP, 1750 RPM motor outta something now.

-- Eric - Black Hawk, Colorado

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