Why oh why did I wait so long to build this? It has been a joy to have in the shop since I finished it a month or so ago. Here’s the little beauty:
Built almost completely with what I had on hand. 2×4 frame, 1/2 hp motor spinning at 1725rpm. 5” MDF disks on a 5/8” cold-rolled axle. No velcro for the sandpaper, just wrapped around the drum. Adjustment is via a piece of 5/16” all-thread I had in the shop. The table is 12” wide with a usable sanding of 11” (if you get too close to the edge of the drum, the sandpaper will get knocked loose). I plug the shop-vac into the “hood” and it does a really amazing job of keeping the dust under control.
Total cost was about $50 with $25 of that for the link-belt I got at Harbor Freight.
I wasn’t hard to build. Cutting the disks on the bandsaw then truing to the table took the most time.
The thinnest I’ve sanded so far is 3/32”. That was actually by accident. I had re-sawed a piece of stock slightly more than 1/8”, figuring that by the time I sanded out the tool marks it would be 1/8”. Unfortunately the marks left by the bandsaw were deeper than I anticipated so I ended up at 3/32”. Which I thought was pretty impressive all things considered.
So I would recommend taking the plunge if you are even remotely thinking of having a thickness sander.
-- "You can tell the pioneers by the arrows in their back" -- Unknown