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Ryobi Cross Cut Sled

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For the nearest dealer, cell 1-800-333-5514

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Crosscut Sled For Ryobi Table SawDelta Wide Drum Sander

Three-in. wide abrasive strips are wrapped around the drum.The end of the strip must be cut at an angle to fit on the drum.

Performax 16-32 Drum Sander

New and Interesting Shop Stuff by George Vondriska

Product

Reviews

Anyone who's slaved away with belt and orbital sanders has drooled over those big, wide drum sanders. I know I have, so 1 checked out models for the home shop. Ryobi makes a popular one that sells for about $600 and Woodmaster (800-821-6651) makes a larger and more expensive one. I decided to look at the Performax 16-32 drum sander. Its been on the market for a while and I've always wanted to know more about it.

What'll It dot

The 16-32 has a 16-in. wide head, but will sand up to 32-in. wide. More on how that works later. Using a 24-grit belt, you can do abrasive planing, actually surfacing rough lumber. With a 220-grit belt, you're finish sanding. So you can smooth out rough-sawn lumber and get parts ready for finish, all with one tool. You can send through material as thin as lht> in. and up to 3-in. thick.

Does it replace a planer!

Only for small or delicate work. The conveyor is variable speed, and feeds material from 0 to 10 ft. per minute. Lots of planers run at around 16 fpm. With a 24-grit bell in place, I removed about Vis* in. per pass in 6-in. wide hard maple. Most planers can hog off more than that. For wider boards it would be very slow going!

Another thing planers can do is cause "chip out." That ain't gonna happen with abrasive planing—no matter how gnarly the grain. You can even run sheet goods through the sander (a big no-no with planers) and sand down to i6-in. thick.

How do I sand 32-in. wide stock!

The sanding head is supported on the drive end and open on the other. The cantilever design allows material over 16-in. wide to be handled in two passes (Photo 1). To prevent a sanding ridge on wide material, the head gets tipped up slightly on the outboard side. Its easy to do and is covered well in the owner's manual.

The big question here is rigidity. Will the open-ended design make the head flex up with sanding pressure? The answer is no. Once set, the drum did a great job of holding its position relative to the conveyor.

The extra-wide capacity is a great way to level face frames, frame-and-panel doors, tabletops—any of that big stuff that can be hard to work with a portable sander.

What about abrasives!

Performax recommends using an aluminum oxide or ceramic abrasive with

Three-in. wide abrasive strips are wrapped around the drum.The end of the strip must be cut at an angle to fit on the drum.

The 16-32 handles material wider than its 16-in.head.This requires two passes.The conveyor feeds material automatically.

at least an X weight paper back. The paper has to be cut at just the right taper and to the correct length to fit on the sander. You can shop around for rolls of 3-in. wide paper, or buy strips that are pre-cut for the sander. Performax s "Ready to Wrap" paper is available perfectly pre-cut. A box of 4 rolls

Delta Sled
When sanding material wider than the drum, the outboard side must be raised a few thousandths of an inch to prevent a ridge.This results in a slight crown in the material.

sander for optimum performance.

The sanders DC motor controls the conveyor speed, allowing you to vary the feed rate. The conveyor motor is switched separately from the sanding head. This makes it very easy to set ihe sander for your first pass, as outlined in the owners manual.

Is it a pain to set upt

Assembly was straightforward and I have to compliment Performax on their owners manual. Pictures and descriptions are good and there's tons of great information on how to use the machine.

Pros:

• variable feed rate

• easy to replace abrasive

• enough power to do the job

• easy to move around the shop

• centralized dust

Cons:

• slower than a planer

Call Performax at (800) 334-4910 for a distributor near you.

for the 16-32 is $25, and is available in grits ranging from 24 to 220.

You can also buy "Ready to Cut" rolls. These are marked with color-coded lines showing you where to cut the correct taper for any model of Performax sander. They run around $80 per box. One box will give you 19 applications for the 16-32. This is the way I'd buy sandpaper for this machine.

Once you have the correct taper and length, its easy to wrap the paper on the drum (Photo 2). Spring-loaded clips hold the ends and apply pressure to take up any stretch you get in the paper. As the abrasive starts to wear, remove it, and wrap it back on in the opposite direction. This will give it added life.

How does it feed material!

Performax uses an abrasive belt to drive material under the sanding head. When you look at the sander, it looks like it sands both sides at once. As good as this tool is, it isn't that good.

The conveyor feeds the material without any slippage. On earlier Performax models, tracking the conveyor was a touchy thing. It was done with bolts on either side of the belt. It's made a lot easier now with ceramic guides that hold the conveyor in place.

Pressure rollers on both the infeed and outfeed side can be fine tuned to prevent snipe and slippage. This adjustment allows you to tweak the

How's the dust:

This machine will keep your dust centralized, something that's hard to do with portable sanders. Performax recommends 400 to 600 cfm for dust collection. I found dust collection effective even with just a shop vacuum.

So what's it cost?

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