Drum Sander

If you've ever dreamed of owning an expensive drum sander, here's an economical alternative. This simple hand-fed machine costs only $270 for parts and materials. If you scrounge a free motor, switch and plywood you can cut the cost down to as little as $115.

How It Works

This machine is very simple. A plywood box holds a spinning drum that's wrapped with a long roll of hook-and-loop sandpaper. Unlike a self-feeding commercial drum sander, you manually push the wood against the rotation of the drum. The drum is belt-driven by a small motor mounted to a hinged board. The motor's weight tensions the belt, just like a contractor's saw. That's it.

The whole sander weighs only 37 lbs., so it's very portable. It's compact enough to slide right under a bench.

The critical parts of this machine come in a kit (Photo 1, page 42). When we first saw the ad for this build-it-yourself sander we honestly didn't think it would work. In the spirit of adventure, we ordered the hardware.

When we built the machine, we were amazed at how quickly and easily it took off saw marks and planing marks, just like a commercial drum sander. It's very quiet, too, and virtually dust-free when hooked up to any dust collector.

What It Can and Can't Do

This sander will make a smooth, flat surface faster than a random-orbit sander and is less likely to gouge than a belt sander. It works best on short, individual pieces of wood.

It's unlikely that this machine will completely replace the random-orbit or belt sanders in your shop, however. Pieces larger than 12 in. x 24 in. are hard to handle, so you're better off sanding them with a portable sander. Obviously, this machine can't thickness boards the way commercial drum sanders do. It's not a jointer either, and can't be used to straighten edges or flatten faces.

Sand surfaces flat and smooth in no time. The sanding drum is 18-in. wide, but this machine works best with boards that are less than 12-in. wide and 24-in. long. It's very effective for drawers and boxes, too.
Changing sanding grits is easy. Just open the hinged lid, peel off a roll of reusable hook-and-loop paper and wrap a new grit.

Exploded View

Drum Sander

2-1/4" dia, hole motor -opening

,1" radius

^ Order this hardware kit before you I begin building (see Sources, page 100). It costs $l 15 and contains all the major parts of the sander, excluding the switch, motor and handles.

2-1/4" dia, hole motor -opening

,1" radius

Motor Alignment adjustment screw t

2" butt hinge'

Location of Cleats Under the Top hinge hinge

^ Order this hardware kit before you I begin building (see Sources, page 100). It costs $l 15 and contains all the major parts of the sander, excluding the switch, motor and handles.

What You'll Need

As with any woodworking project, order the hardware before cutting wood (Photo 1). If you use a new motor and a top-notch safety switch that's easy to wire, the entire project will cost about $270. Additional sandpaper costs about $6 a roll. You get four pieces from one roll. (See Sources, page 100, for the hardware kit, motor, switch and extra sandpaper.)

The easiest way to save money on this project is to substitute a used motor. (A new motor costs about $100.) The motor must be at least 1/3 hp, rotate at 1,750 rpm and have a l/2-in.-dia. shaft. The sander's case is designed to hold a motor that's less than 7-in. tall and 10-in. long, including the shaft. If your motor is larger, you'll have to modify the case's dimensions to hold it.

The case takes less than one-half of a sheet of 3/4-in. plywood. Almost any kind will do, as long as it's reasonably flat. We used birch plywood. You'll also need a small amount of l-I/8-in.-thick hardwood.

Underside ofTop Battens

2" butt hinge'

A Newbies Guide To Wood Working

A Newbies Guide To Wood Working

Wonder No Longer About Things Like Designs, Tools And Safety. These Problems Among Others Will Be Covered In This E-Book. You Will Be Creating Great Wooden Works Of Art In Very Little Time At All! For The Beginning Woodworker, The Construction of Handcrafted Wood Creations Can Be a Daunting And Overwhelming Experience. Well, Not Anymore!

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment