Building a drum/disc sander #1: Designing and demensioning

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Blog entry by WoodenSoldier posted 02-25-2012 08:24 AM 5532 reads 7 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Building a drum/disc sander series Part 2: Prototyping the size »

For months now I have looked at other people’s homemade drum sanders with the intention of building one myself. About 4 months ago I went out and purchased some MDF to make the discs to stack into the actual drum, but quickly abandoned the whole project when I got busy. Over the last week I decided to start it back up and finally cut enough circle to build a 14” wide drum.

But then I started thinking to myself “Why just build a drum sander? Why not put a disc sander on the end of it?”
It seems logical to me. The motion is all in the same plane, and it would conserve a lot of space (always a plus). So I went ahead and cut a 12” disc for the disc sander as well.


I ordered two pillow bearings for a .5” shaft and a 4.5” belt pulley from McMaster Carr which arrived today.
I’m not sure about the pillow bearings though, I may have to return them. The bearing assembly can flex a few degrees in any direction within the sheet metal bracket. I think one that is locked perpendicular to the ground is what I need.
I am laying it out right now in Sketchup just to make sure I understand the concept of what I want to build. I think I’m going to weld the frame from 1.5” square aluminum tubing to make it light and not too bulky.

I still have not picked up a motor yet, and I’m trying to decide what size to use. I do have a brand new Baldor 1/3 HP, 1725 RPM motor, but I’m not sure it’s strong enough. Most other people reccomend using at least .5 HP, and mine might need more to turn the 12” disc sander. Any suggestions?
Here’s a quick screen grab from my design so far.
drum-disc sander screen shot

I’m also debating on making a conveyor belt for it like a store bought drum sander has. I have a small slow turning motor that I think would work well, but I’m not sure what to construct the belt out of. Something grippy like the material people put into the bottom of drawers and cabinets, but it would need to be affixed to a strong backing as well. Has anybody else tried this, or why does everybody else go with the “push it through by hand” design?
Suggestions from those of you who have tried or thought about any of this would be great. I’ll keep you all updated on my progress.

-- Create something everyday.

3 comments so far

View Tyrone D's profile

Tyrone D

314 posts in 2963 days

#1 posted 02-25-2012 09:30 AM

I’ve been toying with the idea of the shelf liner as a belt. Most of the industrial drum sanders have it.
I’m also going to put roller bars on the outfeed and infeed side to keep pressure on the workpiece. They wont be motorized, it’s designed to do the same function as a featherboard. These are also on industrial drum sanders.

What are you using to raise/lower the table?

-- --Tyrone - BC, Canada "Nothing is ever perfect, we just run out of time."

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3434 days

#2 posted 02-25-2012 12:03 PM

This is very interesting. I’ve been thinkin of this also, in the future. Maybe one day.. I’ve seen treadmill material used somewhere on here, or you-tube maybe.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 3965 days

#3 posted 02-25-2012 01:45 PM

When you mentioned the idea of a motorized conveyor belt it made me think of the added complexity and I wondered if a hand cranked feed belt would be almost as convenient. That would give you something constructive to do while waiting for the sanding to be done. Unless of course the main motor can perform both functions at once.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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