Homemade Drum Sander #1: Prototype Motor Lift

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Blog entry by Jeremy Greiner posted 09-18-2011 03:57 PM 3675 reads 4 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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The last cutting board (still working on the video) I did made me long for a thickness sander. I’ve been wanting to build one for a while with the spare motor I have. I spent a few days prototyping out a motor lift system for a drum sander and here’s the video of the results.

I learned that I needed to use thicker rods, but otherwise the general idea will work.

I need to figure out a better mechanism to hold the ball bearings, and I need to figure out what I’m going to use to mount the sandpaper spindle to the motor.

Any suggestions would be appreciated and thanks for watching.


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

8 comments so far

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3576 days

#1 posted 09-18-2011 04:16 PM

This might be useful for ideas

There is a link at the bottom of the page on the word ‘PLAN’ which gives you a PDF of the complete design.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3731 days

#2 posted 09-18-2011 04:43 PM

Jeremy, interesting project, I know some others have built drum sanders on this sight. A good way to save money.

One thing is that most people have made the motor and drum fixed. The motor has a pully and the drum is fixed
between a couple of bearings and has a pulley. The motor moves only for adjustment to tighten the fan belt.The drive belt turns the drum between the bearings. If your motor moves up and down then the drum would also have to move up and down in relation to the motor. What ever holds the drum in place will have to be beefy and rigid.

If your motor and drum is in a fixed postion then you build a table that will move up into the rotating drum. There are two or 3 guys that have built drum sanders on this sight that might be able to give you some help in the design. Good luck, I’ll keep an eye out on your progress I look forward to when I might see you sand your first piece of wood!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View eddy's profile


939 posts in 3904 days

#3 posted 09-18-2011 06:31 PM

looks ineresting but it also looks like you are trying to reinvent the wheel
if you are going to attach your drum directly to the motor shaft you may have issues
i dont think the bearings in the motor will handle that kinda stress
do a search on drum sanders here there are a lot of them that have been made.
i made 1 myself they area very easy to make i am not knocking your idea i just think there will be issues
with it

-- self proclaimed copycat

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 3312 days

#4 posted 09-18-2011 06:41 PM

I’ve been studdying comercial drum sanders and I’m following the popular 16/32 performax and delta 18/36 design.

To me it seems easier to keep the drum aligned than the 4 corners of a moving table.

-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View PurpLev's profile


8552 posts in 4188 days

#5 posted 09-18-2011 07:13 PM

looks a bit overcomplicated to me, but then again – maybe I’m not seeing the bigger picture. a couple of things:

1. homemade drum sanders don’t need to keep all 4 corners of the table aligned. the able is aligned once during the build, and the only part that is then moving is 1 side of it (the table is not perpendicular to the ground most of the time).

2. have you opened up a performax? I am not sure the drum is mounted directly onto the motor shaft as the motor might not be able to handle the side loads on the shaft. Lathes, drill presses, and similar machines usually have a set of pullies that transfer the rotation from the motor to the main shaft. I personally haven’t seen a performax open, but I suspect this is the same there, you may want to check that out before you go through building one to find out this later on.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View X541's profile


29 posts in 3192 days

#6 posted 09-19-2011 12:55 AM

It would be tough to keep the sidemounted motor parallel with your work piece unless it were secured on the other end as well. And if it is, then you have to worry about moving that side up and down as well and keeping it in synch. Like other folks have mentioned, there’s a lot of guys who have homemade drum sanders, and I think the best work results would be a moving table with stationary drum. I like thinking creatively as well, so if you can pull this off I will commend your creativity and enginuity.

View Zepe's profile


23 posts in 4353 days

#7 posted 09-19-2011 03:51 PM

I tend to agree with Eddy. I think I would mount the motor on a base and then drive a shaft that’s mounted on the same base. Use pillow blocks to hold the shaft in place. If you use a long shaft with other devices on it, then use more pillow blocks so the shaft doesn’t whip.

View George M's profile

George M

118 posts in 3304 days

#8 posted 09-19-2011 04:11 PM

You may want to look at some sanders thtat fellow LJ’s have made. Design is proven and already tested. Check out Johnzo, TomT, or even mine

-- George, Parker Colorado

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