Home Made 22" Drum Sander

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Project by Bob Areddy posted 02-01-2009 03:52 PM 51674 views 97 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Just put this up to showcase my home made 22” drum sander. I HATE sanding. And trying to get a glued up panel perfectly flat is time consuming and dirty. So I found a plan on the internet which I adapted to a larger unit.

The drum is approximately 5.5” in diameter. The sand paper is held on with velcro. I bought the motor on Ebay for a steal, around $60. The table I already had laying around for the last couple of years, as it was going to be my workbench top. Nearly the entire base is made from 2×4 construction lumber, except for the horizontal members which hold the pillow block bearings (which I also bought on ebay).

The velcro mat and sand paper comes from Woodmaster Tools, whose website really blows. You’d think they would have all the sand paper in one section.

The drum is made of 3/4” MDF discs that I cut using a router. I think there are 32 of the discs, with a 5/8” hole drilled and placed on a metal rod I got from Home Depot. If it were any longer, I would use a 1” rod to stiffen it up, however gluing all the discs up made for a rock solid cylinder. I used regular yellow carpenter’s glue.

The cylinder rides in pillow block bearings, and once mounted, I trued it up by taking a 3” wide board and gluing some of the 80 grit sandpaper to it. Then, holding the board down on the table with the paper side up, I raised the table so that the drum would just touch the paper. I moved the board across the length of the cylinder to smooth it down, and this would also insure that it was parallel to the table. I put pencil lines all over the cylinder so I could see where I sanded and see the low spots. I kept raising the table until all the pencil lines were removed. Kinda like an upside-down lathe with a sand paper cutter.

Once the cylinder was round, I glued the velcro backing to it, spiraling it around from end to end. I used a spray adhesive for the glue. Once the glue is dried, I wrapped the sandpaper around it in the opposite direction.

Other features of interest might be the motor mount. It’s mounted to a piece of plywood, which is hinged to the base of the unit with a piano hinge at about a 45 degree angle down from horizontal. This allows self-tensioning of the belt… I have no idea if it’s the right amount of tension, but it sure seems to be right.

The table is hinged to the base as well, and a simple threaded rod with a home made handle is the raising mechanism. It’s great for table tops, but I can only get about a 1” thick piece under it. I may retrofit this to get another 3/4” room… I could also remove the drum and raise the pillow blocks to achieve this.

Since these pictures were taken, I’ve added onto this unit by making a disc sander attachment and table by using the rod that is sticking out in the first picture. It’s a 9” disc, and has a table that can be tilted up to 45 degrees.

For a few more pictures, visit my site:

-- --Bob

30 comments so far

View 4hisglory's profile


73 posts in 4742 days

#1 posted 02-01-2009 04:09 PM

looks great

-- 3rd generation craftsman ~

View mzmac's profile


94 posts in 4959 days

#2 posted 02-01-2009 04:15 PM

I need one!

View isetegija's profile


763 posts in 4806 days

#3 posted 02-01-2009 04:18 PM

Looks very well made.
Thanks for sharing with us and welcome to Lumberjocks community.

-- Not my woodworking

View dustygirl's profile


862 posts in 5020 days

#4 posted 02-01-2009 04:21 PM

Nice job on the sander.I like the way you put the dust collector on also.

-- Dustygirl..Hastings,Ontario.. How much wood can 1 gal chuck if 1 gal can't cut wood?

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5510 days

#5 posted 02-01-2009 04:22 PM

I’d love to have one of these.

How much do you think the total cost of this would be if you started from scratch, allowing say $100 for a used/surplus motor?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View firecaster's profile


574 posts in 4710 days

#6 posted 02-01-2009 04:34 PM

I’d like to have an idea of total cost also. I have the plans already. Just too much other stuff going to get started.

looks great!

-- Father of two sons. Both Eagle Scouts.

View Bob Areddy's profile

Bob Areddy

193 posts in 4694 days

#7 posted 02-01-2009 04:55 PM

I did start from scratch except for the table, which is just some particle board which I laminated. IIRC, I got the motor for $60 off of ebay. The bearings were cheap, maybe $10, and the rest is just framing lumber.

So I’d say around $200-$225.

-- --Bob

View woodyone's profile


231 posts in 4883 days

#8 posted 02-01-2009 04:57 PM

great job


-- Woody, UK

View sidestepmcgee's profile


158 posts in 5017 days

#9 posted 02-01-2009 05:04 PM

cool job, will be building one of puppies soon!

-- eric post, tallahassee FL

View Karson's profile


35279 posts in 5692 days

#10 posted 02-01-2009 06:07 PM

I’ve got a Ryobi 16/32” model that I use and the putting on the sandpaper is the pits. I might go for the Velcro on to my aluminum drum so I can change grits faster and easier.

The Delta and the Ryobi both use a spring clip to hold the starting and ending ends below the surface and they are always the pits to get tight. They are in close quarters at the end of the drum and the frame.

I noticed a cut in the end of the last disk. It that where you put the beginning of the sandpaper so the edge doesn’t get kicked up while sanding.

Great job. Well worth the effort.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Karson's profile


35279 posts in 5692 days

#11 posted 02-01-2009 06:26 PM

By the way check out this site, RedHill Abrasives or Supergrit for you sandpaper rolls.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 5249 days

#12 posted 02-01-2009 07:03 PM

Nice work! I envy you guys that make your own sanders. That is one valuable tool to have in your shop…I too, am curious how much the total investment is to make one of these..and yours is one of the nicer ones I have seen! Also I am curious about the lack of a feed mechanism..whats the deal…you push your piece to be sanded through with a thinner board behind it?


View BarryW's profile


1016 posts in 5198 days

#13 posted 02-01-2009 07:39 PM

There appears to be a stress crack on the drum end…something controllable???

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View Bob Areddy's profile

Bob Areddy

193 posts in 4694 days

#14 posted 02-01-2009 08:39 PM

No crack, just a slot I cut by hand to tuck the paper into, otherwise the edge could catch and unravel (or so I’m told ;-)

As far as the feed, I made a push board that’s 1/2” thick, since I’m usually sanding pieces that are 5/8” or 3/4” or so.

-- --Bob

View Çggghgyt's profile


306 posts in 4922 days

#15 posted 02-01-2009 09:37 PM

Nice, job! Did you desgn this on your own or from existing plans?

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