Drill Press Thickness Sander

  • Advertise with us
Project by DonH posted 09-12-2010 10:33 PM 10926 views 21 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This drill press driven thickness sander fits on top of my existing custom drill press table. I developed this thing to sand quilted makore as the stuff is very hard on blades and the dust is toxic. I needed a non blade solution and I had to make sure dust was collected. This rig did the job.

The table and fence are two layers of 3/4 inch MDF with a white hardboard surface that meets the wood. Both are surrounded by maple. The fence pivots on a 3/4 inch brass rod that lets into a bronze bushing in the table. The sanding drum is turned from layers of MDF, has a loop layer and hook sandpaper is wrapped around it. The drum is bonded to a steel rod with a Morse taper at the top to mount in the drill press instead of the chuck. At the bottom is a live bearing for the bottom end of the steel rod to sit on (it has a dimple). Once the drum is chucked up the dust shroud is then mounted and connected to the dust collection system.

To use the device, I place the board to be sanded between the drum and the fence, snug the fence up and clam it as shown in the last photo. I then run the wood through once, flip it end for end and run it through again. I reverse sides and repeat the process. The press is then stopped and the process started over from the beginning and repeated as necessary. The result is a piece that is within 4 to 6 mills overall thickness variation and no dust at all.

-- DonH Orleans Ontario

15 comments so far

View Dustmite97's profile


439 posts in 3788 days

#1 posted 09-12-2010 10:37 PM

Wow this is really cool. I just might make one of these because a thickness sander is something I really need.

View SPalm's profile


5334 posts in 4449 days

#2 posted 09-13-2010 01:10 AM

Clean build. You make some nice jigs.

But don’t use that sander too much (or run it very hard). Drill press bearings are not designed to handle very much sideways pressure. Or just use it, and if you run in to problems, then replace the bearings at that time.

Nice shop,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View DonH's profile


495 posts in 3385 days

#3 posted 09-13-2010 01:34 AM

Hi Steve

There is a bottom bearing that is used when the sander is in place. It takes up the slack and keeps everything square and true. Side load is minimal with this set up. Like you suggested – I keep the side loads at a minimum

Thanks for your input


-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View davevan's profile


54 posts in 3430 days

#4 posted 09-13-2010 01:46 AM

Nice jig. Well thought out. I may try this one. Thanks

-- Dave Arizona

View SPalm's profile


5334 posts in 4449 days

#5 posted 09-13-2010 01:51 AM

Hey Don.

OK, I missed that. So that is what is going on in picture #3. You are showing the bottom bearing (and recess and threaded insert.) Having a bottom bearing should help a lot. Otherwise that was a huge drum on a measly drill press. My hat is off to you.

How did you come up with the rod with the taper? That must be a custom thing. (?) You gott’a metal lathe?


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View DonH's profile


495 posts in 3385 days

#6 posted 09-13-2010 01:59 AM

The drill press is a fair sized one as it is 17 inches and one Hp. The metal taper center piece is from a drum sanding attachment

-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View douglbe's profile


372 posts in 4528 days

#7 posted 09-13-2010 03:36 AM

Cool! That is a really nice set up.

-- Doug, Reed City, Michigan

View cwdance1's profile


1160 posts in 3826 days

#8 posted 09-13-2010 11:17 PM

Very cool design,

View dustyal's profile


1312 posts in 4042 days

#9 posted 09-16-2010 02:00 AM

Very impressive. I just competed my custom table for my DP and I was wondering if I could somehow make up a substitute v drum sander… You’ve already done it. Since I only have a 12 inch bench sander, I doubt that it would be too worthwhile for me. I was also concerned about the bottom end… your bottom bearing was a great idea.

I really like what you’ve done here.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View DonH's profile


495 posts in 3385 days

#10 posted 09-16-2010 02:32 AM

Hi dustyal

I took a look at your project and it looks like it does the job. Good work!


-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View lew's profile


12908 posts in 4323 days

#11 posted 09-16-2010 03:49 AM

Cool idea!

Used a similar design for my oscillating spindle sander. Yours is much nicer and will work with wider stock.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3762 days

#12 posted 09-17-2010 04:14 PM

Now that’s cool. I have never seen that before.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View Bluebear's profile


417 posts in 3464 days

#13 posted 09-18-2010 12:05 AM

i like how you tune all of your tools and equipment to your own liking and benefit!
great work, thanks for sharing

-- -- It's only a mistake if you can't fix it.

View DonH's profile


495 posts in 3385 days

#14 posted 09-18-2010 01:11 AM

Hi Lew Rex and FLeming – thanks for the kind comments.

-- DonH Orleans Ontario

View SgtSnafu's profile


960 posts in 3839 days

#15 posted 11-12-2010 03:29 PM

Great idea – Thanks for sharing

-- Scotty - aka... SgtSnafu - Randleman NC

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics