Home built 16" drum sander

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Project by TomT posted 01-31-2011 09:17 AM 56055 views 200 times favorited 65 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First off, let me thank all of the great Lumber Jocks (especially John Z) for all of their help and inspiration.
This was a very challenging and rewarding project. I just love shop built machines so, when I first started seeing all of the great drum sanders show up on Lumber Jocks I had to build one myself. So, after a couple of months, a lot of head scratching and about 300 bucks it is finally complete. Here are the details:

Base frame is maple with pocket screws. Sides, front and back panels and mid panels are MDF. Conveyor table (borrowed from John Z’s design) is two 3/4” pieces of MDF laminated. I made one change however, adding a 1/4” piece of HDPE to the top to give it a smooth slick surface. The conveyor rollers are 1 3/4” PVC with ball bearings on the idler side and turned aluminum hubs on the drive side. Drum is 5” diameter aluminum tube with turned hubs on a 5/8” shaft. Sand paper is held on by hook and loop. Conveyor drive is a variable speed 12V DC gear motor that I got off Ebay. I am powering it with an old power supply out of a scraped home computer. Sanding drum is powered 1 to 1 by an old 1/2 HP 1750 RPM motor that I already had. I was a little worried that a 1/2 HP motor would not be enough but, so far it has worked out fine. One other feature that I added was a set of tension rollers. They are spring loaded 3/4” steel rods that run on bronze bushings.

As far as performance…. It works great. Table adjusts easily, drum and conveyor run smooth. I don’t expect it to replace my planer but, for highly figured woods it has been just super.

If anyone else gets the bug to build to build such a machine I say go for it. I will be glad to answer any questions and help out where I can.

-- Tom T, Orange County CA.

65 comments so far

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 4024 days

#1 posted 01-31-2011 09:27 AM

That’s pretty sweet Tom! I wonder how you decided on the paint color?? ;)

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View andyboy's profile


565 posts in 4287 days

#2 posted 01-31-2011 09:42 AM

We sure have some clever people around.
Looks great Tom!

-- Andy Halewoodworker. You can't finish if you don't finish. So finish it, because finish is everything.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4129 days

#3 posted 01-31-2011 10:20 AM

doesn´t look home-build from here
well done :-)
thank´s for sharing


View scarpenter002's profile


618 posts in 4919 days

#4 posted 01-31-2011 10:57 AM

Great job Tom. What a wonderful project. You should create a blog with all the details, more pictures, and the plans. :-)

Thanks for sharing.

-- Scott in Texas

View jim C's profile

jim C

1472 posts in 4112 days

#5 posted 01-31-2011 11:49 AM

That looks absolutely terrific. Congrats.

View cranesgonewild's profile


344 posts in 3922 days

#6 posted 01-31-2011 11:49 AM

It doesn’t look homemade at all. Very well done. You should definitely do a blog and go into greater detail. There’s probably more of us that could pull this off with the right guidance.

-- I'm a Fungi --

View jim C's profile

jim C

1472 posts in 4112 days

#7 posted 01-31-2011 11:51 AM

What’s your background?
Engineer or Tool Making?
Just wondering, as it takes a mechanical background to do something that sweet.

View Tim Pursell's profile

Tim Pursell

501 posts in 4796 days

#8 posted 01-31-2011 12:54 PM

View flintbone's profile


213 posts in 4170 days

#9 posted 01-31-2011 01:19 PM

Good job. I bet it runs as good as it looks.

-- If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. - Albert Einstein

View Hopdevil's profile


223 posts in 4100 days

#10 posted 01-31-2011 01:54 PM

Wow! Awesome job.
Where did you get the mechanical parts? The gears, chains, etc?

-- Buzz ---- Of all the things I have ever lost, I miss my mind the most.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4836 days

#11 posted 01-31-2011 02:33 PM

This is a must have shop tool, as far as I am concerned. And this one certainly looks like it will do the job. It looks like it is a commercial variety rather than a home made product. I am sure any of us would be proud to have a tool like this in our shop.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3880 days

#12 posted 01-31-2011 02:37 PM

That’s the best looking sander that is built out of wood that I have seen. Congratulations on a job well done. I’m making this a favorite for reference.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Billp's profile


804 posts in 5214 days

#13 posted 01-31-2011 02:44 PM

Now thats what I call a first class job. Your design is very inpressive.

-- Billp

View RockyBlue's profile


273 posts in 3707 days

#14 posted 01-31-2011 02:58 PM

Great looking machine! I would not have believed you made it without the build photos. I hope you get great use out of it. The color makes it look like a purchased machine.

-- I haven't had this much fun since hogs ate my little brother.

View Brandon's profile


4381 posts in 3965 days

#15 posted 01-31-2011 03:25 PM


This is fantastic! Like the others have said, this looks like a professionally made tool. I like the green paint, but you need to put a nice logo on the side of the machine now!

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

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