Pneumatic Drum Sander for Andy Boxes

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Project by Bearpaw posted 05-25-2011 04:37 PM 93672 views 116 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been very interested in the Andy boxes. I make a couple of different small boxes and looking for something to add to my gifts.

They are very simple to make, but require sanding to give them their unique shape. To do this you really need a pneumatic drum sander. BUT, I do not have the $ for a store bought one. I remember seeing in one of my magazines a homemade pneumatic drum sander that looked very easy to make and CHEAP.

After going through a lot of old books I found the article and now I have built it. I have about $25.00 in it. The nice thing is it uses standard 3”x21” sanders belts. Therefore there is no special belt to buy.

I have included a copy of the article. I had to make some changes in that the flange showed in the picture is not readily available. I did find out later that Ace Hardware, on line, in Chicago has about 8 of them in stock. I checked with the mfg of the flange and they have taken the die out of service.

I am looking forward to making my first Andy box.

-- "When we build, let us think we build forever." John Ruskin

31 comments so far

View Bertha's profile


13624 posts in 4030 days

#1 posted 05-25-2011 04:39 PM

Entirely too cool. At first, I was thinking “I see a belt and a motor…where’s the pneumatic?” :) Thanks for posting the Shop Note for dummies like me!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Hskrfan's profile


16 posts in 4673 days

#2 posted 05-25-2011 04:47 PM

I like it! Great build.

-- Hskrfan

View prompt's profile


341 posts in 3930 days

#3 posted 05-25-2011 05:22 PM

Very good device.

-- Elhan, Azerbaijan

View WinterSun's profile


163 posts in 3947 days

#4 posted 05-25-2011 05:25 PM

Nice! I’ll have to keep this in mind.

-- Rory // Milwaukee, WI

View brazjuca's profile


54 posts in 3908 days

#5 posted 05-25-2011 05:34 PM

Great solution, good ideas are for smart people, congratulations.

-- Brazjuca guarapari Brasil. All worth it when the soul is not small. (Fernando Pessoa)

View HerbC's profile


1821 posts in 4196 days

#6 posted 05-25-2011 05:46 PM


Great find.

The article (from American Woodworker, June 1997) is easier to read at this link.

You mentioned you had to modify the build because you couldn’t get the motor flange shown in the original design. Could you provide pictures, diagrams, description of your solution? No since reinventing the wheel…

Do you have a source for the belt drive grinder spindle you used?

Thanks again. This is a great shop made tool.

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Bearpaw's profile


271 posts in 5057 days

#7 posted 05-25-2011 06:05 PM

I found the spindle at a local Ace hardware store. It had been sitting on their shelf for a long time and I bought it for $15,00. It is made by Chicago Die Casting Company. I had orginally planned to get pillow blocks and a half inch shaft to make the spindle from. The best source for them was Ace Hardware or McMaster-Carr. About $10.00 each.
How did you find the link to the article?

I have tested it on some scrap wood and it makes easy rounding of the edges. It is important that the 6” diameter is true size. The outside edge of the belt rides on that.

The best feature is the source of the sanding belt – any where. I have an 80 grit on it.

Thanks for looking.

-- "When we build, let us think we build forever." John Ruskin

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4452 days

#8 posted 05-25-2011 06:11 PM

thankĀ“s for sharing :-) and speciel the article … now I know where the air is … LOL

take care

View Bsmith's profile


330 posts in 4007 days

#9 posted 05-25-2011 06:38 PM

I’ve been considering something like this. Especially for a spindle sander. Inform me though, is it possible to construct one of these sanders without the belt? Just put the sanding wheel on the motor shaft. Not sure if I’ve seen one like that so there must be a reason. Your’s looks good and easy to build though. Thanks for posting.

-- Bryan

View BigTiny's profile


1721 posts in 4225 days

#10 posted 05-25-2011 06:41 PM

Beautiful in its simplicity. I love it! Thanks for sharing.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 4413 days

#11 posted 05-25-2011 07:06 PM

Very cool!

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View Paulo in Texas's profile

Paulo in Texas

131 posts in 4026 days

#12 posted 05-25-2011 07:30 PM

Grizzly sells some shafts that aren’t too expensive and would work great for this: H8024 1/2 Heavy-Duty Portable Shaft

View Ken90712's profile


18099 posts in 4526 days

#13 posted 05-25-2011 07:33 PM

Very nice build you hav paosted. How much movement ( flex ) do you get on the inner tube.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View rayn's profile


199 posts in 4555 days

#14 posted 05-25-2011 07:37 PM

Good one… I like it

-- Ray,Iowa

View Bearpaw's profile


271 posts in 5057 days

#15 posted 05-25-2011 08:09 PM

The main change is the shaft for the spindle It is 5/8” instead of 1/2”. Also, I was not able to have my bolts attach the unit to the flange. That may be a problem in the future. I believe if I do not put too much pressure on it, it will be fine.

The reason for not mounting directly to a motor shaft is the rpms. A motor typically turns at 1725 rpm and you want this about 850 or so. Keeps from burning hard wood.

The flex is adjustable. The air valve is just in side the opening on the right side. You can make it as soft or firm as you want.

-- "When we build, let us think we build forever." John Ruskin

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