A Different Drum Sander - For your lathe or ShopSmith

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Project by shipwright posted 12-12-2011 11:10 PM 55944 views 163 times favorited 50 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a quick and cheap drum sander that I dreamed up to run on my ShopSmith in my Az shop. I have neither the budget nor the space here for the luxuries that my shop at home in B.C. has so I had to be a little creative.

The concept is to use as much of the existing machine as possible and duplicate as little as possible. The machine, in this case a ShopSmith Mark V 510, already has a variable speed motor and bearings and a solid chassis so I didn’t duplicate them. I simply made a drum to fit in the existing lathe and an accurately adjustable table to mount under it.

The table mounts rigidly to the lathe chassis or way tubes on a SS and pivots at one end. The other end is raised and lowered by either one central or two side elevators, depending on the accuracy required. To assure that nothing moves due for instance to the piece being fed through off center, There are locks right and left of the body to lock the table when making really critical cuts.

The dust collection is made from PVC pipe fittings and 1/2 of a 24” piece of 4” pipe. I was going to install rare earth magnets to hold it in place but the suction from the DC makes it almost un-removable when it’s turned on.
There is no dust escapement at all even when sanding MDF.

The fact that the drum and the body / table assembly are totally separate and independent means that if you have another surplus faceplate to dedicate, you can make a second drum for another grade of sandpaper. Changing grade then is as easy as switching drums.

The photos show:
1) The setup on my SS with the headstock helping support the DC hose.
2) The bare ABS pipe drum fitted with end plugs and mounted for trial spin up.
3) The locking bolt shown from under the reinforced table.
4) An opened up view.The extra drum is shown behind the sander.
5) Some quick marquetry I did to test the accuracy. These are before sanding and are commercial 1/32” veneer.
6) The same pieces after sanding with the 220 grit drum. They were put through five incremental cuts to completely level and clean them and they are not sanded through or even close anywhere.
(Please don’t critique the marquetry, It is just some quick pieces that I made up to test the sander and to practice my sand shading. I know they are rough.)

This is a very easy sander to build and it costs only about $100, give or take, depending on what usable bits and pieces you have around the shop.

The building blog is here:

Grizzly Hook and Loop Conversion Kit:
Thanks for looking. Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

50 comments so far

View degoose's profile


7286 posts in 4691 days

#1 posted 12-12-2011 11:19 PM

Very cool…

-- Be safe.

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4914 days

#2 posted 12-12-2011 11:19 PM

You did a fantastic job on this sander Paul .This is a great design with a lot of super engineering.


View Mauricio's profile


7170 posts in 4488 days

#3 posted 12-12-2011 11:21 PM


-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4373 days

#4 posted 12-12-2011 11:21 PM

Aye ‘tis a thing of beauty. Definitely looks the part as well as doing the job.

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

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5219 days

#5 posted 12-12-2011 11:29 PM

Yea Paul.
One of the cleanest home builds I have seen. Congrats.

Nice sand shading too.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4574 days

#6 posted 12-12-2011 11:53 PM

Great looking sander. It looks very functional and not too hard to build. Thanks for sharing.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View spud72's profile


334 posts in 4831 days

#7 posted 12-12-2011 11:56 PM


-- Guy,PEI

View RichardH's profile


295 posts in 4339 days

#8 posted 12-13-2011 12:03 AM

Neat idea. Nicely Done.

-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5414 days

#9 posted 12-13-2011 12:14 AM

With such a small shop you may want to consider building a Puddle Duck Racer to fulfill your sailing needs!

Great project…its going in my favorites since I own a shopsmith…would love a sander…and I know your blog/project descriptions are so detailed…one of these I will have to consider building this…


-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View sras's profile


6518 posts in 4466 days

#10 posted 12-13-2011 12:31 AM

Good to see it is already being put to use! Nice project – and a very informative blog as well.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Sodabowski's profile


2402 posts in 4170 days

#11 posted 12-13-2011 12:33 AM

Way cool and creative! I’m also a big fan of updating existing tools to enhance their possibilities.

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View rance's profile


4281 posts in 4497 days

#12 posted 12-13-2011 12:47 AM

>“some quick pieces that I made up to test the sander “

Quick? Yeah right, maybe for you. :) Paul, you’re killing me. Nice build.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View deerslayer_13's profile


39 posts in 3696 days

#13 posted 12-13-2011 01:40 AM

The best one I have seen yet. Great idea to use the lathe, now I need to start planning my own….

View Froggy's profile


77 posts in 3998 days

#14 posted 12-13-2011 01:55 AM

Jeez, I would never have thought about this! :))) Very creative thinking, and nicely executed, too!

View Routerisstillmyname's profile


763 posts in 4846 days

#15 posted 12-13-2011 02:08 AM

Awesome! look out darth vader :-)

-- Router è ancora il mio nome.

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