My version of V-drum sander

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Project by Gittyup posted 12-15-2013 10:43 PM 11722 views 28 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When planning this project, the drum is of course the hardest part. I really didn’t want to make a bunch of disks, glue them together and try to true it up. And the kits for the 24” drums were too much money. So, I went looking on ebay. I found this great steel roller covered in hard rubber. It is 22” long with a 1” shaft. I scored it for $50 and it spins true.

The roller is heavy (28 lbs) and I wanted pillow blocks that would stand up to it. So, I ordered these beefy pillow blocks and the pulleys from surplus supply. I bought a new 1/2 hp motor v-link belt from harbor freight.

I was concerned about safety with an open belt drive. So, I extended the sides to accommodate a cover (see next to last photo). The cover worked pretty good, but there was a lot of hogging out of the underside of the top with the router to clear the bearings and pulleys. Boy do I hate routing MDF!

The top is two 3/4” layers of MDF and 1/8” hardboard for a total thickness of 1 5/8”. I edged it with fir and coated with 5 layers of shellac. Pretty sturdy. It came out pretty flat, by gluing and applying even weight over the whole thing on a flat table for a solid week before disturbing. Doing the cutout and hogging out the underside took quite some time.

I got the sides a little lower than I’d like, but it still adjusts and sands very well, if a little up hill. I wanted the on/off switch on the working side. So I fished the wire under the dust ramp. But then I wasn’t thinking about the top hitting it when open. Rather than move the switch, I added the support arm to hold the lid up. Even if it opened all the way, I think this is a prudent safety addition – rock solid, can’t fall.

Anyway it seems to work very well. I have about $225 in it not including wood. All wood was from scraps.

-- tel

17 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118322 posts in 5027 days

#1 posted 12-15-2013 11:33 PM

Great build ,very well done.


View NormG's profile


6576 posts in 4454 days

#2 posted 12-16-2013 12:18 AM

Looks wonderful, the weight must cut down on any vibration

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Gittyup's profile


230 posts in 3407 days

#3 posted 12-16-2013 01:16 AM

It runs real smooth with almost no vibration. I’d guess, without the cart it’s screwed to, it probably weights 140 lbs or so. I haven’t tried to pick it up since adding the top. I wouldn’t call it “portable”.

-- tel

View Weth's profile


57 posts in 4049 days

#4 posted 12-16-2013 01:25 AM

I love what you have done. Wish that drums were easier to come by.

-- Weth

View Gittyup's profile


230 posts in 3407 days

#5 posted 12-16-2013 01:31 AM


I saw a drum off an old sander for sale over on sawmill creek just last night. I think he wanted like $20 for it.

-- tel

View Weth's profile


57 posts in 4049 days

#6 posted 12-16-2013 03:07 AM

I purchased a performax a year ago so I am covered. I am sure others would be interested.

-- Weth

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 4014 days

#7 posted 12-16-2013 03:31 AM

im always shocked at all you guys who make power tools. I’d never even dawn on me to try and build something like that (though when i was starting out I pondered flipping a circular saw upsidedown on a piece of plywood as a table saw)

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 4421 days

#8 posted 12-16-2013 04:21 AM

That type of drum is available from conveyor manufacturers or power transmission suppliers.
Companies like Motion Industries for instance.
It is called a head pulley, an idler pulley, or a tail pulley.
The rubber coated ones are referred to as lagged pulleys and they are usually used on the “drive end” of a conveyor.
These drums are available either crowned or flat. The crowned version are slightly larger in diameter in the center and are good for keeping the conveyor belt centered. NOT so good for sanding drums where you want everything flat as possible. The cost of a flat 4” diameter drum, 23, or 26” long might be around $150 to $200.

Another option would be to go to a welding shop and have them build you a drum. A piece of 3” schedule 40 pipe is 3 1/2” OD, 4” pipe is 4 1/2” OD. They could weld ends on the pipe and put a shaft through for a reasonable fee.

You might need to true it up when you get it fabricated, depends on how accurately they center the shaft.

View JReed3's profile


81 posts in 3821 days

#9 posted 12-16-2013 01:07 PM

How do you keep the sandpaper attached to the roller?

View Gittyup's profile


230 posts in 3407 days

#10 posted 12-16-2013 01:42 PM

JReed3, the roller is covered in velcro (hooks?) and the sandpaper is backed with the other part (loop?). Paper changing is easy and completely reuseable. I bought the velcro conversion kit for drum sanders from Grizzly. But, I think any adhesive backed industrial velcro would work. The velcro sandpaper is sold in 10 yd rolls from many sources. The trick is the inital application angle. Took me forever to get it adjusted right for my roller diameter.

Yeah, I didn’t know there were so many kinds of rollers for conveyors. Quickly became uneasy about what kind of roller to buy. I did recognize the tapered rollers would not work and they are pretty easy to spot visually. I found idler rollers that were not covered in rubber that would have probably worked. I just thought the rubber would be better.

The roller I bought was listed as buy it now for $150 on ebay or make offer. I made an offer of $50 and the seller accepted. I was ecstatiic! I’m very pleased with it so far. It is clearly well made for heavy industrial use.

-- tel

View punk's profile


181 posts in 3866 days

#11 posted 12-16-2013 01:52 PM

I like it nice it looks to be good and neatly put together

-- Punk in PA

View canadianchips's profile


2632 posts in 4447 days

#12 posted 12-16-2013 04:02 PM

well built tool.
Looks like it will work very well.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 3878 days

#13 posted 12-16-2013 08:15 PM

You made a really nice tool that will serve you well for years to come.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Woodknack's profile


13593 posts in 3830 days

#14 posted 12-17-2013 07:15 AM

I’ve often thought of trying it with a heat roller from a large printer/copier, they throw them away when they wear out. The downside is they are relatively short and have gears on the ends which would need to be replaced; but could probably score one for free.

Nice work on the drum sander.

-- Rick M,

View Bill_N's profile


238 posts in 3729 days

#15 posted 12-22-2013 12:00 PM

I made my drum using PVC pipe with three inserts on a steel shaft
cheap and easy to build
I love the belt cover and lid stay design
Good work

-- I have the Saw Dust Fever

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