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Question About a Drum Sander

by Chuck77
posted 02-12-2018 04:39 AM


20 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 4188 days


#1 posted 02-12-2018 04:59 AM

Consider a stroke sander.

View Chuck77's profile

Chuck77

15 posts in 734 days


#2 posted 02-12-2018 05:32 AM



Consider a stroke sander.

- Loren


Assuming I did go with a stroke sander. Wouldn’t that also require going back with an orbital sander?

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 4188 days


#3 posted 02-12-2018 05:40 AM

View Rich's profile

Rich

5001 posts in 1129 days


#4 posted 02-12-2018 06:25 AM

If you are using a 5 inch ROS, consider upgrading to 6 inch. Also, sheet sanders shouldn’t be overlooked. Look into a 1/2 sheet model like Makita and Festool sell. They can be attached to your dust collection system too. The 1/2 sheet sander is over twice the square inches of a 5” ROS, cuts more aggressively and the paper is cheaper. I use the Makita and it’s my starting point for all of my panel and large frame work.

Also, why start at 120 grit? Why not 80 or 100 for the initial heavy clean up, then your work with the 120 would go as fast as the 220.

View Trout121180's profile

Trout121180

44 posts in 647 days


#5 posted 02-12-2018 08:09 AM

Hello Chuck, I myself have never owned a drum sander but like you have gone back and forth on whether I should get one or not. I will try and share some of the advice that I received. The number one thing almost everyone said right off the bat is that do not think for one minute a drum sander will act like a wide belt sander. A good friend of mine is lucky enough to have a 36” wide belt sander which he uses as both a thickness planer as well as his second to last step in his sanding process. Even with the wide belt sander he still does a quick touch up with his ROS with 220 grit. This sounds like the piece of equipment you are looking for. That being said it cost him $8,000 used, usually requires 3 phase power and on top of that takes up a lot of real estate. Lucky for him his shop is over 2,000sf. For most small one man shops a wide belt sander is just not an option. So the people I spoke to said that if you buy a drum sander thinking it will do the same thing as a wide belt sander then you are not going to be pleased. You need to understand that while it will save you some time sanding unfortunately probably not as much as you want. Also some other complaints I have heard is that sandspaper can be expensive for those machines and that both clogging of the sandpaper and burning of the lumber being sanded can be an issues especially at the beginning when you are still trying to figure out how to properly run the machine. So I guess to sum it up a drum sander will save you some time. In some shops it is as important and gets used as often as their thickness planer. Time is important to them which makes a drum sander an investment they are happy with. For me I just couldn’t justify spending over $1000 on a machine that is going to take up more valuable space in my shop and really doesn’t do anything that I couldn’t do with the tools that I have already.
But that doesn’t mean there are not other options out there. Like mentioned above there is the “old fashioned” stroke sander. Although I have never even seen one in person to me it looks like you must be skilled to operate one and that it takes up a lot of real estate. Also I’m not even sure you can still go to the store and buy one. You would probably have to search for a used one and hope that if anything goes wrong you ha e the know how and the parts to fix it.
Another option would be to upgrade your ROS. Which is the route I ended up taking. If money is not an option you could get the Festool 125 or even 150 FEQ rotex. I can guarantee you that with that machine along with the upgraded Festool sand paper you will be pleasantly surprised on how much quicker the sanding process goes. Also there is the Bosch 1250devs which would also be a nice upgrade to your dewalt ros.
Not sure if anything I said help at all. But like I said it was the process i went through and eventually I ended up buying the better Ros. Although I still ha e to spend substantial time sanding it’s a lot less than it used to be with my 5” dewalt. And who knows maybe one day we will ha e a big enough shop to buy the wide belt sander all us little guys dream about. Good luck and which ever direction you decide to go on I hope it works out.

Regards,
Trout

-- Luke “I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.” “If you wait till the last minute it only takes a minute.”

View unclearthur's profile (online now)

unclearthur

286 posts in 2328 days


#6 posted 02-12-2018 08:53 AM

Drum sander:
- decrease the “massive amount of time” you say you spend at the lowest grit
- make sanding some things like end grains much much easier
- improve quality by keeping things perfectly flat compared to ROS
- better dust collection than ROS
- less tiring than ROS

Some people think its worth the tradeoff vs. floorspace and $$, some don’t.

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

3002 posts in 1762 days


#7 posted 02-12-2018 10:33 PM

The drum sander produces linear scratches in the wood. Your eye is very sensitive to seeing patterns and linear marks really stand out.

It’s true that you will need to “clean up” after a drum sander with a ROS, beginning at the same grit or one step coarser. There is a time savings, but nothing like I think you were wishing for 8^)

The drum sanders purpose is to perfectly flatten wide wood objects without tear out or other issues with some fancy woods. sanding to 220 grit in my experience means I’ll probably start the ROS with 180, though 220 grit on a drum sander requires careful attention to a lot of factors to prevent burning and extend the belt life.
A stroke sander goes another step forward in removing the linear scratches, but still leaves ROS work to do.

You should/could get to a nice surface with a good planer, possibly a spiral cutter head, after which a 120 grit ROS pass would be quick work.

What woods are you using and what surface issues are taking so much time with 120 grit (i.e. planer ripples, scratches, etc.)? Chances are a 6” ROS or something that really cuts fast like the Rotex may help a lot, also try using 100 grit as a starting point for the more stubborn parts.

View Rayne's profile

Rayne

1243 posts in 2079 days


#8 posted 02-13-2018 12:03 AM

Why can’t you use the drum sander to take the load off the 120 grit sanding and then use 220 with a ROS from there?

View AZWoody's profile

AZWoody

1461 posts in 1764 days


#9 posted 02-13-2018 12:13 AM

I have had a few drum sanders and if you do get it, running 2 or 3 passes at the final setting helps a lot as well.
Then, start 1 grit lower and work your way up.

Another thing to consider is do you really need to sand to 220? I usually only need to sand to 120 or 150 and the finish will still be smooth.

View Sunstealer73's profile

Sunstealer73

192 posts in 2632 days


#10 posted 02-13-2018 12:57 AM

I just upgraded from a DeWalt 5” to the Festool 150/3. It’s amazing how much faster and easier on my hands and wrists. Sanding was my most hated step, but I don’t mind it so much now. I usually go 120-150-180 for the finishes I use.

View Chuck77's profile

Chuck77

15 posts in 734 days


#11 posted 02-22-2018 03:02 AM



If you are using a 5 inch ROS, consider upgrading to 6 inch. Also, sheet sanders shouldn t be overlooked. Look into a 1/2 sheet model like Makita and Festool sell. They can be attached to your dust collection system too. The 1/2 sheet sander is over twice the square inches of a 5” ROS, cuts more aggressively and the paper is cheaper. I use the Makita and it s my starting point for all of my panel and large frame work.

Also, why start at 120 grit? Why not 80 or 100 for the initial heavy clean up, then your work with the 120 would go as fast as the 220.

Thanks for thee tip. Have never considered a sheet sander. In fact, I’ve never heard of that. I guess I need to do more research on the options out there.

I suppose I could start with a lower grit. I just don’t want to scratch up the wood too much (or remove too much of it) and then be forced to go back and clean it up with 120. But it’s probably worth a try.

Thanks for the info..
Chuck

- Rich


View Chuck77's profile

Chuck77

15 posts in 734 days


#12 posted 02-22-2018 03:14 AM



Hello Chuck, I myself have never owned a drum sander but like you have gone back and forth on whether I should get one or not. I will try and share some of the advice that I received. The number one thing almost everyone said right off the bat is that do not think for one minute a drum sander will act like a wide belt sander. A good friend of mine is lucky enough to have a 36” wide belt sander which he uses as both a thickness planer as well as his second to last step in his sanding process. Even with the wide belt sander he still does a quick touch up with his ROS with 220 grit. This sounds like the piece of equipment you are looking for. That being said it cost him $8,000 used, usually requires 3 phase power and on top of that takes up a lot of real estate. Lucky for him his shop is over 2,000sf. For most small one man shops a wide belt sander is just not an option. So the people I spoke to said that if you buy a drum sander thinking it will do the same thing as a wide belt sander then you are not going to be pleased. You need to understand that while it will save you some time sanding unfortunately probably not as much as you want. Also some other complaints I have heard is that sandspaper can be expensive for those machines and that both clogging of the sandpaper and burning of the lumber being sanded can be an issues especially at the beginning when you are still trying to figure out how to properly run the machine. So I guess to sum it up a drum sander will save you some time. In some shops it is as important and gets used as often as their thickness planer. Time is important to them which makes a drum sander an investment they are happy with. For me I just couldn’t justify spending over $1000 on a machine that is going to take up more valuable space in my shop and really doesn’t do anything that I couldn’t do with the tools that I have already.
But that doesn’t mean there are not other options out there. Like mentioned above there is the “old fashioned” stroke sander. Although I have never even seen one in person to me it looks like you must be skilled to operate one and that it takes up a lot of real estate. Also I’m not even sure you can still go to the store and buy one. You would probably have to search for a used one and hope that if anything goes wrong you ha e the know how and the parts to fix it.
Another option would be to upgrade your ROS. Which is the route I ended up taking. If money is not an option you could get the Festool 125 or even 150 FEQ rotex. I can guarantee you that with that machine along with the upgraded Festool sand paper you will be pleasantly surprised on how much quicker the sanding process goes. Also there is the Bosch 1250devs which would also be a nice upgrade to your dewalt ros.
Not sure if anything I said help at all. But like I said it was the process i went through and eventually I ended up buying the better Ros. Although I still ha e to spend substantial time sanding it’s a lot less than it used to be with my 5” dewalt. And who knows maybe one day we will ha e a big enough shop to buy the wide belt sander all us little guys dream about. Good luck and which ever direction you decide to go on I hope it works out.

Regards,
Trout

- Trout121180

Hey Trout,
Thanks for all the good info. It sounds like I need to look into the larger ROSs out there. Perhaps the Festool. I’ve heard good things about those. I just hope it could substantially cut down on the time I spend sanding. Today was sanding day for me. I’m building two beds right now (as usual for my operation). One in walnut with a large headboard and the other in cherry also with a large headboard. I sanded all of the walnut and cherry pieces today. Started with 120 and finished with a really quick 220 pass. Took me at least 6 hours. So I’m still hot on the trail of a better option.
Thanks
Chuck

View Chuck77's profile

Chuck77

15 posts in 734 days


#13 posted 02-22-2018 03:29 AM



The drum sander produces linear scratches in the wood. Your eye is very sensitive to seeing patterns and linear marks really stand out.

It s true that you will need to “clean up” after a drum sander with a ROS, beginning at the same grit or one step coarser. There is a time savings, but nothing like I think you were wishing for 8^)

The drum sanders purpose is to perfectly flatten wide wood objects without tear out or other issues with some fancy woods. sanding to 220 grit in my experience means I ll probably start the ROS with 180, though 220 grit on a drum sander requires careful attention to a lot of factors to prevent burning and extend the belt life.
A stroke sander goes another step forward in removing the linear scratches, but still leaves ROS work to do.

You should/could get to a nice surface with a good planer, possibly a spiral cutter head, after which a 120 grit ROS pass would be quick work.

What woods are you using and what surface issues are taking so much time with 120 grit (i.e. planer ripples, scratches, etc.)? Chances are a 6” ROS or something that really cuts fast like the Rotex may help a lot, also try using 100 grit as a starting point for the more stubborn parts.

- splintergroup

I use a lot of walnut. Some cherry. Occasionally white oak or maple. Actually I’m pretty well supplied as far as my jointer and planer combo. I’ve got a Powermatic 8” jointer with helical head and a Jet 15” planer also with helical head. I slow the planer down to the slower speed setting on my final pass and it leaves a damn smooth finish, but there is still some sanding needed to remove the small machine marks. There’s a little snipe occasionally but nothing that requires a ton of work. I think the problem is just the large volume I’m working with. Beds are big pieces with big parts. I turn out two beds at a time and I’m trying to expand to more. This amounts to a whole lotta sanding. I guess I just dream of a machine that I can feed my pieces into and have them pop out the other side smoothly sanded and ready for finish. If a drum sander is going to leave a bunch of linear scratches on my pieces its going to wind up on Craigslist pretty quick. Sounds like I can save my money and stay away from that tool. thanks for the good info.
Chuck

View Chuck77's profile

Chuck77

15 posts in 734 days


#14 posted 02-22-2018 03:36 AM



Why can t you use the drum sander to take the load off the 120 grit sanding and then use 220 with a ROS from there?

- Rayne

Hi Rayne,

That was sort of my plan. And if that actually worked it would be great. But it sounds like using 120 grit on a drum sander is going to leave the piece scratched up with the linear marks that would require cleaning up with a lower grit on the ROS. That sounds like even more work than I’m already doing. Hard to tell how things will go without actually trying it for myself. Too bad I can’t rent one of these things.
Thanks
Chuck

View Chuck77's profile

Chuck77

15 posts in 734 days


#15 posted 02-22-2018 04:47 AM

Looking at the festool sanders. They look great but the sanding pads are pretty expensive compared to what I’m using. Not sure if I’m looking at the right product but they’re around $15-20 for a 10 pack. Yikes. As it is now, I’m paying about 20 cents per sheet by cutting the larger sheets into fourths.

View Rich's profile

Rich

5001 posts in 1129 days


#16 posted 02-22-2018 04:55 AM


If you are using a 5 inch ROS, consider upgrading to 6 inch. Also, sheet sanders shouldn t be overlooked. Look into a 1/2 sheet model like Makita and Festool sell. They can be attached to your dust collection system too. The 1/2 sheet sander is over twice the square inches of a 5” ROS, cuts more aggressively and the paper is cheaper. I use the Makita and it s my starting point for all of my panel and large frame work.

Also, why start at 120 grit? Why not 80 or 100 for the initial heavy clean up, then your work with the 120 would go as fast as the 220.

- Rich

Thanks for thee tip. Have never considered a sheet sander. In fact, I ve never heard of that. I guess I need to do more research on the options out there.

I suppose I could start with a lower grit. I just don t want to scratch up the wood too much (or remove too much of it) and then be forced to go back and clean it up with 120. But it s probably worth a try.

Thanks for the info..
Chuck

- Chuck77

Hi Chuck,

I took the liberty of fixing the quoting on your response to make it more readable. A sheet sander is worth considering. You can use coarser grades for initial surfacing, and the large surface area will mean less tendency for the sander to gouge. I find that I get a much flatter surface, ready for the ROS.

For a 1/2 sheet sander, you can go Festool for a lot of money, or the Makita BO4900V for about $175. One tip — the Makita does not come with a plate to puncture the sandpaper, which is dumb. However, you can buy the one for the Festool for about $40, or make one like I did. Here’s the link: http://lumberjocks.com/RichTaylor/blog/97714

View chrisirving's profile

chrisirving

122 posts in 971 days


#17 posted 02-22-2018 12:29 PM

I just upgraded to a Festool 150/5 from a Dewalt ROS and added a Supermax 16/32 drum sander. It’s made a huge difference in the speed and quality
The sanding disks seem to last forever on the Festool sander where I was going through them constantly on the Dewalt Im sure 90% of that is due to much better dust collection
Now I plane, not quite to final dimensions, run it through the drum sander several times at 120 to clean up any tearout, then sand with the Festool at 120/150/180 and 220. I just have to make 3 to 4 passes per grit and it a perfect surface now
I know it might sound crazy but I’ll go out on a limb and say that I actually enjoy sanding now

View retfr8flyr's profile

retfr8flyr

386 posts in 2209 days


#18 posted 02-22-2018 01:04 PM

If you haven’t gotten you drum sander yet you should consider an oscillating drum sander. I upgraded my shop last year to an Jet 22-44 OSC and it does a great job. The small oscillation doesn’t seem like it would do much but it sure does. I don’t even run less that 180 anymore. I will run 80 grit, to get everything dimensioned and then switch to 180 for the final passes. Pieces with 180 grit come out finish ready, without needing to be hit with an ROS.

-- Earl

View English's profile

English

681 posts in 2017 days


#19 posted 02-22-2018 01:20 PM

Chuck, I built a set of Hickory cabinets some years back and sanding the door panels flat was taking 5 hours a door. With over 30 doors, I looked around and on Craigslist I found a 24” double drum Grizzly sander. I put 100 grit on the front drum and 180 grit on the rear. The door glue ups had some slight alignment issues where I edge jointed the pieces. The Grizzly would sand it flat with one pass. I could easily clean up with a very fast 120 and 220 ROS pass. Went from 5 hours a door to 15 minutes a door.

There is a learning curve for using drum sanders. The Grizzly has issues keeping the paper on the drum and taking too much off is very easy. I fixed the paper issue and added a amp meter to the main motor so that I could better control the amount I was taking off. This stopped the burning, but you still get vertical lines if something sticks to the paper. These sand off easy with 120 in a ROS. The amount of dust created by a double drum sander is epic. Mine has two 4” dust collection outlets on top and I have them connected to a 6” duct from my 2.5 hp cyclone dust collector. This is the only machine in my shop that doesn’t get enough air flow from the collector. I can get 1000crm thru a 6” duct with the two 4” outlets. and that is not enough.

If your dust collection is not up to the task the board comes out the back with a thick layer of dust laying on the board. Without dust collection the sand paper won’t last more than a few passes. I plan to upgrade the duct back to the collector to a 7” pipe to increase the flow rate. To get around this issue now I take very light passes on large pieces.

The paper is more expensive than the ROS paper, but the time saving makes up for that.

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

View Trout121180's profile

Trout121180

44 posts in 647 days


#20 posted 02-22-2018 03:58 PM

Hey Chuck,
Yes festool sand paper is expensive. I’m sure you are looking at the right kind although there are several different types offered by festool. The difference about festool sandpaper is that because of the amazing dust collection the sandpaper last much much longer. Also I believe you will see an improment in stock removal with the festool sandpaper as well. I completely understand the huge leap of faith it takes to buy festool Tools. Even the sandpaper is 5x more than even the most expensive sandpaper. You can’t possibly imagine that the huge cost of the sander and then the continued cost of the sandpaper could ever be worth it. And maybe it’s not. But if you start doing some research you will see that almost every festool owner has said the same thing at some point. Then finally purchasing one you hear them say “Why did I wait this long.” Now I’m not saying it is for everyone because it is not. Some people just can’t justify the cost. And like I said in my other post there are some inbetween sanders. I know for a fact that Bosch makes some really nice Sanders that will perform much better than your 5” dewalt. Not sure it is possible but maybe you could try out a festool some how. Not sure where you are located but I know woodcraft and stores similar like Rockler do demos where you can actually use the machine and see for yourself if you think it would be worth it for you. Good luck and if I can be of any assistance please do not hesitate to send me a message.

Luke

-- Luke “I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.” “If you wait till the last minute it only takes a minute.”

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