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View SweetTea's profile

Choosing a drum sander

by SweetTea
posted 07-15-2017 12:38 PM


18 replies so far

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

2478 posts in 4235 days


#1 posted 07-15-2017 12:56 PM

Having used a drum sander forever and having owned several here is my .02

the open end ones are not what they are cracked up to be .. hard to keep from cantilevering
dual drum can also be an issue .. novel idea but getting it all set up just perfect can be an issue, i had a dual Super Max 37 ” , sold it and got a single drum and never looked back.

As to brand I have Super Max and they have always been top notch .

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

2641 posts in 1587 days


#2 posted 07-15-2017 02:45 PM

As Mr. Neil implied, the open ended designs (which is what I use) don’t always allow you to flip the board around and effectively double your drum width. There always will be a slight lip where the drum passes overlap. You can use a ROS to flatten this “seam”, but if you really want to speed up your work, get a sander with a drum as wide as the widest piece of stock you regularly sand.

View joandust's profile

joandust

24 posts in 757 days


#3 posted 07-15-2017 03:10 PM

Hey SweetTea, I’m glad I caught your question, drum sanders are my favorite! I’m a little spoiled since I have a few at my disposal including the Jet 22-44 Pro and the Supermax 25-2 (not the woodmaster though). The Supermax is great for the price as well but lacks a few technological advancements. Have you considered the Powermatic PM2244? I’ve recommended it before and I can’t help but to do it again, although the HP is only 1-3/4 HP it performs very well and has both an high-quality body and a superb LED control panel with DRO, all of this at about $2500.
Other than that, the Jet 22-44 Pro that you mentioned is an EXCELLENT choice in my opinion. Superb machine at an incredible price as well, it’s potent, sturdy and the performance is top-notch and of course it has a digital readout screen too and it sits at basically the same price as the Powermatic PM2244.
I’ve mentioned this site before, feel free to check it for the drum sander reviews and to quickly compare all of these machines, makes it easier to choose the perfect one.
Go for the either of these and you won’t regret it.
Hope I’ve helped!

-- Joan

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

117618 posts in 3942 days


#4 posted 07-15-2017 03:20 PM

Heaven forbid I should differ from Charles :)) but what little I’ve used my SuperMax 25-2 it’s been fine and the reviews are good on it I couldn’t afford or have room for a super Max 37” or I would gotten one. I know the jet has had problems and not as good of reviews. If budget allows get the 37” like Charles suggest.

View SweetTea's profile

SweetTea

399 posts in 1024 days


#5 posted 07-15-2017 03:37 PM



Hey SweetTea, I m glad I caught your question, drum sanders are my favorite! I m a little spoiled since I have a few at my disposal including the Jet 22-44 Pro and the Supermax 25-2 (not the woodmaster though). The Supermax is great for the price as well but lacks a few technological advancements. Have you considered the Powermatic PM2244? I ve recommended it before and I can t help but to do it again, although the HP is only 1-3/4 HP it performs very well and has both an high-quality body and a superb LED control panel with DRO, all of this at about $2500.
Other than that, the Jet 22-44 Pro that you mentioned is an EXCELLENT choice in my opinion. Superb machine at an incredible price as well, it s potent, sturdy and the performance is top-notch and of course it has a digital readout screen too and it sits at basically the same price as the Powermatic PM2244.
I ve mentioned this site before, feel free to check it for the drum sander reviews and to quickly compare all of these machines, makes it easier to choose the perfect one.
Go for the either of these and you won t regret it.
Hope I ve helped!

- joandust

Joan, thank you for the reply. I should note, I am not particularly concerned with an open ended design. I plan to sand mostly cabinet doors, which are rarely more than 22” wide. For the occasional door that is more than the Jet or similar drum sanders compacity, I will just sand by hand with a ROS. With that being said, I will definitely check out the Powermatic 22/44.

Joan, how would you rate the Jet 22-44 Pro versus the SuperMax 25×2? Do you feel the need for the power of the Supermax over the Jet?

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1213 posts in 860 days


#6 posted 07-16-2017 12:21 AM

+1 on the PM2244. I have used mine mostly to sand cabinet doors and it works quite well. Your other option is to outsource your doors.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View SweetTea's profile

SweetTea

399 posts in 1024 days


#7 posted 07-16-2017 09:05 AM



+1 on the PM2244. I have used mine mostly to sand cabinet doors and it works quite well. Your other option is to outsource your doors.

- TungOil

Do you guys think that the 1.75HP on the Powermatic is sufficient? The SuperMax has 5HP and the Jet has 3HP. I love Powermatic and would really like to own some of their equipment, I just wonder if the 5HP SuperMax is going to be a better machine due to it having substantially more power?

View SweetTea's profile

SweetTea

399 posts in 1024 days


#8 posted 07-16-2017 09:11 AM

With that being said, how important is horse power in a drum sander? Would the fact that I will be sanding cabinet doors almost exclusively negate the need for more horse power?

Other priorities of mine include; belt tracking reliability and ease of adjusting the conveyer belt. Keeping the platen and drum perfectly parrelell with out having to constantly fiddle with it, and last, easy to change the sand paper. I would much prefer a unit that uses something like Velcro to fasten the sandpaper to the drum versus using spring clips like my current Delta 31-250 uses. (I hate this old Delta btw)

View joandust's profile

joandust

24 posts in 757 days


#9 posted 07-16-2017 02:33 PM


With that being said, how important is horse power in a drum sander? Would the fact that I will be sanding cabinet doors almost exclusively negate the need for more horse power?

Other priorities of mine include; belt tracking reliability and ease of adjusting the conveyer belt. Keeping the platen and drum perfectly parrelell with out having to constantly fiddle with it, and last, easy to change the sand paper. I would much prefer a unit that uses something like Velcro to fasten the sandpaper to the drum versus using spring clips like my current Delta 31-250 uses. (I hate this old Delta btw)

- SweetTea

Hello again SweetTea! The PM2244 can easily handle cabinet doors and similar work, it’s a real beauty. I really wish you could try all the machines we’ve talked about to get a feel for them.
About the previous question of “how would you rate the Jet 22-44 Pro versus the SuperMax 25×2? Do you feel the need for the power of the Supermax over the Jet?”, I’d say I don’t feel that the 5HP makes it that much better. With all the work I’ve done 3HP is more than enough (as I’ve said, even the 1.75HP PM2244 has been able to do everything I want).
When comparing between those 2 alone though, I really love the Jet 22-44 Pro. The SuperMax is a great machine but the Jet wins in my book.
In the end, they are all extremely solid machines and you will be very happy with any of them. If I had to choose I’d go for the PM2244 for general work (it’s an all-around excellent machine) and the Jet 22-44 Pro if I was going to be handling tougher, harder surfaces that would really justify the need for extra power.

-- Joan

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1213 posts in 860 days


#10 posted 07-17-2017 12:41 AM



With that being said, how important is horse power in a drum sander? Would the fact that I will be sanding cabinet doors almost exclusively negate the need for more horse power?

Other priorities of mine include; belt tracking reliability and ease of adjusting the conveyer belt. Keeping the platen and drum perfectly parrelell with out having to constantly fiddle with it, and last, easy to change the sand paper. I would much prefer a unit that uses something like Velcro to fasten the sandpaper to the drum versus using spring clips like my current Delta 31-250 uses. (I hate this old Delta btw)

- SweetTea

I don’t think horsepower is much of an issue because you are limited to very small stock removal by the nature of the design. As I mentioned I have used my PM2244 mostly for sanding cabinet doors and I don’t have any issues with power. The nature of the drum sander (as opposed to a true wide belt sander) makes it unsuitable for anything but very light passes. With mine I have found that 80 grit seems to be the sweet spot but I also use a lot of 60, 100 and 120. The finer grits clog easily then burn and leave lines so I avoid them.

For cabinet doors I typically flatten them with 60 or 80 grit on the drum sander then a couple passes with 100 grit to reduce the lines, then I switch to the ROS starting with 100 grit, 120 then 220. Ready for finish. I don’t use a back cutter on my raised panels so I sand the backs before I assemble the rails & stiles, then sand the rest after assembly.

Years ago we had a Timesaver wide belt sander in the shop. THAT is a machine that is accurately named. With a belt that tracks back and forth you get very few lines in the finished work and the longer belts don’t overheat and burn the work as easily as the drums do. While I really like my drum sander, if I were looking at setting up a production shop it would be a widel belt hands down.

The belt spring clip thing on the PM2244 works well as long as you take your time when installing the belt and get good tension on the motor side. The trick is to get the belt wrapped very tight, then check it after the first piece goes through and retighten if needed. I have had no issues with parallelism and the conveyor belt is self tracking on my machine. They were perfect right off the crate I’ve never needed to adjust either.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1264 days


#11 posted 07-17-2017 12:50 AM


if I were looking at setting up a production shop it would be a wide belt hands down.

- TungOil

^I second this.^

I bought my SCMI 37” wide belt at an auction for 1100.00
I’ve had it over 15 years and it’s still going strong.

View SweetTea's profile

SweetTea

399 posts in 1024 days


#12 posted 07-19-2017 11:51 AM

Well unfortunately I was not about to purchase the Kuster Sandstar wide belt sander. I made an 8 hour (each way) trip to go pick it up and sadly was not able to make the deal.

With that being said, I am now considering the drum sander options again. Right now I have completely narrowed it down to either the SuperMax 25×2 versus the Powermatic PM2244. The SuperMax has 5HP to the Powermatic’s 1.75HP and is capable of sanding 25” versus 22” with the Powermatic. I like the digital controls of the Powermatic, and their reputation for building quality machines, however, it just seems inferior in every possible way to the SuperMax 25×2. Would you guys recommend the SuperMax over the Powermatic? If I had the SuperMax I could also have the capability to sand butcher block counter tops, should the need ever present it self. I like the horse power too. This will be used almost exclusively for sanding bare cabinet doors. I am 90% of the way sold on the SuperMax, I just need a little nudge in the same direction. lol

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 4013 days


#13 posted 07-19-2017 03:23 PM

The added HP is a real good thing in a
drum sander imo. I had a 5hp Woodmaster
drum sander for awhile and while it was
as slow as any drum sander, it didn’t have
a tendency to stall and dig in if the cut
was any more than the tiniest nibble.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1213 posts in 860 days


#14 posted 07-19-2017 04:45 PM

Bummer, what happened with the Kuster? What about continuing to look for a wide belt? Outsource your doors to conestoga (like everyone else does BTW…) while you find the right machine

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View SweetTea's profile

SweetTea

399 posts in 1024 days


#15 posted 07-20-2017 09:17 AM



Bummer, what happened with the Kuster? What about continuing to look for a wide belt? Outsource your doors to conestoga (like everyone else does BTW…) while you find the right machine

- TungOil

I have given up on finding a decent wide belt for $3000. The deal with the Kuster didn’t work out the way I understood it to work before I drove half way across the country to pick it up. I have no desire to out source my doors. I own 4 shapers (soon to be 5 or 6.) and I actually enjoy building the doors. I tried ordering the doors a while back on a couple of jobs but my one and only local door supplier just didn’t end up with the quality that I expect. I have even considered getting out of the cabinet business and doing doors only, lettng other shops, contractors and home owners order from me. If I were to do that, I would most definitely have to get a nice wide belt sander, maybe a Biesse. Just out of curiosity, what company do you get your doors from?

View SweetTea's profile

SweetTea

399 posts in 1024 days


#16 posted 07-20-2017 09:19 AM

Another negative thing about the Kuster was there were very few reviews or information about it, and what reviews there were are terrible. Apparently the Kuster is considered the most unreliable wide belt at any price point. Everything I read was negative.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1213 posts in 860 days


#17 posted 07-20-2017 11:39 AM

negative reviews would give me pause as well. Probably best that it didn’t work out but too bad you wasted so much time and fuel to find out.

on the outsourcing of doors- When we had our shop, we moved away from making doors in house to having Conestoga make them. Even back in the 80’s they were well known for their ability to make doors and did a nice job. the simple fact was they could deliver doors to us at less cost and similar quality to what we could make ourselves. We had 3 shapers set up just for doors- they never got changed. We also had a wide belt sander. Conestoga was still the better business decision. we were probably averaging about 2-3 kitchens a week at that time in a shop of about 10 guys. My mother still owns a kitchen showroom- she carries cabinet lines from five different manufacturers ranging from medium priced up to very high end custom. four of the five use Conestoga for their doors. Only the very high end shop still makes their own doors.

I like making doors too, and I do make my own now that WW is a hobby for me. But if I were still in this to make a living, I would seriously consider outsourcing doors and probably boxes as well. It needs to be a business decision, not one based on emotion. Consider it.

Back to your original question- if a wide belt is out of the picture at this point a drum sander will certainly be better than tackling large quantities of doors with a ROS. My experience with my PM2244 is that it’s a lot slower than I would like, it requires that you install the paper wrap very precisely and it leaves sanding lines that I need to sand out with an ROS afterwards. You will not get a finish ready surface out of a drum sander (believe me, I tried!). It will do a good job flattening your doors, and overall I think it saves some time, but not that much really.

Good luck with it!

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View SweetTea's profile

SweetTea

399 posts in 1024 days


#18 posted 07-20-2017 02:39 PM

Well I ended up ordering the SuperMax 25×2. What sold me on it was a combination of :

1. it has a 5HP motor
2. 25” non cantilevered design with drum supported on both sides
and finally
3. The reviews.

I am not planning on using the second drum. I am not sure if it can be disabled? Also, not sure if the sandpaper attaches with spring clips. Hope not. I would prefer Velcro as my current Delta has spring clips and they suck. I plan to order the infeed and outfeed tables later. My only other concern is the cost of sandpaper. I prefer to buy ready to use sandpaper and not cut it myself. Hopefully the setup of the machine doesn’t take too long either. Would be nice if it was computer controlled, had a screen that indicated the amount you are about to take off, or at the very least a digital readout. Oh well, the reviews on all the SuperMaxes are great. The Jet had a lot of bad reviews. The Powermatic, while sleek and sexy, just didn’t make the cut due to the horse power, size and cantilevered design, which I hate. I am looking forward to getting this baby setup and making sawdust!

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