Performax 16/32 - leveling bed to drum trick

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Forum topic by Mike_D_S posted 12-21-2017 12:21 AM 4684 views 1 time favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Mike_D_S's profile


605 posts in 3017 days

12-21-2017 12:21 AM

So if you have a Jet or Performax drum sander, you have probably had the joy of trying to get the bed level to the drum. It can be done, but it’s a hassle. On my 16/32, I have to loosen the 4 bolts holding the drum/motor assembly to the frame, adjust the tilt with the knob and then tighten the bolts back down, often shifting the head in the process of tightening the bolts.

On top of that the pivot point for the drum head is off to the side of the table, so as you adjust the head parallelism, both the near and far side move around a little.

So this last time, I had the drum adjusted within about 0.012 of being parallel (thicker by 0.012 outboard of the drum) and had essentially gave up on getting it better when I had an idea I figured I’d share.

I decided that instead of trying to adjust the drum to the table, I’d follow the same logic as the new Jet and Supermax sanders and adjust the table to the drum. Since I don’t have the sexy table leveling mechanism, I went for my go to redneck shim material (Pepsi can). The body of an aluminum can is about 0.003” thick and since I needed to bring up the far end by 0.012, I cut four shims from a can, loosened the table mounting bolts and then slipped them under the outside of the table.

After tightening the conveyor table back down, I ran the test blocks back through and was very pleasantly surprised to find the variation was now under 0.004 end to end, which is more than acceptable in my book.

Figured I’d post this and maybe it’ll help somebody else. Here’s a pic of the conveyor table, and you can just see the shim material under the end of the table.


-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

5 replies so far

View jat's profile


82 posts in 3574 days

#1 posted 12-21-2017 12:29 AM

Hey Mike: Thanks for the tip and idea. I have the same problem. My unit is lower in the middle than each end.

View jerryminer's profile


960 posts in 2244 days

#2 posted 12-21-2017 01:01 AM

Great tip, Mike——but I think beer cans make better shims. In fact, I think I’d better run to the store for some more shim material right now.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View splintergroup's profile


3855 posts in 2025 days

#3 posted 12-21-2017 03:54 PM

Nice solution Mike!

I have the same issues, things shift as you tighten up the head unit bolts.

Leveling is actually quite easy. I use some machinist parallels (any to objects of the same thickness would work) and place them on the inboard/outboard sides of the table. I then lower the (loosened) drum down onto the parallels and tighten up the head. If the drum lowers enough, it could be reset directly on the table for alignment.

This last tightening step is where I scream 8^)

I managed to get 0.01” across the width, but the simple idea of adding a 0.01” shim is just so “simple” 8^)

View Mike_D_S's profile


605 posts in 3017 days

#4 posted 12-21-2017 11:52 PM

Yeah, it’s always the last part that kills me. I can get it level to the table easily enough, but every time I finish tightening the bolts it will have shifted a little bit.

For most things it probably doesn’t matter much. For cabinet doors, picture frames, etc, no one will probably ever realize that the centers are 4 or 5 thousandths thicker. But for things like cutting board stock prep where the error will be multiplied as you stack the layers, it can really start to add up and be obviously noticeable.

I had actually been eyeing latest Supermax and Jet sanders pretty hard due to this issue (and just general Xmas tool envy) but this has breathed a little new confidence into the old Performax.

Actually, I’ve already done some upgrades on the Performax. I lucked out and happened to find the conveyor from the updated Jet 16/32 with the Sandsmart circuitry at a local damaged merchandise clearance place. Since the Jet 16/32 and the Jet era Performax 16/32 are essentially the same machine, I was able to replace the coveryor for under $100 and now I have the frankenstien PerformaJet 16/32 with sandsmart.

So the only thing I gain by moving to the new one would be the easier to level conveyor and I’ve sorted that out.


-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View CherryO's profile


52 posts in 1452 days

#5 posted 04-29-2019 01:28 AM

Thanks for all of your posts on this sander, I just picked up one myself with the stand with rollers for cheap and he through in two handscrew wood clamps and the extension tables to sweeten the deal.
I do have a question on your upgrade. What is the current HP of your sander. I read somewhere that you cannot successfully upgrade the SS controller on the old 1HP machines due to a hysteresis issue. If you have done this upgrade on a 1HP motor than I will be very excited, as I would only have to upgrade the controller and not the motor.
Thanks in advance for you time.

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