Ryobi Drum Sander - paper ripping

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Forum topic by Andrew posted 07-23-2012 12:23 AM 10800 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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316 posts in 3610 days

07-23-2012 12:23 AM

I got a Ryobi 16-32 drum sander for $200 off CL. It seems to be in great shape, looks almost brand new.

Does anyone have this sander who can give me advice on how to properly wrap the paper? The right (motor-side) clip seems to let the paper slip out and after a few passes it rips off, ruining the sandpaper.

Any thoughts?

-- Andrew - Albany. NY

8 replies so far

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 4230 days

#1 posted 07-23-2012 01:03 AM

I had a similar problem with a laguna 16-32. I converted it to hook and loop paper and have not had any trouble since.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

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316 posts in 3610 days

#2 posted 07-23-2012 01:14 AM

Is that difficult to do? Or do you just get hook and loop with adhesive backing and stick it on?

-- Andrew - Albany. NY

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2387 posts in 4790 days

#3 posted 07-23-2012 01:26 AM

It is easy to do. Go to get their phone number and just call them during business hours and they will set you up.

-- .

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316 posts in 3610 days

#4 posted 07-23-2012 01:27 AM

Thanks, I’ll probably do that this week.

-- Andrew - Albany. NY

View smits25u's profile


1 post in 2956 days

#5 posted 12-10-2013 08:28 PM

i see that grizzly has a conversion kit

i wonder if this would work.

View Tom Huntley's profile

Tom Huntley

58 posts in 4482 days

#6 posted 03-31-2014 12:50 PM

This is an answer to an old posting, but perhaps it will help some of you who have had problems with the motor-side abrasive gripper on your Ryobi WDS 1600 drum sander. The gripper assembly does two things: a small pincher grabs the tail end of the paper, and the larger assembly, including the pincher, rotates on the drum shaft under the pressure of a hefty spring to keep the adhesive paper tight. Perhaps it is a tolerance issue, but the pincher device sometimes (or ALL of the time for some folks) does not grab the tail end of the abrasive sheet very well. The abrasive loading process requires the operator to pull the main assembly, including the abrasive pincher, against the spring until it is in alignment with the slot in the drum. In theory, when the tail of the paper is slid into the slot, it goes underneath the pincher, and as small spring forces the tab of the pincher against the abrasive side of the paper. This works like a Chineese finger trap; the paper slides under a spring-loaded tab, and the tab presses hard against the paper as the hefty spring on the entire assembly is SLOWLEY released by the operator. If you allow the paper gripper assembly to snap back, it rips the tail of the abrasive out of the little pincer.

Back to the tolerance issue…My belief is that a couple snaps of the larger spring mess up the operation of the pincher, and then it never grips as well as it did when new. What I have started doing is to sandwich a 1” piece of abrasive to the tail end of the long abrasive sheet where it goes into the pincher. This doubles the thickness of the abrasive at the point where the pincher is needed to establish a strong hold on the abrasive paper. With the thickness doubled at the pincher end, I can tell you that my systems works fabulously well! In fact, it sometimes grabs the paper so tightly, that removing it can be a challenge. Using a dental mirror, I was able to determine where to put a small screwdriver under the tab, so I could lift it a bit, and then release the paper. If you have an iPhone and a flashlight, take a photo of the mechanism. I did, and it was a huge help in figuring out how this thing works.

Keeping the abrasive tight is the Achilles heal of this product’s design. Now that I can load my abrasive and trust that it will stay in place, I love this sander. (bought mine in like-new condition for $200.) One last comment: This sander has a 1hp direct drive motor. Don’t expect to grind off a ton of wood with each pass. Take your time, and you will consistently get outstanding results. Good luck!

-- Tom Huntley - Rochester Hills, Michigan

View Warren's profile


29 posts in 1630 days

#7 posted 10-26-2017 08:03 PM

I purchased a second hand Ryobi 16-32 drum sander off Craigslist about 18 month ago, and like many have reported for this unit and other drum sanders, I had trouble with the spring clips keeping the sandpaper securely clamped to the drum. After ripping up a couple of sandpaper strips, I came up with a fix that works well for me.

I started on the left side of the drum and removed the spring clip mechanism. Then I made a clip (photo 1 and 2) that is secured to the inside the drum with an #8-32 flat head screw. The clip is made from some .062” thick Al with an 8-32 nutplate riveted to the back. There is about ¾” between the screw hole and the slot in the drum for gripping the tail of the sandpaper. When the paper is inserted and the screw tightened (photo 3), it is very secure and cannot be pulled loose by hand.

I used this for about a year and never had sand paper come loose on the left side. I recently did have the paper come loose from the spring slip still on the right side, and I used nylon reinforced strapping tape to hold the paper in place. This actually worked pretty well, but does narrow the sanding width on the drum. So, as the 60g sand paper strip began to get dull, I decided to give the right side of the drum the same treatment as on the left.

The first problem you run into is that it is next to impossible to see inside the drum from the right side. I therefore removed the drum assembly from the sander and determined that I could use a clip as I had on the left side but a little longer, and I would not have to remove the spring clip (which on my unit cannot be removed without removing the bearings from the drum shaft). Photo 4 shows the clip for the right side; photo 5 shows the end of the right side of the drum and shows where the hold the right side is to be place; photo 6 shows the clip and sandpaper in place but without the screw tightened, and photo 7 shows it with the screw tightened.

After reassembling & installing the drum, I checked the drum alignment with the table and tweaked it a bit with some .010” Al sheet.

I have only used the unit with the new right side screw clip installed for a short while, but based on my experience with the left side, I think this will reduce or eliminate sandpaper coming loose on the drum. This is not what I would call a quick release mechanism, but it is easy to use, is very secure, and should be adaptable to other drum sanders. Also, if the sandpaper gets a little loose from stretching or whatever, it is easy to loosen either L or R screw, push the sandpaper under the clip and retighten.


1. Knowing what I know now, it is not necessary to remove the old spring clips on either the right or left side if you can determine the location of the original spring clip components and place the screw between them. Also, it is not really necessary to remove the drum, which is a bit of work.

2. I used nutplates on an Al plate, parts left over from an airplane project. A steel plate ~.08 – .125” thick would probably work OK as well, with a tapped hole or a nut somehow secured to the bottom of the plate. In either case, the plate may need to be bent a little to fit it in place inside the drum. This plate acts as a spring, however, and you should not try and make it conform to the inside curvature of the drum. It will conform when you tighten the screw.

3. If was doing it over, I would make the clip on the left side the same length as the newer one I made for the right.

View Warren's profile


29 posts in 1630 days

#8 posted 10-26-2017 09:42 PM

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