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Author Topic: Thickness Sander Buildalong
Inuumarue
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Well the title says it all. I decided to get away from my converted craftsman belt/thickness sander and build a dedicated drum sander. I used parts salvaged from the belt sander to save some money as the belt sander was on its way out. I also salvaged some scrap wood and MDF from around the house and shop to save money, so I do not have an itemized materials list, but will do the best I can.

You can find the sander I'm building here: http://woodgears.ca/sander/thickness.html
It's practically the same with a few modifications. More for necessity and $savings than improvement.

Well lets start this off with equipment. You're welcome to use what you have, you may have better equipment than I do, but this is what I used/am using.

Bandsaw, drill press, miter saw, cordless drill, angle grinder, respirator and other safety stuff, couple of different squares, some ratcheting bar clamps, hammer, assorted drill bits, 3/4th forstner, some files, glue, tape measure, level, calculator (because I can't convert from cm to " in my head.)

Materials:

For what I've ordered:
(mcmaster)
1- 24" 3/4th drive shaft
2- 3/4th stamped steel pillow blocks
1- zinc 3/4th ID 4"OD 1/2inch belt pulley.
1- 1/2inch belt (got the wrong length)
1- 2" wide by 5' of adhesive backed hook&loop(hook)
without the (wrong) belt the total investment so far is 61.50.

What I had/scrounged:
I had a couple bits of 2x4 laying around that were the right length so I ended up only cutting into one full 8' board. The website recommends four 8' 2x4s. I had some 3/4th MDF scraps laying around and two 2'x4' sheets (I will have to use both thanks to a measurement mistake... yeah I know.. measure twice...) I would estimate that two sheets should suffice. One will make the drum and one will make the table. With some extra left over for other projects. I also scrounged up two boxes of screws, one length of threaded rod and four nuts to go with it. The motor, drive pulley, and switch were salvaged from the old belt sander.

Things to left to purchase:
Piano or regular hinges, New belt, hook&loop sandpaper.

Posts: 91 | From: Virginia | Registered: Jul 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Inuumarue
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Alright, on to building.

First up, The frame.
The legs on my model are a about 35 3/4ths as opposed to the design's 99cm. Why? Because I used old 2x4 legs I had cut out of one 12' 2x4. Saving money here. The side bars for the frame were cut around the given 45cm at 18". Now the measuring and math come into play. The plans call for a 69.5 cm drive shaft, thats a 27.4" shaft. Now I said forget it and went with a 24" shaft, less cost, no cutting and no weird measurements. This means I had to change the length of the cross members on the frame. Good news, they come out to a nice even 26 inches. Screw everything together like in the plans and you're done.
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One thing to note, do yourself a favor and get some nice 2x4s. Mine are slightly warped and pretty rough, they do not make getting everything square easy. I did manage it though, the bar clamps I have are reversible and let me spread and clamp until everything was in line.

Next up, Break into the goodies. Truth be told you need to do this earlier to take measurements for the drive shaft and such to find the cross member length.
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All the goodies from mcmaster laid out on a arrow tapering jig to be. You can also see three parts of the MDF drum. I went with a 3/4th shaft because it is plenty thick and costs less for the shaft, bearings and pulleys. I forget but it was something like a 20-30 dollar difference between 3/4th and a 1" shaft and components.
Now is the time where I start using my brain and the calculator sees some heavy use. It comes out that with my cross member length at 26" I'm left with 20" between bearings and just enough sticking off the end to fit my pulley. So, lets say we give a quarter inch clearance on either side of the drum and the frame, thats 19.5" of working drum. It also works out to 26 MDF circles to make the drum. But, that leaves me with a solid drum and no room for expansion due to humidity. so we take out one disk and add 1/16th space between every four-five disks. This makes the drum a bit over 19" allowing for some space between the pillow blocks and the drum, which will come in handy later for dust collection. Now that we have all that figured out, its on to disk production.

First up, I needed to figure out how to cut circles. I don't have a lathe, so turning the drum isn't an option. So, the solution, make a jig and do it on the band saw. What you'll need, two scraps of MDF or plywood, one nail, and two wood screws, plus some of the equipment above. Heres what I did. I took a nice thin strip of MDF and screwed it at an about a right angle to a larger piece. The thin strip sits into the miter track, and is used to guide a cut to the center line of the larger MDF piece. Then I measured down the centerline 2" and 9/16ths, marked it and drilled a 1/8ths hole through the piece. Counter sink the underside and put a nail through it and this is what you'll end up with.

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Notice the little mark on the mark on the table by the bottom right corner of the miter guild? This lets me know when the blade is cutting at the centerline of the jig as the blanks cover up all of it. That brings up blanks. The fence on my bandsaw is set up to make roughly 5.25" cuts. When I make the disks I rip the MDF sheet through to make a plank of sorts, then crosscut using the fence as a stop and the miter gauge to make squares. I run lines from corner to corner, and drill a 1/8th hole in the center of the square blanks. Then they go through the jig and come out as discs. Heres how they go through:
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This is before cutting with the jig loaded. The blank isn't so square but it works.

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Straight cut in, lining up the jig with the mark on the table.

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And most of the way through the cut. I'm using the crummy 3/8th blade that came with the saw, not the best blade for the job, but better than my nice ripping/resawing blades.

Now something of note, if you must reset your fence mid project like I did don't forget to make sure you do it properly. I forgot and set my fence at 5" as I'm aiming for a 5" diameter drum... yeah I screwed up the 16 or so blanks I cut before realizing it. And that is how I ended my day, on a low note. But made up for it with dinner out with the fiancée and some friends.

Another note, if you use a smaller nail diameter its easier to get a nice center bore with the forstner bit. I ran three test pieces and spent considerable time making sure the holes are not off center, a smaller center hole would make this easier.

More tomorrow. Any questions?

Posts: 91 | From: Virginia | Registered: Jul 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
JSMOFFITT03
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Great Idea... Cant wait to see the rest...

good luck hope it works...

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matts2
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I have been thinking about one of these for a while. Looking forward to the build.

--------------------
Matt

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jess stuart
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Cool I love these build a longs. Looks like it will be a great sander, can't wait for more. Thanks for taking us along.
Posts: 1412 | From: Moriarty , New Mexico | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
snag
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VERY COOL!!! I'll be making this for the new shop! Thanks, David

--------------------
Isaiah 49:2...he made me a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.
Wilderness Custom Arrows

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Inuumarue
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Thanks guys. Almost finished. If it weren't for other chores this would have been a two day project. I'll upload the rest after dinner.

Adam

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Inuumarue
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Alright, here we go for day two.

First off, reset the fences and cut out more blanks. This time they're the right size. Drilled the center holes and run them through the bandsaw. Which brings us to the first picture, drilling the center bore. Got my forstner and the press set up. and all the blanks right next to the press.
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Now if you happen to have the same drill press as I do, then I certainly hope its put together better than mine. Mine has a bad bearing in it somewhere, which makes it wobble and skip. Makes drilling wood difficult, and metal near impossible. Either way, this little quirk of my machine makes drilling 90degree holes into a "close enough" affair. So, my drum isn't perfectly mated, theres quite a few little gaps. Shouldn't matter too much as the velcro will cover them all up once the drum is trued and covered.
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All glued up, with some wooden spacers to allow for expansion down the road. The spacers came out quite easily. Now while the glue is setting up I went out and picked up a few more supplies. First off about 7 bucks in hinges, lag screws,and lock and regular washers. And then another 11 bucks on a new drive belt, this time 60 inches instead of the 30 I mistakenly ordered. So add on another 18 bucks to the cost of the project.

When I came back I mounted everything up. I took my tape measure and measured 7" down the top side member. Then scribed a line all the way across on both sides and checked that the two lines were in fact inline with one another. I used these two lines to line up the edges of the pillow blocks. I'm trusting the manufacturer a bit here, hoping that everything is square with the blocks. I used the shaft and drum to help line everything up as well. Once everything is lined up, I marked off the locations and where to drill the holes for the lag screws. Then it was just a matter of screwing everything together. If the line up isn't perfect there is a reasonable amount of slop built into the bearings, officially it's somewhere around 5 degrees.
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The table is up next. Its pretty basic,just two sheets of MDF cut at 22" and 19.75". One is set up on the machine and then the hinges are attached. The second piece is placed on top and the locations of the hinges are marked out. I cut out some clearances for the hinges in the second sheet and then glued and screwed the two together.
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Not pretty but it does the job, and with three of these hinges everything stays in line fairly well.

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Mount up the pulley and belt and its time to situate the motor. First up, craftsman seems to work with everything in metric with the exception of the fasteners, though I'm not even sure of that. The shaft on the motor isn't a standard size and without my calipers (wish I could find them) I can't get an accurate measurement of the shaft for a replacement pulley. So the pulley on the motor is for a 3/8th belt and the pulley on the shaft is 1/2. Turn on the motor and pull out some files and grinding stones and the pulley is wide enough to run a 1/2 belt without problems. The metric sizes cause some other problems while mounting up the motor. The only thing I could find that fit the mounting holes were some spent 9mm rounds. The mounting is a simple matter, one 2x4 cut to fit between the mounting brackets, round off one edge and then line up the 2x4 and drive in the 9mm casings. Worked pretty well, but I don't recommend using them.
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Only a few things left to do. True up the drum, seal the drum and lay down the velcro, add in a tensioner for the motor, and put in the switch. I think I like the switch placement like it is in below.

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Will pick up where I left off on Monday. I'm heading to visit some family over the weekend.
Adam

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PZee
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Adam, This is wonderful. Thanks for sharing....

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'Impi! wo 'nans' impi iyeza
Obani bengathinta amabhubesi?'

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Inuumarue
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Thanks PZee.

Made it back from the family farm. Left with my eyes on some ERC that needs to come down sooner or later. Also swung by a lumberyard and picked up some ipe and canarywood. Gonna have to see what I can make out of those.

As for the thickness sander. I finished up the drum today. Took a while to true it up with some 40 and 60 grit paper taped to a scrap of MDF. I also started to apply my velcro but ran into a snag. For some reason what I thought was 5 yards was actually 5 feet. My bad, need to order some more in the morning. I'll get some photos up when the new velcro comes in, fiancée has the camera at the moment.

More to come!

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TNstickn
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Nice.

--------------------
Pick a spot.>>>>-------> Shoot straight.

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JSMOFFITT03
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How's the build coming along Inuumarue? itching to see the finished product and how it works
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Inuumarue
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It's coming along well, got everything in today so I can start workin on it again. I did get some work done of another sort as I waited for the extra velcro to come in. I built myself a new work table for my chop saw that serves double duty as an infeed support for my bandsaw. Just have to level them to each other and work out the rollers. I'll post some pics of the set up when it's finished.

The sander works well so far, I stuck on a few orbital sanding pads to the area I covered in velcro so far. Then made up a little jig and ground down some peacock feathers for fletches. Really nice as all I had to do was load the jig and run it through and I was done, no guess work. Now that the new velcro and the sanding roll are in I can get to work on wood. Sadly, for you guys and my shop, my sister-in-law-to-be is getting married on the 4th so my fiancee and I are busy getting her wedding ready. I'll finish it up and get it too you guys when no ones looking and I can sneak out to the man cave.

Adam

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JSMOFFITT03
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Quick question because ive never used a thinness sander...

Do you feed the material with the rotation of the drum or aginst it?

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Inuumarue
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he...he.... well I'm glad you asked.

Turns out I put mine on backwards.. oh well, just turn the drum and motor around and I'll be fine. Its supposed to turn so that the drum pushes back against you feeding it. My bet is that it's harder to shoot pieces across the room with that set up. While I was truing the drum I shot one of my sanding boards across the driveway by accident. The 40 grit I was using to rough true the drum really catches.

Adam

Posts: 91 | From: Virginia | Registered: Jul 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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