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Message started by ukuleledude on May 23rd, 2002 at 8:19am

Title: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by ukuleledude on May 23rd, 2002 at 8:19am
Aloha all,

I have been trying to find a good resource for planing my tops, backs and sides but I have been unsuccessful so far. I have considered buying a thickness planner however the ones that do the work that I wish to do are very $$.  :-/  I was on the ukulele guild site and saw the homemade thickness sander and wondered if any one knew of a place to get specific plans to make one?

Mahalo in advance,
Joshua
Ukuleledude

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Minifac on May 23rd, 2002 at 3:56pm
Joshua,
I have copies of the thickness sander plans. Email me at ntt815@hawaii.rr.com and we can make arrangements for me to get it to you.

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Doug Barker on Aug 25th, 2003 at 6:30pm
I also would like a copy of the thickness sander plans, if possible.

Thanks!  Doug

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by ukeman on Aug 27th, 2003 at 6:04pm
aloha thickness sander guys!  just to clear up a bit for tool usages. To mill wood a thickness planer is cool but will only effectively mill to about 1/4" thick...anything thinner will probable blow or chunk out on the blades. Thus you would need a thicknessing sander to take it from 1/4" and down to whatever moves you. Norman Takeya has the plans for the thickness saqnder and several guild members have built sanders based on that plan...so it works. I use a performax 16/32 thicknessing sander and I've had this one for almost 8 years....not the fastest not the commercial wonder tool...but totally serviceable and accurate...I've milled thousands of pieces through this machine...ranted about its design flaws to the company via phone at least 3 times...Had terrific service in answer to my rants and discovered that all of my harangues was mostly my fault..Yup ya got ta get used to the take up hold down and yup..a vacuum hook up is a must.....but now...i have nothing but respect for this tool and the service it has given me for these many years.....laters  ukeman

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Miguel Vera on Oct 13th, 2003 at 12:41pm
I am looking for a thickness sander but really they are too expensive fpr me, and decided to try to build one for me but need all the help I can get.
so if you are kind enough to share your experience and plans to build one I will apreciate
best regards
Miguel

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by grasshopper on Oct 14th, 2003 at 2:10pm
Yo Miguel and all you that are looking for thickness sander information or just instrument building information,

You should check out the Musical Instrument Maker's Forum - www.MIMF.com.   There is tons and tons of information on all facets of musical instrument building, including information on thickness sanders, etc.  When you go there, you need to sign up as a member, which is free, and then you will get access into the Library.  In the Library, there is so much information that it would take years to read through.  Just do a search for what you are looking for.  Although it is free to be a member, I would recommend that you make the donation cause the amount of information there is so voluminous that it is like an encyclopedia for instrument makers.  You will be paying only pennies for each piece of information that you get.  Anyways, check it out.  It is a one stop shop for instrument building information, well, just about.

Later,
gh

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by UkuHead on Nov 20th, 2003 at 3:46pm
Aloha guys,
        This goes out to who ever made a thickness sander
I've done everything so far I just need help on the table part I read that most guys use formica for the surface so I looked around Oahu and man!! I gotta buy the whole sheet 4 ftx8 ft sheet thats to much at 40-50 bucks and thats at City Mill & Home Depot . So if you guys use formica or something different I need all the info I can get maybe I just gotta go raid one job site and barrow some scrap peices!!:)(nah just Joking).

Aloha UkuHead ;D

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Dominator on Nov 21st, 2003 at 5:46pm
Ukuhead,
Look in your yellow pages for cabinet shops.  Sometimes they have scraps that are too small for counter tops but perfect for what you need.  Here on the mainland they will give the stuff away or charge a very small amount.  Worth checking it out.  

Also, for all the thickness sander folks.  Here is a plan for a thickness drum sander.  I have read some reviews from people that made them and they were satisfied with the result.
http://www.moritzdesigns.com/

Good Luck,
Dominator

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Dominator on May 13th, 2004 at 6:51pm
Just wanted to through out a big Aloha and Maholo to Norman from Ukulele Supply of Hawaii for sending me the plans for the drum sander.  I completed it a couple of days ago and am pleased with the results.  Need to build a side bender and a couple of other small jigs and then I can start my first mahogany tenor.  Can't wait.  Here is a picture if I can figure out how to do it.  Dominator


Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by hapakid on May 15th, 2004 at 6:44am
Really nice work Dominator. Nice and sturdy, as well as precise.
I wish I had the patience to do something like that.
Jesse Tinsley

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Dominator on May 18th, 2004 at 2:31pm
Thanks Jesse,
You have much more patience than you are giving yourself credit for.  You have to have patience in order to turn out the creative ukuleles that you are.  So I don't buy it (LOL) ;D

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by hapakid on May 18th, 2004 at 5:19pm
Aloha Dominator,
I have found any number of ways to avoid buying/building a thickness sander, but having one means you can work with more varieties of woods, plus allowing you to mill local woods.
I have used a hand power plane, a jack plane, an orbital and finish sander and the belt sander to thin sides and tops, but your machine is the best way.
Your first uke is really nice. I am partial to simple ukes with basic wood combinations, more in keeping with island sensibiliites. Pearl, abalone and fancing inlay are just extras that make you not want to take the uke to the beach!
Jesse Tinsley

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by RCHawaii on May 18th, 2004 at 10:22pm
Dominator, that planer looks great- I have yet to get the plans, but I am. Mind if I ask how much you wound up putting into it relatively speaking. That's a great shop addition for sure.

Luckily I have a base made exactly like that I got from some plans in a woodworking magazine a year or so back.. which I use to cut foam airplane wings, so it should work perfectly and same me some time.

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Dominator on May 19th, 2004 at 4:18am
Jesse,
A little beach sand would probably do this uke some good :D

RC,
I had some of the plywood I used for the table and the guard already laying around the shop but with buying a new motor, which was around $90 with S&H, I spent out of pocket just under $300.  I know that sounds like a lot for something that you don't even know will work right when it is completed but it is about $300 or $400 cheaper than I could buy one for.  And though it doesn't perform like a factory built machine (mainly because of not having a feed system) I am satisfied with the result.  So is Norm sending you the plans?  I can send them to you if you want me to.
Dominator

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by hapakid on May 19th, 2004 at 6:38am
I'll look long and hard at building a sander, but Powermax sells one for $500 that sands 10" wide, which is enough for ukes. It has a feed system that consists of a sandpaper belt with a gear-reduced drive on it.  
I might just start saving my pennies....
Jesse Tinsley

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by RCHawaii on May 19th, 2004 at 12:37pm
I have to scrounge up the stamps and envelope then he will :D Not a problem - thanks! I am the scrounger of scroungers, I'm sure I can do it cheaper if I really want to :D

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Jan wise on Jun 9th, 2004 at 8:48am
http://www.naut-res-guild.org/sander.htm
is a good link to look at for the plans. :)

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by RCHawaii on Jun 12th, 2004 at 1:10pm

wrote on May 19th, 2004 at 4:18am:
 So is Norm sending you the plans?  I can send them to you if you want me to.
Dominator

Dom, if you have those plans still I'd appreciate it. He never sent them, after I sent him a Business SASE :( NO idea why.

Thanks if ya get a chance to send them!

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Dominator on Jun 13th, 2004 at 6:12am
RC,
I will get them out in the next couple of days.  I am headed out to the shop to thickness the top and back plates for the tenor.  We will see how she performs today.  When I used it to thickness the sides it worked great.

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Dominator on Jun 14th, 2004 at 6:36am
RC,
The sander plans are in the mail.

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by RCHawaii on Jun 14th, 2004 at 11:28pm
Thanks as luck would have it, it arrived today with a message about it being lost in the frey lol- Thanks man!!! I can always use an extra copy.
:-X

Thanks JanWise!!

As a coinkadink, I used to build model ships as well , neat link! I used to do it all the hard way IOW sand by hand :D Building a uke is a lot like building a ship in fact, but thank god I don't have to do all the bulkheads and planking anymore :D (scale nails could be a pain too) ;)

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Matt on Jun 21st, 2004 at 11:23am
Any chance one of you can scan the plans and email them?  If not, I'd be interested in getting the plans mailed to me, and I'll scan them.

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Dominator on Jun 22nd, 2004 at 10:07am
Matt,
Too many pages to scan for my old computer.  Send me an email and I will respond with details on getting you a set of the plans.
dominic@rcsis.com

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by RCHawaii on Jun 27th, 2004 at 10:37pm
Dom, I want to thank you for sending those my way. Although My original SASE copy arrived,  I am very appreciative.

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Dominator on Jun 30th, 2004 at 9:18am
No problem RC.  Keep us informed when you start working on it.

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Wood_Butcher on Aug 11th, 2004 at 3:34pm
Hey Dominator,

Am liking your killer machine!  Have seen enough plans at different sites to fake it.  Wondering what method for attaching paper you're using.  Not too excited about the glue-on method.  Interested in finding an easy(sic) way that works well.  Thanks in advance for any feedback.

Keep on strummin',
Mark S.


Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Dominator on Aug 11th, 2004 at 6:17pm
Mark,
I am using the velcro matt (hook and loop system) from Woodmaster tools.  It works great.  If you go to my website at www.rockslide.org and follow the links to my woodworking page and click the link for the sander you will have access to all of the information.  I am in Southern Ca but am leaving for home in the morning.  I can check the pricing but I think I got the velcro and 25 yards or so of paper from woodmaster for less than $50.  It makes changing paper a breeze.  Worth the $$ in my opinion.
Dominator

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by msrvfx on Feb 6th, 2005 at 8:03pm
Hi All,

Been really impressed with Dominators Thickness sander, and did a bit of additional searchingon the web and found a few additional links of value.
Just a few additional refinements to make it easy for us.
One helpful suggestion was mounting the motor on a hinged plate, so the weight of the motor tensions the pully belt. that way the motor never goes into too much of a power drag.

And for truing up the shape of the wooden cylinder...run a taped down large set of sheets of course  sandpaper on the feed table to the rotating cylinder. That way the cylinder trues to the table. Make sure the table is ridgid and flat!

http://media5.hypernet.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=4;t=001090

http://www.moritzdesigns.com/sander/sander.html

Mark in Portland

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by msrvfx on May 6th, 2005 at 12:48pm
Hi All,

Wnated to let you know that I soke with a dulcimer builder that made a thickness sander much like dominators over 15 years ago and it works great. the difference is that he used a 4" aluminum pipe (electrical conduit pipe or agricultural irrigation pipe) for the drum. The side wall thickness is 1/4", and he cut six 3/4" plywood discs and epoxied them inside of the aluminum to run the drive shaft through. He recommeds a 5/8" or large shaft, and he runs a 1 HP motor with a 1:1 ratio on the motor pully and the drishaft pully.
It was recommended to me to use a TEFC motor, since they eliminate the possivlity of sawdust getting on internal parts of motor and creating heat. Totally Enclosed FanCooled motor, if I could afford it. Baldor or Dayton (Baldor made) are good ones.
Of course you might be able to by several garage sale motors for the proice of one TEFC motors.

I'm looking for that aluminum pipe.

Mark in Portland

Title: Drum Material
Post by msrvfx on May 13th, 2005 at 11:31am
Aloha everyone,

I have been looking for an aluminum pipe to use for the drum, and I have scored. After doing a pretty thorough search, I have found a great source for the drums. Call up a aluminum or non-ferrous metal pipe and tubing supplier, and ask for 4"/schedule 40 pipe in 6061 alloy. You will end up with a very solid 4 1/2" OD pipe, with @ 1/4" sidewall thickness. I got a 24" long cut off for $19!
If you want to go thicker you can ask for 5" schedule 50. It is @ 5 1/2" OD and almost 1/2" sidewall. Overkill I think.

I am going to cut 5-6 birch ply 3/4" drilled disks, to be epoxied an screwed inside the pipe for centering the drive shaft.
I am also going to cut a slit at each end for the sanding strips to enter the pipe for the hold down. going to screw and epoxy small but strong spring clamps at each end inside the tude to grip the ends of the sanding strips. No velcro. No Glue.
Take a look at most of the commercaily made thickness sanders and they use a similar sizes aluminum drum.

By the way, I have heard you can remove a gummed up sanding strip and spray it down with oven cleaner (Outside folks!), let it do it's work, and rise it off good and use it again.

Mark in Portland

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Dominator on May 21st, 2005 at 5:11pm
Mark,
Looks like you have been doing lots of homework in prep for your sander project.  I really like your idea of using the pipe.  I think if will be tricky to get the discs epoxied inside keeping everything aligned.  But very doable.

I am curious as to why you don't like velcro idea.  Seems like a lot of extra work to cut the slits for the sandpaper and to make the fastening system.  Woodmaster makes the best commercial sanders around and they all use the hook and loop system.  You can literally change paper in about 3 minutes.  Let us know how you make out.
Dominator

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Hideo on May 27th, 2005 at 4:11am
Aloha
I could make Thickness Sander.
I referenced Dominator's website.
Thank you for Dominator !

Photographs are in my homepage, however only Japanese only.

http://www.nasu-net.or.jp/~htezuka/

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Dominator on Jun 2nd, 2005 at 6:53pm
Hideo,
Great job on your sander.  I can't read Japanese so I don't know if you say or not but what is the table surface made of?  Looks nice and slick.
Dominator

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Magnolia on Jun 17th, 2005 at 6:05pm
Dominator,
Thank you again.
I chose material for the table top Acrylics board.
However, since I do not understand the good press method for TOP, glue can be seen like a spot.
This machine is working satisfactory for accuracy.
Hideo

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by unkabob on Apr 12th, 2007 at 5:53am
Does anyone know a source to find sanding-speeds?
Running  too fast will soften resins in the wood and blind the paper. Sanding too slow will tear the grit from the paper. There will be a preferred range for each grit size and wood type.
Knowing this would allow you to select drum speed (pulleys) to optimize sander efficiency.

Still can't find a 5/8 shaft.

Bob

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Don_Orgeman on Apr 24th, 2007 at 10:56am
My Jet 6X48 benchtop belt sander runs at 2256 square feet per minute, therefore the the belt is travelling at 4512 feet per minute, which seems to be a good number.  The disc sander on this unit spins at 1724 RPM, and the disc diameter is 9 inches.  Therefore, the outer edge of the disc is travelling at 48,773 inches per minute (9 X Pi).

There is a great set of drawings for a thickness sander in the Shop Notes Issue 86 (March/April 2006).  You might be able to order a back issue from them at shopnotes.com, or find a copy in a library.  This thickness sander has a sandpaper belt drive to move the wood under the drum and a 5 inch diameter sanding drum which handles up to 16 inch widths.  If you make large guitars (or may in the future), I would suggest adding a few inches to the width to handle these tops/backs with some working room.  This sander is designed to be driven by your table saw with a 5 inch pully installed instead of the blade.  I would suggest using a link belt upgrade and light belt tension if you choose this option, or better yet build a base for the unit and add a dedicated motor.  Why risk damaging the arbor on an expensive table saw to save the cost of a motor.

I know that I saw an article in one of my woodworking magazines in the past talking about sanding belt speed, but I couldn't find it when I needed the info.  If I locate it in the future, will pass the info along.

I am new to this site, and the info you are posting is great.  I like the concept of builder helping each other.  I will be making my first uke soon, but have built guitars in the past.  Some things are the same, and some are very different.

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by unkabob on May 5th, 2007 at 12:22pm
Don:
Thanks for the numbers.
It looks like four thousand feet per minute is a reasonable top-end. This means that I will have to choose pulleys to gear-up from 1125 rpm to 2600 rpm using a six inch drum.

I have my 5/8 shaft and I have begun looking at jobsites around town for PVC water-line (thick-wall). I can also look for scrap to build a fretboard radiusing sander block.

Have you figured out how to attach the sandpaper to the drum? I have been asking about  the velcro system and nobody has heard about it here.

stay tuned.
Bob


Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Don_Orgeman on May 6th, 2007 at 6:31am
Bob:

I have not built my thickness sander yet, but have been thinking about one for several years.  When I do, I will build one that will accomodate a 16 inch wide guitar top as well as the tenor uke I am now starting building forms for.

I favor using 3/4" MDF disks cut with a circle cutter on a drill press and stacked and glued onto the shaft (after widening the center hole) over PVC or aluminum drums.  The reason for this is that with a MDF drum mounted in the finished thickness sander, the drum can be trued to be totally parallel to the table by using a piece of flat MDF with course sandpaper glued to the surface to sand down the rorating drum to a smoothe flat surface before a sanding belt is attached.  This would be more difficult to do with a PVC drum, but not impossible.

The ShopNotes plans show a wedge shaped key cut into two of the disks (one at each end of the sanding drum).  One end disk is glued to the drum, and the other is free to rotate and secured to the drum with screws.  The plan uses 3" wide sanding belt which is spiral wound onto the drum.  Both ends of the belt have to be tapered from about 5/8 inch to three inches and the length of taper is dependant on the diameter of your drum.  This is why one disk is not fixed, so it can be rotated to capture the other end of the tapered belt.  I think that spraying the drum with 3M Super 77 Multipurpose Adhesive before spiral winding the belt may help kepp the belt inplace and avoid belt loosenig during sanding.

I'm not sure whether a sandpaper belt conveyor system is worth the effort to construct one.  I have come to the conclusing that I want the sanding table under the drum to be perfectly flat and very rigid.  Putting an adjustment mechanism into the table asselbly is asking for unwanted movement in the table under the drum.  If a sanding belt is used as a conveyor system, I recommend that the conveyor rollers and adjustment mechanism be added to the ends of the table not included internally as the ShopNotes drawings show.

For those of you looking for a low cost source for formica for this use, look for sink coutouts at Lowes, Home Depot, or Menards.  If you can't get them there, call a shop that installs counter tops.

I looked at the ShopNotes web page and they do not list back issues being available.  They want to sell you a full years volume instead of a single magazine.  But, the plans are available from plansnow.com for $9.95 for download.  Look for plans DN3078.  I am not trying to sell anyone on this source, but I did find them the most helpful as a starting point for my own thought process.  I like the idea of building the sanding assembly seperate from the stand/motor mount assembly, and attaching the two with screws or clamps.  Easire to move and store when not in use.

Lets face it, as hobby builders we are not building a sander to handle thousands of tops in its lifetime.  Therefore, making it more complex than needed only adds cost with no benefit other than bragging rights to having built a better jig than the other builders

Enjoy, and I hope you find these thoughts helpful

Don

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Treetop on May 6th, 2007 at 9:43pm
For what it is worth, the Woodmaster brand sanders use a 6 inch steel drum, they use the velcro sandpaper and the drums turn at 750 rpm, which they say is what 3M recommends for the sandpaper.

Wish I could afford one of theirs, they look quite solidly built.

I want to make one about 18 inches wide.  My concern here is the power.  I hope to use a 1.5 hp 1725 rpm motor, on 220v.

I also find these to be fairly expensive new, like $185 with shipping, I think eBay may have to be the answer.  I do have some motors that I left at a friends shop about 17 years ago, he still has them and more, told me to come on over, so I hope there is something there I can use.

If you have to buy a motor for almost $200, and add all the other stuff, it makes the Jet/Performax 10-20inch model look pretty affordable.

I downloaded the plan from Shopnotes and it is pretty nice.  I do agree the conveyor looks like it could wind up taking longer to build and adjust than the rest of the sander.  I am thinking of a conveyance board, like a board that is flat and has a wide sanding belt of about 80 grit fitted around it, that rides on rails on the side of the table for instrument tops, you could even have a long handle on the back side and set it in place walk around and just pull it through.  The table could be used without it for longer pieces.

I am not planning to build this for a while, just looking at the feasibility.  Maybe someone will have the jet sander on sale. :D

I did buy an aluminum tube, 4" ID, 4.5" OD from someone on eBay.  I have a lathe so I can make some trued discs to go into the tube.  I also like the idea of the velcro paper, makes it easier to change the grit quickly and it keeps the paper cooler, which will make it last longer.

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Murray on May 7th, 2007 at 5:25pm
I built a thickness sander using the plans from Moritz Designs.  It cost me around $300.00 to make it but it works great!  I can sand a set of tops, backs and sides to the thickness I want in about an hour, compared to hours by hand.  The thickness is consistent and I haven't cracked a side while bending since.  It's 22" wide so I can sand guitar tops and backs with it.  I made the drum out of poplar disks and trued it up with a piece or 60 grit floor sanding paper nailed to a 2 X 4.  I used a 1 1/2 hp motor that I bought from Harbor Freight for a round $125.00, that spins at 3200 rpm.  It works great!  :)

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Don_Orgeman on May 9th, 2007 at 4:06am
About drum speed:

Just read an ad for the Performax 16-32 Plus Drum Sander.  It turns the 5 inch diameter drum at 1725 rpm by a direct drive to the motor.  This results in a travel speed for the sandpaper of about 27,000 inches per minute.  Since we are attempting to produce the same results as these machines, maybe this is a better target number to shoot for.  The good news is we can just switch out pulleys until we get the results we want.

I haven't given up on building my own sander yet, even though my wife offered to buy a Performax 10-20 for me.Has anyone out there used the Performax 10-20 for large guitar tops?  Does sanding the thin tops work well when the top is shitched and the top is sanded in two passes, or does the different direction of feed for the left/right half of the top show in the results?

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by konacat on May 9th, 2007 at 8:45am
Don,

A number of people at the Official Luthiers Forum use the Performax 10-20 and like it. If you go to the OLF forum and search " 10-20 " you can read a number of posting and they should clear up any questions you have. Yes, these are being used by guitar builders. It seems the big hints are keep your cuts small, keep your sand paper clean, and the more dust collection the better. This combination makes for the cleanest cuts and longer sand paper life.
http://www.luthiersforum.com/forum/default.asp

Good Luck

Philip

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by msrvfx on May 23rd, 2007 at 10:21am
Hello All,
Hi Ukeman and Dominator. Sorry to be missing for so long. Since my search for information last I built my own drum thickness sander. Posted info about it on MIMF website and got contacted by GuitarMaker Magazine to do a story.  Lots of pictures. Got a great five page article about the sander. It works like a champ with a lot of control. I believe it is considerably easier to build than one with a wood abrasive cylinder.

I do not have plans drawn up, as I built it as a one off project. Check with them for a back issue.
Mark in Portland

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Dominator on Jun 1st, 2007 at 7:43am
Hi Mark,
Welcome back.  The Guitar Maker magazine site has very little info in the back orders section of the website.  Can you tell us what issue and when it was published so we can hone in on it?
Thanks,
Dominator

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by unkabob on Jul 3rd, 2007 at 12:44pm
In searching for a hook and loop system, I found a site that sells drums and some plans. The plans can be viewed on-line but are not thickness-controlled drum sanders. Seeing what other people have done is always useful.
stockroomsupply.com
Go to products and click on sander plans.
Their stuff is a bit pricey but its in one place. For Canadians it avoids a lot of BS at the border.

Worth a look for builders.

Bob

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Don_Orgeman on Jan 7th, 2008 at 7:05am
Hi All--

On the theory that a picture is worth a thousand words, here are three pictures of my thickness sander with just a few words.



Sander from side with belt protector door open




Sander from infeed end.  Yes that shiny stuff on the ends of the drum is duct tape.



Dust hood on and ready to go.  Yes, you feed from back of table saw.

Sander worked great using 1.5 inch wide 80 grit emery cloth.

Don

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Wood_Butcher on Jan 7th, 2008 at 12:22pm
Hey Unkabob,

I am also working on a sander.  Kind of combining ideas from Dominic's page as well as David Hurd's.

If you are still looking for the hook & loop sandpaper, go to http:/mastertools.com. Click on the accessories and croll through the pages.  I think the 3" wide paper is on the 2nd or 3rd page and the 4" wide velcro is on the last page.

I also found 'thebigbearingstore.com' to be as decent source for bearings, pulleys, and belts.

Hope the info is useful to someone.

Mark

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by jbosworth on Jan 8th, 2008 at 7:17am
Like many of you, I've agonized over whether to build a drum sander or buy one. After extensive research and costing out what it would take to build one, I decided it was not a good option.

So I began a quest for a manufactured drum sander. Performax, Jet and Craftsman were studied, reviews analyzed ad nauseum. Then my wife surprised me with a Grizzly Industrial 17" heavy-duty bandsaw for my birthday. What an incredible machine! The quality is outstanding (built in an ISO 9001 factory). So I looked to see what Grizzly had in drum sanders. I'm now building ukuleles, but want to build guitars in the future. So a 10" model is OK for ukes, but not for guitars. I decided on their 18/36" open-end model.

The Grizzly is unique in that the drum is on a stationary axle and the conveyor is what moves up and down. So all fears of a mis-aligned drum go away. The conveyor's  table height is controlled via a system of four sprockets that are precisely aligned to each other and driven by a continuous chain.

The Grizzly is solidly built and weighs almost 200 lbs. It has a 6" aluminum drum, belt driven by a 1.5HP motor (110V). The conveyor feed rate is variable, controlled by a convenient knob on the front of the machine with a large indicator. So far, I have been nothing but impressed by the machine.

It isn't cheap, however. Retail price is $850 but I was able to use a special code in Grizzly's ad in Wood magazine and got $100 off. Shipping to the lower 48 is $90. Not sure what it would cost to ship to Hawai'i. The shipping weight is 350 lbs! It comes on a wood pallet and is encased in a 1/2" mahogany plywood box. I put casters on its stand so I could move it around (it took 3 of us to get it out of its crate and set up).

Despite the price, I expect this machine to last a very long time and pay for itself quickly. As with all tools, never exceed the limits of the machine. Don't try to take too much off at once, keep the sandpaper clean and use efficient dust collection! By the way, Grizzly also sells tonewoods, Luthier's supplies and tools. Many are much cheaper than the usual sources (Stew-Mac, LMII). The president of Grizzly builds guitars as a hobby.

Aloha,
Jeff

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Don_Orgeman on Jan 8th, 2008 at 3:54pm
Jeff:

My sander, with a 20 inch drum to accomodate guitars, cost about $200 to build without a motor or stand since I am using my table saw to power the sander.  While it doesn't have many of the features on a manufactured sander, it does the job nicely.  I like the fact that both ends of th drum shaft are fixed with pillow blocks instead of having one end free as in the open end models.  Also, one pass sands the entire surface even on a large guitar top.

I think most of us who built our own sanders did so because we felt it was part of the overall building experience, and liked the fact that we could build it ourselves.  My sander has the features I wanted which makes it slightly different from every other home built sander.

If I was building guitars or ukuleles commercially it might change my opinion, but I expect to build only 4 or 5 ukuleles and then go back to building guitars.  All but one of my ukuleles will probably be given to my children or grandchildren as gifts.  As a true hobby builder, I did not have to measure the amount of time I spend building the sander instead of building ukuleles.  It was just one of the steps in the adventure.

Don

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by jbosworth on Jan 9th, 2008 at 1:14am
Don, you're absolutely right. The drum sander is a luxury. I've been working wood as a hobby myself for over 50 years. I got along fine without the sander all that time. I probably could have gotten along without it another 50 years  ;D. But now that I have it, I intend to make good use of it.

I find fun not only building the ukes and guitars, but making my own jigs to make the process a little more precise - and easier. Sometimes, designing and building a new jig is more fun than the process it was intended to simplify...

Aloha,
Jeff

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Wood_Butcher on Jan 22nd, 2008 at 3:40am
Hi,

Am starting to build framework for a sander.  One thing I haven't noticed anyone discuss was cutting a keyway in the drum shaft for the drive pulley.  I'm wondering if you can get away without it considering the torque you'd get under a load,  especially since the set screw is located in the pulley's keyway.  Would appreciate any feedback.

Thanks,

Mark


Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Don_Orgeman on Jan 22nd, 2008 at 4:52am
Mark:

I did not grind a flat spot on my shaft or use a key.  My pulley also has a keyway slot.  I just clamped the set screw down onto the shaft.  There isn't as much back pressure as you would expect since you are taking the feed very slowly to get a good uniform job with an 80 grit spiral wound belt.

Don

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Wood_Butcher on Jan 23rd, 2008 at 12:23pm
Don,

I am currently putting together a standalone sander. My motor is a 1HP Craftsman and is pretty ancient.  If it gives up the ghost I may just modify the framework to become a saw topper like yours.

I'm curious if you just slipped a 5/8" pulley on your saw arbor?  If so, did you use anything special to secure it, or just use the standard nut?


Does your saw have the 3450RPM motor?


What ratio of pulleys did you end up using?  If I remember correctly you were using a 4" dia. drum.  Mine will end up at about 3-3/4" dia. so I'd probably just build mine to match.

OK, enough questions already.  It's still cool here (low was 24o, high was 36o), so I was just using this as an excuse to come in by the wood stove and get another cup of coffee.  Oh yeah,l you're in Michigan.  I guess not much sympathy on that, eh?

Thanks,

Mark

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Wood_Butcher on Jan 23rd, 2008 at 12:28pm
::)OOPS!!! ???  Minnesota! No insult intended :-X

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Don_Orgeman on Jan 24th, 2008 at 4:14am
Mark:

No offense taken (Michigan vs. Minnesota comment).

I don't know what speed the motor spins at.  I have a Jet contractors table saw wired for 115 volt, so I suspect it spins at 1725.

My sander is an adaptation of the design shown in ShopNotes a while back with some modifications.

I used a 1 inch diameter shaft because I followed some comments from builders on another web site that they were having facetting problems with their MDF drums and associated the problem with a bent shaft or table flexing.  To be safe, I went for a large diameter shaft.  I got the shaft and pulleys from McMaster-Carr (www.mcmaster.com).  The shaft was a bit pricey but it has worked well.  I got my pillow blocks from Reid Supply (www.reidsupply.com)

I used a 2 inch diameter pulley with a 5/8 bore on the saw, and just attached it with the standard saw blade nut.  The pulleys on my drum are 5 inch diameter with 1 inch bore.  I put pulleys on both ends of the shaft in case I add a dedicated motor in the future and don't know which way it will spin (having seen peoples struggles to re-wire their motor to reverse the direction  of spin).

Part of the reason I went big on the shaft is I built a 20 inch wide drum on my sander so I could also sand big guitar tops with the same sander.  My plans are to return to guitar making after having fun with building ukuleles for a while.  The drum is 5 inches in diameter and is locked to the shaft by 1/8 inch pins through the shaft near each end.  Behind each end disk is a MDF disk with a slot to trap the locking pin.  The last two disks are attached with drywall screws so they can be removed if needed.  The main drum disks are glued together with titebond glue.

If you look at the ShopNotes plans, you will see a nice belt feed conveyor system.  I decided against this because it added flex in the table support for the work.

If I can be of any more help, let me know.

Don

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Wood_Butcher on Jan 24th, 2008 at 5:29am
Don,

Thanks for the speedy response.

I discovered that the arbor length on my Delta contractor saw is only 1-1/8" long.  I can barely squeeze 13/16" of dado on it.  Looks like I would have to mill the locking collar off of my 2" pulley to have enough room for the nut.  Doable, but hopefully I'll be able to find a pulley that is built without the collar.

I am planning on using a 5/8" stainless shaft.  My drum will be two pieces of maple, each 1-7/8" x 3-3/4" x 20" long.  My thinking is that with that much solid hardwood encasing the shaft, there should be plenty of stiffness.  If not, I guess I'll have to upgrade.  I'll let you know how that turns out.

Thanks for you help,

Mark

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Don_Orgeman on Jan 24th, 2008 at 9:51am
Mark:

I checked my 2 inch pulley.  It's 1 1/16 inch thick, so it would also have to be milled to fit your saw.  That may be your best option -- get a non-steel pulley and cut off the excess then grind flat.

Check McMaster-Carr web page.  They show a lot of data and drawing for their stuff.  They may have what you're looking for or at least let you know that it exists.

Don

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Wood_Butcher on Apr 19th, 2008 at 5:19pm
Hey All,

Finally got around to finishing my sander.  Thanks to Don O., Dominic, and David Hurd for bits and pieces of info along the way.  Thought I'd post pics for those who are considering  making one.

Mark



Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by unkabob on Apr 19th, 2008 at 5:32pm
Mark:
That looks nice.
What width and horsepower?

You finished the stand nicely.

Now start building.

Bob

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Wood_Butcher on Apr 20th, 2008 at 4:23am
Bob,

Thanks.  The drum is 20" wide by a net 4" with the hook and loop sandpaper attached.  The motor is an antique (and free!) 1HP Craftsman induction-repulsion motor.  It weighs a ton and didn't even slow down when I was sanding the drum.  A lot of people have commented that a sander this wide would need a 1-1/2 to 2 HP motor, but I guess motors were rated a little more conservatively in the old days.

Yeah, you're about the building part.  I've had the neck glued up for about 1-1/2 years, and the plates glued up for a couple of months.  So far the orders for custom ukes have been a little slow, so my production schedule has been about right on track.  That darn thing called work hasn't been much help either.  Seriously though, this is strictly therapeutic, but when I retire in about 332 (but who's counting?) days I'm really gonna kick it into high gear.  I'm enjoying the process of acquiring tools and building jigs almost as much as working on the uke.  I'm also thinking the world might be just a little better place for me not having a finished uke in my hands to inflict aural torture on the rest of you.

Mark

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by unkabob on Apr 20th, 2008 at 12:39pm
Mark:
Keep an eye out for the right way to treat sanding dust. The coarser dust is captured in the shop-vac but the really fine stuff goes all through the house. (Wives are not amused.) I keep hearing about a trap for drywall sanding dust but I have yet to see one. Some sort of passive wet scrubber makes sense. It would have to be cleaned out every day but that is only days when you are sanding.

I like the simplicity of your sander.

Bob

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by mblue on Oct 13th, 2008 at 11:28am
I have a question for those who have made their own thickness sanders. Do you just feed the board by pushing it in one end and pulling it out the other end? Of do you have some kind of fixture that holds the board? It seems that having some type of sub-plate fixture would allow you to push (or pull) the board through it's whole length, eliminating the pause that might result from push then pull. Thanks.

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Wood_Butcher on Oct 15th, 2008 at 1:59pm
mblue,

It is a lot simpler to make a manual feed sander.  It is necessary to build it so that you have safe access to get a hold of the material as it is exiting the drum so that you can keep it moving and prevent any divots in you wood.  This is to say that the pulleys and belt could do some serious injury if they got a hold on you.  Also the drum itself on the exit side is a dangerous nip point.  A cover that keeps your fingers away from the drum is a good idea.  It should be as close to the table as possible to increase dust collection as well.

Manual feeding is easier to do if you take lighter passes.  This does three things.  One, it exerts less pressure on the wood so that you can pull easier. Two, if you should have as momentary pause, it won't be as drastic of a divot and it should sand out after a few (or several) more passes.  Three, if you keep too much pressure applied you almost always end up thin on the edges.  It is an exercise in patience, but if you want to be consistent across the width it is necessary to make several passes before adjusting tighter.

You can make a push stick apparatus, but with thin ukulele parts they tend to be flexible and can get caught in the sandpaper.  That creates a lot of excitement, especially if you are using spirally wrapped paper.  Don't ask how I know.

If you want a sander that will thickness smaller parts, you can get a 3" X 3" sanding drum from Rockler that fits directly on the arbor of an electric motor.  They have both 1/2" and 5/8" arbor fittings.  Here's pics of my version.  Sorry about the focus.

Hope this helps.

Mark




Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by mblue on Oct 15th, 2008 at 4:14pm
Thanks Wood_Butcher, It does sound like a large part of it is patience and practice. Although come to think of it, I could use a little more excitement in my life...

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Jeff B on Oct 17th, 2008 at 6:46am
Just my two cents...

For expediency's sake, I bit the bullet - and talked my wife into buying me a Grizzly 18" open end sander for Christmas last year... I've recently discoverd that Harbor Freight sells the same model under their brand, but it isn't finished as well as the Grizzly (and may be a factory second).

Amazing machine. The sanding drum is mounted on a stationary axle in the top half of the machine. The feed table (which is variable speed) is what moves up and down to acquire the proper thickness. Thus, the drum alignment is always right on. The height adjustment is via 4 large screws driven by gears connected by a bicycle chain loop. A round hand-crank turns all 4 screws exactly the same distance. 1/4 turn of the handle equals 1/32". So I usually turn the handle 1/8th turn for each pass.

The machine's specs state that you cannot sand anything thinner than 1/8". But I regularly sand some pieces down to 3/32".

The variable speed feed is a big plus. Soft woods (i.e. spruce) require slow speeds while harder woods need the faster speeds. The correct speed minimizes gouging and burning.

Tricks I've learned: Take very small amounts off, making several passes to achieve the thickness you want. Don't try to take too much off at once (if you want to take a lot off all at once, use a planer). As the piece gets thinner, hold it down so it doesn't slip - as it comes out the other side, hold that down, too, to minimize any gouging by the drum. Turn the piece around for each pass, and/or turn it over to ensure the sanding is even across the surface.

Jeff

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by dochughes on Nov 29th, 2008 at 7:56am

Wood_Butcher wrote on Jan 24th, 2008 at 5:29am:
Don,

Thanks for the speedy response.

I discovered that the arbor length on my Delta contractor saw is only 1-1/8" long.  I can barely squeeze 13/16" of dado on it.  Looks like I would have to mill the locking collar off of my 2" pulley to have enough room for the nut.  Doable, but hopefully I'll be able to find a pulley that is built without the collar.

I am planning on using a 5/8" stainless shaft.  My drum will be two pieces of maple, each 1-7/8" x 3-3/4" x 20" long.  My thinking is that with that much solid hardwood encasing the shaft, there should be plenty of stiffness.  If not, I guess I'll have to upgrade.  I'll let you know how that turns out.

Thanks for you help,

Mark


Hey Mark -

I'm nearing completion on my home-built thickness sander, which I've built to run off of my table saw motor, and I'm wondering how you worked out this situation.  I've got the same one - the arbor on my Craftsman table saw is too short to use a nut with the pulley on.  My initial thought is to turn the pulley so that the set screw is on the inside, so tightening it down on the threads doesn't do damage to the more important outer threads, but I really hate to use the set screw on the threads at all.

How did you end up solving this issue?

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Don_Orgeman on Nov 29th, 2008 at 9:01am
I currently use my Jet table saw to power my thickness sander but the arbor is long enough for the nut to hold the pulley.  Even with that working well, I worry about damaging the arbor bearings from the belt tension.

Look for a thin profile pulley from suppliers or if that fails go in with your grinder and remove as much of the pulley hub as you can so the arbor nut will go on.

DO NOT use a set screw to hold the pulley to the arbor.  You run a great risk of damaging the arbor for your saw.  Instead I would suggest that you start looking for a used motor to power your sander.  I found an air comprerssor with a 220 volt 2 HP motor at a garage sale for $25 because the tank had a small air leak.  I will be building a stand and adding this motor to my sander in the near future.

Don

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Wood_Butcher on Dec 25th, 2008 at 5:04am
Hey Dochughes,

Sorry I didn't see your post earlier.  You probably have your sander running by now.  I agrre with Don that your arbor is too valuable to ruin with a set screw.

I did scrounge a free 1 HP Craftsman motor off an old homemade compressor setup.  It weighs a ton and makes some weird noises when it is starting up, but once it kicks in it is unstoppable.  I'd suggest you scrounge around for an old motor.  It is also an advantage to have a dedicated sander when you need to make that one quick cut on your saw.

Later,

Mark

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by dochughes on Dec 28th, 2008 at 12:51pm

Wood_Butcher wrote on Dec 25th, 2008 at 5:04am:
Hey Dochughes,

Sorry I didn't see your post earlier.  You probably have your sander running by now.  I agrre with Don that your arbor is too valuable to ruin with a set screw.

I did scrounge a free 1 HP Craftsman motor off an old homemade compressor setup.  It weighs a ton and makes some weird noises when it is starting up, but once it kicks in it is unstoppable.  I'd suggest you scrounge around for an old motor.  It is also an advantage to have a dedicated sander when you need to make that one quick cut on your saw.

Later,

Mark


Thanks for the reply, Mark. Life's been busy, and I haven't actually gotten the sander finished, although all I have left to do is true up the drum and attach Velcro and sandpaper.  I work Monday and Tuesday, then the rest of the week/weekend will be spent in the shop ;).

I DID follow Don's advice, and hack-sawed off the set screw end on the two inch pulley, then flattened it with a grinding wheel and hand file.  So, when I get ready to actually fire up the sander for the first time later in the week, I'll use the same nut used for securing saw blades to secure the pulley.

I'll let you know how it works in a few days, but I can tell you this - it looks pretty good!  I'll try to get a couple of pics and post them, along with a couple of mods I'm thinking about.

I'll keep an eye out for an old motor, though.  I'm sure it would be an easy conversion to a dedicated sander.

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by mblue on Dec 30th, 2008 at 8:17am
Is it ok if I butt in here with a link to the thickness sander that I just almost finished?
I am really happy with it.
I an getting +-.001" across the width of the board.
Anyway... here it is
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLy8YnNomwk
I know that I need to put a guard over the drum.

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by dochughes on Dec 31st, 2008 at 3:48am
Looks really great, mblue.  Works like a charm.  Did you use Velcro to attach your sandpaper?

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by mblue on Dec 31st, 2008 at 5:46am
Thank you dochughes. I did not use Velcro. I used the Performax/Jet sandpaper. The one made for the Jet 16-32 drum sander. I just wrapped it tightly around the drum, and put a thumbtack at the very corner of the paper, at both end. Then I wrapped a 1/2 inch wide strip of Monster Tape around both ends of the drum, and put another thumbtack at the end of that tape, which, of course, went through the sandpaper as well.
This was going to be a temporary way to hold the paper, and I had planed to come up with a more sophisticated method, but this is working fine so I will probably leave it this way.

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by dochughes on Dec 31st, 2008 at 6:50am
Well, in a little while (after strumming a few tunes on my uke) I'm headed out to true up my drum and get sandpaper on it.  I'm hoping to be giving it a test drive in a couple of hours or so.  I'll report how it goes.

I was really impressed with your video - that was a great way to demo your project.  Again, very nice job on your build.

Tim

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by dochughes on Jan 5th, 2009 at 4:32am
Okay, it took a little longer for me to get things set up than I expected - after I got sandpaper on the drum I still spent a FULL DAY fine tuning things and getting it operational - but it works great!  I followed the basic plan from ShopNotes, but dropped the conveyor table and altered the dust hood a bit.  It's so heavy (from the MDF) that it's very awkward to move by myself - I'm thinking about using brass inserts for mounting the hood and drum so that they can easily be removed, making the whole thing a little more manageable.  I realize the more steps involved in set-up the less likely I may be to use it, but I think having it easier to move would be an advantage.  I couldn't find any Formica to put on the table, but figured it would be easy to add in the future.  Here are some pics:









That last pic is of me running a beautifully figured claro walnut piece that was my initial motivation for building the thickness sander.  Within thirty minutes I had it ready to use.  All I've got for dust collection is a low power shop vac, but it was surprisingly effective at picking up the dust produced.

After working the walnut down to a useable thickness I tried sanding a soundboard that I'd inlayed with paua a while back - in the process I kind of lost control of the piece, it spun around and somehow caught the edge of the sandpaper/velcro and stripped it off of about half the drum.  I re-attached the velcro with some contact cement - hopefully that will keep the velcro more tightly attached to the drum.

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by unkabob on Jan 5th, 2009 at 7:58pm
Tim:
I mounted mine on the frame of an old barbecue. The wheels make it portable but the weight of the motor causes a balance problem. I used a wedge on wedge for height control. It gives me good linear adjustment but it can only handle a maximum thickness of 0.35 inches.
Nice build.

Bob ;)

Title: Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Post by Don_Orgeman on Jan 11th, 2009 at 7:25am
Tim:

Nice work.

My sander looks a lot like yours and also weighs a ton.  Like Bob I have mine on a cart but only to move it around and then I drag it onto my table saw.

I would suggest building a stand with wheels for the sander to move it around for now and later install a dedicated motor from a garage sale or other bargain spot.  Woith its size, the sander is going to be in your way no matter what you do so why not make it a dedicated machine.

Don

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