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Thickness Sander Plans (Read 71098 times)
unkabob
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Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Reply #60 - 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
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mblue
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Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Reply #61 - 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.
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Wood_Butcher
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Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Reply #62 - 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

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mblue
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Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Reply #63 - 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...
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Jeff B
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Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Reply #64 - 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
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dochughes
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Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Reply #65 - 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?
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Don_Orgeman
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Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Reply #66 - 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
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Wood_Butcher
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Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Reply #67 - 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
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dochughes
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Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Reply #68 - 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 Wink.

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.
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mblue
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Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Reply #69 - 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.
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dochughes
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Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Reply #70 - Dec 31st, 2008 at 3:48am
 
Looks really great, mblue.  Works like a charm.  Did you use Velcro to attach your sandpaper?
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mblue
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Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Reply #71 - 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.
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dochughes
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Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Reply #72 - 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
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dochughes
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Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Reply #73 - 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:

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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.
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unkabob
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Re: Thickness Sander Plans
Reply #74 - 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 Wink
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