Thickness Sander

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Jason720, Nov 4, 2014.

  1. Jason720

    Jason720 Member

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    Been thinking of making one since my planner likes to tear figured woods. The plan is to build one and have it double as a belt sander. Anyone built their own thickness sander and is it worth it? How fast does the sandpaper on these things usually wear out?
     
  2. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    Where you are located , there must be a Woodcraft store that you can rent time at or a nearby wood shop with a thickness sander that you can have stuff done on .
    Save your money and time by doing this until you can buy something like a Performax or similar proper piece of equipment .
    Just my 2 cents .
     
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  3. Thaddeus

    Thaddeus New Member

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    I built one once. It was actually pretty cool. But it was a lot of work to build, and hard to use. It didn't have a conveyor belt, and because the drum wasn't precisely true the paper tended to wear out faster.

    Of all the tools in my shop, the best I have purchased are my thickness sander and my band saw. With those, I can turn ordinary wood and found wood and salvaged wood into luthier-grade wood. They've paid for themselves many times over. Buy a back/side set on eBay, you're looking at 50 bucks at least. Resaw and sand a carefully selected 1X8 in cherry, walnut, maple, or mahogany for 7 bucks and you've got it made.
     
  4. Jason720

    Jason720 Member

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    I live in the middle of nowhere. Nearest woodcraft is 100+ miles away nearest town is 15 miles. There are always planners, table saws, bandsaws, etc. that I can buy for parts so building one shouldn't be an issue. I just don't want to build it then need new sanding belts every time I use it.

    Was thinking a conveyor style one just to be able to use it as a jointer for thinner tops. How often did you have to replace the sandpaper?
     
  5. Thaddeus

    Thaddeus New Member

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    I was replacing the sandpaper on my homebuilt sander about every 2 tops. I'm replacing the sandpaper on my Jet 16-32 PLUS about every 2 years. It makes a difference.
     
  6. Jason720

    Jason720 Member

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    Thanks for the feedback.
     
  7. Mountain Whimsy

    Mountain Whimsy New Member

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    Go ahead and build one! Compared to the detail work of building a guitar, making a drum sander is relatively easy.

    I built a simplified version of one of these:
    ShopNotes Magazine - Thickness Sander

    I did not use the conveyor setup, in favor of a simple tilting table (lot's of examples on the net).
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It's driven off the table saw, so I didn't need to buy another motor or have another tool stand in the shop.

    I use is all the time to: thickness sides, back, top, dimension bridges, thickness the headstock and cut a nice curved volute, put the nice curve in an acoustic belly brdige, square up neck blanks, sand bracing, etc. I keep finding new uses.

    I'm just using 100 grit 3M stickit paper on it. I just put my second strip after a year of occasional use. Next time, I'll probably order a Grizzly replacement abrasive kit, but the 3m stickit is getting the job done.

    It's a fun project and incredibly useful tool for the shop. Go for it!
     
  8. Jason720

    Jason720 Member

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    Driven off the table saw is a good idea. It looks a lot like one of the plans I was looking at. Seems like a pretty simple build, mainly just a motor and a drum connected with a belt and pulleys. The main thing I care about is sandpaper life which seems to be pretty decent. Probably won't build one til I get my new bandsaw, then I can just use parts from the old one for the sander.
     
  9. Mountain Whimsy

    Mountain Whimsy New Member

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    PM me if you have any questions or want more detailed photos, dimensions, etc.

    The one draw back of not having a conveyor is that you have to make sure you keep your piece moving at an even pace. It's not too bad when get the hang of it. Oh, and make sure you keep a hand on whatever you are feeding through. It's pretty easy to launch a piece of wood across the room if you are not careful!
     
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  10. Renkenstein

    Renkenstein Well-Known Member

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    I built one...use it almost every day. Worth its weight in gold.

    Pat Hawley's thickness sander
    Followed these plans with a couple changes, namely shaft diameter(5/8") and drum width(I think mine's an 18" wide drum...I can fit a body in sideways). I found that even with the thinner shaft, there's little to no deflection, and it's accurate...very accurate.

    It was stupid simple, and I think I was all in for around $70(I already had a motor).
     
  11. Renkenstein

    Renkenstein Well-Known Member

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    Oh, and I use Harbor Freight 80grit rolls and attach it with spray adhesive. I priced velcro backed sandpaper, and the expense wasn't justified, IMO.

    Every couple reloads of paper, I'll run a piece of MDF with sandpaper sticked to it under the drum to remove built up adhesive.
     
  12. Jason720

    Jason720 Member

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    Yea doesn't seem too hard. I'll probably use the belt system from a treadmill as a conveyor. If torque is a problem for the treadmill motor then I'll upgrade it but the belt should work perfect for a conveyor. Also the treadmill speed control should help feed the wood through at the speed I want.

    The plan is to build something like this.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBdboeaRqGQ


    This guy has a good idea with the treadmill controls to move the table up and down.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6w5f0btb8A
     
  13. Tim & Allison Whiteside

    Tim & Allison Whiteside New Member

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  14. LeftFinger

    LeftFinger New Member

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