Thursday, May 11, 2017

How to convert your lathe into a DIY drum sander

A thickness sander is a really useful tool. The lathe can be easily converted into one.

I made this jig using a sheet of MDF and scrap pine pieces from an old bed. I found both of them in the garbage.

First of all I cut the MDF pieces to size, using a circular saw and my guide rail.

I then measured the gap on my lathe’s base with a caliper. I transferred  that measurement between the fence of the table saw and the blade. I cut a strip of MDF that fits snugly in my lathe’s base.

I then glued and screwed the strip in place.

I cut a piano hinge to size, with my angle grinder. I then attached the piano hinge in place with screws.

Using my cross cut sled and a stop block, I cut a few pieces of MDF to size.

In one of these pieces I traced the shape of a nut. I drilled an entry hole on the drill press and cut out the shape on the scroll saw. I then finished shaping the hole with a small file. I applied a bit of two part fast setting epoxy and hammered the nut in place.

To make a knob I glued two pieces of MDF together.

I drew two circles on a scrap metal piece and rough cut them out with the angle grinder. I then drilled a hole in their middle on my drill press. I used some WD40 to prevent my drill bit from overheating. I shaped the circles on my bench grinder. Using a file I removed any burrs.

Using the angle grinder I cut a piece of threaded rod. I created a bevel on the cut edge, using again the angle grinder. This helps the rod to be easily screwed in the female nut.

I then drilled some holes and added the threaded rods, the metal circles, washers and wing nuts in place.

I glued and screwed in place the piece with the glued nut.

To make the knob, I drew a circle, divided it in 6 and then drew  three circles with equal distances between them. I cut the shape of the knob on the bandsaw. I finished shaping it with a cylindrical file and sandpaper. I screwed a threaded rod in the center of the knob. I drilled a hole on the drill press and added a nail to act as a locking key. I secured the nail in place, with a drop of super glue.

Now to make the sanding drum, I used a chisel to detach the cylindrical piece of the bed. I cut it to size using the table saw and a cross cut sled.

With my center finder, I marked the centers on each end of the cylinder and used an owl to mark the center.

I mounted the cylinder on the lathe between centers and created a tenon to fit my chuck.

I remounted the piece on my chuck. I used a straight chisel to even out the cylinder. I sanded at 100grit.

I cut a thin strip of sandpaper and attached it on the cylinder with zip ties. 

My homemade thickness ( drum ) sander was now ready, and works really nicely!

Important note: If you make a similar build, don’t forget that you have to feed the material from the opposite side of the lathe. If you feed it the other way, the drum tends to catch the material and through it out!

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