Hambone's Thickness Sander

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Hambone, Dec 9, 2003.

  1. There was some mild interest in my homemade thickness sander a few weeks back so here's some pics to help get the idea across.

    It's a 1hp with a 5" x 18" diameter drum turning in the neighborhood of 875 rpm. Adjustment is done by an acme screw threaded up under the riser board.

    Total cost was about $50 for the motor and bearings. the rest is scrap, trash, and old stuff I've been saving for years. About 2 afternoons of work and this is what I've got.
  2. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    wow, hammy. that's pretty clever. we should call you ham-guyver :) what can you make me with a used lollipop stick and a wad of cotton balls? :D
  3. mslatter


    Apr 8, 2003
    Outstanding! A couple q's:

    - That's a tilting table to adjust the thickness, ya? I've seen both tilting tables which are easy to build, and 4-post chain-driven screw adjusters (like a surface planer) which are supposedly easier to adjust.
    - Did you make a dust shroud for it - not just for dust, but for safety? Ever sand off a knuckle? I have. It hurts for a while.
    - How are you attaching the sandpaper? Do you swap out grits often? How much is the sandpaper costing?
    - What's the center rod, what kind of bearing is it riding on, and how is it attached to the drum?
    - How are you tensioning the belt?

    Very simple and good design. I'll make one when the time comes.
  4. Tim Barber

    Tim Barber Commercial User

    Apr 28, 2003
    Serenity Valley
    Owner: Barber Music
    That's awesome! To add to mslatter's queries: It's manual feed, right? Are you feeding the work into the rotation or against it? At 875 RPM, is it controllable or are there problems with it grabbing the work or kicking back?

    I so want one of these...
  5. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    An 11 string? ;) :D :p

    Very cool Hambone.
  6. Yep, tilting table - by far the easiest to make and does the job as good as anything else. I do have a planer with the 4 gear driven elevators and it's really nice but I would've never been able to duplicate it.

    I have made 1 shroud that I'm not to keen on but the second will have everything I learned from the first one :)

    I use Klingspor alum. oxide 80 in 1½" wide rolls. I staple one end and wrap the drum to the other end and staple.

    The center rod is a shaft from a copy machine - 5/8" dia. The bearings are fairly inexpensive, self adjusting pillow bearings. The drum is attached to the axle by pure friction and polyurethane glue. I made the drum by routing MDF discs to size then boring a slightly smaller center hole. The discs were stacked (hammered) right on the shaft and glued with poly glue and screwed together with 2 screws each in an alternating alignment. After mounting the drum, I used a length of 3" square aluminum tubing wrapped in 80 grit paper and trued the drum to the table. Then I coated the drum with Minwax Wood Hardener and it's as sealed and solid as if I cut it from heartwood.

    The threaded rod suspending the motor is the belt adjustment. The drive pulley has a variable diameter and I can tune the speed by adjusting this.

    Thanx for the kudos. This thing is absolutely great!
  7. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Very nice!

    - How about the feed question? Do you feed with the drum rotation or against it?

    - If you're making a shroud for the drum, I'd make a belt guard too. That thing is a finger- and package- :eek: remover!
  8. I hand feed against the drum rotation. All of the feeding and pulling is done from the "dummy" side of the sander. There is NOTHING you can do from that side to yourself except the forementioned finger recontouring :eek: If I were to feed the other way, it would shoot across the room. That's another reason the table is tilted in the manner it is - so that should the drum try to reject the piece, it's flying down instead of level. However, this isn't a problem since it is very easy to bind the drum with a too large bite. I can take up to 1/16" off on a single pass. That's slightly less than planer but it's sanded when I'm done. I really don't mind the few extra minutes to complete a thicknessing. It's good that it doesn't do it's thing too fast - that gives my feeble mind a chance to decide when's enough.
  9. Tim Barber

    Tim Barber Commercial User

    Apr 28, 2003
    Serenity Valley
    Owner: Barber Music
    Thanks Hambone! That's a very cool project, thanks for sharing :)
  10. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    The DIY talent on TB is fantastic! Be proud Hambone!!!!!
  11. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Brilliant! It is beautiful in its simplicity! Nice job. You just need to add some guards and a dust cover/ collector port for safety.