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Luthiers Friend Robo Sander for neck laminates and (narrow) fingerboards?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Meatrus, May 19, 2011.

  1. Meatrus


    Apr 5, 2009
    Probably a silly question, forgive me if it is. But I was wondering if it would be possible to feed long work pieces into one of these? Like a neck laminate, or narrow fretboard (the limit is 2 3/4") obviously when they are un tapered. I'm guessing it would be tricky or impossible to keep it flat against the table. But if it worked it would be pretty handy.
  2. Meatrus


    Apr 5, 2009
    No thoughts on this?
  3. I think it needs a visual aid - picture.
  4. Sardine


    Feb 2, 2009
    This type of jig doesn't work as well as you'd think. They tend to produce a rippled surface (usually due to imperfections or wobble in whatever type of sanding spindle you're using) and aren't very accurate. Great for rough work though, and very useful for thinning the wings on an steel string acoustic guitar bridge.
  5. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Why wouldn't it sand long pieces? If you're concerned about the long workpiece drooping on exit, you can use some kind of support at the outfeed. Maybe I misunderstand the question.

    Joe, he's talking about this.

    [edit for cross-post]Maybe sardine has something there, as far as being consistent enough for neck laminations.
  6. I see now. A drum sander with a fence.
  7. I do this with my Ridgid OSS. Clamp a S4S maple board to the table and you've got yourself a great little "thickness" sander. Perfect for fretboards, binding, etc. Mine come out accurate to within a couple thousandths across the fretboard.
  8. Meatrus


    Apr 5, 2009
    Yes, thats what I meant. I was concerned it may be hard to keep it flat on the table without making a table the full length of the board/lam. Which would be a pain for neck through lams (I dont have space for a table that long). Also, as the fence is so small it would be possible to bend the wood forward or backwards as well I guess, forcing it too deep into the drum. If you have used a safety planer on a long work piece you will know why I asked: its quite hard to keep it completely flat without having a table the length of the board. I also was unsure if it would be accurate enough. Thank you for your response.

    Great! I had considered making my own, so its good to hear it could be done. I could probably clamp the fence to my safety planer table mentioned above.
  9. Keith Guitars

    Keith Guitars Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 25, 2004
    Woodstock, NY
    Builder: Martin Keith Guitars
    Whether making the tool or buying one like this, I would defintely suggest:

    -A longer fence

    -Some featherboard-type or leaf-spring hold downs on either side of the spindle, which help press the work fully against the fence while it's being sanded.
    This would also reduce the chance of the work binding up and being shot backwards towards the operator.
    A featherboard can be made from a plank of scrap material.

    That said - this would be an OK way to dimension small parts, if you didn't have room for anything else. For something like a neck-thru-body laminate, I would imagine that it would be tough to get a consistent, glue-ready surface along a 4" length with a setup like this.

    As mentioned, this has everything to do with the quality of your drill press. Please note that some drill press spindles (particularly those with Jacobs taper chucks) are VERY poor in their resistance to lateral forces.
    These tools are meant for axial "thrust" type forces, like those present when drilling a hole. They are not designed for sideways pressure. Depending on the chuck style, enough sideways pressure might just cause the chuck to loosen and/or fall off.

    This means that you should really only use a setup like this "Robo-sander" for lightweight work - bandsaw close, and then swipe it down to final size - I wouldn't try to take more than .010" off the surface in a single pass.

    If you already have a drill press and are limited by cost and space, this might be a way to go.
    However, if you have any space and cash to play with, many people are having good results with the Rigid Oscillating spindle/belt sander already mentioned above.
    These are reasonably cheap and offer a lot of flexibility, and could be fitted with a fence to do the same thing as this.

    Best of luck,
  10. Meatrus


    Apr 5, 2009
    Hi Martin,
    Thanks for the reply (only just read it). I will keep it all in mind. My drill press is nothing special, but it has coped with endles safe t planer abuse, so maybe it would do.

    The problem with the OSS idea is that they are quite expensive over here. Power tools in general are, which is why I was interested in this, as its quite cheap compared to the alternatives. I'm also sure I could find other uses for it too. I wasnt planning on taking large amounts of wood off, as I'm getting quite good at hand planing, so I would use a plane to get it close, then finish off with the Robo sander to make sure everything is square. The problem with my planing at the moment is I'm quite slow. No doubt more practice will solve this though (which I'm working on!).

    Thanks again.

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