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Building a 14" wheel buffer.....for way way under $700

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by Muzikp, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    My Dad has the popular stew-mac buffer, I've used it and think it's worth every penny, it's that good. You can't get that kind of shine without a real buffer. But I'm a little put off by the $700 price tag, so I set out to do it a bit cheaper.

    Here are the parts I bought.

    [​IMG]

    On the left is the driven pulley and belt $29 at my local Grainger store although there were some cheaper on the bay

    Next to that is a 3/4"x3' threaded rod with 10 nuts for $17 at home depot. Be sure to roll the rod on the floor and get a straight one, mine is bent and I need to go back to the depot and get a straight one.

    Next is a 3/4 hp motor turning 3650 rpm. I stole this from my brother, to save money I suggest getting a brother with a motor you can steal. Otherwise this is going to set you back about $150

    Below that is the drive pulley for $11 at my local Grainger store. Also can be found a few bucks cheaper online.

    And lastly pillow block bearings with a 3/4" arbor 3 for $29 on the bay. You could do this with only two bearings and probably be just fine. I may use only two to save some space, not sure yet.

    I haven't ordered the 14" buffs yet but they are $19 a piece from stew-mac. I'll use six (3 on each end) to get a nice big buffing area = $114. I've heard Grizzly may sell them cheaper so I'll shop around a bit before I order them.

    [​IMG]

    The stew-mac unit uses a 3/4hp motor and it works really well so I made sure I was stealing a 3/4hp motor from my brother.

    [​IMG]

    The rpm of the motor is important. Ideally I would want a 1725 rpm motor for a buffer but that wasn't an option. You want the buffer to run around 715 rpm, any faster than that and the finish gets too hot and you could easily burn through or melt the finish...bad things. So depending on the rpm of your motor you need to use a pulley calculator like this one to get the desired 715 rpm. http://www.temecularodrun.com/ref/rpm_calc.asp

    Tomorrow I'll start to assemble this thing and get it all laid out. Here's a rough mockup of what it will be.

    [​IMG]

    Investment so far = $86
    Add the (6) 14" buffs = $200 total.

    By my calculations I should have $500 to spend on something else now :D.
     
  2. Shepherd

    Shepherd Friend of Leo's

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    I built one using the Shopfox buffer, works great for $75.

    DSC00042.jpg DSC00043.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2013
  3. Glen Smith

    Glen Smith RIP

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    Shep, where did you get it for only $75.00?
     
  4. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Nice looking, but I doubt anybody's going to duplicate that, especially if it has a 3/4 horse motor, for anywhere near $75.
     
  5. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Nice. I like your calculations a lot, James ! Be sure to keep us updated. I've wrestled with my flat disk buffer for a while now, threatening to get a REAL buffer, yours looks like a winner to me.

    BTW, Do you think lower HP would work OK?
     
  6. Shepherd

    Shepherd Friend of Leo's

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  7. Glen Smith

    Glen Smith RIP

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    Ok thanks. It is now $128.00 through amazon Canada.
     
  8. Shepherd

    Shepherd Friend of Leo's

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  9. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    It's mostly assembled, for now I just have little 8" buffs until I order the big ones.

    Looks like this right now

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I will eventually build a cover for it. The pvc is just to protect me from the threads on the threaded rod.

    The results are fantastic so far

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    I think 1/2 hp would be fine with these little 8" buffs, but I'm expecting much better results out of the big 14" pleated buffs. With the 14" buffs 1/2 hp might be a bit low.

    I like Shepherd's version a lot...as usual.
     
  11. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    One thing I like about my version is I just clamp it to the bench when needed. The rest of the time it will hang on the wall out of the way.
     
  12. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    That's very nice. I find it better to double up the buffs for a wider buffing surface. I may even do 3 per side on mine.
     
  13. Glen Smith

    Glen Smith RIP

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    Oh, shiny, I like shiny!
     
  14. Shepherd

    Shepherd Friend of Leo's

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    Looks good, what kind of compound are you using? Is there much flex in the shaft?
     
  15. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    I don't notice any flex, but I don't push hard either. I don't like building up a lot of heat and when you push hard it builds heat really fast. I sanded to 1000 and started with the menzerna medium then menzerna fine.

    I'm looking forward to having the bigger buffs on it, not a huge fan of the little ones.
     
  16. Glen Smith

    Glen Smith RIP

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    What do you not like about the smaller buffs?
     
  17. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    W:eek:W! Results sure are fantastic. I've already got the pillow blocks, and a motor or two knocking around, but not, I think as big as .75 HP.

    Maybe I can get away with 1/2 HP with 10" buffs.
     
  18. thecableguy

    thecableguy Friend of Leo's

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    Nice work James! I might have to build me one of those.
     
  19. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Looking at the Grizzly website, it seems the only buffs with 3/4 inch holes are small diameters--some of the big ones, 14" and bigger have holes an inch or more. Is there an adapter you can use, or am I reading the specs wrong, or how do you use these bigger hole buffs with a smaller arbor shaft?
     
  20. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    Hey Glenn I fee like they build up too much heat too quickly. They are not as loose as the big pleated ones and they just get too hot. You can make it work but you have to be careful on a thin lacquer finish. Too much heat = bad things.
     
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