DIY Drum Sander...need help to get flat bed

Discussion in 'The DIY Tool Shed' started by goodchicken, Aug 31, 2021.

  1. goodchicken

    goodchicken Tele-Meister

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    So I've almost got a diy drum sander built, similar to many you've probably already seen before, but I have an issue with the bed (part that the wood rides on...there's no conveyor, I'll just push the wood through).

    So the was flat...and now it's not lol. I built it with 2 pieces, piece A = .75" particle board, piece B = 1/4" MDF. I glued it up on a flat surface with Titebond 1, and it remained flat for a week as it sat indoors.

    Then I left it out in the shop overnight with the hurricane IDA storms rolling through. I'm guessing humidity got to it and now it is bowed ever so slightly.

    Any suggestions about trying to fix this? Or maybe building a sturdier bed?
     
  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Maybe two pieces of a decent plywood that are glued face to face? I don't think dead flat sheet goods really exist anymore, at least at a home center.
     
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  3. eallen

    eallen Friend of Leo's

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    I would use furniture grade of 3/4" birch plywood or melamine topped with formica for toughness and smoothness. If you are worried about them staying flat you can attach a straight 3/4" wide by whatever height wanted on edge around the bottom periphery You can even consider an X brace on the bottom for added rigidity.

    Eric
     
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  4. TN Tele

    TN Tele Tele-Meister Platinum Supporter

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    Unless you seal the wood with some form of wood sealer, shellac, varnish etc it will continue to expand and/or contract with changing temperature and humidity. You can also try to layer on a piece of formica or metal on the top and bottom to stiffen your material.
     
  5. Nickfl

    Nickfl Friend of Leo's

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    Maybe build a small torsion box?
     
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  6. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Afflicted

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    possibly you could find a remnant from a solid surface countertop.
     
  7. TwoBear

    TwoBear Tele-Afflicted

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    Did you post pictures of it before and if not can you post something now? I just came up on a remnant of a marble countertop from the bathroom, and I could see using this as a solid table top for a garage DIY tool project. Also some of my local thrift/Salvation Army type stores often have remnants, tabletops, etc. that lend themselves perfectly to DIY. I once had a router table made from a rolling file cabinet. People who saw it, and friends thought it was cool as heck, although I just slapped it together from poor necessity.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2021
  8. goodchicken

    goodchicken Tele-Meister

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    I'm trying to see what some weight on this current piece will do with a slight counter-bow added by shimming the middle...so basically trying to fix a bow from one direction by letting it sit in the opposite direction bow for awhile. Not expecting much, and thinking I should try a stiffer solution regardless.

    Local plywoods, mdf pieces, and such are almost always warped in some way. I got the straightest pieces I could find and hope the glue up and set method would get the job done. Doh.

    So counter top stuff is pretty sturdy? Maybe I can score there. I can get melamine, wasn't sure how stable it was, but it was also not wide enough to use as a single piece for the top, so I was afraid of some uneveness from that glue up.

    A thin torsion box would probably do the trick. Never done one, seems like maybe more work than is needed?

    TwoBear, no pics because the last time I tried to get pics to work, I failed :confused: I can do a search for some straight and stable stuff like you mention, but I'll have to consider how it'll mount to the frame of the machine if that may be an issue.

    Thanks yall!
     
  9. Peegoo

    Peegoo Doctor of Teleocity

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    Find a local metals supplier. All will have a "drops" bin with small odds and ends. Buy a piece of 1/4" thick aluminum plate. They can cut it to the size you need, or you can cut it on a table saw with a carbide blade. Slow feed and *wear gogles*.

    Mount the plate it to a wooden base by drilling and countersinking eight or 10 holes in the plate, and then attach that assembly to your drum sander. Keep the aluminum waxed (paste wax) and the wood will glide over it.
     
  10. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

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    Melamine countertops aren't a great idea. The substrate is just particle board, so it's not the sturdiest or most stable stuff around.

    See if you can find a drop of solid surface countertop material. That would be your best bet.
     
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  11. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    If you use wood, you need to seal it while it's still flat.

    A wood product like PlyForm would be a better choice, or you can make your own version by applying a laminate like Formica to both sides and seal the edges.

    Laminate on both sides is the key ;)

    Solid surface (Corian, Avonite, etc.) like Roger mentions is excellent - you might be able to pick up a piece from a kitchen sink cutout cheaply - it cuts, drills, and routes, with regular wood working tools.

    There is a reason why precision woodworking equipment is made out of metal ;)



    I started building my own homemade thickness sander, but I got rescued when I found I found a "real" one for sale cheap because it needed a slight repair :).


    .
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2021
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  12. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you want a drum sander to deliver a perfectly level surface every time have a read here https://www.tdpri.com/threads/diy-drum-sander.355171/

    This is a thread on how I built mine years ago. It's performance still amazes me every time I use it, giving virtually a perfectly level surface every time. I have on several occasions sanding the top or back guitar plates measured the difference in thickness front to back and left to right at less than 1mm.

    The secret is the table top which is the man made kitchen "granite" which was from memory not that expensive and the ability to calibrate the height of the drum each side to virtually identical drum height to the working surface.

    I'm no expert metal worker but my job used to be travelling all over OZ calibrating audiometric testing equipment for the national Government Hearing Services so I strive for perfection or near to it as I get, and this unit to me is necessary to my sawdust making now as essential as the bandsaw or drill press!

    DC
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2021
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  13. goodchicken

    goodchicken Tele-Meister

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    Thanks everyone. I think I've now got some good ideas to make this thing proper! :)
     
  14. goodchicken

    goodchicken Tele-Meister

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    I may be able to get a deal on solid surface countertop material, but if that doesn't pan out, I'm considering the bottom-side bracing method for a plywood bed.

    Would something like square metal tubing be best? Or maybe the "t" shaped metal pieces? I'm thinking of stuff you can get at the big box store. Bonding metal to wood requires epoxy, right?
     
  15. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Nothing you can buy affordably with be totally flat. Metals need to be machined flat. You can get close, but realistically it won't be dead flat due the the materials you are using. When you get the drum made, you can sand the drum to the table so that helps a bit. I made my first sander from some plans I bought about 40 years ago. The dust was unbelievable. Plan on getting something to catch it before it floats around. Since that machine, I opted to buy a couple commercially made ones. I wouldn't go back to shopmade myself. The conveyor is so nice as compared to pushing or pulling the work through and the low spots that can create, and the accuracy is better for acoustic guitar parts.

    I always thought the woodsmith version was pretty nice, although someone here had issues with the conveyor if I recall correctly. It appears that that set of plans is no longer sold.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2021
  16. goodchicken

    goodchicken Tele-Meister

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    Yeah I will level the drum by sanding it flat to the table. I'm also making a dust extraction hood on it, my last step after getting the flat table deal sorted out.

    I can't afford the drum sander I want atm, it's a $1500 Grizzly dual drum sander. I hope I can get it in the future, but will be attempting this diy deal for now. Good news is the frame is nice and sturdy, and the 1hp motor I got (free!) runs pretty smooth even before the drum has been sanded. My fingers are crossed it'll be t least a passable sanding option for awhile.
     
  17. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I made two mobile overhead router benches using what is called "Form Ply" here in OZ. It has a black highly polished face which allows it to be easily removed from the cement it is shaping when dry, and so makes it re-usable over and over, and when used as a bench top, allows just the right amount of slippage! It is by far the closest thing to a flat surface but nowhere near the dead flat face of the artificial marble "stuff" I made my drum sander top out of.

    DC
     
  18. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    This is the ultimate answer. You can make it out of MDF and the torsion box design holds things flat and square. I've used this construction method to build a few workbenches out of MDF and they've held solid and true for a good long time.


    Although, honestly, I would just use some good, quality Baltic Birch Plywood. Melamine or laminate for the top surface might extend it's life, but even just a few good coats of shellac and some wax and that top'll last a long, long time.
     
  19. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Poster Extraordinaire

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    For the framework of my drum sander I went to a place that specializes in second-hand office furniture sales and bought a small metal framed desk and I built a wooden frame with casters under it as my workshop layout requires me to move some of my larger equipment around to use them. I got the guys at the place where I bought my "Caesar Stone" top to cut it to size on their machinery designed for the job.

    I glued the top to the square metal frame with a silicon product designed to glue as well as seal, carefully loaded a lot of bricks on the top and left it to glue and "cure" for a couple of days.

    I might have got lucky with it all but it still works 100% many years later. The square steel the desk frame was built from is about one inch square and still very stable.

    If you try to short-cut the base of your sander with cheaper and less stable frame-work etc. you will have all manner of problems in the future as things will move and change the sander's performance.

    Good luck with yours!

    DC
     
  20. goodchicken

    goodchicken Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for that info Dave. I added some bracing to the machine, seems pretty sturdy. Will it shake apart? Time will tell...

    I relaminated more pieces onto the bed (to try for now), and weighted it all down as the glue dried, then coated with a few coats of sealer. It's dead flat and working nice. Will it last?? Time will tell...

    One lil tip that may be useful for others here. When I sent light weight pieces through, the drum wanted to catch and push the piece around a bit. The problem there is it would dig in in certain spots, no matter how well I tried to control it (this is being pushed in by hand, there's no rollers taking the piece through).

    So I just used the tape and super glue trick to attach the tiny piece to a heavy piece of flat oak and send it through. Problem solved.

    Thanks again all for the tips!
     
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