Home-built buffer

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Moldy Oldy, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. Moldy Oldy

    Moldy Oldy Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I built a knockoff of the Stew-Mac buffer about a year ago. I didn't do a build thread at the time, but thought I'd do a recap now. This is it:

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    And here it is with the cover off:

    [​IMG]

    It's really pretty simple. A couple bearing blocks support the axle, which is 3/4" diameter keyed shaft. It doesn't really need to be keyed, but that's what I had on hand. To get some speed reduction, the pulley on the axle is larger than the one on the motor.

    I don't have much space in my shop, so my concept was to build a multi-purpose "power supply" stand that houses the motor and switch. Then I plan to build a number of different attachments to swap on the top. The buffer is the first. I'm thinking a thickness sander might be next, but that's for a different day. Anyway, I made the stand by cutting down a generic tool stand from HF. Notice the motor is mounted perpendicular to the buffer axle and the belt twists 90 degrees. That was done in anticipation of future attachments and wouldn't be necessary for a dedicated buffer.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Moldy Oldy

    Moldy Oldy Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I have a metal lathe, so I turned down the ends of the axle to 1/2" and threaded them. The left end has left handed threads so it tightens in use instead of loosening.

    [​IMG]

    I tried to source some flange washers but couldn't find any that would work with a 1/2" shaft, so I turned some from some old iron casters I had laying around.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    I set this up to use 10" buffs - smaller than Stew-Mac's, but I adjusted the RPM so the surface speed is about the same as theirs. A problem is that you can't buy 10" buffs with 1/2" center holes. But there's an easy way around that. I just turned some bushings with 1/2" ID and the appropriate OD for the buffs.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Moldy Oldy

    Moldy Oldy Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I wanted to be able to easily wheel the thing around, so I hunted around on YouTube and found a bunch of videos about DIY caster setups. There are easier ways to save $50, but it was an interesting project. Push the foot pedal down to raise it up on the casters.

    [​IMG]

    And hit the release to lower it for operation.

    [​IMG]
     
    troy2003 and teleaddicted like this.
  4. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    LOLOL, and there I was thinking you meant a buffer pedal for your signal chain. :confused::confused:

    Guess it pays to look at which forum a post is actually in huh? :oops::oops:
     
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  5. Moldy Oldy

    Moldy Oldy Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    The Stew-Mac buffer is 14" and spins at 715 RPM. To maintain the same surface speed with a 10" buff, it requires a speed of 715 * 14 / 10, or about 1,000 RPM. My motor is 1,750 RPM, so the pulleys on the motor and axle needed to be selected for a ratio of about 1.75.

    I hunted around in the Surplus Center catalog and found a couple pulleys that would work.

    Motor: 1-BK30-B (3.15" OD x 5/8") Datums: 2.40" for 1/2" belt, 2.80" for 5/8" belt

    Axle: 1-BK55-C (5.25" OD x 3/4") Datums: 4.50" for 1/2" belt, 4.90" for 5/8" belt

    The actual ratio is determined by dividing the datum diameter of the axle pulley by the datum of the motor pulley. Notice these particular pulleys work with 5/8" belts and also work with 1/2" belts. So the final ratios are:

    1/2" belt: 1.875 (933 rpm)

    5/8" belt: 1.75 (1000 rpm)


    Anyway, that's about all there is to it. To make the cover, I used a piece of plywood and scored it with my radial arm saw. This made it easy to bend the rounded shape. Once bent, I coated the saw kerfs with glue and it's nice and solid after the glue dried.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. mPacT

    mPacT Tele-Holic

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    Very nice!
     
  7. adirondak5

    adirondak5 Wood Hoarder Extraordinaire

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    Nice work !
     
  8. oldrebel

    oldrebel Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    That looks great!!
     
  9. Coach56

    Coach56 One of the Boys

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    Very cool, I have to admit, I am really impressed with the bent wood cover!
     
  10. troy2003

    troy2003 Friend of Leo's

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    Hats off to you-great thread.
     
  11. geetarboy

    geetarboy Tele-Meister

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    Math used to seem so useless at school, didn't realize all the practical applications till I was out in the real world using it every day. Cool to see how you can work out speeds/ratios and all that handy stuff.
     
  12. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    it is.. indeed super nice, and the same basic construction as the very high priced Stew Mac deal... ya probably used better quality mechanicals too...

    Ron Kirn
     
  13. jimdkc

    jimdkc Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Great job! Love the bent plywood cover!
     
  14. CLPeterman

    CLPeterman TDPRI Member

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    Awesome. I had considered doing something similar, but more compact in the future. Looks great. How well does it work?

    I've seen that caster and pedal combo before. I think I have plans for it somewhere. Do you like it? Any problems with it?
     
  15. Moldy Oldy

    Moldy Oldy Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Thanks to everyone for the kind words.


    It works really well. Before I built it I was trying to get by with one of those cheap bench buffers, but they're really made for polishing metal and are just too fast. I always ended up burning through in a couple places. Plus with the longer axle, it's much easier to hold the work at a good angle. I can't imagine that the SM model works any better.

    It works fine, but maybe not great. The problem I have is that the floor isn't very level in my shop. So when I lower it to get it off the casters I have to push the entire unit around to find a spot on the floor where all four legs touch down. That's not really a fault of the design, but I think there are some commercial units that are self-leveling, which would be more convenient.
     
  16. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    Wow, yours is awesome. I made one a few years ago that is slightly more compact but doesn't have the cool factor of yours. If I recall I built this for under $75, but I stole the motor from my brother so I recommend getting a brother with a spare motor laying around to save money.

    This was everything I used minus some wood scraps laying around.
    [​IMG]

    Ended up like this. The best idea I ever had was covering the shafts with pvc, twice I've slipped off the wheel and hit the shaft. Without the pvc on there... bad things.
    [​IMG]

    Mine has a danger factor with the open wheel which forces you to pay extra attention, need to make a nice cover like yours.

    I geared mine down but feel like it could still be slower. The smaller buffs definitely build up more heat. Mine is setup for the 14" buffs but shown here with little ones. Southwest metal finishing supply has the 14" buffs with smaller diameter holes for way way cheaper than the mew stack place.

    http://www.swmetal.com/category-s/1828.htm

    Here's mine in action with the smaller buffs. Works really well.
     
  17. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    Edit, I think I got my 14" buffs from Jescar, which is nice because you can order fret wire at the same time.
     
  18. CLPeterman

    CLPeterman TDPRI Member

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    How many horse is your motor? The SM one has a 3/4 HP. I need to keep an eye out for a deal on a motor, or something to cannibalize for one.
     
  19. Moldy Oldy

    Moldy Oldy Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Thanks James. Great tip on the PVC. I've never actually hit the axle shaft with my work, but I always worry about it.

    For the buffs, I'm using flannel, which I didn't see in the Southwest site. For others contemplating a similar build, I did notice that they have arbor extensions which come with their own flanges. This would eliminate the need for the lathe work.

    CL, my motor is 1-1/2 hp, but that's because of my plans to use it for other attachments. It's way overkill for the buffer. I would think 3/4 hp would be about right.
     
  20. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    My motor is 3/4hp and 3450 rpm.

    [​IMG]

    If I had a better brother he would of had a 3/4hp 1725 rpm motor for me. The lower rpm would have saved me from having to run such a large gear on the shaft. I should look for a larger gear for the motor side so I can get a smaller gear on the shaft. The 1725 rpm is ideal for a buffer.
     
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