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 Post subject: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:59 am 
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Mahogany
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:56 am
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First name: Daniel
Last Name: Henriks Madureira
Country: Close to the great white north
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Hi everyone,

Like most of guitar builders, I have seen the urgent need to get a thickness sander...kind of put off by the price of a commercial one though...

So, I guess i'll give it a go at a DIY version.

I'm planning on using the mechanism from an old treadmill.

Some advantages I see in doing so:

Cheap
The rollers are fairly straight and well balanced.
Bearings already installed
The motor is of constant torque, meaning that it won't really stall if you force it
electronics for motor control already working
Maybe I can use the tilting mechanism for an electronically adjustable table. (to control the thickness).

Any suggestions, or designs you could share? Overall opinions and dificulties if you have made one yourself?

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 Post subject: Re: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:48 pm 
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Mahogany
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First name: Chris
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Daniel,
I don't have any ideas right now, but I like your concept. I do hope you will document this when you get started.

chris


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 Post subject: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:31 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:04 pm
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First name: Doug
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Check out Pat Hawley's work:

http://woodgears.ca/sander/thickness.html
I built one like this and used it for two years before upgrading to a pro machine with conveyor.

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 Post subject: Re: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:24 pm 
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Koa
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City: Escondido
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I made one very similar to Pat's, and it's OK. I use it, but it is not nearly as rigid or effective as pro machines I've used. I can't afford $1500+ for a drum sander, so it'll do. However, if I ever do have the money for a machine with a conveyor and all steel construction I won't hesitate to upgrade.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:29 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:59 pm
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First name: Ken
Last Name: Lewis
City: Mt. Pearl
State: NL
Country: Canada
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Status: Amateur
I recently built an 18 sander with variable speed conveyer and a pretty sweet (and simple)
height adjust system. It's got a 2 hp. motor that I picked up at Princess Auto for 50 bucks.
I've sanded a few backs and sides now as well as binding, purfling and rosettte stuff.
It works real nice. Here's a couple snaps.
Attachment:
sander.JPG

Attachment:
sander2.JPG


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 Post subject: Re: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:08 am 
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Mahogany
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Location: St. Albert, Alberta
First name: Michael
Last Name: Lazar
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Zip/Postal Code: T8N 5Y6
Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Professional
I built this sander 25 years ago and have made over 100 guitars with it. In addition to thicknessing tops, sides, backs etc, its great for truing up neck blanks, fingerboards and bridge blanks. I also true and thickness nuts, saddles and other small items by double side taping them to a flat strip of wood or metal. The raising/lowering mechanism works extremely well. One full turn of the threaded rod moves the roller by .1mm so a half turn gives you .05mm. The only thing it doesn't have is a motorized conveyor, but having tried commercial sanders I find I prefer the control I get pushing through by hand.
Attachment:
Sander~01.jpg


Attachment:
Sander~02.jpg


Attachment:
Sander~03.jpg


Attachment:
Sander~04.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 12:28 pm 
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Koa
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Location: Florida
First name: John
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Michael,

I really like your mechanism for raising and lowering the table. I spent a few years thinking through one of these builds and looing for ways to easily control the table adjustment. Yours looks like a great solution.

I happened to find a sander for less than I would have spent on the motor and other parts so I went that way and abandoned the build idea.

John


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 Post subject: Re: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:30 pm 
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Koa
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Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 9:55 am
Posts: 951
Location: Traverse City Michigan
Dan,
Sometimes less is more...
I like some of these homemade ones and the best I have seen is Grit Laskin who published in an old Fine Woodworking years ago.
I think the best bet though is to make one using a drum purchased from Grizzly as a part. You can find the part on line. This is the most important part. A simple hinged platform with a threaded rod to raise the height is perfect for the luthier user. A conveyer belt is a minus in my opinion. Pushing it through works just fine. Just be careful. And don't use a 2 hp motor if you push by hand. Always push into the drum, obviously, but thought I would say it. A 1/2 hp motor is fine for taking off a half mm or so with 80 grit paper. I can show you min if you want but it is similar to MLazar's.

Ken Lewis has a nice one there too.

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 Post subject: Re: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2015 2:31 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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First name: Bryan
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Ken, when I made mine I considered buying a drum. Eventually I decided against it. Not only was it cheaper to make a drum it made set up really easy. My drum is solid MDF and after I mounted it, I ran it while running a sled faced with sandpaper across the table. This shaped the drum perfectly true to the table with no measuring or adjusting required. Every couple of years I do the same procedure just to make myself feel better. I agree that a conveyor feed is not necessary though you do have to pay attention while you feed your stock through instead of just putting it in and taking it out the other end.

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These users thanked the author Bryan Bear for the post: Ken McKay (Sat May 09, 2015 9:39 am)
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 Post subject: Re: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 8:04 pm 
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I made one a number of years ago. Great for thicknessing neck laminations as well as tops and fretboards. I use it to sand the contour on fender style headstocks. I made the drum with MDF and epoxy. I use Gold stickyback sandpaper from my local autobody paint shop. Use it all the time. A great time saver.

Have some push sticks to help push under the drum. Fingersavers, LOL.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 2:26 pm 
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Ken Lewis wrote:
I recently built an 18 sander with variable speed conveyor and a pretty sweet (and simple)
height adjust system. It's got a 2 hp. motor that I picked up at Princess Auto for 50 bucks.
I've sanded a few backs and sides now as well as binding, purfling and rosette stuff.
]


Ken,

I have an old Kuster kit unit that I would love to convert to a conveyor belt drive like yours. Any chance you have more detailed pics (or plans!) of how you created all this?

Thanks...

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Only badly."


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 Post subject: Re: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 7:34 pm 
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Koa
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Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2005 5:17 am
Posts: 663
Location: United States
I'd give my right arm, literally, for a power feed. My homemade one works fine, but pushing cocobolo through a couple hundred times to thickness wears my old self down (and tries my equally work out patience as well). Kudos to the one in the image above with power feed! Good job!


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 Post subject: Re: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 9:02 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:59 pm
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First name: Ken
Last Name: Lewis
City: Mt. Pearl
State: NL
Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Don
I'm not familiar with the Kuster kit but the drum sander I built, when you break it down,
consists of three major components. 1, the drum with bearings and abrasive, 2, the conveyor
table with an effective tracking system, 3, the table height adjustment system.
Previously I have used one that I built from the Shopsmith plans, but I found the tracking to
be poorly designed so it was a PITA to use and left me thinking I could come up with better myself
Don't have any plans as such but I'm sure I have a few pics. on a drive somewhere that I can post
here in the next few days when I get the time . Be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Ken.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 7:46 pm 
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First name: Ken
Last Name: Lewis
City: Mt. Pearl
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Country: Canada
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Here are a few pics. Unfortunately I don't have any with the conveyor removed from the
machine. Was planning on disassembling and painting, then taking pics, but it works so nice I think I'll leave it as is. Since Don is mainly interested in the conveyor I'll give a brief description of it. It consists mainly of two side rails, two rollers with bearings nested in the slots shown with tracking provision, and between the two side rails a plywood top and bottom to support the belt and item being sanded. One rail needs to be removable for belt changes. The drive motor is mounted to the underside and is coupled with the chain and sprockets.
I think that store bought units use thrust bearings and rotating posts for the lift mechanism. I hope it's fairly easy to see from the pics how I just used fixed 1/2" rods for the supports with the coupling nuts welded to the sprockets to move the table up and down. The handcrank is also onboard the conveyor so it all moves up and down the threaded rods as one unit, nothing fancy or overly complicated. Run a peice of stock through, tap the crank and run it again, smooth as butter. The rods pass through the siderails, via brass bushing inserts and the conveyor table is lifted by the coupling nuts underneath. The trick for smooth opperation is to have the rods and holes in perfect allignment. One other note, with tracking adjustment on four corners, the tracking is rock steady and easily adjusted.
If you have any more specific questions I will gladly answer them.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 10:52 pm 
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Wow zonkers! Nice Ken!


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 Post subject: Re: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 10:40 am 
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Walnut
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Location: Columbus, Ohio
First name: John
Last Name: Webb
City: Columbus
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Zip/Postal Code: 43224
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
Some very ingenious designs! Also, the craftsmanship is excellent. They look like an actual machine would look on the exterior. Some paint, and you might never guess that the casing is of plywood. What I'm wondering is if a machine we used to have at the pattern shop would work. It was a nice, flat table with a 3" diameter disc above it. We used it to thickness sand just about everything. However, we never worked with any tone woods. Would it work with something like a spruce or redwood top? Or would it scratch it beyond repair? Feed rate (by hand)? What grit (probably 120 to start)? I'm going to try it any way on something like some spruce patching wood from StewMac or just anything I may have. Any thoughts would be welcome.

All the best, John.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 9:50 pm 
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First name: David
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Ken that sander looks nicer then my jet and its' way sexier.



These users thanked the author dofthesea for the post: Ken Lewis (Mon Jul 04, 2016 4:17 pm)
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 Post subject: Re: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2016 9:45 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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WOW Ken That looks fantastic

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These users thanked the author Bobc for the post: Ken Lewis (Mon Jul 04, 2016 4:18 pm)
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 Post subject: Re: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 4:57 pm 
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Cocobolo
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Very nice. I suspect you might be an engineer in " real life".


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk


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 Post subject: Re: DIY Thickness sander
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2016 8:11 pm 
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Koa
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I used PVC sewer pipe (new) as the drum and trued it by spray-gluing 80 grit to the table. New, it would thickness within three thou. Over ten years it has developed a wow in the center and should be trued again.

Bob :ugeek:


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