Introduction: $1 Inflatable Sander Replacement DIY

Inflatable sanders are problematic, leakage being a problem with anything full of air. I decided to make a replacement from a piece of dowel, some velcro, and a bolt. The cost is less than $1. I really like the resulting round sander, and I hope you find it useful too.

Step 1: Dowel Prep

I cut the piece of dowel to ~2", diameter is ~1.5" this is a good starting size for my application. I then drilled a hole into the approximate center dowel, don't worry if you are slightly off, we fix that in post. Next I epoxy a 1/4" bolt into the hole; once the epoxy is set I cut off the bolt head.

Step 2: Centering the Dowel

Deburr the bolt if necessary. Next we have to center the dowel. This can be done by chucking the dowel into a lathe. Or chucking the dowel into a drill and spun against a sander. Both can be used to center the dowel, it is critical if the sander is to be operated at high speed that is be centered.

Step 3: Cutting the Velcro

The velcro has an adhesive backing. Cut velcro into a hour glass shape, you may have to try several times to get the right shape, stick it on to the dowel. Next cut a small circle with a wedge cut out.

Step 4: Template

Trace the template for ~1.5" or ~1" diameter dowel to a piece of velcro backed sand paper, then cut it out. Rescale the template may be needed if the dowel deviates greatly from 1 or 1.5".

Step 5: Using the Sander

At low speed (hand drill) the sander is ready to go when you stick the sand paper on. At high speed such as a die grinder, you'll need to use a rubber band to hold down the flips so that it does fall apart from use. Enjoy


ajayt7 made it!(author)2017-06-19

Good solution, thanks for posting

evanandkatelyn made it!(author)2017-06-14

Seems like that is a good solution for sanding round items like this. I'm just not sure what an inflatable sander is.

johnzhu made it!(author)2017-06-14

An inflatable sander is a rubber bladder attached to the metal base that can be, well, inflated. It also uses sanding sleeves that are very expensive.

Luke+Wilson made it!(author)2017-06-15

Can you explain why the sander is called inflatable. Is it because it can be scaled to any size or the shape or method of attaching the sandpaper to the wooden thing? Thanks :)

johnzhu made it!(author)2017-06-15

It's not inflatable, it replaces an inflatable sander.

caruncles made it!(author)2017-06-15

Assuming that sandpaper is coated with glue and then the abrasive sprinkled on, why couldn't you do this with a round ball?

spark+master made it!(author)2017-06-15

I was going say exactly that, dip in glue allow to set up a bit and roll in grit. Do it several times, debur it a tad on a pice of old brick. Do it as needed as you use it. I like it I like it.

Drill a centered hole in the dowel before shaping , but do not over do the depth, then a 1/20 gimlet , or 1/4 inch rod in the hole grind 2 -3 flat spots for the chuck to munch on.

jjmcgaffey made it!(author)2017-06-15

You could, but I go through a lot of sheets of sandpaper - the grit wears off or gets clogged with sawdust. You might have to make a lot of sandpaper balls - and getting the bolt centered in the dowel/ball is the complicated part. Try it, but I suspect disposable sandpaper on a solid base would be a lot easier.

ToddW_00 made it!(author)2017-06-15

Am I missing something? What was done with the loop side of the Velcro or was that just for transferring the template? I wonder if just spraying the wood with contact adhesive would work instead of the Velcro. I might have to play with that idea. Thanks for this useful tip!!

rustybender made it!(author)2017-06-15

The loop side is just used for the template. You can buy sanding sheets for power sanders which have the loop side of the Velcro on the back.

Contact adhesive is a good solution for attaching sanding sheets to flat'ish surfaces. When the glue and sawdust build up to much, flat surfaces are easy to scrap clean. It would be pretty difficult to clean build-up off something as heavily curved as this tool.

jjmcgaffey made it!(author)2017-06-15

"Velcro-backed sandpaper" - I assume that's the loop side. Good way to get it to stick all over. Adhesive might work, but sawdust is hard on constantly-sticky glue - you might have to scrub it off and reapply every few uses.

thegreat58 made it!(author)2017-06-15

Very well done, easy and useful, you couldn't ask for more.

jlathem56 made it!(author)2017-06-14

Awesome... I have been looking around for this very thing.


seamster made it!(author)2017-06-14

This is a great idea. I need to make a round sander just like this!! Thanks for the steps, John. Excellent instructable.

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