DIY Disk Sander From Corded Drill




Posted in WorkshopTools

Introduction: DIY Disk Sander From Corded Drill

I decided to make a disk sander because I think that it would be fun to make a series about making tools. This is the first one that I have made and I hope that you guys like it. Weather or not you want to make it with a standard motor or reuse/upcycle/hack a corded drill, this project is pretty fun to make.


1) 4 5/16" x 1 1/2" Bolts.

2) 10 5/16" Flat Washers.

3) 3 5/16" Locking Shaft Collars

4) 4 5/16" Wing Nuts

5) Half a Sheet(4ft by 4 ft) of 1/2" plywood

6) 1/4" or 5/16" Metal rod

7) Wood Glue

8) Old Drill


- Jigsaw, band saw, laser cutter or CNC Machine

- Screwdrivers

- Alan Wrenches

- Drill and Drill Bits

- Tape Measure

- Clamps

Step 1: Print/Cut Out the Templates

Step #1:

I have provided vector art templates if you choose to laser cut these pieces. If you wish to cut them out by hand, there should be a PDF that contains all the pieces. Once you have printed out the templates, get to cutting and sanding.

By far the hardest part about this step is the fact that there are circular pieces. Take them slow if you are using a jigsaw. It is better to leave material then to take too much off. This is rather time consuming, I strongly suggest that if you have access to a laser cutter or a CNC mill, go with that. Your cuts will be cleaner and more accurate than by hand.

Step 2: Glue Up and Building the Sanding Table

Step 2:

Now it is time to glue up your box. When you do this, use a generous amount of wood glue. The use of interlocking pieces will make the box very rigid and self aligning. Using this method I have never had to "square up" my box. For this to work though you have to put ALL the pieces together. When gluing up this box, I put glue on 5 of the 6 panels and clamped them up. **IMPORTANT** even though there is glue on 5 of the 6 panels, you still need to place the 6th one in while it dries. This will keep all the sides aligned. If you don't it may not come together perfectly. My images do not show my 6th wall clamped in, but I did do it after taking the picture. Just keep glue away from the loose top panel and it should remove cleanly once your glue has set.

Next we need to put together the sanding table. For this I just made sure that the "front" of the table section was flush with its supports. After clamping them down, I put two screws in on each side. You can use wood glue to make it even more strong. I countersunk my holes so that the wood would not split. Because I did not have a countersink bit on hand at the time, I used a bigger bit to do the countersink. **IMPORTANT** Make sure you use pilot holes that are straight and centered, if you don't the wood will split. 1/2" is not very thick so you need to take your time.

Step 3: Aligning Side Rails and Dry Fitting the Sanding Table.

Step #3:

To align the side rails you will want to find the center of you side panels. As you can see in my first image I wrote "Front" on one side so I didn't mess up my orientation throughout the process. Make guide lines with a ruler or T square that are the same width as the supports. Attach them to the box with 3 screws. I originally used 2 but thought that 3 would be better. Use 3/4" screws so that they don't poke out to the inside of the box.

Next make a 5/16" hole 11.5 inches from the edge of your supports. Also make a 5/16" hole 6 inches from the table edge on your sanding table supports **see image**. This will give you a 1 5/8" gap between the box and your table. This is where your sanding disk will go. Next do a dry fit of the pieces, the order I went with was.

Bolt, Washer, Box support, Washer, Washer, Washer, Table Support, Washer, Wing Nut.

This gave it a lot of support. I found out that 2 washers were not enough in the middle. When I tried this, the box supports flexed too much, ripping them out. This is why I added the 3rd screw on each support.

Step 4: Prepping Your Drill

Step #4:

Pretty simple step. Take apart your drill by removing the screws. I had to use a T15 torx screwdriver from mine. Move the wires out of the way of the handle, zip tie the trigger down. Cut off the lower part of the handle, if you need to. Put the drill back together.

Step 5: Making the Sanding Wheels

Step #5:

Cut a 2inch segment of rod from your 1/4 or 5/16" rod. This may be different if you are using a drill with a deeper chuck. Use an appropriate size bit to make a small divot for your locking shaft collar to sit in. I ended up needing a 3/4" Forsner bit. This can be done with a hand drill, but it is VERY hard to get the depth to be uniform. If you have a drill press use it. Place your segment of rod into your locking shaft and lock it. Glue that whole assembly into the divot. While the glue is drying place the smaller circular piece over the shaft and screw it to the large wheel. I used 3 screws. Take a right angle square and try to make the shaft stick up at a 90 degree angle. The more accurate this is the easier the disk will be to balance.

Step 6: Drilling Center Hole for the Disk

Step #6:

Find the center of the box and draw a vertical line down from top to bottom. Then draw a horizontal line at the same height your side supports are at. Where the two lines cross is where you want the center of your disk to be. Drill a 1/2" or bigger hole here to accommodate the shaft of the disk sanding wheel. Later on I found out that during assembly this hole was not big enough and I ended up cutting a larger slot like shape.

Step 7: Setting Up Your Drill Holder

Step #7:

Measure the distance between the bottom of your drill support piece, to the center of your chuck. Mark this on your front of your box to reflect where your holes need to go for the supports. I am not going to say specific numbers because 1) I screwed mine up 2) Everyone drill is slightly different.

Line up the holes so that you can make pilots in the support piece. Only do this on the "Front" side. you want the back to wobble so that you can make level adjustments. **see picture**

Step 8: Level Out the Drill and Screw in the Back

Step #8:

Level out the Drill using a level or the level incorporated in the drill. Then place screws in the back to hold it in place. As you can see I messed up my measurements, hence the moved screws. Also I made a larger channel for the drill shaft. Its rather ugly, but its' behind the wheel so I don't mind. I suggest putting the sanding disk in the chuck so that you can see the clearance.

Step 9: Balancing the Disk

Step #9:

To balance the disk I made a sanding block that I then ran up to the most distant part of the disk. I then marked this. This represents where the disk will be after sanding. Then take the sanding block and run it all over the disk until everything is uniform around that line. This will make the disk square to the table, which is what matters. The disk will be completely skewed, but as long as it is square to the table you will have a good sander.

Step 10: Finished

Last Step #10:

Finish assembling the sander and give it a test spin. I also added an extra hole that ran through both supports. This allowed me to put an extra bolt in so that I could lock the tilt of the table. You could continue doing this in an arc at appropriate angles like 15, 30, and 45. You also need to cut a hole for the power cord to come out.

After thoughts:

- I wish I had gotten a drill with multiple speeds because mine goes very fast.

- In the future I do plan on making an Instructable on putting a miter gauge slot into the sanding table.

I hope you like this Instructable, if you do please subscribe and vote if this is in a contest. If you have any questions leave them in the comments and I will get to the ASAP.




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    To adjust the speed of the drill, wire the power through a dimmer switch (mounted on a small wooden box or something similar. This will five you 0-100% drill speed control

    Your templates printed out itty bitty.. Is there some adjustments that need to be made with the printer settings before printing? What is the actual box measurement?

    1 reply

    It might be the software you are opening it in, when I made it, it opened full size. But to answer your question the box is 11" x 11" x 11". Also now that I am looking back at this instructable, if you have access to an actual electrical motor, I would highly recommend using that. After using this one that I made, the drill eventually gave out and it was unbearably loud.

    "DYI" what's that supposed to mean? Isn't it DIY?

    1 reply

    You should put a dimmer switch in. This will allow you to slow the speed of the drill.

    3 replies

    I was thinking about that, and how I could control the speed the best without damaging the motor. Because I don't know that much about electrical I wasnt sure if I wanted to use a dimmer switch, rheostat, or a variac.


    Dimmer switch will be prefect for this

    Thanks for the tip! When I add one to this, I will post an updated step.