A few weeks ago my friends made me a wonderful birthday gift: a big, sturdy and powerful drill press. As soon as I assembled it I knew that would have been an unmissable occasion to get my hands dirty and build something! I decided to make a couple of sanding drums to use with the drill to refine edges.
** Safety nerd mode: ON **
Use of power tools is involved here so please pay maximum attention and take proper safety precautions, in order to avoid damaging your tools and, overall, harming yourselves. I know we all have heard warnings like these a bunch of times, but we are not given replacements for our body parts, so: better safe than sorry.
.** Safety nerd mode: OFF **
Now let's go have some fun!
Step 1: Materials and Tools
This build is perfect for a beginner, because I used cheap, readily available materials and simple techinques, but it can be very useful for everyone.
- First of all you'll need some wood. I used some scraps of 18mm thick pine boards I had laying around, but I believe the kind of wood is not crucial, nor is its thickness.
- Then you will need a steel rod or something else to allow you to chuck drums into your drill press. I used an M8 threaded rod, you can use a stiffer rod, or a long bolt, or anything else that can suit the purpose.
- nuts and washers;
- wood glue;
- different diameter holesaws;
- random tools.
Step 2: Let's Make a Bit of Sawdust!!
Our sanding drums will be made of a number of stacked disks. My drums ended up being almost 9 cm tall, even if maybe half of that would have been enough. So we have to make these disks using a holesaw. Diameter is quite arbitrary, I went for a 65 and a 45 mm holesaw.
When you get this done, start gluing all the disks together, using PVA glue. Spread some on both sides and then join the disks, until you reach the height you want. Then clamp everything and let the glue dry. Be careful not to use too much force when clamping, or you'll squeeze out too much glue, getting a weaker bond.
If you own low quality hole saws (like I do) you might need to true your drums up a little bit, to make them as square and as vertical as possible. The bigger drum wasn't too rough, so I just chucked it into the drill press and sanded it with 60 grit sandpaper and a sanding block. The smaller one required a little bit more work. I used a drill lathe adapter to turn it, smoothening it out with a chisel, then I refined it with sand paper. You can see the difference between the sanded one and the rough one in pic 5.
Step 3: Now for the Rod!
While you wait for glue to set, you can prepare the rods that will hold the drums. You can make such rods in a number of different ways, but for me, the quickest one seemed to be this: I took an M8 threaded rod and cut it to length. Then I litterally screwed the drums on the rods I had cut, and fixed them with nuts and washers.
This step could end here, but I decided to go a little further: maybe it's just me, but I was afraid that, with prolonged use, threads could bite into my chuck, ruining it. That's why I filed threads away from the part of every rod, which gets chucked. I also filed smooth every sharp edge.
Step 4: Add Sandpaper
At this point we're almost done, we just have to glue our sandpaper. Anyway I think it's better to take one more precaution, to prevent sandpaper from slipping when drums rotate. With the help of a square, trace a line from top to bottom of your drums, trying to make it as vertical as you can. Clamp drums in a vise, then, using a hacksaw, make a narrow cut along that line, paying attention to angle the saw blade towards the opposite direction of your drill's spinning way: see second photo.
Now cut a strip of sandpaper wide enough to cover your drum, and long enough to wrap it completely and overlap a few millimetres. Spread glue on one drum at a time, insert one end of sandpaper strip in the slot you just cut and wrap tightly. I used some robust rubber bands to hold paper against the drum while glue dries.
All that's left to do now is removing rubber bands and have fun with our new homemade sanding drums.
TIP: When it's time to replace a worn out sandpaper strip, just heat it up with a heatgun until glue melts again and replace with a brand new strip.
I hope you found this tutorial useful. If you have any question, please leave a comment. Be safe around your shop and have fun!