3$ Disk Sander




Introduction: 3$ Disk Sander

This tutorial will show you how to make a disk sander for practically free. I creat mine only with salvage parts.
It's for 125mm sand disk and I find it very useful for small woodworking and 3D printing.

Step 1: Materials

The main part is a cheap cordless drill with a dead battery that a friend gave me. For the base I use some mdf wood. I power the drill with an ATX power supply from an old PC. The rest of the parts are a switch, some copper wires, washers and some screws.
You will just need to buy some round sand paper with a sticky face (3$).

Step 2: Cut the Drill

A friend gave me this drill because the battery was dead. I didn't want to change it because it doesn't worth it: the drill cost 15$ new. In the dead battery some accumulators were dead but 5 of them were not so I take them for a future project.
First disassemble the drill and take off the motor and the switch. Reassemble the 2 plastics parts and cut the handle. Cut the wires of the motor and solder 2 longer wires to it. Put back the motor into the plastics parts and drill 2 holes to pass the wires. Screw back the plastics parts and then remove the chuck.

Step 3: Make the Holder for the Drill

To raise the drill I use a big piece of wood. To hold the drill in place on it I use a large piece of aluminum, I cut it, and screw it at the end of the drill. I then screw the piece of aluminum on the wood piece with 3 screws. I screw 2 more screws on each side and attach a copper wire around the drill to avoid any movement.

Step 4: Make the Base

For the base I use only small pieces of mdf wood. I first cut the bottom part. I cut 3 more little boards for the stand, glue them on the bottom piece (use some clamps to hold them tight).

Step 5: Make the Disk

This disk is where the sand disk will be stick. It has to be attached to the shaft of the drill. I cut it with my dremel. Because it wasn't perfectly round, I turn on the drill and sand the edges of the disk while turning. This makes the disk round and creates less vibrations.

Step 6: Finish the Base

Drill 4 holes under the base for fixing the holder of the drill. Then cut the stand and glue it in place. The end of the stand must be as close as possible with the sand disk. It has to be perpendicular too.

Step 7: Connect the Motor

The last step is to connect the motor with a switch. Make a hole for the switch on left side of the stand. Connect to it one of the motor wires. Connect the other motor wires and the switch wires to a screw terminal. It makes the connection with a power supply easy.
The drill works at 12v and 3 amps but the start peak current is about 10 amps. So I power it with an atx power supply. If you want to change the direction of rotation, inverse the polarity.

Step 8: Enjoy!

You have now your own disk sander! Just need to buy extra round sand paper. You can easily sand wood, plastics parts and even aluminum with it. And I hope you like it!



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56 Discussions

Great instructable!

Gave me an idea to use my ancient 120V drill as a disc sander

build a cradle for it similar to your design; chuck a disc sander paper holder into the drill

clamp it in the cradle and bob's your uncle - can even use the variable speed feature of the drill

thanks for the idea

2 replies

great idea.

I have one that I never use anymore (cordless is more usefull).

Do you glue your paper to the holder or do you use velcro disk?


1 year ago

that's a brilliant idea. I was always mad, cause those machines are damn expensive and I always used my drill too, bit this stand is just a great idea

I have just been having another look at the peak load problem with this sander. The solution (for me at least) was to use the viable speed trigger from the drill. Just place in the wiring as it was originally i.e. atx power supply - trigger - motor. Apply gentle pressure at first then all the way. Hope this helps.

Further it would be necessary to make some kind of screw in/out control to push the trigger so you would not have to keep a hold of it while using the sander. Have not done this myself yet.

1 reply

Thank you I didn't try this.
I had the solution by making a power supply from a microwave transformer. I changed the secondary winding to get 12v, add a bridge rectifier and a capacitor. Those transformers are very powerful and I had no problem. The drill start even when blocking the chuck.


2 years ago

Very good idea. I'll make a sanding rest for my orbital sander.


2 years ago

Very good idea. I'll make a sanding rest for my orbital sander.

Great idea.

You may want to mention the screw in the chuck is reverse threaded.

How did you get the chuck off (after removing the screw), that always gives me trouble. I don't have a skinny spanner to fit in the gap.

1 reply

Apparently the professional way to remove the chuck is to undo the (left hand) screw, easier if you have two people to hold the drill, clamp the short end of a 3/8" or thicker allen key in the chuck jaws and smack the long end sideways with a hammer, bearing in mind the actual chuck thread is (right handed)

P.s if you've already chewed up the Phillips screw head, (these are very soft material) the head can be drilled out, to remove the chuck, you can then use the main thread to hold the backing plate on, the vast majority of DIY drills have one of two different threads, I.E. 1/2" x 20 tpi or 3/8" x 24 tpi

Hope this helps !


2 years ago

Nice instructable and it overwhelmes me with a "I want that too".

Question: how does the sandpaper stick to the wood? (I think i'm overseeing something very simple...)

3 replies

When I made my disk sander, I used spray glue. Spray it on the disk, and stick a regular sandpaper. Works great.

Thanks! I use sandpaper with a sticky face (not easy to find). You can also use double face tape or some glue.

Very nice, but you can't really say it's free to make just because someone gave you parts. Perhaps you can price out the cost for someone without a generous friend.

2 replies

Thank you for your comment , I think that if you bought the pieces it doesn't worth it. I made this tutorial to give an idea about what to do with a dead drill.

Oh, yes, that would have made it clear.

Thanks again for the nice tutorial.


This is a great idea and will be very handy for projects.

Added to my list of projects that will need another lifetime to complete!

1 reply

Nice instructable. Definitly captures the spirit of the site. I think the three dollars is fair. Cordless drills with clapped out batteries are abundant. I often see them at the tip and usually have one or two lurking around at home. Could always adapt a 12v motor from a car and run on the pc supply.