KitchenAid Benchtop Not-A-Disc Sander

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About: Programmer, woodworker, problem solver, problem maker.

Typical Disc Sanders:

  • Burn end grain
  • Melt thermoplastics
  • Are too fast for flexible sanding of complex contours

Before you say "my wife will kill me" let me give you some arguments.

  • This is easily removable
  • The end of this Instructable shows a $1 dust shield
  • You can make her things, so you might live.

Before you say "Kitchen Aid will break since they're now made with plastic gears..."

  • That's false.
  • Sanding is not as tough on the motor as mixing bread dough and thick batter

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I changed the title to "Not-A-Disc Sander" after observing that the picture & title gave the idea that I turned the Kitchen Aid into a typical disc sander. There was lots of feedback like "why not just get a disc sander?" which indicated people didn't read or watch. So, to be clear, this is not a typical disc sander. It fills a particular gap very well, which I explain in this Instructable, and demonstrate in the video.

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Okay, Why the Who Wha?

As this is a bit of a foreign tool category to most of us, I hope to primarily convince you that it's indeed a new category. Secondarily, I'd like to convince you to do it.

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Let's start with Why the Wha:

I've been using a slow-speed, high-torque sander in my shop (as a lathe attachment) for the past 3-4 years and it has been a wildly useful tool. Advantages of a low-speed, high-torque, stationary sander:

  1. Greater control of the workpiece
  2. Prevents excess material being removed at once
  3. Doesn't burn end grain
  4. Doesn't melt thermoplastics. I use this thing to sand off elephant's foot on 3D-printed parts often.
  5. Aggressive finesse by use of force rather than speed (again, no end grain burning!)
  6. Enables sanding to be part of the sculpting/shaping process for items like spoons.


Ok, now Why the Who:

The KitchenAid Mixer is the perfect candidate to drive a slow-speed, high-torque sander. Not only is it the perfect candidate, it's begging to be a shop tool.

  1. It's heavy
  2. It's crazy powerful with lots of torque
  3. It has a variable speed adjuster setting
  4. It has a PTO attachment port. (in other words, it's a tractor)

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History: Previous Slow Speed Sanders I've Built/Tried/Used

Here are my previous slow-speed sander builds over the past few years that led up to the Kitchen Aid.

  • Drill - handheld: hard to control.
  • Drill - clamped in vise: Awkward to clamp, hard to control speed.
  • Variable speed right-angle grinder: Actually a decent setup, A bit too fast
  • Lathe attachment: Still a bit fast (on my lathe) but otherwise very nice.
  • 30RPM motor: Too slow.
  • KitchenAid: For spoon sculpting, the KitchenAid is, IMO, far better than any of my previous setups.

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Resources

7-minute YouTube walkthrough of the design, reason, and build:

Thingiverse for 3D Printed Parts: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3507813

My website for additional content outside the scope of this Instructable.


Let's get on with it!


Warning about Sanding Dust:
Unlike fairy dust, sanding dust is REAL. And BAD. Don't breathe it. There are various ways to avoid breathing sanding dust (use a dust mask, sand outside, use a filter box, capture it with a dust collector, etc) that are outside the scope of this Instructable, but I felt that at least a warning was necessary.

Step 1: Parts

There are only a few parts involved and the build is simple!

Parts List

I use the 5-minute Epoxy linked above, which I consider 3-part epoxy:

  1. Epoxy
  2. Hardener
  3. Urgency

If you don't like the encouragement to work fast, look for the 30-minute stuff.

3D Printed (or otherwise created) Parts

  1. Tapered Bearing Holder
  2. Bolt Spacer


If you have a 3D printer, download and print the 2 parts in this Thingiverse here:https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3507813. You'll need to print with supports (I think...)


If you don't have a 3D printer:

Make them out of wood. The parts don't need to be exact, so I think you can make them without too much trouble. I attached pictures of the parts with dimensions converted to imperialish for your making ease.

Then go buy a 3D printer.

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Notice: I use affiliate links to help pay for some of the supplies used in my videos. I have a strong stance about how I will and won’t use affiliate links. Read more here: https://www.keithstestgarage.com/affiliate-usage/

Step 2: Grind the T-Bolt's Head Square

The idea here is simple:

Grind the T-Bolt's head square so it fits in the square part of the KitchenAid mixer.

Use whatever means you'd prefer. Ideas:

  1. Sandpaper or Sander
  2. File
  3. Grinder

Step 3: Assemble & Install the Driveshaft

With the bearing holder,

  1. Remove 3D print supports
  2. Push in the bearings


Then, take the bolt and put on the:

  1. Spacer
  2. Bearing holder w/ bearings
  3. Lock nut - thread *almost* all the way but not quite.

If there's a bit of wobble, take it apart and put a bit of masking tape around the threads. Then put it back together.

Install it in the mixer and give it a test spin.

Step 4: Make the Sanding Plate

Cut a square-ish piece of 1/2" Baltic Birch or MDF, and do the following to it:

  1. Mark the center
  2. Punch the center
  3. Use a Forstner bit to create a recess the depth of the T-Nut face
  4. Use a normal bit to drill a hole just large enough for the T-Nut sleeve
  5. Pound in the T-Nut (in hindsight, I'd recommend using epoxy too)


Then, spin it onto the driveshaft, check for clearance, and turn it on.

  1. Draw a circle a little less than 5"
  2. Cut it out using a band saw or jigsaw.
  3. Spin it up again and sand it smooth.
  4. Remove the disc. Pretty sweet, huh?


Attach the Velcro. Hook side.

  1. Mix epoxy
  2. Spread it on the disc (the side where you can see the T-Nut!)
  3. Place Velcro
  4. Put something heavy & flat on it while it dries
  5. After it's dry, cut out the circle.


TL;DR: Attach the things to the other thing.

Step 5: Optional: Add a Dust Shield

A $1 foam core dust shield will go a long way towards convincing your resident chef/cook/baker that this sander thing is good idea.

Here's a simple way. Feel free to modify it for a collection bin, dust collection port, etc. Oh, and let me know what you come up with.

  1. Punch a hole where the T-Bolt is sticking out
  2. Cut a larger hole
  3. Fold the sides
  4. Push it back past the attachment-holder knob
  5. Reattach attachment-holder knob
  6. Show the love of your life the extents you've gone to protect the love of their life!

Step 6: Done!

Find some sandpaper and give it a whirl!

On that note: I save my used sandpaper from the random-orbit sander and use it on this thing. Low speed, high-pressure sanding gives used sandpaper an extended life!

For what it's worth, it surpassed my expectations

Although this started out to be just a silly test, I quickly found that this is actually quite the ideal machine to drive a slow speed, high torque sander. The speed range is perfect and it doesn't bog down. I've been using my lathe the past few years, but the KitchenAid mixer's slower speeds allowed me to do some aggressive sanding of the backs of those spoons that the lathe was a bit too quick for. I no longer consider this a silly test, but rather, a legit spoon-sculpting machine.

--

Thingiverse 3D Models:https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3507813

My Website:https://www.keithstestgarage.com/2019/03/21/diy-ki...

YouTube 7-Minute Walkthrough:

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    24 Discussions

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    dingo67511

    Question 6 weeks ago on Step 4

    yes I have learnt not to mess with my wife's tools would not even think about it sorry

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    Ham-made

    2 months ago

    Brilliant!
    I look forward to seeing this attachment on store shelves in the fall! This is the perfect way to make ground nutmeg.
    Cheers!
    Mr. Ham

    2 replies
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    keith204Ham-made

    Reply 2 months ago

    For the guys who say they can't rationalize the KitchenAid Not-A-Disc Sander to their wives: Look at Ham-made's idea of how it can be useful for cooking...

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    Ham-madekeith204

    Reply 2 months ago

    OR Attach a flap disk and make it rain parmesan!

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    ccooper-burke

    3 months ago

    This is an AWESOME'ible!! I MUST do this!!! And, since it's MY kitchenaid, I won't be getting in trouble, lol!

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    KrisF23

    3 months ago

    OK, first of all, that's some funny s&%t. Second, you are right about KA quality. Not what it used to be. I have one in a closet because it couldn't pull it's weight but now it may have a reason to live again. That hole sure isn't worth the pasta attachment it was made for (or anything else). HOBART! all the way. I made a mechanical juicer into a low speed horizontal sanding pad once so I'm with ya all the way. When things go MadMax, it's people like us that will still have jobs! HA!

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    SunflowerBabe

    3 months ago

    I have to say, this is definitely Hilarious and I love to laugh! Although my husband would be in deep Doo Doo if he messed with my kitchen tools.

    2 replies
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    keith204SunflowerBabe

    Reply 3 months ago

    Can you pass this message on to your husband?

    In that case, I recommend you buy a wood lathe and a 3D printer. Then you can print out my lathe attachment https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3328233

    Plus, since your wife is clearly into food preparation, she would also probably love some nice wood turned bowls and trays to properly present her work.

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    SunflowerBabekeith204

    Reply 3 months ago

    Lol, good man..I will pass this along, I actually haven't seen much in regards to wood since I was a kid...other than the standard wood utensils so that would be neat

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    memjr73

    3 months ago

    Well, since I was the one who purchased it, I'll do whatever I want with it :D

    But I must caution you. They don't make these how they used to anymore and the gears inside them are made of plastic. So don't take the "high torque" too seriously, the gears will definitely not like it if they're put through a real test.

    Other than that, a cool and clever idea :D

    3 replies
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    keith204memjr73

    Reply 3 months ago

    Good news: I just found the "plastic gears" thing to be false. Read about it here: https://foodal.com/kitchen/kitchen-appliances/stand-mixers/kitchen-aid-artisan/

    "Some folks complain about “plastic” gears in the Artisan line. These machines do have one gear made up of a Kevlar fiber filled nylon material referred to as “Nylatron.”
    This gear has been used for years (even during the time period of Hobart manufacturing) in all of the tilt-head KitchenAid stand mixers and is actually a feature – not a cheapening of parts.
    This gear is designed to shear or break apart should the machine bind up and protects the motor from burning up or otherwise become damaged. They are available for all models through Amazon or other vendors and easily replaced by anyone with a little mechanical aptitude."

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    memjr73keith204

    Reply 3 months ago

    That's good to know. Thanks for that info!

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    keith204memjr73

    Reply 3 months ago

    Maybe they're not made like the used to be, but they are still made to handle some wildly thick mixing, which I believe is a greater force than would be exerted by a spoon pressed up against a sanding pad.

    Edit: I realize this response was a bit abrupt. I want to recognize that you have a good point worth noting. While I think using this as a sander is totally within appropriate, safe usage, I also keep thinking of using this KitchenAid hooked up to gears to drive other things. To your point, I need to be careful with that train of thought and not get too carried away.

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    tercero

    3 months ago on Step 6


    ...edited by me. Sorry you took offence. It's just not my kind of ible I guess. To each their own.

    1 reply
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    keith204tercero

    Reply 3 months ago

    I explain why in *both* the Instructable as well as the video. Your suggestion of using a disc sander indicates you didn't read or watch. This is specifically to do things that the disc sanders cannot.

    ...edited by me. No offense taken.

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    seamster

    3 months ago

    I like the idea of cross-discipline multi-tasking. With this, you can sand your wooden spoons, and mix up some bread dough at the same time. Win-win! : )

    I've got an older industrial sewing machine servo motor, which has pretty good torque and variable speed. I've been considering what to do with it, and you make a pretty solid argument for making a stationary low speed sander.. got the gears turning in my head at least. Thanks!!

    1 reply
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    keith204seamster

    Reply 3 months ago

    I'm eager to hear how that goes.

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    StevenM307

    3 months ago

    Kitchenzaid, or probably more accurately Hobart as they were available very early on, used to make 2 attachments similar to this, a knife grinder with 2 abrasive stones sandwiched together, and a silver buffing wheel. They are hard to come by now, but can still be found. A simple change of end fixture with one of those would also do nicely. Problem with these devices is using them with a modern KitchenAid. The ones made by Hobart were more durable than the post-1978 or so ones made after being bought out by Whirlpool. You are actually likely to strip the phenolic gear inside the head or burn out the motor and have no more torque output. The machine this would fit well is a cheap(ish) old Hobart n50. It has a 3 speed transmission instead of variable electrical speed, and is significantly more durable, and it uses all of the KitchenAid attachments with the exact same power take off hub attachment. Definitely never change gears while it is running or you will break them though.

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    keith204StevenM307

    Reply 3 months ago

    As for stripping gears, I'm fairly certain that sanding is far less harsh on the gears than stirring thick batter.

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    nickton

    3 months ago on Step 6

    ...If I could only find one of those for cheap in a thrift shop... Gives me a new goal. Nice concept....I guess.