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  1. #1

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    Jan 2017
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    Hi, I have just bought a 2nd hand drum sander and this machine is a first for me. I am still playing around with the machine to get a proper "feel" for it and to test out different conveyor belt speeds on different materials, different belt grits, etc.

    One problem I have encountered straight away, is that the sanding belts are not available in different grits and the one's that are available are expensive. As an alternative, I tried to get hold of sanding belts without the tapers on the ends (on rolls) that has the same width (80mm), but with no luck. The closest was 50mm. I then got hold of some used (but still good) wide belt sander belts. The idea was to cut them up in strips, cut the tapers on the ends and I will then have plenty of belts at a fraction of the cost. Unfortunately, these belts are just to short when cut at a width of 80mm.

    I have the following questions and need some help please?:

    - How can I join the strips of belts together? I only need to make one joint per belt. Looking at my belt sander's sanding belts, some are joined with a certain type of special tape and some joined with an overlap. The tape joint looks simple and easy to make, but I am not sure what materials to use?

    - I have also played around with different belt widths, but to determine the exact belt length of the belt, is not easy. I do not want to remove the drum to wrap scrap paper of different width's around to determine the different belt lengths. Surely, there must be some formula's out there that makes this a simple calculation?

    - I have managed to work out the angles on the belt ends. These are simply the circumference of the drum, measured from one side of the belt to the other and works for all the different belt width's.

    - Lastly, does it matter and will it affect the machine's performance if you use different belt width's, i.e 50mm, 80mm or even a 100mm? My common sense tells me this is irrelevant, as long as the drum is covered evenly by the sanding belt, without any gaps in between?

    Any help and comments (especially with regards to the joining of belt strips), will be sincerely appreciated!


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  2. #2
    kngtek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Thanked 15 Times in 8 Posts
    Hi Louis,

    To start it would be helpful to know key details about your new drum sander e.g. drum diameter, drum length, and type.

    I don't know if this will help you, but Shopsmith (maker of multi-purpose woodworking tools in the usa) (Woodworking Tools -- Shopsmith Woodworking Equipment and Supplies) used to market a "Sand-Flee" drum sander manufactured by RJR Studios (R.J.R. Studios, LLC - Home) which was powered by the extension shaft on the Shopsmith. This drum sander was (and still is) also available as a standalone unit (I have one of the former for my Shopsmith).

    This sander has a 2"D x 18"L drum and utilizes a loop & hook (velcro) approach for attaching the abrasive sheets i.e. it is very easy to install or peel off and reinstall these - In fact, I sometimes put a coarse sheet on the LHS half of the drum and a fine sheet on the RHS. The sheets are "double secured" (so they don't peel off during sanding by wrapping a narrow piece of sticky-backed tape at the start point (on the LHS) and also in the middle (if two different sheets of sandpaper are installed). These abrasive sheets are sold in 3"W x 10yd L rolls (all in Imperial units) by both Shopsmith and RJR and fundamentally should work on any drum diameter.

    What might also be of potential interest to you is a video on the Shopsmith website in the online video section titled "Sawdust Session no. 6 - An Overview of the Sand Flee Finish Sander" which describes, among other things, how the abrasive is installed on to the drum sander.(SS106 Directory)

    Shopsmith also sells a large selection of small, drill chuck-mounted sanding drums and preformed refills ranging from 1/2"D to 3"D x 3"L or 6"L. - probably not of interest to you.

    I'm not sure if you are on the same side of the 'pond' as me, but either way there are bound to be suppliers in many countries making a similar product.

    Best regards,
    Gary (kngtek)
    Calgary, AB Canada

  3. #3
    Supporting Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Cleveland Ohio
    Thanked 7 Times in 6 Posts

    Redwoods's Tools
    I would search on for "diy sanding belts"

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Can you give a little bit more information? I think there is help for you with the sander. Can you find a model number or a make of any kind. I have seen belts made for sanders with what we used to call alligator clamps. they pressed in to the sand paper and clamped underneath. We used a what we called a breath tape at times. I don't really know the actual name of the tape. We called it breath tape, as we hold our breath hoping it was going to hold together. But it worked pretty good.
    I would think somewhere there are some identifying marks or numbers.
    Sorry, I cannot be of more help. One other thing I saw an old wood worker do, now that I think of it. He took his belt and slid over and around the sander frame. He then laid his belt on the table and measured the sanding material to the exact size of his belt, minus a 1/32 of and inch. it worked perfectly. You may try it. The belt thickness is of course thicker than the sand paper. That is why he cut it a might shorter.

    Good luck.

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