DIY thickness sander for lathe or ShopSmith #5: Test drive, she works a treat!

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Well, the velcro kit arrived yesterday afternoon but just as I got it installed a friend showed up and made me go golfing so I didn’t get to try it out until this morning. The results are better than I had hoped. It adjusts quite easily either with the two original adjusters or with the new center one but the key really is the locks for precision.

Here’s my test. I sanded a piece to see if it came out smooth first. It did with some reservations (more on that later) so I drew a line with felt pen across the width of a piece near the capacity of the sander.

When I ran it through at a minimum cut, it came out like this. If you could examine it closely you would see that the line has been scratched everywhere but not sanded through anywhere. That’s close enough for me.

Now about those reservations. I had been warned about possible flex and vibration with ABS and I can’t exactly say that I had none, however there seems to be a way to control it (and vibration may not even be the cause). I noticed that if I paused at all during the cut there would be a little wear groove where the drum had paused. If I moved the piece through smoothly there was no sign of the groove.

Possible explanations in order of likelihood in my opinion:

1) The hook an loop expanding a little from centrifugal force when the pressure on it diminished.
2) The piece lifting a little because it is really only the drum holding it down, no table rollers.
3) Vibration of the ABS pipe

Whatever the cause, the problem is easily solved by advancing the piece smoothly through the cut.

The sanded surface from side to side is not a perfectly straight line as can be seen in picture #2 but it’s damn close. I credit this to an inability to get the velcro and paper surface perfectly even but we’re really splitting hairs here. I’m very happy with it.

As for the dust collection, I was sanding MDF and there was no dust in the air. Better than that, I won’t be bothering to install the magnets I had bought to hold the collection manifold down. The suction from the DC holds it so tight you can hardly get it off.

All in all I’m thrilled and it’s on to the marquetry press. Then I can finally get some marquetry done.

Thanks for watching, I hope this was of some use to someone.

Comments, questions and critiques are always welcome.


-- The early bird gets the worm but its the second mouse that gets the cheese.

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