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Anyone own a Woodcraft spindle sander?

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I got an email that the Woodcraft spindle sander is on sale.  Is it any good?  There have been a few times where a spindle sander would have been really handy on my builds.  Of course I'd prefer buying one from Jim Byrnes if he decides to make one...


Here is the link to the item and sale price:





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I've looked at it and it's ok for what it is.  But if your budget can bear it and you have the space, i think you should consider this tool instead. It can do what the Woodcraft machine does, and significantly more.  A reasonable  price is about $200-235, and you might find a secondhand one (e.g. on Craigslist) for less:



Edited by Bob Blarney
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The Rigid machine has a spacious top that can be fitted with jigs and fixtures for precision sanding.  The dust collection can be improved by making a sheetmetal  or PVC shield around/behind the spindle or belt.  The machine is not heavy and so it can be moved and stored without much effort.  The bottom of the machine is formed so that it can be set up on sawhorses or bolted to a bench. And a good source for the abrasives is Klingspor.com

Edited by Bob Blarney
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woodcraft has 2 more diameter  1/2 and 3 inches

Not so:


The Rigid machine has 1/2, 3/4, 1, 1-1/2, & 2 inch sizes for the spindle sanding capabilities.  The larger (left) end of the beltsanding device provides for the 3 inch capability.  Here you can see the sheetmetal dust shield/director that I added.  One end is held by a winged thumbscrew {1/4-20 thread} placed into the hole provided for the standard material stop, and the other end is attached to the back of the table with a self-tapping sheetmetal screw driven into a hole drilled through the edge of the aluminum top.


Really, in my opinion, this machine provides the most optimal performance:price:service ratio  of any sanding machine that a hobbyist or small shop owner could find or desire. 



Edited by Bob Blarney
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Gaetan, i tested the link above to the Rigid website, and it worked perfectly, but I'll post it agains below.


For spindle sanding, the belt sander is removed and placed in a storage socket on the rear of the machine.  This exposes the 1/2" steel shaftm and yes, a 1/2" abrasive sleeve is mounted directly on the steel shaft w/o a rubber drum.  For 3/4-2" sanding, there are rubber drums provided that mount on the steel shaft.  There are also corresponding rings that fit into the table for each size of sleeve.   No tools are needed for changeovers; only if you overtighten the knob then a tool will be needed.


Here is a link to the tool's page on the Rigid website, where you can find links to the comprehensive owners manual and parts list.



Edited by Bob Blarney
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Bob you tried it, you must know how it works. It is just that information does not correspond.

Sanding Drums (Provided):

3/4 in., 1 in., 1-1/2 in., 2 in.


Sander bed assembly with 4 in. x 24 in. sanding belt assembly, 1/2 in., 3/4 in., 1 in., 1-1/2 in. and 2 in. diameter sanding sleeves


The important is that it has 1/2"  because  for all the small diameters will be needed for sanding.

Also this table has another advantage on the other; tilting.

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Unless you intend to model at 1:36 or something like that, the additional surface area with the belt over a 3" drum

may not offer that much more function, but that or the drum allows you to sand with the grain, while a disc or vertical

 belt sands across the grain.  For sanding end grain for precise match up , I trust the disc over any sort of belt because

a belt will have give in/out.

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With a free 1/2" shaft you are potentially golden for options for the machine.

1.  You loose the table, but for free hand - if you wish to save on the cost of the sanding medium:

There are sleeveless drums - they use sheet sandpaper:



Woodcraft has 3" x 3" , 2.5" x 3" , 2" x 3"  drums with a 1/2" set screw socket mount. They have a 1/2" rod for a chuck to grip.
Peachtree Woodworking Supply  has 3" x 3" , 2"x 3"
they also have 4.5" x 3"  and 6" x 3" for a large surface.
Both also have 1" x 3"  and 3/4" x 3"  but the socket mount is 1/4" -  they have a 1/4" rod

As far as 1/4" tools:

There are shaft arbors that mount on a 1/2" shaft:



            3ZN03_AW01 s.jpg

They are available from multiple sources, but low quality will likely not run true.

Granger has arbors that are 1/2" x 20 (fine) threaded at the business end as both RH and LH.
They can mount buffing and grinding media - with a 1/2" hole.

I am guessing that your machine turns CCW -  I confuse myself with LH vs RH,
but Grainger has a 1/4" chuck - it is only 1/4" though - that threads on the 1/2" x 20 shaft and tightens down with CCW rotation.


            1F612_AS01 s.jpg

With this chuck, the 3" x 1"  and  3" x 3/4" drums can be used.

In addition 1/4"  carbine burrs can be mounted.




Wood Carvers Supply has a wide variety of choices available.  For our uses, the fine carbide seems coarse enough.

There is a Jacobs chuck that will mount on the 1/2" x 20 rod at Harbor Freight


            image_18878 s.jpg

Again, CCW holds it down.

With this chuck you can use the Microplane tools  1" x 2.5"  and 2" x 2.5"



            828821 s.jpg

These cutters are designed to use CCW rotation and have a 5/16" rod for a chuck to grip.

If you find a tool with a 1/2" rod and want to mount it, Grainger  has a 1/2" shaft coupling:




 I have just made my own version of this machine, but with inspiration from Jim Byrnes - his machines are 1/3 HP - 2 pole - but are ~ 3400 RPM - twice what a sander wants - I bought a 1/3 HP self cooling 2 pole 1700 RPM motor and wired it with a drum switch so it will rotate CW as well as CCW.  I am right handed and prefer working on the right side of the drum.  But when sanding the rail end of a frame on the left arm - the drum tries to throw the work.  Flipping a switch to reverse the rotation solves the problem.  But with CW rotation, the chuck wants to walk up the threaded rod.  Set screw mounted tools work either rotation.  I will have to think about how and if I want to add the belt sanding option.  I had not thought of that possibility until your post.

These tools work fine for free hand use.  For cutting the bevels on frames, the change is continuous so a table is not much use - free hand seems about it.  I am thinking that the 4.5x3 and 6x3 drums will give me plenty of room to work.

I also want to use the Microplane and 3" drums as an edger, to sand and true up boards that are too wide to fit my sanding planer.  The arbors and chucks are not turning as precisely true as I wish.   So, as much as I hate have to tear down my lathe to clean up the steel cuttings, I will probably bore my own shaft couplings from 3/4" steel rod,   bore a 1/4" hole in one end and 1/2" in the other and drill and tap for set screws in one and 5/16" by 1/2" in another.

Edited by Jaager
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Most of my interest has been in building guitars, and shipmodeling is something I'll get around to, probably this coming winter.  At the moment, mostly I'm working on building a small foam/canvas camping trailer (tnttt.com), which is turning into a timesink.


I have a full armory of sanding (and other hand, portable and stationary power tools) with the exception of inflatable drums, but the Rigid is probably the one I use the most, along with a disc sander, for shaping parts for guitars such as necks, braces and all those other non-linear/planar surfaces of guitars.


You might have a look at tools that luthiers use to make small parts, in particular a Robo-sander.  Go to stewmac.com or lmii.com and have a look around.


Here's a pic of the ship/timber-framed deck for the trailer.  It's cedar, with mortise & tenon and notched half-lap joints. the spaces within the grid have been filled with polystyrene foam house insulation wit gorilla glue, which makes a very lightweight but strong structure.  No metal fasteners are necessary except those needed to attach it to the steel trailer chassis:


Edited by Bob Blarney
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