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Mini Spindle Sander

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That's an interesting machine and he did nice job of building it.  But one thing to keep in mind for sanding is the surface speed of the paper, which is pi x diameter x rpm. When it's too fast, the sandpaper is not effective, or it wears out quickly due to the heat. For sanding a 1-3" wooden object on my lathe, I set the speed around 250-750 rpm, depending upon the wood species.  The machine might be improved by adding a variable speed control.

Edited by Bob Blarney
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I would think that the designed unit that is the subject of this thread :

is under powered.  could over heat  unless better ventilation is allowed.

does not offer a large enough surface for sanding - especially for changing bevels on frames.


I have built two drum sanding tables.

The spindle sanders I checked use drum with sleeve sanding media.

I dislike being tied to using disposable media that is expensive and has

limited sources. When I found sleeveless drums at Peachtree that use

9 x 11 sheet sandpaper I built to use them.  The variety od sizes is good.

At one end is a 3" dia. that is 6 inches high and the other is 1/2" dia that

is 3 inches high.  To get down to 1/2" - the rubber layer making it 3/4" is



The first unit had a 1/20 HP motor 1700 rpm but the shaft is 5/16".

All but the two smallest drums have 1/2" sockets.  Then the two small drums

had 1/4" sockets.  Now, they seem to have changed manufacturers and the two

small ones now also have 1/2" sockets.  I had to drill and turn adapters from

cold rolled steel rod.  That is messy and requires an involved cleanup to remove

the steel turnings from the lathe.

The 1/20 HP motor did not have enough power to mount the 6 inch drum and was weak

in removal with the others.

I thought I might get the motor that Jim Byrnes uses for his sander but it turns out to be a 

3500 rpm motor pullyed down to 1700 rpm.  I did learn about two pole motors from the exercise.


I bought a 1/3 hp 1700 rpm motor from Grainger that has a closed fan internal cooling component

and ball bearing mounts for the shaft.  Good bearings and ventilation for cooling is important.

It is also best to develop a design that keeps saw dust out of the motor - which is a challenge when

the motor is under the drum.  The motor has a 1/2 shaft so all of the drums will mount directly ti it.

The motor is two pole, so I wired it to a drum switch so that the drums can rotate CW or CCW.

With a 1/2" shaft, I also mount burr cutters and micro planers - but with a threaded mount , reverse

rotation does not work so well.  The commercial spindle sanders that I have looked at appear to have

a proprietary method to mount their drums that limits their versatility.  The belt sanding attachment 

on the Rigid model looked interesting, but when Harbor Freight had a stand alone 4 x 36 unit on sale

for $60, I calculated it was easier and cheaper than trying to adapt that ability to my unit.

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Klingspor is good source for abrasives, and a 'bargain box' off odds & sods might be a very good deal for modelmakers, and they have a selection of products of interest to modelbuilders:  




Edited by Bob Blarney
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Bob, my 4hp treadmill use pwm to control the speed. yours should have something similar.


hope this can help you understand more about treadmill motor and pwm





Jaager, thanks for you information, but my spindle sander is not design for normal size woodworking project, just for model making or small project. my biggest drum is  1 3/8" wide, never had motor over heat problem before, but I will put an thermometer in it to track the temperature inside

Edited by jay913
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Jay, thanks, the treadmill motor works fine.  I just scavenged the entire electronics including the MC45 controller board and the user control console, and then also added a dpdt reversing switch.  It turned out conveniently that the motor's flywheel-pulley used poly-vee "J" belts that matched the pulleys on the lathe.  (the belt was bought from beltsforanything.com).  My only issue is that at very slow speeds (125-250 rpm), it tends to bog down under load, and then overshoot the rpm.  I suppose that it has something to do with the soft-start and the speed modulation algorithm, and maybe also the 1:2 ratio of the pulley diameters.   But all-in-all, I'm very happy with the setup because it's largely eliminated moving the belt across the cone pulleys, except for special circumstances,

Edited by Bob Blarney
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I only use mine for model work also.  I just have to shape frames and cut bevels in

fairly thick stock.  Even at 1:60 Commerce de Marseille has timbers that are 1/4" thick

and sanding a station of them is over 2 inches of Hard Maple.  That needs an

adequate motor.  60 grit paper does not take too long to remove the bulk.  When I

do the sanding, I tend to go in batches, so a session can go for a couple of hours,

which does heat a motor.

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