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Best Spindle Sander for Ship Modelling

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There are several that can suit your needs.  The choice will probably come down to the space that is available in your bench or work space. I prefer this one because it is more versatile, and has a large table that allows for construction of fixtures and jigs.  But for small work, a benchtop drill press is also a versatile machine that shouldn't be discounted.


Ridgid ZREB4424 3/8 HP Oscillating Edge Belt/Spindle Sander



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3 hours ago, lehmann said:

Grizzly tools has a small oscillating sander for hand or bench use.   I was thinking of making a thickness sander with it.  Seems to be well made (not a toy).  Reasonable price and doesn't take up much space.


Grizzly Tools;Oscillating-Spindle-Sander/T27961

That's an interesting tool for modelers who have with limited work space.  You could stack up some MDF pieces to make use of the entire length of the cylinder.

Edited by Bob Blarney
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  • 3 weeks later...

First, an editorial comment on Net inquiry for the "Best" of anything. I don't know about best, since the best of all poor choices is still poor.

I think "excellent" and "quality" would be better goals.


As for a spindle sander, I made my own.  It is not the less expensive option since the motor 

came dear, but to get the features I wanted, it was required.


There is no oscillation - but I see no advantage to that action.  The zero bend is the only one where

the table can be used for a finished shape - the bevels require a tilt of the work piece and that

angle changes continuously.  A drum moving up/down would make that more difficult to control.


Dayton 1/3 HP,  1700 rpm   - powerful enough and the right speed for sanding.

ball bearing - there is a lot of lateral force on the shaft doing this.

closed case internal cooling fan  -  a lot of wood dust produced  -  but I have mitigated that with a 1/8" hard board barrier right above the motor.

Reversible motor -  the upper ends of frames respond better to pulling sanding than pushing  - figuring out the wiring for the switch was interesting.

The maintained reversible drum switch was not cheap either.

1/2" shaft -- I prefer sleeveless drums - the Norton sheets 9 x 11 are not expensive and are easy to get.  Compressible sleeve drums sometimes get out of round.

The drums are generally 3" high in a variety of diameters -  After I friction melted the rubber substrate on the smallest one - the steel base makes that one ~ 3/8" dia.

The widest diameter is 3", but that one also has 4 1/2" high ( which was a waste - out of round- and not different enough from 3" ) and a 6" high version ( great -

especially for the frames of the 1:60 first rate I am working on.

With a bare 1/2" shaft,  Other tools can be mounted.


Another part of the design - the base mounting the motor and holding the table is open on the front and back has large rubber stoppers for feet - both for vibration

mitigation and for air flow since I cut a hole about the diameter of the motor in the bottom piece.  If you work for a while, there is heat with the motor.

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  • 1 month later...
On 25/03/2018 at 6:07 PM, Jaager said:

There is no oscillation - but I see no advantage to that action.  The zero bend is the only one where

the table can be used for a finished shape - the bevels require a tilt of the work piece and that

angle changes continuously.  A drum moving up/down would make that more difficult to control.


-no oscillation means that the sanding drum will wear in a small fraction of the drum

moving up, down or stationary  are all the same to control; easy

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  • 4 months later...

I realize the inquiry was about a "dedicated spindle sander, not a drill press or moto tool," but I have to say that IMHO a "dedicated spindle sander" for modeling is really one of those things (if such truly exists) that is overkill. I agree with Jager that there's no point to oscillation. This is primarily because nobody is going to be hogging off large blocks of wood when modeling and, if one operates the sander properly, there should be little or no wood clogging or undue abrasive wear. (I.e.: let the sander do the work and don't press the work hard into the drum.)


I have used a Delta drum sanding kit designed for use in a drill press for years and have been entirely satisfied with it. (Again, the Morse taper of a drill press chuck isn't designed to take lateral force, but this isn't a problem if little lateral force is applied with the work piece, as is proper.) A used bench top drill press is easy to come by on Craigslist or a garage sale for relatively little money and if used as a dedicated drum sander, it can always double as a back-up drill press. If you already have a drill press, so much the better.


Using hole saws, I have cut a selection of holes to match the size of the drums from 1" plywood. I've also cut a couple extra with holes to fit the largest drum. By stacking up these "zero clearance inserts" (the big ones beneath the smaller holed ones, as needed) clamped to the table and adjusting the quill and setting that as convenient, I can always move the abrasive area exposed as needed to always have an unworn section of abrasive presented to the work piece. A crepe rubber abrasive cleaner used as needed ensures that the abrasive doesn't wear prematurely.


I have a plastic tube that fits my shop-vac hose and has a rare earth magnet epoxied onto it.  This tube holds the hose beneath the center of the drill press table top and pretty much sucks most of the sawdust away from down below.


It's really no more trouble than chucking a drill bit into the chuck and sticking my shop-vac hose to the bottom of the drill press table, so my drill press not being "dedicated" to sanding has never been an issue for me.


It's a stock Home Despot item for forty bucks: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Delta-Sanding-Drum-Set-25-Pieces-17-940/203293688  Harbor Freight has them for twenty-seven bucks less the abrasive sleeves: https://www.harborfreight.com/4-piece-quick-change-sanding-drum-set-35455.html  Horror Fright has the crepe abrasive cleaners for eight bucks, too: https://www.harborfreight.com/sanding-belt-cleaner-30766.html


Just sayin'. Your mileage may vary.





Edited by Bob Cleek
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