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Review - New 4" variable speed disc sander by Model Machines - New Jim Byrnes disc sander


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I would like to introduce you guys to the latest tool that will soon be offered by Model Machines.   Jim Byrnes has done it again.   You might ask how he could possibly make the disc sander he offers better.  I asked the same thing.   But as expected, he managed to do just that.   

 

The first thing you will notice is the size difference between the new disc sander and the old one.  This new Variable Speed Disc Sander is the perfect size, at least for me.  It has a 4" disc.  You can see the side by side comparison below.  I have put it through its paces over the last few months.  You might expect a less powerful machine.  It is not.  This smaller disc sander packs some power.  It is also quiet as a mouse.   It runs super smooth as expected and you barely hear a whisper from the sander. 

 

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Another great function of this sander is the ability to change speeds.  The variable speed control is super smooth as well.   I prefer slower speeds on softer material like Yellow Cedar.  But maybe thats just me.  You can tailor the speed for your own comfort zone.

 

In addition the other neat feature is the direction is reversible.  I am right handed so I usually keep it going counter clock wise.  But on some occasions it was a real pleasure to be able to reverse direction.  The shape of some parts just makes this a great option to have.  BUT remember....DO NOT REVERSE DIRECTIONS UNLESS THE DISC IS FULLY STOPPED.   I havent done that by accident yet but I imagine it wouldnt be pretty.

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The table top is 6 3/4" long and 4 1/4" deep.  Its a really nice size.  I used this on some test frames for my upcoming speedwell kit.  The parts sat comfortably on the table, even the small parts.  As you would expect, the table tilts with a variety of "lockable" preset angles.  Just push in the pin and tighten it up on both sides of the table.  Its sturdy aluminum construction like all of the Byrnes machines is also present here.  This machine has some tight and precision tolerances and is of course well made.  Superior to anything else you might have used in the past.

 

You can also see the precision miter slide that is typical of Jim's machines.   There is no play with this slide.  It is very accurate and slides comfortably.  

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I thought the smaller size would make it more difficult or awkward to use.  But to my surprise it did not.  In fact after using the new 4" disc sander the larger older sander seemed a bit awkward by comparison.  The new smaller size makes sense and I didnt find myself wandering to the old one at all.  This new sander will now be my go to sander and it is lightweight by comparison.   It fits nicely on your work bench and doesnt take up much room.  It slides nicely into the corner and even fits on a nearby shelf when  I need to store it for longer periods.  That is a huge plus.

 

Jim will be launching these very soon.   It will make a great tool if you are in the market for a disc sander or want another one to compliment the older larger disc sander.  From what I understand this machine will indeed replace the old disc sander once Jim's inventory of the old larger sanders is depleted.

 

I am unsure what the price point will be on this but I can tell you it will be more than worth the money.  Its not something I would be able to do without now that I have one in my shop.

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Like Chuck I have had the privilege of test driving Jim's new disk sander and echo everything that Chuck has written. As a scratch builder I find the disk sander amongst my most used power tools and the new version is smaller, quieter and in every way the equal of the larger version. But it has the added advantages of a reversable motor and variable speed.  There are many times where sanding a complex piece on the left side just makes things a whole bunch easier. As well the smaller disk is not a problem as how often does one use the full disk for sanding at one time anyway? Of course I'll keep both of my Byrne's disk sanders on the workbench - with different grits to speed up things.

 

Hat's off to Jim for building a better mousetrap. Maybe now he'll consider a oscillating spindle sander for the workshop.

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Ialmost forgot a unique and important feature of this little gem.   I got so used to it I thought it was a standard feature on all disc sanders but its not.  It is such a timesaver.  This sander has a removable disc.  If you examine the picture below, you can see the disc is in two halves.  This makes switching grits so much easier.  In fact with the spare disc you can have one ready alongside the machine with a different grit.    It has 3/32 hex driver with it so you can remove it.  The front disc is removed from the back of the disc through the slot on top of the motor mount,  there are 3 screws that mount the front disc to the back.   So removing the sandpaper is easier.  You remove the entire disc and swap out the sandpaper and then place the disc back in the machine.  You could literally buy several of these discs and have them all ready with sandpaper and you are ready for the quick change. 

 

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  • 2 months later...

What a fine piece of machinery! I especially like the exposed corner of the disk, allowing to shape the inside curves without a spindle sander. Had to make a cutoff in my proxxon for it.

What about the dust collection, is there a way to hook up the vacuum? 

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On 1/21/2023 at 3:14 PM, Mike Y said:

What about the dust collection, is there a way to hook up the vacuum? 

According to the Byrnes website:

The Byrnes Disc Sander has an integrated 1.5" dust port, and is powered by a 90V DC motor. All our machines are backed by our 1-year warranty.

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