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Spindle sander


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Over the years I've probably seen pictures and ads for spindle sanders a hundred times. The recent flyer from Woodcraft had one in it and literally, a bell went off in my head. I've always wanted one. So I made one. 




It is a simple design I made up myself but it is nice! But this is my very last drill, so no more converting them.....




It's a beautiful old Craftsman drill with variable speed via a knob, a reverse lever, and a button that holds the

motor in the on position.





Just a plywood base and a couple of hose clamps.




Here is the table, 




and the table inserts for each size drum I want to use. Making sure of course to be able to use the tiny ones for miniature work.




I attached the table with 3/4" dowel.




And last here is is where I will keep it, next to the belt sander I made from another old drill. These two shop-made machines are indispensable to me :)






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Good idea for a budget spindle sander!  I like your belt sander even better!  I like the fact that you use wood to build your machines which is within the capability of most miniaturists.


Spindle sanders are expensive and sadly most don't have the capability of very small diameter drums.   I inherited a Jet spindle sander which is OK but not suited for miniatures since the smallest drum is too big.  I considered making a drum adaptor but the drum has to be very long to accommodate the length of oscillation stroke.


The best DIY spindle sander I have seen was made from a drill press head which used a gear motor to move the spindle vertically to provide the oscillation. It could have a stroke that is adjustable.    I believe it was written up in Fine Woodworking.  It uses the chuck to hold tools which makes it especially suitable for miniatures.


I do most of my sanding by hand.

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The table inserts are nice; did you cut them out with a hole saw attachment?  I think that is the only way I could get consistent round parts.  I haven't really figured out why I would need a spindle sander as a separate piece of equipment, and am interested in what operation(s)you use it for.  I have a big disc sander, and if you want to take a piece of wood out of square, quickly; I've got the equipment for that one and I have mastered this skill.  (Really I use my disk sander to shape cushions for furniture.)   I use my drill press and the drum sanders for any spindle sanding that I do; but except for using it to sand the inside of a circle, I can't think about the last time I used my drum sander on my drill press; perhaps the smallest one that I have is 1/2" diameter...oh yes, now I remember, the 12 queen anne legs that I worked on to get 2 of them that looked similar.  I finally gave up on using a machine and went back to sanding by hand - I could finish a lot more stuff, if I would give up on "my" standards  :rolleyes:....


Do you use it to sand out the basic shape of a critter?


Still it is great to see your end result and I congratulate you on your creativity!



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Tamra to answer your questions: 1) a while back, I made a circle jig for my big disc/belt sander. I cut the table inserts roughly on the band saw, then used the circle jig to mount them, sanding them round. The mounting hole is the center so I then used it to center the openings for the drums, the two largest I cut out on the scroll saw. The rest are drilled. 2) I will use it for any inside or outside curved sanding. I used to use my drill press with the drums and home made tables with the holes in the center for inside and outside sanding, but that's tiresome and I love dedicated tools (especially free ones!) 3) No, I would not try to sand out a shape. I cut one profile of the animal (no matter how tiny) on the scroll saw, then do the carving.

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