Author Topic: Drum Sander Advice  (Read 1418 times)

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Offline Canoescapes

  • Posts: 13
Drum Sander Advice
« on: December 28, 2018, 11:23 PM »
I would appreciate any insights/advice.  I am a hobbyist who has long owned a Performax 16-32 Plus drum sander.  I am trying to decide whether to sell this machine and upgrade to a Supermax 19-38.  I have been using the Performax less and less due to several frustrations.  The drum is very difficult to level as tightening the alignment nuts after the drum is leveled to the table invariably pulls it out of alignment.  As a result, sanding oversized glue-ups, for example, tend to leave sanding lines that do not smooth out when the board is turned end to end for another pass.  I end up using the Rotex to get rid of the sanding line.  Abrasive changes are a PITA and require an unusual tool on the infeed side because there isn't room for a finger to raise the paper clamping mechanism (unless your fingers are much smaller than mine). The motor is somewhat underpowered at 1 hp, and the dust port is too small at 2 1/2 inches.  According to reviews and videos I have watched, the Supermax supposedly corrects or at least mitigates most of my issues with the Performax.  For those of you familiar with the Supermax, is that the case?  I have looked at a floor model and reviewed the manual, and the Supermax appears to be a significant improvement, but there is no substitute for actual use.  As an alternative, I could simply keep using the Rotex for many of the tasks for which I would otherwise use a drum sander.  Thank you in advance for any insights.

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Offline travisj

  • Posts: 364
Re: Drum Sander Advice
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2018, 01:53 AM »
I have a 19-38, but I do not have enough miles on it to sufficiently answer your questions.  I will say that leveling the drum (by leveling the conveyor) was not difficult in my opinion. 

I have not yet run anything through the sander wider than the 19”.  I am unsure if the Performax has the setting to slightly tilt the conveyor away from the drum on the open end of the machine, but that is supposed to negate the sanding lines on wide pieces that are flipped.

As to accessibility, I have larger than average hands and have not had any problems changing paper or doing anything else with the machine.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline lwoirhaye

  • Posts: 252
Re: Drum Sander Advice
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2018, 09:21 AM »
I despise drum sanders but the newer ones are better.  Still pricey.  I'd advise a close-ended model.   You can use dowels or dominos to glue up panels wider than the sander and minimize orbital sanding of the joint.   Biscuits are in 3rd place.

Offline deepcreek

  • Posts: 913
    • TimberFire Studio
Re: Drum Sander Advice
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2018, 09:58 AM »
I assume you know that Performax and Supermax are essentially the same company.  As I understand it, Performax sold out to Jet and Supermax rose from the ashes with the original personnel.  They have since been purchased by Laguna.

That being said, the machines have been improved over the years but the basic engineering remains the same.

I've had a 16-32 (too small) and a 37x2 (too big) in my shop. 

I'm currently using an open stand 25-50 on casters with infeed/outfeed tables and a Wixey DRO.  It is essentially a 19-38 with a wider head and a roller extension on the feed table.

It has one 4-inch dust port is in the middle that does a fairly good job hooked to my Oneida.  It certainly does not get it all.

I primarily use it for thicknessing stock as well as flattening live edge slabs (on a sled with shims).

It has the intellisand feed motor but I've found that it can still stall no matter how slow I feed or how small of cut I take.  I always keep a hand on the stock and help it along.

There is a lever to slightly lift the open end when sanding a panel wider than 25-inches.  You then flip the stock around and pass it back through the other way.   I've done this once and it seemed to work just fine.  No noticeable line.

In my experience, drum sanders leave linear scratches regardless of how high you go with the grit.  They become less noticeable as you go higher but  I still end up using my Festool ROS to remove them.

It was a bit of a PITA to set up and dial in the first time.  Lots of trial and error to get it there.  I used a Starrett dial indicator and got it as close to perfect as humanly possible.

I'm fairly pleased with this machine and would not want to be without it.
Joe Adams
TimberFire Studio
Houston, Texas

Offline Huxleywood

  • Posts: 136
Re: Drum Sander Advice
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2018, 12:09 AM »
It is worth taking a look at Woodmaster sanders, the best drum sanders you can buy, made in the US also.