Another Drum Sander Question - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-20-2008, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
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Another Drum Sander Question

I've noticed that there have been a number of postes with questions about different drum sanders without too many responses. I'm in the market to upgrade my Performax 16-32 drum sander. I'm tired of trying to get the conveyor belt to track properly and more importantly, want to be able to adjust the sanding drum even with the table more easily.

I've read a number of negative things about the Grizzly product but I'm hoping for some opinions on what you all are using and what your experiences have been good or bad. I'm seriously considering the General International 24" Dual Drum Sander. Anyone use this?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I'm a newbie and welcome any comments.

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post #2 of 9 Old 01-20-2008, 12:24 PM
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Hi Troy
I don’t have experience on the General, but I do have some on the woodmaster, which was pretty decent. Also a lot on the performax, same as yours. I solved, to my satisfaction, the two problems you mention, by the following: for the conveyor, I cut down the width of the conveyor belt by about 1 ” on each side. I can’t say I was able to get the tracking perfect, but with the additional time I got between adjustments, it was no longer a problem. I put a few marks on the sheet metal to show the edge of the paper where it was balanced on both sides, when it went past the first mark I would just tighten the nut turn to offset that, and so on if more change was needed, but it never would get so far as to be a problem. For the adjustment of the arm, Performax sells, or sold, a small metal plate that you could put on the outside of the arm, (the open end) that allowed you to adjust the rollers up or down, (small amounts, but pretty accurately. This was, for some reason, an after market piece, not included with the machine, but it did the trick.
I also am in the market for a new machine, and as I said, tried out other drum sanders. But my problem with the drums was that they were too slow on hard woods, tended to streak and load sandpaper if you pushed it just a bit too fast, and of course, changing paper between grits takes time. Dust collection is not great either, but on some of the bigger drums, seems to be better. For this reason I researched the wide belt sanders too. A lot of folks disparage the drums, sanding the wide belts kick ass. (course then there are the stroke sander folks too) but I think the drums are very good, especially on finishing, just that I want more speed. I have finally settled on one of the open ended wide belts, (Sunhill or one of the copies) that are offered. I couldn’t run a bigger machine, as I don’t have the power to run 10 hp plus dust collection. I was a bit curious about the small Steel city wide belt, might have been a good alternative to the performax, but it doesn’t have belt tracking etc. A lot lighter machine. While I am leery about the open ended design, I talked to some owners of the machines, (they all will give you names of folks that have their machines) and they all claimed no problem. I mostly run narrower stock thru, pre-sanding stock before I start cutting and machine to parts. The 15” capacity is ok. Especially as you seem to be able to run pretty close to the edges, (unlike with the Performax, I never had great luck getting too close to the column side of the machine. Sandpaper too often balled up there, even with the spring loaded gadget.
And if I really have wide panels that need sanding, I can always take them to a local guy that will do those for me on his big wide belt.

Hope you are successful in getting feedback here on the General, I’ll be interested too.
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post #3 of 9 Old 01-20-2008, 09:42 PM
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I currently have a a woodmaster 26 inch. It is the old style with a infeed roller. You have to be carefull not to take off too much with one pass or it will bind. The newer modle has an infeed belt which should work great. I would not consider a single arm drum sander for my needs. I picked mine up on ebay a couple of years ago and have learned to really appreciate what it can do for me. The only reason that I would get rid of it would be to get a new model of the same brand. Just my thoughts.
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-21-2008, 11:01 PM
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I agree Ken, that if I were looking for a drum, I would not go for an open ended one. But I have to say that the open end sounds worse than it actually proved to be. I had plenty of problems, but they really weren't related to the fact that it wasn't stiff enough. I woudl say that it was mostly that it couldn't cut fast enough, and that is a common problem of the drum sanders. I suspect on a wide belt, I would be more "comfortable" buying a non open ended model. But they don't make them that narrow. And a wide belt of 24" is usually about 10 HP and wider is much more. I just don't have the power for it. And I have talked to a few current owners of commercial shops that own the open end models and they all are pretty satisfied. None of them suggest that it is common for them to run things wider than the 15" width, but they say it is no big deal when they have to. For me, I feel the same. I don't expect to run much that is wider than 15". So, just my opinion, but I totally understand where you come to yours too. I was leery about the old performax before i used it for years. And the Sunhill and Grizzly are much more massively reinforced for rigidity than the Performax, and about 3 times the weight for less width. I guess i will find out.
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-06-2008, 03:48 PM
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I have a good friend that has a Grizzly 24# dual drum sander.
It is very underpowered and actually will almost stall when runny wood through the unit. I looked at a lot of drum sanders and the lower priced sanders most of which were underpowered. I bought a Woodmaster model 712 which has a 5 HP motor and it works as a planer/molder/ gang saw and a nice drum sander. They currently are having a special, it might be worth taking a look at. Hope this helps.

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post #6 of 9 Old 02-06-2008, 07:18 PM
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Anybody have the Steel City 26" Dual Drum sander? I was thinking about that one. Fot about $1900 seemed like a good deal. 3 HP seems like it might be under powered. But who knows, my 3HP 15" planer can take 3/16" off a 14" board and the S.C. sander is limited to 1/32" cut. Any owners or users to make some comments?

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-07-2008, 11:12 AM
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Yes, but a planer is very different from a sander. A planer "cuts" off shavings from a board, while a sander sands it off, making MANY more "cuts". I had a drum sander that was 3HP and it didn't cut (pun intended) it too well. I switched to a 7 1/2 hp 16" wide belt, and it is fine, but you can still overload it. Specially with finer grits. Remember, pushing wood against sandpaper is sort of like applying the breaks to the motor. I think the woodmaster that I used did a decent job. But I didn't own that machine and didn't use it that long.
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-05-2011, 04:08 PM
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I have a general drum sander. At the moment, I have issues with the infeed belt stoping during the sanding process. Once it stops, I get low spots in the work piece. The major problem I have with this machine, is dealing with General in Canada. I understand they now have a tech person in the US. Hopefully he can solve my problems.
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post #9 of 9 Old 06-05-2011, 04:58 PM
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I own the Grizzly 1066. Got it on the ultra cheap and just now (after 2 months) have it dialed in. The drum rollers really need to be positioned perfectly with eachother or it can cause a giant headache. Second, there's a bit of an art getting the paper on the rolls tightly, and the understanding that you can only take VERY light passes. (about 1/8 of a trun on the crank) I made some tools that help with getting the paper on tight. The dust collection isn't great but having a dust collector is a must. (I don't think a shop vac would work)
It has a 5 HP motor and anything smaller (for 24" wide) i would have concerns.
The first time I fired it up I thought I wasted my money but I'm happy with it now. IMHO the Grizzly 1066 will need some set up (and understanding its capabilities), is a great addition to the shop.
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