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Discussion Starter #2
Of course I am kidding. You know I have a three page word document to insert here right?!?!?!

I ordered the JET 16-32 Plus from Woodcraft in mid-December of 2013. Unfortunately, I was told it was on back order and that I would not receive it until mid-January of this year. I was able to cancel my order after sourcing one at Mann Tool and Supply in Columbia, SC who had one in stock. The people there were very friendly and even held the sander for me a couple of days until I was able to cancel my original order. The staff there was extremely helpful, and the main salesman helping me (who owned this sander himself) had a lot of useful insight and tips for me. They had the sander on a pallet and a loading dock to put it in the bed of my truck. I told him I wanted to put it in the back seat, and he helped me remove it from the pallet and lift it inside. FYI, this sand will fit in the back seat of an F150 crew cab.

I read tons of reviews on multiple drum sanders and decided that this was the best choice. Upon reading all of the reviews on this sander, I also knew exactly what to expect when it came to assembly and the minimal amount of hiccups during the process.

The sander comes in two separate boxes, with the optional tables in a third box. One box contains just the sanding drum and motor, while the second box contains the conveyor and stand. All parts were packaged very securely, and even with a couple of nicks on the outside of the box, there was no damage to the machine. The boxes seem to be double wall, and there is substantial styrofoam surrounding all of the crucial parts.
Packaged.jpg

The sander and conveyor were each wrapped in their own plastic bag, and the sander was mounted to two pieces of ¾” plywood with an additional piece of 2x material between the drum and the bed making the entire unit very secure. I was initially a little nervous about having the sander shipped, but after seeing how it is packaged I don’t think it would have been an issue.
Sander bagged.jpg Conveyor bagged.jpg

Also included with the sander is a box containing 3 rolls of sand paper, (36 grit, 80 grit, and 120 grit) the TUF tool for changing belts, instruction manual, and a DVD.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The instructions for assembly are very clear with detailed drawings. The first step was to assemble the stand. In a couple of the reviews that I had read, people mentioned a misaligned hole at the top of the stand. After reading how people fixed the issue, I was not at all concerned about it when it came up and after a little work with a bigger drill bit and a round file I was back on track.
Misaligned hole.jpg

After tightening all of the bolts on the stand, the rest of the assembly was surprisingly simple. The instructions recommend having someone help lift the sander in place. I can see how this would make the task a lot easier, however I was able to place it on there alone. The sander is held to the stand with the four bolts that held the plywood pieces during shipping.
Drum attached.jpg

The conveyor simply sits on the bed of the sander, and is also held in with four bolts. The two outside ones were easy to install with a socket wrench, while the two bolts near the motor took a little longer due to the tight space.
Conveyor attached.jpg

Installing the in/out feed tables was fairly easy as well. They attach to the sander base with a bolt at each corner. The space here is also limited. While trying to install the out feed side bracket the wrench slipped off the bolt. I thought I had gouged the belt with the wrench, but as it turns out my knuckles were the only casualty. It takes a little bit of fiddling with the tables themselves to get everything perfectly level to the conveyor. I have mine sitting slightly lower than the conveyor as to not bend the board as it is going through.
InOut feed brackets.jpg Bloody Knuckles.jpg
 

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I read many reviews complaining about tracking issues with the belt, and I was very concerned that I would encounter the same issues. If you read the directions, it clearly states that the belt is over tensioned for shipping, and that you must back off the tension nuts and re-tension the belt. There is a trapped wrench that is used to do this on either side, and I simply followed the instructions to achieve proper tension before turning on the conveyor. Much to my surprise, the belt tracked perfectly right out of the box and I would like to think that it was because I fully loosened the tension nuts and re set them before ever turning on the conveyor.
Leveling tables.jpg

The sander is infinitely adjustable in terms of getting the drum perfectly level with the conveyor, and even setting the outside edge slightly lower if you plan to run pieces wider than 16” through in two passes. My drum came with a belt of 80 grit paper pre-installed. After running some wide test pieces through, I found it to be accurate within 1/128th of an inch from one end to the other!

I was very impressed with the build quality of all the parts and the detailed instructions given to assemble and operate the machine. I honestly wouldn’t expect much less given the overall price of the sander. The dust collection is also superb. I would say it is a must to have at least a 1hp dust collector with 4” hose if you plan to run this machine. That is what I currently have in my shop, and there is no visible dust coming from the machine while in use. I’ve since added a cheaper set of casters to the stand which I think is also crucial if you plan on moving this thing around at all. JET sells a set for about $100, but the $20 I spent on a set from the big box store work just fine.


The “Sand Smart Technology” that this unit is equipped with helps tremendously. You don’t want to overload your machine, and this feature will ensure that doesn’t happen. I leave the conveyor at full speed whenever I am running it, and if I happen to try and make a pass that is too heavy, the unit automatically slows the feed rate down to prevent tripping the breaker. There is a little red light above the conveyor speed knob which will illuminate when the “Sand Smart” has intervened and slows the feed rate. I was initially running the sander and my dust collection on the same circuit through my iVac switch which proved to be too much. It tripped the built in breaker on the switch and cut everything off leaving a bit of a gouge in the material I was running. After separating the two machines to different circuits, it only took a few passes to remove the blemish. I’m very glad I learned this lesson on a test piece and not a finished project.
Sand smart.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #5
CONCLUSION:
Yes, I would highly recommend this sander to anyone who is considering it. I always wanted one simply to flatten end grain cutting boards. Now, I find myself using it on just about every project. If you are still just “thinking about getting one,” quit wasting your time and order it already. You can thank me later.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking this will replace your thickness planer. I recommend using the drum sander to flatten a piece in preparation for the planer. Leave a little material on there from the planer, take it back to the drum sander to remove any snipe or tool marks left behind. The salesman at the store said that trying to thickness stock with the sander is an invitation for problems, and I agree.

I’ve included some pictures of a test piece of 8/4 hard maple I ran through the sander. It was too short to pass over my jointer or run through my planer. The drum sander flattened it out no problem.

A picture showing how cupped the board was, and the rough sawn start.
Maple start.jpg Maple start2.jpg

This was after I had flattened one side.
Maple side 1.jpg

And the finished piece.
Maple finished.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Here is a link to a video I made when I was flattening an end grain cutting board.


If I haven't mentioned something you have a question about, just post it here and I'll do my best to answer it.

Sean
 

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Nice detailed post(s). Thanks. :thumbsup:

I have the Performax 16/32 purchased around the time the company was purchased by Jet. Now being sold under the Jet label.

I do not have the extension tables, but even with shorter pieces which do not need the extension tables, no matter what I do the wood comes out flat side to side, but thinner in the middle than the ends. A significant depth reduction in the middle vs the ends.

I have stopped using the drum sander except for some roughing work for this reason.

I use light passes and slow feed rate.

Are you are to get consistent thickness?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Nice detailed post(s). Thanks. :thumbsup:

I have the Performax 16/32 purchased around the time the company was purchased by Jet. Now being sold under the Jet label.

I do not have the extension tables, but even with shorter pieces which do not need the extension tables, no matter what I do the wood comes out flat side to side, but thinner in the middle than the ends. A significant depth reduction in the middle vs the ends.

I have stopped using the drum sander except for some roughing work for this reason.

I use light passes and slow feed rate.

Are you are to get consistent thickness?
I can't remember if I checked the middle of the material or not. I guess I was more concerned with it being consistent side to side. I'll run a couple boards tonight and see what I come up with.

How much of a variance are you seeing with yours? I know that you can adjust the pressure of the in feed and out feed rollers on my unit. Is it possible you just aren't getting enough pressure on one of the two when the material is entering or exiting the sander?
 

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How much of a variance are you seeing with yours? I know that you can adjust the pressure of the in feed and out feed rollers on my unit. Is it possible you just aren't getting enough pressure on one of the two when the material is entering or exiting the sander?
I will have to check my manual to see if I can change the pressure in the feed rollers. I think I looked at that some time ago and they are just springs.

I can easily have 1/16in thinner in the middle. I have to stop sanding or else this gets worse.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I will have to check my manual to see if I can change the pressure in the feed rollers. I think I looked at that some time ago and they are just springs.

I can easily have 1/16in thinner in the middle. I have to stop sanding or else this gets worse.
Wow that is a significant difference. Does it do the same thing at both ends of the drum? If you let it keep going, how far off do you think it would get? Also, how heavy of passes are you making?

A lot of questions I know, I just can't think of what might be happening. Since it's an older model, is there any chance that something like the bearings have worn out and could be causing this?
 

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Wow that is a significant difference. Does it do the same thing at both ends of the drum? If you let it keep going, how far off do you think it would get? Also, how heavy of passes are you making?

A lot of questions I know, I just can't think of what might be happening. Since it's an older model, is there any chance that something like the bearings have worn out and could be causing this?

About the same on either side of the drum. If I continued I may get 1/8in taper in the middle.

I turn the piece between passes. I take like passes, about 1/8th turn.

The unit was purchased new in 1998 - 2000. Despite the age it has not seen heavy use over the years, especially in the last 3+ years.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
About the same on either side of the drum. If I continued I may get 1/8in taper in the middle.

I turn the piece between passes. I take like passes, about 1/8th turn.

The unit was purchased new in 1998 - 2000. Despite the age it has not seen heavy use over the years, especially in the last 3+ years.
I remember the guy at the store where I bought it saying that he recommends flipping the piece to the opposite face after each pass. This isn't always possible though if you are having to flatten an entire face with multiple passes before you can trust sending it through the other way.

I'll measure that cutting board when I get home tonight too and see if there is any variation.

Seems like a waste of a fairly expensive machine to have it not in use. Have you searched online for anyone having the same type of issue? Have you contacted JET directly? I've read that they have pretty good customer service and although your's isn't a JET, I'm sure they would still try to help.
 

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It sounds as if your drum shaft is bent? Use a dial indicator and check.

I have the Jet 16-32 and after a bit of tweaking it is accurate to 0.001" from one side through to the other.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I just checked the board I was flattening in the video I posted. There is absolutely no change in thickness +- 1/128".
 

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I have had the same machine for 3 or 4 yrs. i love it. Very little variance -side to side. I love the capability of end or cross grain that it gives. made these drawers a lot easier.
 

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To add the only problem I have had is the latch that holds the cover on is a little flimsy.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Sean, great review of the machine, very helpful. Always wanted a drum sander. Might be watching for it to go on sale again at Woodcraft.
Mike Hawkins;)
Thanks Mike. You seriously won't regret it. I find myself using it every time I'm in the shop. I've since switched the paper over to 120 grit which leaves a much nicer surface, and no obnoxious snipe or tool marks like the planer leaves.
 

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To add the only problem I have had is the latch that holds the cover on is a little flimsy.
I've heard about that in some reviews. I came across a video where someone built a DC hose bracket off to the side. I'll see if I can find it tomorrow. Mine hasn't been an issue yet, but the hose hanging there puts a lot of pressure on it so I'm sure it will start popping off pretty soon
 

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Vey nice!

I have been in love with mine ever since I brought it home. Easy setup like you described, no issues either. Major time saver!
And since no one else has said anything I'll bring up the Klingspor
rolls, they are great and way cheaper than buying the precut Jet stuff. Check it out for yourself. I have bought several different grits and I really like this. http://www.woodworkingshop.com/product/pe09362/

Again congrats! :thumbsup:

Oh and Mike's right, that latch couldn't be more flimsy :thumbdown:
 
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