Drum sander recommendations


I teach HS woodshop. Yesterday my department chair asked me if I wanted a drum sander. I answered, "Sure." He asked, "Which one." I asked, "How much do I get to spend?" He replied, "It all depends on what you want." I could not get any dollar amount out of him, so I am in a quandry. I suppose I should request something mid-range in price, but I also need something that is tough enough to stand up to 180 teenagers a day and not be too complicated to use. (Actually, it would be less than that, as only the advanced kids would be using it, the level 1's sand by hand.)
Most of you guys are smarter than I. What recommendations do you have of some models I should research. I wish I could provide you with more info, but I couldn't draw any more out of the chair.
TIA Glen
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You do not state the types of projects being sanded, dimensions etc.
The "consumer" end is Performax (now owned by Jet) and Delta with one end open. Performax moves the head up and down. Delta has fixed head and move the bed up and down. These cost < $1,000 and have 1/2 to 3/4 HP motors.
Personally I prefer moving the head since I can then arrange fixed infeed and outfeed tables.
Grizzly, Delta and others also have closed end drum sanders. Much higher price, more powerful motors.
I think the "consumer" end may be more practical.
I have a Performax 16/32. Performax claim you can sand up to 32 inch by sanding one side then flipping around. Technically it works, but needs the head to have been aligned exactly parallel. This is not hard to do, but in a HS situation some re-adjustments may be required.
Sanding paper is easy to replace without tools.
Any drum sander needs good dust collection - lot of airflow.
My own sander is underpowered. Mine is a 1/2 HP motor. Newer models are 3/4 HP. I have to take very little off in a given pass. This is not a problem for me. Impatient children may cause the motor temperature switch to trip. This should not damage the motor, and will reinforce removing less material in a given pass.
Dave Paine.

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There are only a few of us that teach woodworking to teenagers. If I were you I could contact the manufacturers directly and consider their suggestions. What gets used in private and small shops with mostly loving care might hold up years longer than the same unit in a class room.
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My Performax 16/32 would be completely inappropriate. It takes a lot more attention to detail and patience than kids have.
A couple years ago I took a woodworking course at a high school. They had a very expensive belt sander. It was down more than half the time because the kids kept damaging it through carelessness.
It would be a great tool to have, but I don't know if it is a good investment for a HS shop.
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BBS'ing since 1982 at 300 bps. Surfing along at 19200 bps since 95. WW'ing since 1985 LV Cust #4114
Nothing catchy to say, well maybe..... WAKE UP - There are no GODs you fools!
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Glen,
I would agree with some of the others that a drum sander is not a wise investment tool for the schools shop unless you were into making projects such as doors for cabinets, etc. But it's strange that the department chair asked if you wanted a drum sander....hmmmmm. Maybe he knows already it would not be a wise investment and is just testing you....;-)
Ask him for the equivalent amount of cash ($3K) and buy a couple of mini lathes or more bandsaws - tools that will get used and require a modicum of skill to operate.
Bob S.
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Or he needs one... <G>
Barry
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Funny that you and BobS both are thinking along the same vein. The chair did mention to me recently that he bought himself a scroll saw and a few other WW tools. Hmmmmm?!
And to the rest of you fine sirs who responded, thanks. I am copying down all of your comments and thoughts and will definitely use them when decision time comes. Last week he bought me a Grizzly router table. (Or, should I say, submitted the purchase order. From here it takes several months to go through all the paperwork channels of our district.)
As a side note to all of you who have never had the chance to teach HS woodshop, even with all of the work and headaches, it's probably the best job in the world. You get to know the kids on a whole different level than you would ever get to know them in an academic class. I had a real rush a few weeks ago. This one young lady was working on a project of her own design (a decorative wall plaque of a guitar) and needed to split some 1/8" dowels. She was stuck on how to do it. I told her to put a narrow kerf in a pine board 1/16" deep and plane it down to the surface and that would do it. She did and it worked perfectly. She looked up at me and said, "Wow, Dr. Kraig, you know everything." While I know I don't, it sure felt good to have one of my kids say so. I wouldn't trade my job for Bill Gate's.
Glen
Ba r r y wrote:

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I have to ask? "Dr Kraig" ? PhD, I presume, unless it's wood Dr. Inquiring minds need to know.
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I was one of those people who had a tough time deciding what to do with my career. I thought for a while I wanted to be a supervisor of instruction, so I got a masters in instructional supervision. Then I decided I might want to be a principal, so I got a masters in ed. administration. Then I thought I wanted to be a university professor (and I was one for a number of years), so I got my PhD. Then I finally figured it out. Now I am happy.
Glen
snipped-for-privacy@canoemail.com wrote:

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Thanks for humoring my curiosity. It never hurts to have a "Dr" in the woodshop.
Ken
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Only slightly of topic...
The current issue of Shop Notes has plans for a DIY drum sander. I was intrigued. The part of the design I'm less comfortable with is the power source. It sits atop a TA with a drive belt attached to the arbor.
Any thoughts on this? It looks like it would be a lot cheaper than the cheapest commercial drum sander, but...
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Only slightly of topic...
The current issue of Shop Notes has plans for a DIY drum sander. I was intrigued. The part of the design I'm less comfortable with is the power source. It sits atop a TS with a drive belt attached to the arbor.
Any thoughts on this? It looks like it would be a lot cheaper than the cheapest commercial drum sander, but...
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It'll work fine. A bit of a pain to have to set it up every time you use it. Putting a dedicated motor on it would solve that problem.

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