Drum Sanders, which one?

I have the option of buying the 18-36 Delta X5 or the 16-32 Performax Drum Sander , Any pros and cons?
Ken
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There seem to be more complaints with the Delta over the Performax
I would prefer the Performax as the drum moves up and down as opposed to the Delta where the table moves up and down. If you use in feed and out feed tables the Delta will be more of a PIA requiring you to adjust the out feed and in feed tables each time you adjust the sander table height. With the Performax, the table, in feed and out feed tables need not be adjusted.
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I've got the Delta and my biggest problem with it is getting the feed belt to track properly.
The major issue for me was the drum support structure. The Delta has the drum fixed and the table moves up and down. On the Performax, the drum moves up and down and the table stays fixed. But the moving table allows for support at all four corners. The movable Performax head however is supported only on one end AND has to also MOVE. Seems the Delta arrangement can have more rigidity.
Another consideration is the method of attaching the ends of the sand paper (it's actually cloth backed) to the drum. The Delta has a spring loaded clothes pin type clip on both ends. Slip one end down into the clip and it holds. On the other end you have to push to open the clip to slide the end of the paper in. You can rewrap the Delta by yourself. And it's fairly quick and easy to d.
As I recall, the Performax was not as simple and may require a tool and maybe an extra set of hands. So ease of replacing the sanding strip can be significant. At the first sign of clogging, if it's relatively easy to do, you'll replace the strip BEFORE it starts to burn your stock. If on the other hand, replacing the strip is a PITA, you'll be tempted to keep the clogged strip in use and deal with the resulting burning later some other way. Unfortunately, the burning may penetrate into the surface and tough to get rid of.
Just more things for you to consider.
charlie b
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calmly ranted:

Along a similar vein, shall we discuss disc sanders?
http://www.gilmerwood.com/photo%20html/01-09-02-machines.htm This one is near the bottom of the page, a 30" disc. (Sorry, OWWMers. It has been sold already.)
---------------------------------------------------------- --== EAT RIGHT...KEEP FIT...DIE ANYWAY ==-- http://www.diversify.com/stees.html - Schnazzy Tees online ----------------------------------------------------------
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didn't ask about a disc sander.
ken Thanks for the imput everyone I'm going for the Delta
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I have the Performax 16x32. I have not had a problem with the single end support/alignment of the drum. Like the Delta, I have struggled to keep the drive belt tracking.
Replacing of the Performax strips is very easy. I even cut my own using one of the factory strips as a template. The drum has two spring loaded clips on either end. Replacing the belt is a couple of minute excercise. Spend the time to remove as much slack as possible. I also use a rubber type abrasive cleaner. As the other poster noted, once gum builds up on the strip, it will cause burning on the wood.
I have observed that shallow passes give a better result. It is also critical that the wood does not stop during a pass, otherwise divots will be seen resulting in more sanding and loss of thickness. This means for me that I keep a "push" on the wood to ensure it does not hang-up. This is another benefit of shallow passes - less effort to remove the wood and easier for the drive belt to keep the wood moving.
I personally prefer the head moving so that I can use a fixed inboard/outboard table arrangement.
Dave Paine.

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Forgot to mention that the Delta has a pneumatic drum option that attached to the outside of the fixed end of the drum shaft. The pneumatic drum also has a dust shroud option - a necessity unless you like everything in the shop to have a light to medium dusting of whatever you've been sanding, to say nothing of clogged lungs. Drum sanders generate an amazing amount of very fine dust Think Mount St. Helen and scaled back - just a little.
charlie b
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Ken -
DAGS on the NG - this topic has come up a zillion times and you'll find a wealth of information.
I've had the 18-36 for about 3 -4 years and am happy with it. Leon's remarks about the table issue are correct, but since 99% of my work is surfacing 3/4 stock, I can use my bench as an outfeed table most of the time.
I don't know about the performax, but one caveat is that you really can't take off very much material in a single pass - I think this is a function of horsepower (1.5 HP for both the Performax IIRC, and the same for the Delta) rather than design.
Also, softwoods tend to clog and burn the sanding paper pretty quickly if you're not careful - so if you do work with softwoods either be careful or plan on going long on sandpaper. I've never had a clogging problem with oak or other hardwoods.
Would I get this sander again - Yes! Once you understand the limitations of the machines and how to best use them, it's like green through a goose - an absolute timesaver!
YMMV,
John

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Hi Ken, I second what John has said. I have not tried the 16-32 so I cannot compare the two. If you use delta+drum+sanders @
http://groups.google.ca/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&group=rec.woodworking
You will find many posts which reflect changes to the machines over the last number of years. I have had my Delta for 4-5 years and the lack of an infeed/outfeed table has never been a real issue. YMMV. By the way, do not even think of buying one if you do not have a good dust collector. Cheers, JG John Moorhead wrote:

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I've had the Delta for a little over a year and have had real good results with it. I've also used the Performax quite a bit since my Father in Law has one and it too performs very well. The main reason I bought the Delta was I found it a for a little less when I was ready to purchase and have several other delta tools. One suggestion on the delta is to keep the threaded rods that raise and lower the table well lubricated and clean otherwise its impossible to crank the table up or down. As was mentioned in earlier posts I agree that you can't remove as much material with the performax in fact my Father in law tends to be a little too agressive with it and kept tripping the breaker on the machine. After doing this numerous times he had to replace the breaker since it quit working.
I also like the extra width on the delta although the majority of the work that I do falls under 18" but frequently over 16".
--
John Voss
Prescott Valley, AZ
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I'm fighting (in my mind) the same issue now. The point already brought up about raising the Delta table being a pain if you have auxiliary fixed height input and output tables is a valid one. I have also considered the fact that the moveable Delta table could have more chances to go out of alignment since it sits up on a set of 4 long screws. This could lead to accuracy and maintenance problems. At the same time, the Performax, which seems to be a very stout machine, is limited to a 3 inch board. No 4x stock. I was thinking about using it to sand the new work bench I am going to build. It will have a 3 1/2 inch maple top. Finally, the Delta is 2 inches wider, and would probably handle all the panels I will be doing this winter in one pass. the Performax would require two passes and the touch up work ro resolve the line between the passes.
ken wrote:

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I have the 16-32 Performax never used the Delta. I really like mine alot actually performs better than I expected. Great for flattening glue ups and taking very light 'cuts' to get a piece to exact fit like making a runner to fit in a miter slot. I made some end grain butcher block cutting boards and it flattened those no prob. It isn't a speed demon but it but it does a great job. I have had a few occasions to sand wider that 16" and there wasn't any line where it was over lapped. Dust collection is not optional even for just a few passes the paper gets clogged and ya got dust all over the place. That's my $0.02 worth Joe

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