open-end vs closed end sanders - single vs double drum

Im in the market for a drum sander - My budget is 1500-2000 which gives me a pretty good range of sanders. The 2 front runners are the Performax 22-44 and the General 15-250.
The main difference is the performax is a single drum open end and the general is Double drum closed end (will handle up to 24 inches)
I can see the pros and cons to each - can anyone give some real life experiences w/ them? Also - anyone go from an open end - to a closed end and go oh sh*t - why did I do that!
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Thanks
Rob

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I'm not familiar with either of those, but one thing to look at is the spec for conveyor speed. I've got the Performax 16/32 and it's very S-L-O-W. The closed end machines have double the conveyor speed (and a lot more horsepower on the drum motor to keep up with it). I very rarely need to sand anything wider than 24" so I think I'd have been happier with a closed end 24" machine that I could get stock through quicker. A lot of people take the view "I'm just a hobbiest so speed isn't that important". I take the opposite view - I get little enough woodworking time as it is so if I can do a machine operation at twice the speed I've bought myself more shop time. I don't mind going slowly at a pleasant operation like hand planing or cutting dovetails, but if I'm pushing boards through a machine I want it to go fast.
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Scott Post snipped-for-privacy@insightbb.com http://home.insightbb.com/~sepost /

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Rob V wrote:

I've got the 24" double drumGeneral and really like it. I had some learning issues with what it would really handle in terms of width. Twenty-four inches is pushing the limit of this machine in that the ends of the paper are very narrow and subject to the most pressure when feeding wide stock.
A 3HP motor is also not strong enough when you try to push this machine. I've bogged it down (another learning curve) and now know that this machine is for sanding, not planing. It's a nice tool to have when you need to take very small amounts of material off (example was routing slots for 1/4" mdf dividers and finding that the routed slot was a hair undersized for the mdf so I had to send each of the dividers through the sander....much easier than re-routing all of the slots).
The variable speed feed is also a nice feature which helps when trying to take a deeper cut.
Plan on having a good dust collector. The General has two 4" dust ports and for good reason. I made the mistake of trying this tool w/o the collector running!
I can't really compare it to the Performax since I've never seen one in operation. There are times where I wish I had the capacity to sand a larger piece and the open ended design would allow this but for the most part, the 24" fills my small commercial shop needs.
Gary
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