ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Drill Press Sanding Drums: Turn Your Drill Press into a Sanding Station

Updated on October 5, 2017
Anthony Altorenna profile image

I like spending time in the garden, around the house, in the workshop, and fishing. Most of my projects are originals.

Drill Press Drum Sander
Drill Press Drum Sander | Source

The drill press is a standard fixture in many workshops, and it is a versatile tool that is much more than a one trick pony for drilling holes. Beyond the obvious advantage of drilling holes accurately and repetitively, a variety of optional accessories converts the ubiquitous drill press into a multi-functional tool that shapes, sands and cuts mortises. Drill presses are available in a variety of different sizes from small jeweler models to hefty industrial machines. Bench-top models are affordable and fit into smaller spaces, making this an ideal tool for woodworkers, hobbyists and crafters.

I like to make a variety of craft projects ranging from birdhouses to decoys to wooden toys, and my drill press gets its share of use in the shop. One of my most commonly used attachments is the sanding drum, which excels at sanding curves rounding over corners, removing saw marks left by the band saw and smoothing odd shaped pieces.

Drum Sanders, Keys and Sandpaper
Drum Sanders, Keys and Sandpaper | Source

There are several different types of sanding drums on the market. Many consist of a sandpaper cylinder that fits over the drum like a sleeve. I prefer a specialty drum that uses strips of sandpaper that are cut from a roll, wrapped around the drum and then held securely in place by a clever little key. The sanding rolls come in many variety of grits from very coarse to ultra-fine (the higher the grit number, the less aggressive the sandpaper) that are easy to change when the paper wears out, and the rolls of sandpaper are more economical than the pre-made sleeves. I use two different sizes of sanding drums: one drum is three inches in diameter for smoothing broad curves, and other is only one inch in diameter for sanding tight spots.

Sanding Drum Poll

Do you have a Sanding Drum attachment for your drill press?

See results
Drum Sanders with Keys
Drum Sanders with Keys | Source

Drill Press Sanding Drums

There are several different brands, sizes and styles of sanding drum attachments available for your drill press, and these are the sanding drums that I use. The two different sizes provide enough flexibility to handle my drum sanding needs, and each has lasted for several years and through many sanding projects.

Buying the read-to-cut rolls of sandpaper is economical, and each roll lasts for quite a while. I keep several different grits on-hand to tackle different sanding jobs. For general purposes, 120 grit sandpaper works well.

Sanding Drum, 3" x 3" x 1/2"
Sanding Drum, 3" x 3" x 1/2"

This is the landing drum that I use with my drill press. The large 3" diameter makes this sanding drum perfect for smoothing curves and rounding over corners.

 
Sanding Inside Curves
Sanding Inside Curves | Source

Drum Sanding Tips:

Add a sanding platform: Position the sanding drum just above the surface of the drill press table, making sure that the spinning drum does not touch the tabletop.

Raising the drum above the table makes it difficult to properly sand a piece of wood, so I add a simple platform (refer to the photo by the author). Drill a hole through the center of a piece of 3/4 inch thick piece of plywood that is slightly larger than the diameter of the sanding drum, and then clamp the plywood to drill press tabletop. Lower the sanding drum into the opening in the plywood, and the auxiliary table raising the work piece to the proper sanding height.

The typical thickness of a piece of wood is only 3/4" thick, so only the bottom section of the sandpaper drum comes into contact with the wood. As the bottom edge of the sandpaper wears, stop the drill press and reverse the sandpaper to expose a fresh edge, extending the life of the sandpaper.

Safety First: A drum sander is an easy tool to operate, however every power tool can be dangerous and has the potential to cause serous injury. Do not wear loose clothing, tie back long hair and keep fingers away from the spinning bits and drums.

Do not use worn or torn sandpaper. If a crease or rip develops in the sandpaper, stop the drill press and replace the sandpaper.

The sanding process produces lots of sawdust. Always wear protective goggles and a dust mask. A vacuum system helps to capture the sawdust particles before they drift away and cover every surface in the shop with a layer of fine dust.

PERFORMAX TYPE READY-TO-CUT ABRASIVE SANDPAPER ROLLS -120 GRIT PW007
PERFORMAX TYPE READY-TO-CUT ABRASIVE SANDPAPER ROLLS -120 GRIT PW007

Buying sandpaper by the roll is more economical than purchasing individual sheets or sleeves. I keep several grits on hand, ranging from 80 grit to 220 grit.

 

Make Your Own DIY Sanding Drum

Does your project have curves to sand that won't fit with a standard sized sanding drum? No problem, just make your own DIY sanding drum from a piece of scrap wood, a short metal rod and an 8 penny nail. The diameter of the sanding drum is only limited by the size of the hole saw bit; if you have a lathe, the potential diameters of the sanding drum is nearly limitless.

To sand the insides of really tight curves, I've had limited success making a quick sand drum by wrapping sandpaper around a hardwood dowel. This crude method is not recommended for precise woodworking, but it has served me well for sanding out the blade marks left by the band saw in the inside curves of decoy blanks.

DIY Drill Press Sanding Drum

Can't fit a square peg into a round hole?

Add A Mortising Attachment

Want more versatility from your drill press? Try adding a mortising attachment.

Occasionally, I'll make a project that requires a mortise and tenon joinery. Rather than purchasing a specialty bench mortising machine, I decided on mortising attachment for my drill press. Though I purchased a mortising attachment from the manufacturer that is specifically made for my drill press, the resulting mortises are acceptable but marginal.

On the plus side, the mortising attachment is cost effective (about 25% of the cost for a decent mortising machine), and it doesn't require a dedicated work space in my small shop where space is a factor.

On the downside, setting up the mortising attachment is a bit fiddly to get good results. The mortising kit comes with everything you need (read the instructions thoroughly!) but it takes several minutes to install the attachment, and several more minutes to dial in the workpiece / attachment combo for precise results. Even with careful set up procedures, my initial results were marginal.

My mortising results improved significantly after using the tips provided in the following American Woodworker's video. Even so, if you plan to cut a lot of mortises often, consider purchasing a dedicated mortising machine.

Drill Press Mortising

Tune Up Your Drill Press

Get the best possible performance and accuracy from your drill press with a little routine maintenance and a few simple adjustments. This short video shows you how to tune up your drill.

Want More Versatility?

Make A Drill Press Table


© 2013 Anthony Altorenna

Share Your Drill Press Tips

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)