|Drum Sander Guide|
Drum sanders use a rubber or steel drum wrapped with sandpaper to sand wide surfaces. The stock is fed into the machine buy a conveyor belt. Drum sanders excel at quickly flattening stock. For finish sanding wide-belt sanders are the better choice.
An open-side drum sander can work on a piece up to twice its width. Two pass sanding is not an ideal solution, however. It can be difficult to get an even finish in the area the two passes overlap. Being able to sand pieces in two passes is valuable feature, but you should not depend on it for production runs.
Sanders equipped with more than one drum either sand more aggressively, or have different grits installed on each drum. Either way they speed up the production process.
Being brute force machines, drum sanders remove a lot of stock. To do this efficiently and for a long term, a drum sander requires a sturdy frame. As width increases, the weight of the machine has to increase to account for the increased twisting forces during operation. A good drum sander combines power with a bulky frame.
Sanders with multiple drums greatly increase the utility of the machine. Being able to mount multiple grits of sandpaper eliminates changeover times. Machines of this type see heavier use than single drum sanders.
While drum sanders can produce good quality finishes, they are inferior to wide-belt sanders. Professional shops almost exclusively use wide-belt sanders in lieu of drum sanders. Very few high-quality drum sanders exist.