I've just completed a quick & dirty drum sander out of some recycled Beech butchers block,Birch plywood offcuts,hinges,skateboard bearings,8mm 0-1 drill rod,M6 cross dowels & bolts,6mm diameter,green,heat weld,lathe belting & a grinder that is close to death.
I've made it to be completely collapsible so that I can adjust or replace components if need be.It may not be pretty with rough sawn edges & worn out grinder but it runs very smooth & quiet & the only further work I'm planning on doing is to add a 10mm thick plate of tool steel to the ramp as the ply has a little too much flexibility to be really accurate.
I won't take full credit for the design of my sander,I think I took most elements from a lad on Lumberjocks although using skate bearings & the redundant grinder are my ideas.It's actually my old lap lathe,used for at least 15 hours a week for 5 years until the constant switching on & off melted the switch.
What's a lap lathe I hear you say?
Well,it's a lathe that is actually a grinder mounted to a laminated block of plywood 60mm thick by 450mm long.The right hand wheel & all cowling for the both wheels is removed to reduce vibration(no such thing as good vibes in turning).The last 2 grinders I had utilised an M12 thread to secure the grindstone to the spindle so it was a simple matter to just make up a bunch of little faceplates using extra M12 nuts.I simply roughed them up with the grinder itself then superglued them into holes I had drilled into some Birch ply discs making them into perfect little gluechucks.I do practically all my small turning on this setup just sitting in my lap.
Why do you have it in your lap in the first place?
Well,I'm something of a night owl & at first it was so I could work at night.Even turning something as small as a 10mm Padauk mushroom was so noisy that I was curfewed by 10.30pm,we live on the top floor of a Victorian tenement building & I feel it's only fair to the neighbours that I stop the heavy,percussive noise at that time.Mounting the grinder on the plywood & turning on my lap is so quiet that I can work through the night even with Karen lying asleep less than 6 feet away in the next room.
I actually prefer turning this way now,you're much more involved with the work,like whittling as opposed to carving on the bench top.I also use this setup as a disc sander,leather faced wheel for honing,fibral mop(non woven nylon abrasive for matt finishing silver)& standard stitched wheel for polishing.I retain the smooth stone on the other side of the spindle.This not only gives me the ever ready ability to sharpen my gouge & chisels but also acts as a gyroscope stabilising the whole contraption.I've been meaning to put some turning demos on my blog,think I'll start tomorrow....