Improvise a low-cost drum sander using your drill press and a custom sanding table with dust collection. Build it in an hour from scrap wood.
Mount a sanding drum in your drill press and clamp the sanding table to the drill press table.
If you don't want to pop for a dedicated oscillating drum sander, a sanding drum chucked into a drill press is a quick way to sand contours. But unlike the real deal, there's no dust collection, and since the drum doesn't oscillate up and down, only the lower edge of the sanding surface gets used. It also means there's always a little gap where the drum is slightly above the drill press table. This simple sander table solves all these problems automatically.
Use 1/4-in. or any other thickness plywood for the base, and size it slightly smaller than the drill press table so you can clamp it down. Build a 1x4 frame, a few inches smaller than the base, so there's room for the clamps, and glue and pin it to the frame. Then glue and nail 3/4-in. material to the frame for the top. This one is 16 in. square. Build it longer or deeper if you want to sand wider or longer stuff. Cover the top with plastic laminate if you wish. It's worth the trouble because using a drum sander is tricky, and the slippery surface makes it much easier to control sanding.
Finally, drill a hole slightly larger than the drum in the center of the top and a dust-port hole in the frame sized to fit your shop vacuum hose. Move the drill press table up and down to use the entire sanding surface as it wears.
You can build a drum sander table from just about any scraps you have lying around your shop.
The biggest mistake drum-sander neophytes make is to remove too much material on each pass. Don't be overly aggressive: Use coarse grits only when necessary, and use very light pressure on each pass. Feel for imperfections with your fingertips, and mark the high spots with a pencil.
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.