A drill powered disc sander is an excellent alternative to a benchtop disc sander. Although its performance often does not reach the level of a full-fledged stationary disc sander, there are numerous advantages that make them a great workshop tool.
A drill disc sander is easily portable, it is easy to build, and depending on the drill used, its performance can reach that of a benchtop disc sander.
A disc sander (disk sander) is one of the most useful tools in the workshop when sanding different types of material. In woodworking, there are numerous situations when a sander is needed, and having a sander in the workshop definitely pays off. A drill-powered disc sander is an inexpensive alternative you can easily build out of an old drill.
In this article, we will be making a drill disc sander by reusing some of the components from a drill press stand I built some time ago.
I chose Baltic birch plywood as a material, due to its strength, durability, and sustainability. All material is readily available.
Read on to find out how to build a DIY disc sander for a drill, how to set it up, and how to use it safely.
DIY Drill-Powered Disc Sander Video
Watch the video below for a step-by-step guide on how to make a homemade drill disc sander.
Table of Contents
- The Material you will need
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the purpose of a disc sander?
- How to prevent an injury when working with a disc sander?
- How useful is a drill disc sander?
- How to Make a Drill-Powered Disc Sander
- Step 1: Make the Sanding Disc
- Step 2: Make the Sanding Disc Attachment
- Step 3: Fix the Disc Attachment to the Base
- Step 4: Attach the Drill to the Base
- Step 5: Stick Sandpaper to the Disc
- Step 6: Build a Detachable Table for the Disc Sander
- How to Set up and Use a DIY Drill Disc Sander
- Jigs used for the project
*Safety is your responsibility. Make sure you know what you’re doing and take all necessary safety precautions while working with power tools. Safety comes first!
Always be cautious and careful when using any power tool.
What you'll need to make a DIY Disc Sander
Disk Sander Base
Plywood – 60cm x 24cm x 1,2cm
Larger disc – diameter 20cm, thickness 2,1cm
Smaller disc – diameter 10cm, thickness 2,1cm
Refer to: hand drill stand
Leveling desks – 3x – 4,5x12x1,2 cm
Disk Sander Attachment
Total dimensions: plywood – 13cm x 11cm x 9,5cm
Leveling desks – 3x – 18x12x1,2 cm
Detachable Disk Sander Table
Offcuts from cutting the sanding disc
Total dimensions: plywood – 14cm x 24cm x 10,5cm
Bearings, M6 Bolts, Washers, T-nuts
6mm steel rod
Liquid spray adhesive
Epoxy for metal
Forstner bits, Wood Glue
Straight router bit
Dewalt Trim Router
Bosch Hand Drill
Makita Angle Grinder
Proxxon Mini table
Makita Hand Drill
What is the purpose of a disc sander?
A disc sander is one of the most helpful power tools for sanding and smoothing different types of material such as wood, metal, or plastic. It is mainly used to remove excess material, get rid of burrs, smooth the edges and shape the contours of the material.
How to prevent an injury when working with a disc sander?
A disc sander can be dangerous if it is not used properly. The spinning disc generates a lot of heat and friction and can throw chips and splinters under high velocity over long distances. To prevent any injury, it is important to follow proper safety procedures. Here are a few tips to prevent injuries when working with a disc sander:
- Make sure the disc sander is firmly attached to the table or workbench. It is necessary that the disc sander does not know and remains firmly anchored to the base.
- Wear the necessary protective equipment. Most importantly, wear eye and ear protection. This way your eyes and ears will be protected from splinters and debris.
- Do not use gloves when working with a disc sander. Gloves can get caught in the spinning disc, which may result in an injury. Instead, use a grip on the workpiece and keep your fingers away from the disc.
- Use the right type of sandpaper for the material you are sanding. Each material requires a different type of sandpaper. By using the right type of sandpaper, you will avoid damaging the workpiece and you will create a safer work environment.
How useful is a drill disc sander?
A drill disc sander is an alternative to a stationary disc sander. Although its performance often does not reach the level of a full-fledged sander, there are a number of advantages that make it a great tool for the workshop. Here are some of the main advantages of a drill disc sander:
- Portability: Generally, a drill disc sander is portable and can be used anywhere inside or outside the workshop.
- Power: Depending on the type of drill used, it can achieve high performance equal to that of disc sanders.
- Easy to build: Making a homemade drill disc sander is quite easy. The material is readily available and the price is relatively low.
Let's start building!
The benchtop drill disc sander consists of 4 main parts – the sanding disc, the sanding disc attachment, the drill attachment, and a small table.
The entire build is made of Baltic birch plywood. The overall dimensions are 60x24x22cm, thanks to which it fits comfortably on the workbench.
Drill Disc Sander properties:
- Material: Baltic birch plywood
- Total dimensions: 60x24x22cm
- Attached table for comfortable sanding
- Grinding disc diameter: 20cm
- Equipped with suction manifold
NOTE: The disc sander reuses some of the components (drill attachment) from the hand drill stand. Take a look at the article to get an idea of how to build it. This is a project for a beginner/advanced woodworker.
How to Make a Drill-Powered Disc Sander
Step 1: Make the Sanding Disc
Take a plywood desk (22x22x2,1 cm – glued 2 desks together), mark the center, and cut a larger disc with a diameter of 20mm. To cut a perfect circle you can use a circle-cutting jig. In the same way, cut a smaller disc of the same thickness with a diameter of 10mm. (Don’t throw away the offcuts – you can reuse them for the table).
First, cut a 25mm hole in the center of the larger disc with a Forstner bit, and then drill a 6mm hole (do not cut all the way through). Drill a 6mm hole through the center of the smaller disc.
Cut a 6mm steel rod and grind a few indents and grooves in one of the ends to help the epoxy adhere to the rod better.
Apply epoxy in two steps.
- Fill the holes in the larger disc with epoxy, insert the steel rod and use a machinist square to make sure the rod is perpendicular to the disc.
- Once the first batch of epoxy has cured apply a second batch and glue the smaller disc to the larger one.
NOTE: Use a double-sided straight router bit or a spiral router bit to cleanly cut the wooden disc. Make sure the router bit is long enough to cut through the entire depth of the material. Use a mat to prevent damage to the table.
Step 2: Make the Sanding Disc Attachment
To prevent any wobble, you will need to firmly and securely attach the sanding disc to the drill. The drill disc attachment is firmly fixed to the base and connects the sanding disc with the drill through a bearing. The attachment is made of multiple plywood pieces (see the list of materials above).
Cut a hole in the two main front pieces for the bearings. Make sure the bearings are flush with the surface. Then drill a 6mm hole for the steel rod. The holes need to be perfectly aligned so the rod is level.
Use epoxy to glue the bearings in the holes. Make sure to apply epoxy around the perimeter so that it doesn’t get to the center. It is desirable that the bearings keep turning.
Glue all the pieces together. Additionally, you can secure the pieces with screws. Then drill 4 6mm holes in the corners of the attachment for the possibility of attaching to the base.
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Step 3: Fix the Disc Attachment to the Base
Drill 4 holes from the bottom of the baseplate and insert t-nuts. Make sure they are flush with the surface.
Add additional plywood desks between the base and the disc attachment and fix the attachment to the base with bolts. Insert the sanding disc in the attachment and check whether the sanding disk is perpendicular to the base.
If not, add a few paper shims between the desks until the disc is exactly perpendicular.
Step 4: Attach the Drill to the Base
To attach the drill to the base I am reusing the drill attachment from the drill stand holder. There are only a few adjustments needed to use it for this project.
To stop the drill attachment from going back and forth, drill 2 holes on both sides, insert t-nuts, and secure the sliding desks with bolts.
Use the 3 already drilled holes (with t-nuts included) on the bottom of the drill attachment and fix it to the base with bolts. Use several plywood strips to level the drill attachment with the sanding disc.
NOTE: Countersunk the bolts into the board.
Step 5: Stick Sandpaper to the Disc
Use liquid spray adhesive for temporary sandpaper fixation. When the sandpaper wears out, you can easily replace it.
Step 6: Build a Detachable Table for the Disc Sander
Cut all the plywood pieces necessary for the table. Drill a 35mm hole on the side piece for suction and glue all the pieces together.
Add the offcuts from cutting the disc to minimize the free space, and to make sure all the individual parts fit together well.
Attach the table to the base with bolts and t-nuts.
Finally, add the table top.
Below is a picture of a finished drill-powered disc sander. A drill disc sander is a great cheap alternative to a benchtop disc sander and definitely pays off to have one in the shop.
How to Set up and Use a DIY Drill Disc Sander
The steps provided below describe how to set up and how to use a homemade benchtop disc sander for a drill. Make sure to wear the necessary protective equipment. Most importantly, eye and ear protection. This way your eyes and ears will be protected from splinters and debris.
For a better understanding of how to set up and use the jig, refer to the included video.
How to use a drill disc sander:
- Clamp the disc sander to a workbench. The tool needs to be stable in order to avoid any wobbling and undesired movement.
- Connect the extraction from under the table.
- Make sure the sanding disc is tightly and securely connected to the drill.
- Start the drill and set the desired speed. Higher speeds are usually used for lighter sanding, while lower speeds are better for heavy-duty grinding.
- Use the table as support while sanding.
- Start the tool and slowly bring the workpiece in contact with the sanding disc. To avoid damaging the material or slowing the disc use even light pressure.
- Move the workpiece back and forth to evenly sand the surface.
- Use the side of the disc that goes down.
- Continuously check the wear of the disc.
- Turn off the tool when finished sanding.
TIP: There is no need to replace the sandpaper after each sanding. Use a brush a piece of plastic or a scraper to remove any pieces of debris or material stuck to the disc. Replace the sandpaper if it is worn.
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