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Thread: What's more important on a drum sander - size or HP?

  1. #1
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    What's more important on a drum sander - size or HP?

    I know this is a silly question on some levels, but very serious regarding a potential purchase.

    I presently use a Jet 16/32 drum sander on most projects. There have been a number of times that it's width capacity has been lacking, but not in most cases.

    I'm looking into selling it, and replacing it with a larger drum sander. I think a real wide-belt sander is out of the question monetarily.

    Models I am looking into are the Jet 22-44 ProDrum Sander which is 3HP, and does have a DRO which will save me the time and effort of installing one. List price is $2,703

    A second possible choice is the Supermax 25-50, which would give me significant increase in width, but I'm wondering if the 1.75HP motor is underpowered for very wide boards. List price is $1,999

    The last possible choice I've found is the Woodmaster 5075. Clearly a beast of a machine, with a 7.5HP motor, and the large capacity. List price is the most at $4,929

    If the 1.75HP power isn't an issue, the Supermax looks like a good buy. The Jet is tempting due to its extra power, though I'd lose that extra width.

    The Woodmaster looks like a wide belt lite machine. Probably significant overkill.

    Any thoughts, or suggestions from owners of any of these machines?
    "A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths" - Steven Wright

  2. #2
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    Alan,
    I have the Supermax 25-50 and have never had any issue with it being "under powered".

    I think the Supermax is manufactured in the USA by the folks who designed the original Jet and left the company due to Jet quality downgrades.

    The Woodmaster is a great machine and is priced accordingly.

    I have zero complaints with the Supermax. Don't get the mobile base, make your own. Get the add on tables.

    I am not an authority on anything but my own life - regards Bill
    Last edited by Bill McNiel; 09-05-2017 at 10:29 PM.

  3. #3
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    The first question you should answer is how much width do you need. I have a 27” Woodmaster. The widest I’ve put through it in 15 years is 24”. The 5hp motor never skipped a beat. I had a Delta 18/36 with 1.5hp that struggled with a 17” glue up, I had to take very light cuts. From what I have read the Supermax is a well built sander but a 25-50 with 1.75hp would give me concern.
    Please help support the Creek.

    If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something. - Steven Wright

  4. #4
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    I had the Grizzly 18/36 that struggle with a 1.5hp motor. The motor powered both the conveyor and the drum. I now have the SuperMax 25/50 and have had zero issues with power in the 2 years that I have used it. I have used it to full capacity on hard maple. I love this machine.

  5. #5
    I have a Supermax 25" dual drum, 5hp. Last month I sanded several 25" wide walnut butcher block countertops and 5hp was barely enough. It works great for 16" or so. Enough width to skew work can be useful also.

  6. #6
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    Horse power.
    I have a 27" dual drum sander, with a 3HP motor. I guarantee that you won't be putting wide material through it, without slowing the feed rate, and minimizing the material removed. It's okay out to about 16"-18", but once it gets wide, that's a lot of pressure area.
    Sanding takes some "butt".

    As an aside;
    When I got my 27" DD sander, I sold my Perfomax 16-32. I have regretted selling that machine ever since. In fact, it is the only tool/machine I've ever sold that I have regretted.
    If you can keep your current Jet 16-32. I'd highly recommend it.
    Last edited by Mike Cutler; 09-06-2017 at 9:05 AM.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  7. #7
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    My guess ( and only a guess ) is that the motor is matched with the build of the cantilevered design which can only handle so much stress. Drum sanders are light pass machines and over powering them just burns up paper. My older 25x2 had what was labeled a 5 hp motor but in reality was closer to 3 based on amp draw. My 37x2 had a true 5 hp. I'd want 3 hp on a dual post design with a single drum. I'd also look for a used 25x2 as they show up regularly and other than motor and conveyor belt, there isn't much to go wrong. The sand smart controller is not useful enough to worry about as you quickly develop the ability to judge how much to sand without stalling the machine. Because drum sanders are excrutiatingly slow, I really preferred the two head models. Dave

  8. #8
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    Richard P in Michigan had a 37" 5hp woodmaster at one time when I visited.
    Soo nice for a drum sander. Made my 26" DD 1066z look toy like lol.
    Glad its my shop I am responsible for - I only have to make me happy.

  9. #9
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    I went from a Performax 16-32 to a Woodtek 25" dual drum machine. I always take light passes regardless of the width of material. So far I have not regretted going to a larger capacity machine. And the dual drums give you the ability to sand in progressive grits; I normally use a 100 grit on the first drum and a 120 on the second. It is only used for the final finish sanding prior to hand held sanders, and just off the planer.

  10. #10
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    I had a Delta 18x36. It did a good job, very, very slowly. Way under powered. I now have a General 25" double drum with 3 hp motor. I thought it was going to be under powered, too, but so far it has proven me wrong. It will destroy the paper before the motor even slows down very much. Drum sanders are not planers, but power is still critical to how fast you can run them. If I had the funds it would be the Woodmaster.

    John

  11. #11
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    Are there issues with the Woodmaster and the hook and loop sanding rolls? I've seen comments that typical sanding rolls on the drum like on the Jet/Performax and Supermax perform better.
    "A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths" - Steven Wright

  12. #12
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    I have not experienced any problems. I’ve read that the H&L drum can do funny things to a board’s edge. I can’t see any evidence of it.
    Please help support the Creek.

    If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something. - Steven Wright

  13. #13
    I have a SuperMax fixed end 25" sander with a 1.75? hp motor. If you are in a hurry or want to hog off a lot of material you will find this hp underpowered. I use it for hobby projects so time is less critical and resulting surface finishes are generally very good. I have sanded lots of 20"+ panels and with books on tape on the stereo the day goes by nicely. I have also found that changing paper more frequently saves a lot of time. I had always tried to milk as much use out of the paper but it's money well spent to use new more frequently. I will use paper up to 150 grit. The supermax is well made and has been problem free for me. Good luck shopping.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Lightstone View Post
    I
    Models I am looking into are the Jet 22-44 ProDrum Sander which is 3HP, and does have a DRO which will save me the time and effort of installing one. List price is $2,703
    I use a Performax 22-44. I don't recall the horsepower but it can't be the 3-hp model since it runs on 110v.

    I've never thought of it as underpowered. I generally run the belt fast and take very light cuts, mostly use 80 grit paper. Heavier cuts will often burn the wood, especially with cherry. However, I've never put a 22" board through it - the widest has probably been about 12" although I do run boards through at an angle sometimes so the total sanding width probably approaches 20" at times.

    JKJ

  15. #15
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    A question about capacit.....do you need to be able to sand something 50" wide? If you do not then why buy the 25/50 model?

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