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asteude

New User
Andy
Hello, NC Woodworkers! First post here.

I routinely need to smoothe rounded over edges on very complex shapes cut out of 3/4" and 1.5" hardwood ply. I have been hand sanding using foam blocks but this has been extremely tedious and not that successful.

Then I tried hand sanding with a strip of fabric backed sand"paper". This gave me excellent results but it seems to me that there must be a tool to make the task more efficient.

I'm envisioning a belt sander except it would have to have sprung belt tensioners that allow for a lot of slack in the belt (to accommodate the rounded edge.)

A friend mentioned a "slack belt sander". I have only found vague references to slack belt sanding online and certainly no woodworking tools for sale. They typically appear to be used for metal grinding.

I would appreciate any tips this group might be able to give me.

Thanks!!
Andy
 

Tarhead

Mark
Corporate Member
Welcome Andy! It may help to see an example of what you are trying to do. Also please take a minute to introduce yourself and let us know who you are.

Are you using any Rasps? I can get a pretty good finish with progressively finer rasps and then use a sanding mop like this on a corded hand drill for simple profiles:

sanding_mops.jpg


http://www.woodworkingshop.com/cgi-...NG MOPS - ALL SIZE&qryType=GRPSG&group=PROCON
 

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
Andy: Welcome aboard.

The first lesson of NCWW may be that we like pictures - not only of things you have accomplished/completed (of course!), but new tools, new friends, new pets, and of course the challenges you are facing. Posting of pic of what you are trying to sand would help me 'see' what you are attempting.

I have just used a soft foam sanding pad between my 6" ROS and the abrasive disk for this type of task. I was not 'shaping' plywood, but rather solid wood pieces. I found that it worked very well. IF you were to try this, you might only have to sand 'down the plies', and not 'up' (i.e. avoid lifting them apart). It works great on convex curves, and less well on concave curves, depending on the radius of course.

I do not know whether it is available in different density foam, mine is a fairly soft pad. I purchased from Klingspors in Raleigh - in the $6-8 range I think. Woodcraft in Raleigh did not stock something like this. I believe this is actually a Porter Cable product - it has a 6 hole pattern that matches my Ridgid random orbit sander hole pattern for 6" disk, so I could use the vacuum to catch some of the dust.

Henry W
 

zapdafish

Steve
Senior User
Festool and Porter Cable have profile sanders. I wasn't able to find any good links of the porter cable version to verify that it can do roundover sanding but the Festool can.

http://www.mvent.com.ph/porter/index.htm
http://www.acetoolonline.com/Porter-Cable-9444-Profile-Sander-Kit-p/por-9444.htm

http://www.festoolusa.com/products/specialty-sanders/ls-130-eq-linear-sander-567852.html
http://hardwareaisle.thisoldhouse.com/2007/12/molding-profile.html

If Klingspor or Woodcraft have the Festool in stock, they should be able to demo it for you.
 

Phil S

Board of Directors, Events Director
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
Take a look at the Proxxon 38536 BSL 115/E Belt Sander. Might work quite well for you.
 

asteude

New User
Andy
Point taken, folks. Let me introduce myself.​

Hi, I'm Andy and I'm a woodworking addict.

I run a little toy building business called Rocking Frog. It's my After-5PM-Weekends-And-Holidays job. My workload is increasing steadily, so I am constantly looking for ways to work smarter, not harder. My workshop takes up a couple of rooms in my basement. One day I may do this full time and expand into a more professional facility.

I've put some pictures of some of my toys in the member gallery. The rockers and body of each toy are 3/4" ply. The limbs and seat are doubled up 3/4" ply. The toys I'm showing you are all made of bamboo (Smith&Fong Plyboo.) However, I also use birch ply (Columbia Forest Products Europly Plus.) I use a ShopBot CNC machine (the one big toy in my shop!) to cut out the designs. I then round over the edges using a stationary router. Sanding is the most time consuming and tedious task in the process and, accordingly, drives the price up.

I hope this gives you an idea of what I'm all about. I also do some doll furniture, but these guys are my babies. :)









 

Joe Scharle

New User
Joe
Neat toys, Andy! Don't be surprised if some of us old grandpops copy your ideas. Usually just the one copy :gar-La;

I would think an angle grinder with 180 grit would do the job just fine. I'd get one from Harbor Freight or a pawn shop (cheap) or borrow one to see if it would work. Klingspor would have the paper.
 

asteude

New User
Andy
Thanks for your suggestions!

I have tried the padded ROS. In fact, I mounted it, upside down, on the side of my workbench. This solution is really hard on sanding disks and the foam pad. It's also impossible to sand anything but the most gentle concave countours.

I have tried rasps... very briefly. Perhaps I have the wrong type, but the only rasps I know are fairly coarse tools.

I also found the mop sanding wheel and this showed some promise. I'm not thrilled with the lack of control though. Especially with a plywood edge, it digs out the soft parts and leaves the hard parts.

The profile sander would be perfect if I were doing straight or mildly convex curves.

I hate to shoot down the ideas like this, but you can see I've spent some time trying different things already.

I'm thinking about just building a slack belt sander hand tool and trying it out. It would look essentially like a hacksaw except with a slack sanding belt instead of a saw blade. I'll post a picture if I do it. (See?! I am learning! ;-)
 

asteude

New User
Andy
Neat toys, Andy! Don't be surprised if some of us old grandpops copy your ideas. Usually just the one copy :gar-La;

I would think an angle grinder with 180 grit would do the job just fine. I'd get one from Harbor Freight or a pawn shop (cheap) or borrow one to see if it would work. Klingspor would have the paper.

Thanks Joe! You wouldn't be the first to copy them. I get requests for plans all the time. As long as you don't try to sell 'em, knock yourself out. Or you could just come by and pick one up at Cary Spring Daze next weekend. :eusa_danc
 

asteude

New User
Andy
Jim - I saw the Guinevere system a long time ago and had totally forgotten about it. It doesn't look like they have any real profile shapes though. I've stuck a drum sanding bit on my drill and get pretty much the same tool.

I just googled "rotary profile sander" and came across this little gem:
http://www.turbosand.com/
It looks pretty complicated and way too big for my purposes. But, interesting anyway.

EDIT: Duh! I just took a closer look and it appears I totally missed the point of the Guinevere system. Its selling point is that the sanding head is inflatable and that it molds itself to whatever shape you need. Now if they'd just cut the price by about two thirds... it would still be expensive. Oh well. Maybe it'll just have to be elbow grease for now.
 
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BrianInChatham

New User
Brian
Maybe a flutter sander? It's more or less the same thing as a sanding mop but if a dedicated machine is an option for you I imagine it would be a lot easier to use. If that is an option, there's a couple of them available in an auction ending tomorrow in High Point on IRSAustions.com. They're 3 phase but they're simple belt driven so the motor could be replaced with just about anything.
 

Sealeveler

Tony
Corporate Member
Howdy Andy and welcome to a great group.Would a Dremel or Rotozip type tool with router bit work or is your needs require a larger radius.
Tony
 

woodworkingshop.com

Coleman
User
Good morning,

Here's an item you may find will work for you.

The mac mop - a great item for detail work and is mounted on any shaft - 1750 rpm's. Also available in smaller versions for the drill press or hand held drills.

Go to www.woodworkingshop.com and select Profile/Contour sanding to see Mac mops and other ideas.

Coleman
 

asteude

New User
Andy
Brian - Thanks for the lead on IRSAuctions.com. Like you said, the flutter sander is really the same thing as the mop sander which I will keep in my bag of tricks, but, again, the lack of control makes it less than ideal for producing a really smooth edge.

Coleman - The Mac Mop is the granddaddy of mop sanders. It would have been my next step if the smaller version had panned out.

Tony - I use a Dremel with a small rotary sanding bit when I need to do some intricate shaping. I also briefly experimented with using a small diameter router bit with it... and that is just scary dangerous!!:saw:
 

asteude

New User
Andy
I promised I'd post a picture if I made my slack belt hand sander. It's not even close to optimal. The belt is too slack and it might work better if the whole thing was spring tensioned somehow. I haven't used it too much yet, but it looks promising. With some tweaking it might actually pretty efficient.
 

Tarhead

Mark
Corporate Member
Andy,
Just a thought...If you're not doing this, you could try stacking the pieces flush to each other and sanding the edge prior to routing. After rounding over the corners, use a profile sander to touch up the round over instead of trying to do the whole profile.

Check this video for what I'm talking about starting at ~1:44. He's doing something similar to you in Germany:
http://videos.americanwoodworker.com/video/German-woodworker-builds-wooden
 
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