Apparently I am keeping my BT3100

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  • Apparently I am keeping my BT3100

    I mentioned that I was debating selling off the BT3100 and buying a SawStop, but my tool budget managed to take a hit due to a need for something I was planning on delaying for a bit longer.

    You see with the camper purchase, I have to make new counter tops for the camper, and I simply cannot plane material that wide in my AP1301 planer, and a smooth finish would be nice...

    So I bit the bullet, and went ahead and ordered a Grizzly G0458Z - 18" 1-1/2 HP Open-End Drum Sander.

    I WAS planning on holding off on the drum sander, but the price has crept down on it, and it hit the price point I was willing to pay, topped off with I have a, well not right now, but a VERY soon project that needs to get done with it...

    The idea is I want to make a butcher block of maple, pecan, and walnut, I believe the OE countertops in the camper are 3/4", whatever they were, I will match, and then once the glue up is done and nice and flat on the one side... Run it through the sander and get it dead level before trimming to size for the counter top and extension. I may actually replace the top of the HVAC cabinet with this as well for consistency sake...

    Time to get busy I guess.

    Any advice on getting the most out of the sander would be greatly appreciated...
    Last edited by dbhost; 09-13-2023, 05:30 PM.
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  • #2
    I purchased the Jet 10/20 open ended sander 4-5 years ago. It is probably the least used piece of equipment in my shop. At that time most of the tiny tables I was building were pine barnwood approximately 9”x 14”, and wider tops could be double sanded. My first observation was this thing snipes worse than a planer, so you might want to adding infeed and outfeed tables, and if it still snipes, plan on throwing away several inches from each end of the board. I see the Grizzly doesn’t have top infeed and outfeed pressure rollers so snipe might be a moot point, good luck with that. Sappy wood like Pine and Cypress were impossible to sand due to instant sandpaper clogging, and quick change sandpaper on my Jet doesn’t mean in a reasonable amount of time, again maybe Grizzly learned from Jets pitiful paper tensioning and clamping attempt and you will be ok. Hardwood like Cherry and Walnut sand nicely but I did get some burning when allowing it in the auto feed mode, it likes it fast and light. When I followed behind the planer to take out any gaps left because of planer blade damage, I found that 220 grit did a nice job but I could still see sanding lines so I had to finish the batch and change to 320-400 grit and run the whole batch of boards through another couple of times. Did i mention that it is slow? If you plane 3-4 8’ boards several times each to get the dimensions you want and then have to drum sand everything again several times! I just leave the drum sander parked in the corner of the shop and hit each board with a RO sander. I wish I had spent the same money earlier on a Lot nicer plane. I purchased a Dewalt 735 and added the spiral shelix cutter head and have little use for the drum sander. Now I wish I had purchased a larger width “real” (not benchtop plane).


    • #3
      Originally posted by dbhost View Post

      Any advice on getting the most out of the sander would be greatly appreciated...
      1. You probably already know this, Don't even attempt to sand without a good DC or STRONG large shop vac hooked up.

      2. Play with it for about 30 minutes to an hour - coordinating adjustment of feed speed with different minuscule depths of sanding with pine, then oak or other hard wood. Playing and experimenting and getting the feel REALLY helps when real sanding takes place.

      3. Spend time an hour or two at the beginning doing nothing but laying out the sanding paper - at least two different grits and take one off and put the other on. Then reverse it. This little practice while not trying to start a project sure takes the pressure off and gives good insights. To me, it was tough enough that I didn't forget even 6 months later my lessons learned.

      4. Purchase enough sandpaper of different grits so that you don't get frustrated for not having the right one when you need it.

      I don't use 80 or even 120 grit as much as I thought because of the fact that my personal purpose is a combination of thickness and smooth. It does not bother me one bit to have to run a few boards through 4 or 5 times to get the thickness I want if it is smooth and with no sanding lines. This takes longer but I prefer this to changing grits from course to fine.
      Hank Lee

      Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!


      • #4
        I'm lucky enough to have both a good planer (Dewalt 735 with stock blades - no Shelix spiral head/carbide cutters - so good but not the greatest 735) and the Jet 16/32 drum sander. Unlike some of the other folks, I REALLY like my sander!
        I use the 735 to get boards close to final thickness; I have infeed/outfeed tables on the 735 and snipe isn't an issue. I use the Jet 16/32 for the final passes especially on stuff that wants to tear out in the 735 planer. I also have folding infeed/outfeed tables on the Jet - from a different drum sander since the tables Jet sells don't fold and that would have taken too much space in my shop. If I remember correctly I used tables for the SuperMax 16/32; they supposedly "don't fit" but all it took was drilling different mounting holes in the Jet's stand and buying slightly longer bolts if I remember correctly. Works well, no snipe from the sander.

        I have used paper from 60 grit up to 220 in my drum sander. After that I use a ROS and a bit of hand sanding to finish the job to make absolutely sure there are no straight scratch lines left by the drum sander. This clean-up takes just a few minutes. Most of the time I leave 120 grit on the drum sander. That works fine after the 735 gets the board close while requiring minimal final hand-sanding. If I'm starting with thin stock - stuff too thin for the 735 - then I might use 60 or 80 grit initially to save time. I feed stock somewhat diagonally through both the 735 and the drum sander, flipping the diagonal between passes to minimize potential scratch lines.

        Several light passes work much better than a few heavy passes. Especially with resinous material like pine. Heavy cuts create heat which makes resins/pitch bond to the sandpaper where it gets hard as a rock and ruins the paper.
        One thing about the sander: it can process materials much smaller than would be safe to run through the planer without sleds: both short/stubby workpieces and thinner workpieces.

        The Jet drum sanders sense the load on the sanding drum, if it gets too high (making too deep a "cut" or working on really wide workpiece) the sanders slow down the feed belt. If the cut is excessively deep, it is possible to stall the feed belt leading to the drum creating a trough/divot in the workpiece. Not having the feed rollers properly adjusted - i.e. not creating sufficient downward pressure to squeeze the workpiece onto the feed belt - can make the workpiece stall under the drum... again leading to a trough. Short/stubby workpieces may need a little push stick pressure to hold either end down to the feed belt too as they enter or exit the drum so they don't "wheelie" and create snipe; the feed rollers cause the wheelies.

        Something else you can do with a drum sander that is not recommended for planers, jointers, and even hand planes: you can run materials made with glue (plywood, MDF, particle board) through a sander with 60 to 120 grit belts to get them to a desired thickness without much risk to sanding belts; feeding glue based materials into planers dulls the far-more-expensive blades quickly. I've thinned many square feet of Baltic Birch plywood in my Jet 16/32... because sometimes I just need a 3/8ths thick piece and all I have is half inch stock on hand. (shop drawer bottoms)

        As Hank mentioned, plan on using high-volume dust collection! It's absolutely essential.

        Is your new sander 120 or 240 volt? Mine is a 120 volt model and it needs at least a 20 amp circuit with a slow-responding circuit breaker. When making a too-deep cut it spikes to nearly 30 amps! My shop is wired with 20 amp circuits so I don't have issues with the sander; I suspect it'd trip 15 amp breakers regularly. Put it on a stand-alone circuit.

        Several years ago there was a discussion on this site about the various drum sanders. My recollection was that folks with the Jet 10/20 had more issues than folks with the the larger 16/32 and 19/38 models. The Jet 10/20 seems to have omitted several key bits in the design making them touchy to keep aligned/working correctly if I remember right.

        The negatives with drum sanders:
        * as already noted, they are slower than planers especially if you need to hog off a lot of material.
        * they do NOT guarantee that multiple workpieces are exactly the same thickness. Sandpaper squishes a little unlike planer blades; drum sanders using easy-to-apply Velcro backed sandpaper have even more squish potential. You can feed a workpiece through a drum sander two or three times - without changing the drum height - and hear it still removing material. So you have to measure each workpiece to see if it has reached your desired final thickness. On a planer, it takes just one pass to make the material match the currently dial-in cutting depth - subsequent passes do nothing.
        * getting the drum perfectly parallel to the feed conveyor belt can be a challenge. The drum support mechanism is not perfectly stiff on open-ended drum sanders so you can get a slight taper across the workpiece. This issue is magnified with wide workpieces and/or taking deep cut passes. Most planers support the blade carrier on each end so parallelism is virtually assured - is there such a thing as an "open ended" planer?
        * It's easy to ruin belts with pine or other sap-laden materials when making a too-deep cut. I've never had significant resin/pitch build-up on my planer blades!

        The positives with drum sanders:
        * They have far less issues with tear-out.
        * My drum sander is MUCH less noisy than the 735 planer. Hearing protection is still required (mostly because of the necessary dust collector) but I can use the sander in the late evening hours without annoying the neighbors... the planer is less neighbor-friendly especially when the blades are not brand-new sharp: it screams.
        * Drum sanders with an open-ended design can work with extra-wide workpieces. Getting the drum adjusted perfectly parallel to the feed belt is essential for this...
        * Sandpaper is a lot safer to handle compared to planer blades!
        * Can handle glue based materials. Can also be used to strip paint without ruining expensive blades.

        If I had to choose between just a drum sander or a planer, I'd probably keep my Jet 16/32 and let the 735 planer go. But the best option is to own both.

        Edit: like planers, some drum sanders move the motor+drum up/down and the drive belt stays at a fixed height above the floor; these work well with infeed/outfeed tables. But the height adjustment mechanism can flex so the drum may not remain perfectly parallel to the feed belt/work table. Other machines have the motor+drum fixed to the machine chassis and instead the belt assembly moves up/down via jackscrews on all four corners. Such machines generally have less issues with maintaining parallelism but usually do not have infeed/outfeed table accessories as they would have to attach to the jackscrew assembly too; external shop stands have to be manually adjusted each time you tweak the cutting height. I like having infeed/outfeed tables so I prefer the sanders with motor+drum (or planers with motor+blade assemblies) that move up/down leaving the work table at a constant height.

        Last edited by mpc; 09-14-2023, 03:12 AM.


        • #5
          Well, I have a planer and no regrets there. However planing and sanding are not the same function, and the sander can handle MUCH wider stock than any planer I could potentially afford financially or space wise.
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          • capncarl
            capncarl commented
            Editing a comment
            I guess I did rip the Jet 10/20 a new one didn’t I? As MPC states that more people have “issues with the Jet 10/20.

        • #6
          Well, the new Grizzly arrived, and it's a beast. I was thinking about repurposing my HF mobile base for this, but I just don't think it is up to the ask with the wooden spreaders. Have to go back to Grizzly and see what they offer for a good mobile base.

          capncarl Lots of folks swear by Jet, no small number of owners swear AT Jet. I have not owned their stuff, but looked at a combination jointer / planer machine and saw nothing but horrible reviews on it, same with their smaller sanders like the 10/20. Not dissing jet, every MFG has some hits and some misses... There are some products that Jet and others make that, to save their reputations they really should pull from the market. The benchtop jointer planer combos in particular...

          I am in a funny situation now. I need to get the mini split installed in the shop, get the portable gone as it is trying its best to die a horrible death, get the floor drill press gone, and then get the tool cabinet / bench drill press moved in, rework my sharpening station for the Wen sharpener, and do a new flipper stand to fit the 10" jointer, and set up the sander.

          One issue I am running into is my tool cabinet that I want to mount the drill press to is one set of casters too tall, meaning I can use it with the casters removed no problem, but then it is immobile, and for longer stock that is a problem... The HF mobile base can be pressed into service but that precludes me from parking the box where it originally was, BUT... I can rearrange things and flipper stands can be moved there... No need to move DP in / out if that is the case...

          Lastly the center section between the doors, that is where I plan on parking the sander. Close enough it can share a DC port with the lathe, and there is plentiful power outlets available...

          Once I get it cleaned up and moved around, Start doing some S4S prep of walnut and pecan stock, and make some 1" thick strips, flip 90 degrees so when glued up the whole thing is 1", the resulting butcher block to be sanded down to 3/4", cut to final dimensions and bull nosed with 1/8" roundover.

          The OE kitchen cabinet in the camper is actually 2 heights and I hate that. Going to copy the footprint of the thing, and just make it a uniform counter height. Looking to build in a stove, and sink both of which are missing. Stove was never part of it, sink and tanks were removed by a former owner...

          So with the weekends starting to semi cool off, highs in the mid 90s instead of 110 deg, I am going to get after the shop again, and it can't come soon enough. For my sanity I need shop time...
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