Drum Sander Leveling


Cheeset202
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I have an older model Performax 16-32 drum sander and I had to replace the rubber coupling insert (spider) and the drum was slightly out of level when I put it back together.  I use the straight edge technique to try and get the drum back to level with the I feed table but I am struggling to get it perfect!  When I tighten the 4 base bolts it inherently moves a small amount and it's back to trying to compensate by trial and error to get the drum level.  Does anyone have a better method?

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Those units are infamous for that very problem, which is why Performax redesigned the cantilevered head once their contract with Jet expired and switched their name to Supermax.  I'm sure there's a million threads on various forums on how to address the problem, but from what I can gather, a lot of people have just thrown in the towel on that unit after they were frustrated to the point of insanity.  Marc is one of those people, and he's no dummy.  If he gave up you know it was basically an irreconcilable problem.  I remember him saying that he once spent days trying to get it calibrated....and couldn't.

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It's  no fun to calibrate one. I have a original "made in the USA " 16/32 and I am going to upgrade to a SuperMax19/38 soon. However once you get it adjusted and tightened down it stays in adjustment for years. I have found reading the instructions a few times, having all the right tools at hand and starting in the morning when I am fresh works best.

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Having no idea about the actual situation here, I'll still offer a tip from engineering practice:  you might try "biasing" one or another side of the unit with weight, while you attempt to tighten the "leveled" unit.  Note how much effect the weight had, and use that as an additional "degree of freedom" in your adjustment.

I hope you enjoyed the ride; Northern Idaho is beautiful, this time of year.

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My FIL has the exact same drum sander in his shop. Taking his advice, I used it to remove some old finish from some tabletop sections, and ended up with a deformed tabletop. I now have a hearty distrust of all cantilevered drum sanders.

Unless you enjoy fiddling with calibration and never getting it right, I'd get a different sander.

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Pondhocky, thanks for the suggestion, that might be worth a try to counteract the forces applied when tightening the bolts back down.  Another thought I had was to get some Teflon washers and see if the reduced friction keeps the drum from moving when tightening the bolts.  I see you live in gods country as well! Love riding the Harley through your part of the world, big mountains, beautiful forest and rivers, what could be better!

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Perhaps a clamp applying pressure downwards on the motor  to counter the weight might help. I adjust mine to be about 1/64 higher at the open end. It's imperceptible and if you flip boards for each pass it equals out. The open end being taller prevents a ridge when sanding wider boards. 

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  • 4 years later...
On 5/26/2017 at 8:11 AM, wdwerker said:

It's  no fun to calibrate one. I have a original "made in the USA " 16/32 and I am going to upgrade to a SuperMax19/38 soon. However once you get it adjusted and tightened down it stays in adjustment for years. I have found reading the instructions a few times, having all the right tools at hand and starting in the morning when I am fresh works best.

What instructions???? HA!  I am just wondering where I can find instructions for a quite old Performax 16/32

Paul Burner

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I read an interesting take on another forum.  The user got his 16/32 quite close - but then, instead of trying to get the drum level to the bed, he adjusted the BED to be more inline with the drum.  He cut shims out of a pepsi can and put them the mounting place on the open end side where the bed attaches to the frame.  Seems like a really sound idea to me.

Here's a link to the thread where I found this:  https://www.lumberjocks.com/topics/252353#reply-5416462

Paul Burner

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18 hours ago, Paul Burner said:

I am just wondering where I can find instructions for a quite old Performax 16/32

I suspect you have already tried Googling the question?  If not, I am surprised by how often I can old manuals for things on line.  

Anyway, welcome to the forum.

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