Introduction: Table Saw Disc Sander

Picture of Table Saw Disc Sander

A disc sander is a must for any shop! They make quick work of shaping and smoothing stock. Getting the most out of your shop tools can often take you down paths you didn't know existed. If you can't afford a disc sander or dont have the means to make your own, this simple table saw version might be for you. The usable space on the disc is less than a standard disc of the same size, however if you are limited on shop space this may be just what you need.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

Materials:

Tools:

  • Dividers
  • Metal Punch
  • Angle Grinder
  • Drill Press
  • Step Drill
  • Lathe
  • Bench Grinder
  • Metal File
  • Utility Knife
  • Table Saw

Step 2: Draw Circle

Picture of Draw Circle

On a piece of scrap sheet metal, mark the center of where your circle will be. I have a 10 inch table saw so I made a 10 inch circle. Punch the center of the hole. With your compass, scratch the circumference of the circle.

Step 3: Cut Circle

Picture of Cut Circle

Using an angle grinder, cut the circle out. Be careful of the sharp edges.

Step 4: Drill Center

Picture of Drill Center

Secure the disk to the drill press and drill a pilot hole through the center of the disc (where you marked with the punch). Drill the final hole size of your arbor (probably 5/8 inch in the US). Be sure that there is clearance under the disc for the drill bit to go without drilling into the drill press table. Depending on the thickness of your plate, you may need to flip the disc over to drill the other side.

Step 5: Grind the Disc Round

Picture of Grind the Disc Round

On the lathe, turn a support to hold the disc on the bench grinder. Turn one end the same size as the hole through the middle of the disc.

Cut the support so the shoulder of the support is the same height as the tool rest on the bench grinder.

Unfortunately I never made an instructable on my lathe tool sharpening system which is what makes this step work. You could probably set up a holder of some sort to clamp down to your bench next to your bench grinder. All it needs to be able to do is be adjusted to grind more or less off the outside of the disk.

Once mounted, turn on the bench grinder and rotate the disc grinding off more and more until it is perfectly round.

Step 6: Smooth Edges

Picture of Smooth Edges

The edges of the disc are going to be rough and sharp. Using a metal file, break the edges to prevent possible cuts in the future when handling the sander.

Step 7: Paint

Picture of Paint

Degrease the disc and apply a coat of paint to prevent rust.

Step 8: Apply Sandpaper

Picture of Apply Sandpaper

Remove the paper backing from the sandpaper and place the disc on it. Cut the outside of the sandpaper off with a utility knife. Trace the outside of the arbor washer and cut on the outside of the mark. This will give clearance around the arbor. Test to verify that there is clearance around the entire washer.

Step 9: Mount Disc Sander

Picture of Mount Disc Sander

Insert the disc just as you would any saw blade following your manufacturer's instructions and connect your dust collection.

You can mount it with the sandpaper facing either direction if you are using it at 90 degrees. If you plan on using it at an angle, be sure that you are sanding on the upward facing side. You do not want to trap your piece between the table and the sander.

Always sand on the downward cutting side. This will be the side closest to you when using the table saw normally. This will keep your workpiece firmly on the table.

Step 10: Get Sanding!

Picture of Get Sanding!

This is a fairly easy project that can save some space if you don't have a dedicated disc sander. Clearly this will never be as good or versatile as a stand alone sander, but will work in a pinch. With the higher RPM (3600 for my table saw) be careful to keep fresh sandpaper on it as worn out paper can easily cause burn marks. If you do not have the tools or time to make this, you can purchase one instead for around $20, but what's the fun in that? :)

Share a picture of your homemade disc sanders in the comments. What strange and interesting uses do you have for your shop tools?

Comments

twhite101 (author)2018-01-09

I might also be good to 3D print the table insert so if the disk comes in contact, the damage will be to the plastic insert and not the original metal insert for your saw blade.

JeffS2 (author)2018-01-18

GENIUS! ...why didn't I think of that. Thank you!
BirgitJansen is spot on...just remove the teeth of an old saw blade and apply sand paper.

BirgitJansen (author)2018-01-09

Oh my god, why didn't I think of that. Here I am trying to find an affordable disc sander while the solution was right there in front of me! But it got me thinking. Could one modify an old/dull table saw blade? Somehow grind down the teeth and adhere the sandpaper? Hm, I have to work on that idea! But thanks for the instructable, great idea!!

allangee (author)BirgitJansen2018-01-10

You can add a thin piece of plywood on top of the blade with a slightly smaller diameter so it sits inside any raised teeth. A little bit of adhesive to hold it flat against the blade... the center bolt will ensure it doesn't fly off. Once it's mounted to the blade, I'd run it in the table saw and "sand the sanding disc" with sanding block to ensure it's smooth. Then apply the sand paper. Depending on how thick a disc you can fit, you can make it double-sided -- coarse grit on one side, fine on the other.

I remember my dad used to pop a grinding wheel in his table saw for tool sharpening back in the day.

allangee (author)allangee2018-01-10

Or just use a thick piece of plywood and skip the saw blade.

JohnC430 (author)allangee2018-01-16

now why didnt anybody else say that. throughout reading these suggestions i was thinking the same thing. i suppose it may not be strong enough and can split apart and perhaps do some bodily damage? maybe plywood would work?

allangee (author)JohnC4302018-01-17

Wooden airplane propellers seem to do just fine. Have also seen wood blades on homemade blowers.

If you wanted to get fancy, you could put a motor speed controller (like a ceiling fan one) between your table saw plug and extension cord to drop the speed. NOTE: Not a dimmer switch... a motor controller. The dimmer switch is cheaper, but works differently and can kill your motor over time.

JohnC430 (author)allangee2018-01-18

The grain of the wooden propeller is along its length. in this case, you will always have the centrifugal forces pulling the wood apart. The only way it could possibly work is with plywood which has layers so there is always something holding the grain together.

Yeah maybe you can reduce the speed so the force is lower after all it is mV^2 so reducing the rpm by half (which will still allow it to work as a sander), will reduce the centrifugal force to 1/4th

jimmcneil2 (author)allangee2018-01-11

this guy used more skills making this than someone who just said "well i'll just cut out a piece of plywood"

my father ran the model shop at Harvard observatory, he was working on a piece for NASA and one of his machinists suggested using a "tire rim" as the hub for the equipment they were building, my father told him

"we're the model shop at "Harvard Observatory", we build one of a kind things for government agencies and you expect me to go to NASA and tell them we're using a tire rim for their multi million dollar project? we'll never get another contract from NASA or anyone else, ever again."

my father would hire this guy

tomatoskins (author)jimmcneil22018-01-11

As someone currently studying mechanical engineering, I take that as quite the compliment. :)

GTO3x2 (author)jimmcneil22018-01-11

If it really does the job well and it's much more inexpensive, then why not. Model shops, AFAIK, are mock-ups anyway -no need to waste time on uncessary efforts.

Knex_Obsessed (author)allangee2018-01-11

at the high rpms of a table saw, I would highly recommend avoiding wood as it will probably fly apart

BirgitJansen (author)allangee2018-01-10

True, but would be nice to take advantage of the center of the blade to secure it safely and firm in the table. (kind of lazy thinking, I know ;-) )

allangee (author)BirgitJansen2018-01-10

Lazy people come up with the most efficient methods!

GTO3x2 (author)allangee2018-01-11

I find that resourceful rather than lazy. For occasional use, it's brilliant, IMO. A hand belt sander mount works well too.

sgbotsford (author)allangee2018-01-11

Will plywood reliably take being spun at 3000-5000 rpm? If your disk has a void on the interior you might get an unexpected surprise down the line.

Maybe use thin baltic birch and put a layer on both sides of the blade and epoxy it in place. Make the birch disks slightly larger than the disk to hide the teeth?

dvan someren (author)2018-01-11

Why not take an old saw blade. Cut off the teeth, smooth the edges and stick on the sandpaper? Great idea though!

JohnC430 (author)dvan someren2018-01-12

no need to cut off the teeth. use it as is. just remember how it is made so u don't cut yourself.

ClayOgre (author)JohnC4302018-01-16

Not exactly the safest option. One wrong move and you lose a finger. Table saws are powerful and the blade spins at something like 4000 rpm or higher.

JohnC430 (author)ClayOgre2018-01-16

yeah true

tomatoskins (author)dvan someren2018-01-12

That is definitely an option! However you will end up with a much smaller disc than if you make one yourself because you are grinding off the teeth. With the limited space as is, I'm not sure I'd want to limit it even more.

VasilisS (author)2018-01-11

Amazing idea!!!! AMAZING!! ...The only downside is that the table saw is already so loud to have it working all the time for sanding :)

JohnC430 (author)VasilisS2018-01-12

use ear plugs when u work.... just like u use an eye safety shield

VasilisS (author)JohnC4302018-01-13

i am sure you can think of an easier way to sand than working in 110db with ear plugs and making it so much harder for anyone else to work near you..

4DIYers (author)2018-01-12

Great work! Oddly enough no one has tried to sell this idea yet.

Waste Of Space (author)2018-01-11

You don't need to turn a bit of timber to make the grinding support.

Just drill a 5/8" hole through a piece of timber and drop a bolt through the plate and into the timber

Engineering (author)2018-01-11

If you have a blade sharpening shop near by they can sell you a balanced blank in some cases. SEARS used to sell blanks like this for exactly this purpose (I have one and have been using it for years). If you are smart you will put different grits on each side.

Just be careful as they can easily grab parts.

sgbotsford (author)2018-01-11

Hmm. Once you have it approximately round, couldn't you finish it on the table saw itself? Mount the disk, and push a sanding block against it? Not all of us have lathes.

If the disk is the same thickness as a standard blade, you can use the same arbor washers, yes?

tomatoskins (author)sgbotsford2018-01-11

I wouldn't suggest mounting it in the table saw until it's nearly round. An unbalanced plate spinning at 3600 RPM will be very scary and could damage your bearings.

sgbotsford (author)tomatoskins2018-01-11

Good point. Slack off the belt tension?
Steal the step pulleys off your drill press and slow it down?

Pulse it turning it on for a second at a time?

JoshuaGuess (author)2018-01-11

Always intriguing to see a power tool being "altered" to do a job completely unintended from its original purpose. Nice one!

cdavenport (author)2018-01-11

GEnius! Table saw blades are cheap, too! Just use a grinder to knock the cutting edge of a NON carbide-tipped blade and you are ready for action! If you are confident enough, one could mount the blade and use the rotation of the saw blade to finish smoothing the rotating edge with a hand-held grinder.....Now, where's that old blade?

KenG58 (author)2018-01-11

Good idea of using a saw, and you are right I now have a use for my 20.00 diamond 10" blade after the diamond edge is worn out as well the 14" I have in my cutoff saw. Thanks Ken

Brokk Hrafnsson (author)2018-01-11

A very interesting idea; thanks, Troy, for setting a great example of workshop creativity.

Phil B (author)2018-01-09

Sears sold these for table saws back around 1970. But, theirs had a very helpful variation. The disc was not flat, but was a slight cone that angled from the center out at 2 degrees. That eliminated circular scoring marks and made it possible to use the disc for joining boards as if they had been prepared on a planer. Naturally, the tilt on the table saw had to be set to 2 degrees.

sgbotsford (author)Phil B2018-01-11

Hmm 2 degrees. 1/28 of 5 inches. .17 inches. Seems like a lot. Bet it would be hard to get sandpaper to lie flat on that.
It only has to be enough to get the grain of the sandpaper out of the way. I don't think you care about scratches before 80 grit, so the cone angle needs to be 1/80th of an inch between center and edge.

So now, you cut a chunk of 1x6 long enough to handle easily on the mitre slide. Recut one edge so that it has a taper of about 1/32, wrap a piece of sandpaper over the end, and now sand your cone onto the face of the plywood disk.

JGDean (author)2018-01-11

If you're lazy or don't have the tools or skills needed for this project, Woodcraft sells a 10 inch sanding disc mounting plate (platen) for $22 plus shipping (also available through Amazon).

https://www.woodcraft.com/products/woodriver-10-table-saw-sanding-disc-mounting-plate

CJM3 (author)JGDean2018-01-11

this comment made me laugh. The irony is that I went through the entire "able" thinking. Oh that's a pretty cool idea, and in my head I was seriously considering the logistics of doing this in my shop... then I got to your comment and thought... yup amazon or woodcraft just take my money.

Tanzer26 (author)2018-01-11

Love this. Pretty sure I have a well used smooth rim diamond blade kicking around. A little touch up to its cutting edge and presto.
I also like the comment about 3D printing an insert for use with. Need to see if i could rig a vacuum line to my table saw.

BeachsideHank (author)2018-01-11

You can also use the body of an old 10" saw blade if you de- tip it, just grind them off, the rim can be trued by mounting it in the saw and rubbing the edge down with a stone or file, this is how us old- timers made calibration discs for our saws that doubled as sanding machines. I'm talking about the days before self- sticking discs, when we would apply a shellac stick to the spinning blade and stop it to apply plain sanding paper- it wasn't as bad as it sounds because when done, just peel it off and turn the saw on, rub a scrap of wood against the face to clean off the residue and go at it again- it really only took less time to do than read about it.

GTO3x2 (author)2018-01-11

Damn good idea!

deluges (author)2018-01-11

Nice. Added to the thinking box

Ramin.y (author)2018-01-10

دمت گرم

nanosec12 (author)2018-01-09

Good idea, I used to have one for my Shopsmith, but it's nice to see how to make one for other models of a table saw

gibb3h (author)2018-01-09

good idea! I've seen lathe versions before but never table saws :)

AMbros Custom (author)2018-01-09

Brilliant idea brother never ever thought about that. I never thought that I already have a disk sander in my table saw. Definitely make this must tool for my shop.

About This Instructable

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Bio: My name is Troy. I'm a Mechatronics graduate studying Mechanical Engineering. I love making things and doing anything outdoors (especially SCUBA diving). I am ... More »
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