Giant Homemade 16" Disc Sander (for the Lathe)




About: I have an unhealthy relationship with pallet wood. I make fast paced and entertaining build videos on my YouTube channel that are made for everyone, but with the ultimate goal to get the younger generations ...

Homemade 16" disk sander for my lathe, 2 tools in 1! The sanding disk is made from doubled up 3/4" plywood mounted to a face plate. The table is made from 3/4" plywood too mounted square to the disk. It attached to the lathe bed using 4 bolts at the location where an extension bed usually mounts, although I'll probably try to get away with just 2. Takes me just under 2 minutes to set up and that's without any practice and with my winter fat, should be able to shave that down a few seconds once I get back into my summer shape with a little conditioning.

Notable Tools

- Bandsaw:

- Countersink drill bits:

- Lathe tools:

- Miter saw:

- Forstner bit:

- Speed square:

- Router:

- Chisel:

Notable Materials

- Glue:

- Sanding disk:

- 3/4" plywood

- Drywall screws

- Bolts to fit lathe holes


Step 1: Cutting Out the Disks

I start by cutting out the pieces for the disks on my table saw, just over 16" square.

To trace out the circle, I make my own super rudimentary compass by attaching 2 screws in a piece of scrap wood 8" apart and scratch the surface of the wood to make the circle.

Both of these pieces are brought over to the bandsaw to cut them to shape.

I then drill a hole through both circles to aid in alignment later.

To attach these together I use glue and screws, so I draw some lines and measure for even screw alignment because I'm just too anal.

Step 2: Fastening Disks Together

Then each of the holes is predrilled in one of the disks.

A nice layer of glue is spread over the surface of one disk.

Then I stick the drill bit into the other disk so it pokes out the back and will align the 2 together and hold it there while I fasten them together.

Lots of screws, definitely overkill, but that's the way to do it ;)

I flip the disk over to the face that will receive the sandpaper and scuff it up a bit to help the sandpaper stick better to it later.

Step 3: Attach to Lathe & Truing

In order to fasten this to the lathe I grab my large faceplate and simply predrill and screw it in place.

This is then just threaded onto the lathe with the motor in place at the end of the bed.

Then it's just a matter of truing up the disk to a real circular shape using my lathe tools. I also take off the sharp corner on the back of the disk by rounding it over a bit to save my fingers later.

This is the sanding disk I'm going to use, it's a 100 grit, 16", self adhesive disk.

Step 4: Building the Table

Next, I move onto building the table. I use some scrap 3/4" plywood for this as well. I cut everything down to size on the table saw and miter saw.

I use 2 boards fastened together with glue and a couple of screws with one piece that acts as a shelf for the table to sit on top of the bed of the lathe.

While it's on the lathe, I mark out where the holes are located in the end of the bed of the lathe. These are usually used if you want to mount an extension bed to the lathe to they are threaded to receive bolts already!

There are 4 holes on the bed of the lathe, so I attach 4 matching bolts to hold the table in place.

While it is mounted on the lathe I trace out the edge of the disk and the edge of the bed on the table. I cut along this line on the bandsaw to bring it down to shape.

Step 5: Installing the Bracket & Table Top

Besides the support piece I just built and the actual table surface, I want to install support bracket as well. I have this piece of doubled up 3/4" plywood so I cut a bracket from it on the bandsaw.

I glue and screw this in place.

To attach the table top I decide to use pocket holes since it will keep me from having any fasteners on the top of the table top.

This is then all screwed into place. A couple of screws through the bracket and a few through the support piece for the table.

Step 6: Dust Collection & 1st Install

I want to add some sort of dust collection to this because otherwise it will make a mess. I use a forstner bit to drill a large hole on the left side of the table the same size as the end of my vacuum hose.

To help collect the dust at this spot, I want to help funnel it, so I draw a line on either side to cut to with the router.

I install a couple of small ramps to have the router cut deeper towards the hole.

These little ramps guide the router up and down into the work piece while I work it back and forth to form the cavity.

After the router, I just clean it up a bit with the chisel.

Then I install it in place again and it looks great! Even the dust collection works surprisingly well. I think I might install some fins that will boarder the outside of the disk to increase the suction just a little more.

This is the first time test of the install - 1:52, I think we can do better than that!!

Step 7: Improvements

I decided to get rid of 2 of the bolt holes because I figured out that just 2 of them was sufficient so I made them into slots instead. I also cut out some star knobs and epoxied them to the heads of the bolts so I don't need to look for a wrench every time I want to install it.

Got the install time down to 25.5 seconds!

A 400% improvement in efficiency? That deserves a wood mic drop.

Step 8: Glamour Shots!

Thanks for checking out the build and be sure to check out the build video too for the full experience.

Build a Tool Contest 2017

First Prize in the
Build a Tool Contest 2017



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      Classroom Science Contest
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      Gardening Contest
    • Arduino Contest 2019

      Arduino Contest 2019

    13 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Hi I really enjoyed watching the building of your sander.I am just a starting woodworker.The only comment I have to make is that most of the projects are being build with thousands of dollars of woodworking machines what makes it difficult for guys just starting with just handtools to work with.


    2 years ago

    Nice build.

    All I am missing is the wood lathe ;-)


    2 years ago

    Before you build a 16" disc sander, you might want to check the difference between the price of 12" vs 16" disks. Unless you have the money to buy $15 vs $3 each disks.

    Also if you have a way to do it put a very slight convex shape on the sanding disk. And tilt the axis of the disk by the same amount. Much easier to get a flat sanded surface. Believe it or not. Only the part of the sanding disk that is at a right angle to the base plate will be sanding. But since it's turning the whole disc is used. There will also be far less tendency for the piece being sanded to catch and jerk out of you hand.


    2 years ago

    I love the dust collection. That was a great add on


    2 years ago

    nice job


    2 years ago

    great idea though not many people have a lathe of that size

    could do the same thing with a smaller lathe and run the disk of a belt driven by a pulley mounted in the lathes chuck

    can set it up so it sits in front of the lathe or mounted higher on the bedrails itself


    2 years ago

    Very nice! And a disc sander is such a useful tool.


    2 years ago

    Thank good job


    2 years ago

    Yup. That's great. If the motor on your lathe slides along the ways.

    Mine doesn't......Bummer.



    2 years ago

    Heavy duty disc sander I congratulate you on this neat work. The motor on my Shopsmith 5 lathe can barely take a slight load after running it on a 50 cycle power. It's too hard to find a strong motor to fit inside the carriage. Well, that's my problem, someday I'll win.


    2 years ago

    Nicely done! I built a similar ible a few years back but didnt think about securing the table to the end of the bed.


    2 years ago

    Love the mic drop


    2 years ago

    Smart with dust collector!