A sanding drum is a round steel or fibreglass wheel with abrasive material on the surface, used on an electric drill for wood and metal.

Sanding drums are composed of sanding cylinders mounted on reusable drums and can be used on a drill press or a rotating shaft. It's available in different grits and is often included when buying a drill bit set. A sanding drum can also be used with various tools, including high-speed die grinders. Sanding drums are available in a range of grit sizes. Some are oddly shaped work pieces, but the correct size is essential to get the desired result. The different grit sizes include:

  • 80 grit is very coarse and is generally used to strip the surface of the wood before refinishing or for mild steelwork.

  • 120 grit is still coarse but will produce an acceptable finish on metal after heavy removal.

  • 180 grit will give you a good working surface on most metals and enough to smooth out rust marks.

  • 240 grit will leave you with a nice finish on ferrous metals.

  • 400-600 grit will give you a polished 'mirror-like finish on aluminium surfaces.

  • 800-1200 grit will finish aluminium or stainless steel to a bright shine.

The higher the grit, the smoother the finish will be.

How do I use a sanding drum?

A sanding drum can be used with various tools, including high-speed die grinders, drill presses, lathes, electric drills and small motors. It has many benefits, including removing rust from metal surfaces by attaching the appropriate grit belt and using it in conjunction with some water for lubrication. For final finishing, attach a finer grit belt.

Sanding drums are handy carpentry or woodworking tools. If you're going to use them for polishing purposes, always use a lubricant. Even water will work.

To get the best results from your sanding drum:

  • Always clamp your workpiece securely in place before starting.

  • Use a light touch when using the drill and let it do the work. This will generally produce better results.

  • Store unused belts with a protective coating and keep them out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources like fires and heaters.

  • Always check that your sanding drum is in good condition before using. If the grit is worn away, protected by a layer of rust, or the protective coating has been removed, don't use it.

How do you make a sanding drum?

You make a sanding drum by attaching an abrasive (e.g., sandpaper) to a piece of wood or metal around a central hub and then ensuring that the whole thing spins easily on its own.

To attach the grit to the wheel, you can use staples, nails, or adhesive such as contact cement or superglue. It shouldn't come off while running at full speed.

You may also need to beef up your wheel with additional material. These include dowel rods, wooden blocks or non-ferrous metals to provide extra strength for hard materials like plastic, stone or masonry bricks.

Another important factor is making sure that your wheel is balanced correctly. If it isn't, the whole thing will vibrate excessively and may even come apart. Some products come with sanding cylinders and reusable drums for attachment to a drill press or other tools.

There is also a particular type of sanding drum that eliminates the need to replace sanding sleeves periodically, ideal for construction carpentry. You would not need to buy any sanding sleeves because the drum is designed so that a locking device secures both ends of sandpaper to the sanding drum. You can also make the sanding sleeves yourself.

How do I use a sanding drum?

A sanding drum can be used with various tools, including high-speed die grinders, drill presses, lathes, electric drills and small motors. It's ideal for removing rust from metal surfaces by attaching the appropriate grit belt and using it in conjunction with some water for lubrication. For final finishing, attach a finer grit belt.

Can you use a drum sander in a regular drill?

It will make your life much easier if you have an adjustable speed drill with forward/reverse capabilities. These offer the most control when using tools like sanding drums. They allow you to switch the direction in which the shaft spins, they control speed, and there's a trigger that allows you to start or stop at will. You should also make sure that your workpiece is securely clamped down before starting the drill again, it'll save you time and effort if it does come loose.

What are sanding drums made of?

A sanding drum comprises a central hub and an abrasive material attached around its circumference. The abrasive used to attach it depends on what kind of job needs to be done. You can use sandpaper, leather or fabric discs. It depends on whether you need to get rid of rust from metal surfaces (using sandpaper), smooth out small pieces before gluing them together (using fabric) or remove dried paint from windows (using leather).

What are sanding drums used for?

Sanding drums are useful for shaping metal surfaces, smoothing wooden planks before painting them, removing rust from metal objects and finishing pieces with a smooth surface before applying paint or varnish. Sanding belts can also be attached around a drum sander to polish softwood or hardwood up into a gleaming finish after being cut down to size. However, this will only work if the wood is hard enough. The outer layer of the sanding drum is lined with grit abrasive responsible for polishing and removing scratches on surfaces. However, aside from metals and woods, it is also suitable for use in fibreglass. In some cases, users also use it for cosmetic purposes like sanding off gel polish. It shows how delicate and precise the sanding drum is, specifically shaping, finishing, and grinding your project. Its small size is also advantageous in getting to hard-to-reach places. While not strictly a drum sander, some people also use rotary tools with diamond cut-off wheels to grind down surfaces like concrete or masonry before painting them.

What is a caramel wheel?

Caramel wheels polish marble, ceramic or stone surfaces into a smooth, gleaming finish. They are essentially sanding drums with ultra-fine grit attached to them and not really used for wood which a carpenter would work on.

Before using your caramel wheel, you must check the condition of the grit. If it's worn away or protected by rust or paint, don't use it because you won't get good results and might damage your precious floors.

Caramel wheels can be used with buffing pads to remove marks made by floor machines when used on newly installed tiles. These machine marks look like black lines across the tile or marble surface when this happens.

Can you use a sanding drum with a Dremel tool?

Yes, you can. Sanding drums with Dremel is particularly useful for removing rust from metal objects. Still, you can also use them on wooden surfaces to smooth them out before applying paint or varnish.

A sanding drum is a high-speed cylindrical grinder. You can use the Dremel in the same way as one.

Polish up with an old cotton T-shirt or rag for best results when you've finished. For materials like concrete and masonry, consider attaching diamond cut-off wheels to your rotary tool before grinding down surfaces for painting or staining purposes. Select a brand with positive reviews and offers many benefits, various payment options, and a close checkout for best results. For information on how to stay safe while using a sanding drum, take a look at the New South Wales Government's SafeWork website.