Homemade Drum Sanders

This kind of sanding drums for the rotary tools can get quite pricey if you use the quality brands. I used to pay around $5 for a pack of ten and went though them in a single project. That might not seem much at a first glance, but it adds up and also I can get some other tools for that money, things I can’t make myself, like a table saw blade or a drill bit set.

Cheap China made ones can also be an option, but they are hard to find locally where I live and ordering them online could take weeks. They are also low quality and come in a limited variety of diameters and grits.


While making my own I can use good sanding paper designed for belt sanders and make them in any grit, even 1000 if I need it for fine work.

As a base I use wooden dowels, in various diameters and I’ll cut them at different lengths to suit different jobs.


First thing is to cut the sandpaper in thin strips, half inch wide. Sandpaper can be harsh on the cutting edge so I cut from the back using an old junk knife, but a box cutter should work just fine.


I used regular wood glue to attach the sandpaper strips to the dowels. Because the sandpaper is cloth backed this gives a strong bond. I haven’t tried with paper backed one yet, but wood glue should stick to paper just fine, unless it’s oiled or something.


Thread was used to “clamp” it while drying. When done the thread came out really easy, I was wondering if it would stick to the glue squeeze¬†out, but I guess it was too thin to bond properly. This one was cotton but artificial thread should work great for this part.


I’ve used a really beaten up hacksaw blade to cut the sanding drums to length. Despite it having only half the teeth left, cutting went pretty fast. In this video I’ve made three diameters drums and cut them to three different lengths (1/2″, 3/4″ and 1″), giving me a wide selection of drums for various tasks.

jig1 jig2

Made this simple jig for drilling holes in the center of the dowels. A drill press can be used with similar results.


A small portion of a wood screw was cut to be used as a shaft for the sanding drums. It’s diameter in the smooth section matches one of my rotary tool’s collets.


Then the drums are simple hand screwed onto the shaft. When worn out are easily replaced, without opening the collet.


And done! I’ve been using these for a while now and I can’t see any¬†differences in use compared to the factory made ones.

2 thoughts on “Homemade Drum Sanders

  • September 7, 2016 at 1:35 am

    One of the best ideas I have seen in a long time. I am going to make some for my next job.


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