Sand-Flee Drum Sander Hothttp://toolreviews.woodmagazine.com/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/300x300s/5b/e2/da/763_300_1327086173.jpg
The machines have a 2 year warranty.
The sanding drum is under the table like a jointer. This allows you to sand assembled boxes and doors to remove defects or correct alignment problems. The units will sand tapered items, like table legs, and small, thin or delicate items, like scroll work. The 18” machine sands to 36” wide.
This unique drum sander does things others can't
Over the past several years, wide-bodied drum sanders have become popular in home woodworking shops, as we continue our quest to take the drudgery out of sanding. Like a thickness planer, though, those tools can only make two opposite faces of a workpiece parallel. The Sand-Flee PS35000 isn't limited in that way.
In fact, the Sand-Flee works more like a jointer. After setting the stainless-steel tabletop just a hair lower than the top of the drum during the initial setup, you pass the workpiece over the drum by hand, giving you control over the feed rate and pressure. In my tests, I found it impossible to bog down the tool's 1/3-hp motor, no matter how hard I pushed.
The lack of a self-feeding mechanism is a big plus in many ways. For example, I easily sanded some very small scrollsawn workpieces that would get lost between the pressure roller and drum of a traditional horizontal drum sander. You also can sand extra-thick or tall workpieces on the Sand-flee because you're not limited by the distance between the feed belt and drum. (Most drum sanders max out at about 3" of thickness.) It's especially handy for sanding box joints and dovetails smooth after assembly.
Although workpieces shorter than about 2'long sand like a dream, keeping consistent pressure on longer workpieces is more problematic, and I couldn't get as smooth a surface as I get sanding those same pieces on my self-feeding drum sander.
Hook-and-loop abrasives install quickly on the Sand-Flee's 19"-long polycarbonate drum, so you can start and stop an abrasive strip anywhere along the drum. I loaded three grits of progressively finer paper on different parts of the drum and quickly sanded a narrow workpiece through three grits without changing paper. Much of the dust created drops harmlessly below the tabletop, and a 2-1/2" dust port hooks nicely to a shop vacuum to make it even cleaner.
The manufacturer touts the Sand-Flee as "portable," and it is, to some degree. You can stand it on edge for storage so it doesn't always take up the 21x35" footprint created by the wooden mounting base, which, by the way, you must provide.
—Tested by Marlen Kemmet
(As of 2014, the SF costs about $700, and is available exclusively at Sears.) I've had mine for about 2 years, used it a fair amount. Love it. Think of it as an "uncovered drum sander" in which the drum is below the platform. The top plate (with a slot to expose a portion of the drum) is heavy and flat. As you move wood across it, you get some jointing of the face, and there is a side fence to the top that you can use to square work. The sanding medium is very long-lived (I'm still on my original install). An interesting benefit of the overall action is that the sanding paper doesn't press tight on the wood, so it lasts much longer (the paper strips Velcro to the drum, but when spinning the paper lifts off the drum just a little, so you essentially get just the tip of the grit on the wood). I've also found that my 120 grit is giving me about a 180+ surface because the media just "kisses" the wood surface. I use the 120 grit for everything. Because the drum spins rather fast, it "takes down" the wood surface pretty quickly (it will "burn through" a plywood surface in about 6--8 passes). Because the drum rotates against the direction of the wood motion, sawdust is spun down through the leading edge of the table slot. This gives about 80--90% dust capture even without a vacuum on the tool. There IS a 2.5" port that you can connect to a dust collector, and with this in action, I'd say the dust suppression is almost 100%. Although the 18" drum can handle 36" panels, theoretically, you'd want to embed the tool in a surrounding bench because the tool top isn't long enough to stabilize large pieces. Price is comparable to ordinary drum sanders of the same size, but is much more compact. You'll have to create a stand or bench for it (an mount it on a 3/4 plywood base first). It's a bit too heavy for easy "pick up and put on the work bench" storage. I mounted mine on an old shop cart, and the lower shelves hold all my sanding stuff, including my ROS, etc.