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Topic: Secret tool from my workshop
Message: Posted by: MentalistCreationLab (Jan 16, 2012 10:21PM)
Since I know some of you are like me and like to build your own props I thought I would unveil the visible sanding unit (I am a bit reluctant to reveal this, but why not) This is one of the top secret machines from my workshop. Just a quick note outside those few who have access to the workshop and a few of my friends this tool has not been seen anywhere.

Here is one of the specialty tools in my collection this model was designed by Jim Davis and myself. If Jim's names sounds familiar(no its not the Jim that Created Garfield) its the Jim I worked with in creating and designing Harry's Bolt (more information on that at Stevens Magic Emporium) and a few items coming out later this year.

Visible Sanding Unit

This handy sanding machine will allow you to “see-through the sanding disk so you can monitor how much material your sanding off of the work at any given time. This is an industrial model that will allow for accurate sanding of wood, metal (including gold and silver), plastic and composition materials.

Here is a photo of the complete unit


There is a photo of the machine in action.


Video coming soon of the machine in action right after I get a few other things finished.

This model is based off a very old and rare style of overhead belt drive jewelers tool then only used for polishing. Unlike some of the other versions you can attach any sandpaper to the sanding surface this saves time and money since the wheel can accommodate full sheets of sandpaper that can be cut down.

Since the disk is made from aluminum it will help disperse some of the heat created while sanding. The item your sanding will still get hot but not nearly as fast as it does on other sanders.

This sander will also allow for greater precision when you only need to remove a very small amount of material. This sander can also be used for tool shaping and resharpening of some tools. Since you can see the edge your working on as your working on it. This allows for maxim control.

This is one of the most useful sanders I have ever owned. Its applications are endless.

Full DIY plans are in the works very soon as well as some kit options. We are currently making a few more of the disks and assembling the DIY PDF and a few kits. The hardest part of making this sander is building the disk and that why we started to make some of these up mainly for some of our good buddies in the trade(yep I an old hillbilly in case you missed it) :) . Not to mention with this sander you do not have to buy special sanding paper disks at exuberant prices, you can just glue a full sheet of regular sandpaper and cut it to fit and size.

Oh yeah, besides mental and strange magic my life long hobby is designing specialty tools. If you guys and gals are interested in how to make special tools for special applications just let me know I would be glad to help you design a tool that right for the job.

Later I may post up a photo of the 1" belt sander that will allow you to use any 1-2" belt of any length. Another sander saved me tons of cash on consumables.

Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 16, 2012 11:35PM)
Message: Posted by: MrPrestoHypno (Jan 17, 2012 07:59AM)
Pretty cool, need to build one of those for myself for sure!
Thanks for sharing!
Message: Posted by: wandmgc8 (Jan 17, 2012 11:28AM)
I would like to echo Mr. Baker's sentiment...brilliant! It applies an old, effective principle used in magic to a very useful shop tool. There's a bit on this principle written up by S.H.Sharp in his "Conjurors Optical Secrets" if I remember correctly, but certainly not aplied to shop tools. Do the slots in the sanding disc affect the stability of the work-piece being held against it? I suppose it may depend upon the RPMs of the sanding disc vs. the pressure applied.

Thanks for sharing this unique idea!

Michael Myatt
Message: Posted by: MentalistCreationLab (Jan 17, 2012 12:07PM)
Michael, no it does not. this is because of two reasons on the thickness or the disk and the slots also act as cooling vents and anti clog vents. However the disk is a bit hard and time consuming to cut even using old special machines (I love pre1970s machines). The other things about the slots. If you start to hear chatter it means that a section of the disk has gotten bent slightly and since we choose the proper materiel for the disk it can be tweaked back to flat relatively easy. This later action is a kind of warning sign letting you know if your pressing too hard and not allowing the tool to do the work.

Part of the principle was based on those old 18th century viewing devices the ones that spin around and create an animation of a horse or a person walking. I never managed to score or even see a copy of the Sharp book but he probable based some of his thoughts off one of those since they are marvelous objects of a time lost.

I should have mentioned this above but it slipped my mind there is a small square cover that sits on the top of the motor and does not turn this helps keep particles out of the motor. Another version has a box surrounding the motor with open slots for air. The sander you see above will have this upgrade.

Also the disk is set all the way down on the arbor in the photo and by adding a additional couple of locking nuts it can be raised a few inches to give more working room between the sander and the bottom of the disk.

There is an optimal speed range for the motor as well as horse power to give the best visual and torque. Too much torque will just toss the part your working on across the room. I hand held the piece in the photos and would normally use a clamp, jig or hand vice this was done so you could get the best view of the device with out any interference of other parts.

Some of you may be thinking about using a wooded disk instead of a metal disk while this can work it will at some point fly apart sooner than later. Notice I said will and not may. Nothing like getting hit with high velocity wood fragments. Learned the hard way. When building a similar tool using a motor and a disk. Felt like I had wood bits in my ribs for a week.

I am working on some other projects today and hopeful by weeks end or the following the PDF file will be available.

Oh Yeah, the overhead light and the dark color of the disk are important without these two modification you will not be able to see the work.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 17, 2012 12:32PM)
On 2012-01-17 13:07, MentalistCreationLab wrote:

Part of the principle was based on those old 18th century viewing devices the ones that spin around and create an animation of a horse or a person walking.

This is exactly the first thing I thought when I saw the first photo.

Two design thoughts just came to mind, but of course I'd have no way to know if they'd work or not.

The first would be something that would allow the disc to operate like a plunge router. This way a workpiece could be clamped below it, and the disc gradually lowered. Another idea here, is a gradual in/out feed like drilling with the tail stock on a lathe, only vertical. Same results but with more precision?

The other thought was to turn this entire thing horizontal, with the sanding surface toward the operator, same as a conventional disc sander. Then, a mirror placed behind would allow viewing of the workpiece. What this might do is allow for the installation of a tilt table at the front, so workpieces could be fed toward the disc at very precise angles.

Just thinking out loud.
Message: Posted by: Bryan Gilles (Jan 17, 2012 10:45PM)
That is very clever! I like it!

Thanks for sharing with all of us.
Message: Posted by: MentalistCreationLab (Jan 19, 2012 09:04PM)
Thanks guys, I will be at the woodworkers show in Indianapolis, Indiana on Saturday of this coming week. If any one wants to meet up and look at the latest in tools.

Here is more info on the show and directions

Message: Posted by: AGMagic (Jan 21, 2012 02:00PM)
Someone (Worksharp?)makes a tool sharpening system that uses the same type of disc that allows you to see the edge you are creating on the tool. I guess great minds think alike!
Message: Posted by: HCM (Mar 25, 2012 03:29PM)
That's a great idea, thanks for sharing! That could have been really handy a few times.