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Before using the JET 22-44OSC Oscillating Drum Sander I questioned how much difference there could be. Turns out that it makes a bunch of difference!
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JET 22-44OSC Oscillating Drum Sander

Oscillation makes it better yet!

Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz

Posted - 10-1-2008

Horizontal drum sanders are remarkable in their ability to sand very small to very large pieces, odd shapes and put a super smooth finish on all of them. The JET 22-44OSC Oscillating Drum Sander handles pieces up to 44"-wide (two passes), up to 4"-thick or as this as 1/32"! Even handier for many woodworkers is that its minimum material length is only 2-1/4"-long!

Now, JET adds oscillation to the equation and the surface gets even better. And, the oscillation feature can be turned on and off as needed, a smart bit of control that will get used in many shops.

Power

The 1-3/4HP motor drives the drum only and has plenty of power for that task.
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The JET 22-44OSC Oscillating Drum Sander is powered by a stout 1-3/4HP, 1Ph, 115V (only) motor that drives the sanding drum. Keep in mind that JET motors are rated using a continuous duty cycle rather than the always suspect "peak" and "max developed" numbers some still throw around. The continuous duty cycle tells you how much power is available during use, not in short bursts or spikes.

The conveyor belt is powered by separate 43 inch-lb DC motor. This DC motor was selected in part to support variable speed and a special bit of protective technology described in the conveyor section below.

Sanding Drum

The JET 22-44OSC Oscillating Drum Sander uses a 22"-wide, 5"-diameter extruded aluminum drum that is fully machined and balanced. The drum has special clips within each end that retain the abrasive strips. The inboard clip can be difficult to reach so JET includes their TufTool( that has been designed specifically to ease this task.

The sanding drum is mounted in a massive arm that gives this machine its strength and rigidity. The drum is mounted on high-end ball bearings that keep it spinning freely. The arm structure has a simple alignment system that makes keeping the drum parallel to the table an easy task.

The sanding drum (left) is precisely machined and balanced. Sanding height adjustments (right) can be made very precisely.
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A full-width hinged cover across the top of the JET 22-44OSC Oscillating Drum Sander sanding drum confines the dust and debris. A standard 4"-diameter port on the top of this shroud like cover makes connecting a standard dust collector hose simple. JET recommends using a minimum 500-CFM (cubic feet per minute) dust collector, which should not be a problem for most woodworkers.

Table Height

A large, 7 3/4"-diameter handwheel operates the shaft that moves the drum height through the 4" range. Each full rotation of the handwheel changes drum height by 3/32". A scale on the face of the main casting shows the current sanding drum to table height. The pointer can be adjusted to be sure this reading is accurate.

Oscillating Feature

The oscillating mechanism is built into the arm and engaged or disengaged with a button (arrow) and only when the machine is shut off!
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The oscillating mechanism moves the sanding drum horizontally through a 1" range of travel. JET does not give a "per minute" spec on the oscillations but you can see in the video below that its frequency is more than adequate. The finish this machine creates also supports its effectiveness.

The oscillation feature is designed to do a few things. Certainly it eliminates lines that can be left by straight line sanders. However, oscillation also dissipates heat, which prevents burning of the wood while extending the life of the abrasive. Both end up saving you money in the long run.

The oscillating feature is controlled by a push-pull button on the sanding arm mount where the oscillating mechanism is housed. Though simple in operation you have to remember that the oscillation button can only be operated with the machine off. A large sticker by the button should make this very clear. I suspect there will be a few who either forget or just want to see what happens if the oscillating button is pushed while running.....

Conveyor Belt/Table

The conveyor belt uses a DC motor (left) that enables variable speed, and the SandSmart system that protects the wood, motor and abrasive. The conveyor belt has adjusters on both side, each with a captured wrench that makes them tool free.
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Using the DC motor to power the JET 22-44OSC Oscillating Drum Sander conveyor belt clears the way for variable speed. However, JET also developed their patented SandSmart™ technology that works with the variable speed control. The infinitely variable speed control produces feed rates from 0 to 10 feet per minute. That lets the operator choose the best rate for the job at hand.

The SandSmart™ technology monitors the load on the conveyor belt. When that load exceeds its built-in limits, the SandSmart™ circuitry automatically reduces the feed rate to a slower rate as long as is needed. When the load is relieved, the original feed rate is restored. An LED light next to the speed control dial comes on when the SandSmart™ system has taken over.

The conveyor belt tension and tracking is controlled by a pair of adjusters, one on either side of the bed. Each adjuster has a captured wrench on its

The base cabinet does a good job of stabilizing the machine plus has a ton of storage space inside.
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threaded shaft so they are essentially tool free. Beneath the table are a pair of conveyor belt TRACKERS™ that reduce the need for tracking adjustments.

A precision flattened steel bed supports the conveyor belt beneath the sanding drum to insure that the wood is parallel to the drum. The sanding drum is easily adjusted to be sure it is parallel to the conveyor belt.

Enclosed Cabinet

The JET 22-44OSC Oscillating Drum Sander is mounted atop an enclosed steel cabinet. The cabinet has a dog bone shape that juts its center back out of the operators' way. The wider ends of the cabinet afford the JET 22-44OSC Oscillating Drum Sander stability.

The base cabinet has a latched door on the front that reveals a large internal storage area inside. The considerable storage space within this cabinet is far more than needed for sanding belts so it could expand general shop storage as well.

In the Shop

Using the JET 22-44OSC Oscillating Drum Sander was surprising only in how effective the oscillation feature is. Initially I was a little suspect about the claims of an improved surface over that created by non-oscillating drum sanders. After sanding several boards without and then with the oscillation turned on I am convinced that there really is an improvement. The range of material sizes this machine handles should cover the needs of all but the most exotic of woodworking shops.

Overall the JET 22-44OSC Oscillating Drum Sander is well built and has plenty of power at both the sanding drum and conveyor. All of the controls work as expected, are logically located and posed no problems. The JET 22-44OSC Oscillating Drum Sander really is a smooth-running and surprisingly quiet machine. My low decibel POWERMATIC PM1300 dust collector easily makes more noise than this machine.

Video Tour!

The dust collection hood does a very good job of evacuating the dust and keeping the work area clean. It also extends the life of the abrasives by preventing unnecessary buildup. The base cabinet is large, stable and has a bunch of storage space inside. Its shape makes it easy to use the JET 22-44OSC Oscillating Drum Sander but could present a problem mating it with standard mobile bases.

Conclusions

The JET 22-44OSC Oscillating Drum Sander is loaded with very useable features and value. Aside from the abrasive strips themselves there is little on the JET 22-44OSC Oscillating Drum Sander that is nothing I am aware of that is going to need replacement with any frequency.

With a street price of around $2050.00 (10-1-2008) the JET 22-44OSC Oscillating Drum Sander represents a sizeable investment for many shops. However, the expansive capabilities (works as a thicknesser also) of this machine means it will have a significant impact on the quality and speed of the work you do.

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