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114 of 115 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2009
I have owned an earlier version of this machine for six years and have also had several years experience with the Performax 16/32 and the Jet 22/44 drum sanders. I use these machines for several applications, but mostly for precise sanding of musical instrument parts.

I bought the Delta because it has a moveable cast iron table, which I thought would be much more precise than the Performance and Jet machines. I also bought it because of its 18 inch capacity. The machine is well built. Fit and finish is very good. The precision is there, but that's where it ends.

When feeding stock into the sander, it is very difficult to get it started through the in-feed pressure bar, which is too tight and is not adjustable. When the stock comes up against the out-feed pressure bar it stops, causing the drum to dig into the stock, ruining glue surfaces or worse, destroying expensive instrument parts at critical thicknesses, unless you physically keep feed pressure on the stock to prevent it. This happens even when removing five or six thousandths of an inch from narrow material.

The motor stalls under loads when it clearly should not. I have experienced stalling when removing fifteen thousandths of an inch from oak, maple, etc 8 inches wide. Wider stock is obviously worse.

Changing sanding strips is difficult to say the least, given the inaccessibility of the spring loaded clips that hold them to the drum.

The sander came with an accessory inflatable drum sander attachment, which I installed and immediately removed because its rotation didn't even resemble Concentricity with the shaft that drives it.

My experience has shown me that I should not have underestimated the durability, strength and precision of the Jet/Performance machines and that I made a mistake when bought the Delta.
I wouldn't buy the Delta machine again, at any price.
Update, September 23rd, 2014. Today, the in-feed roller fell out of the bracket that carries it and the out-feed roller isn't far behind. Delta no longer supplies these parts. They are obsolete. Eleven years out and no parts back up? Propriety does not allow me to use the expressions and words that I have for this machine or the manufacturer. I will, however say, without compunction: This machine is a piece of junk and has been since it was new. It was the last Delta machine I bought and now,is surely the last I will ever buy.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2009
I purchased the Delta 31-360-X Drum Sander on July 27, 2009. Two days later I assembled the sander only to find that the whole drum casing was actually warped. It was not parallel to the in-feeder. I had to dismantle the unit carry it upstairs and into my car. Busy Bee was very good about exchanging the drum assembly as it was perfectly clear the unit was defective. I then assembled the new unit and found it needed a few adjustments. No problem. Then came time to test the unit.First piece was 6" wide, 24" long and 1" thick. It came out with SNIPE at both ends. I have tinkered with it in hopes it would stop the Snipe but to no avail. I tried some finished panels I am using on a job and they also have Snipe at both ends. This causes more work sanding out the Snipe marks as well as some burn lines at the outer side because the panel is 23" wide.
I called Black & Deckers Head Office in the USA and was told to contact their service dept. in Mississauga. They had just closed when I called. Will try tomorrow. This machine could really use both an in-feed table and an out-feed table. Also the tension in the bars is too high when trying to start a piece of wood. I expected better from Delta. Unhappy customer.
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55 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2008
This is a fine example of a low cost tool that produces professional results even for the novice user. I have several complaints. The height of the drum w.r.t the floor is fixed and there are no external infeed and outfeed supports. I recently used the sander to finish a 120" x 26" x 1.5" maple table top. This required infeed and outfeed support that had to be adjusted after each pass through the sander. I have used both 100 and 220 grit paper and noticed significant tendency to burn when using the finer paper. There is also a tendency to snipe at the beginning and end of a workpiece. The mobile base recommended by Delta does not fit, it is too large.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2011
As other have noted, the problems fall in a few areas. Quality control - drum out-of-round, vibration. Mine was OK in that respect. Feed belt doesn't track well. Keep that allen wrench handy because you have to adjust the belt continuously. Snipe. There's plenty of that. Sanding strip clips. Poor design, difficult to engage, some sanding strips (Delta brand) seem to be only an eighth of an inch longer than the absolute minimum length. VERY hard to attach.

Table elevation - an engineer should be ashamed of this travesty. On mine the cog belt kept slipping off. The idler pulleys were sloppy and had only one flange. They would tilt and the belt comes off. Too tight and it binds. Too loose and it slips a tooth and you're in for an hour to realign the whole mess. Plastic miter gears. They strip. I made new precision idlers with double flanges. Much better, but still lousy. The sheet metal base is not flat. You can't adjust by using precision blocks or parallels because it will still bind up. It's trial and error to get the threaded posts, table and pulleys aligned. The manual explains none of this. Sawdust gets into the threaded bushings and it binds. The cog belt is under the motor. It's basically impossible to get the belt installed without turning the whole sander on edge and removing the motor. Since it weighs 200 pounds, this is no casual job.

Yes,you might just get it to actually sand things. But, the bad features so outweigh the good that I'm not sure it's worth having at all. They made so many bad design choices to keep the cost down that it's barely useable. Every time I use it, I wonder what I'll have to fix or redesign this time.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2011
This is a video review of the fit and finish of the Delta 31-260x Drum Saner. Part 2 of the review shows it in operation. You can find it on youtube by typing in Delta 31-260x Drum Sander. Also there is a link there for a full write up with pictures.

I purchased this machine from Amazon and the delivery was very smooth with no damage. The machine is well packed and the fit and finish is excellent. The performance so far is good, but I have not had time to really put it through some tests. I will update the review as I use it more. Follow above directions for more info.

****UPDATE 7/20/11 - More adjustments have been made.****

I have had time to really put the machine to use. I found out that following the manual's directions left my table a little more than .03" (about a 1/32" of and inch) out of alignment across the full 18" drum (not terrible but not good enough for me). I opened the manual again and messed with the setup block instructions which took a while, and then the table would not raise or lower easily. So I had to follow the other instructions which remedied that...but totally through off my setup block alignment. After screwing around for another hour following their directions I decided something different. Common sense!

I took a piece of plywood 18" long and laid it on the table, raised it up until it just kissed the drum and then adjusted the open end until it looked parallel to the eye. I then adjusted the front right nut because the lifting mechanism was binding a little and then tightened everything back up.

I am now within .01" across the whole 18" drum and know I could do a little better with some more tweaking but across 18" that is pretty good. I ran a full width maple butcher block through once (far end was out .011) and then rotated it 180 degrees and ran it back through without making any adjustments to table elevation and it was dead on every side.

1 / 64 of an inch is = 0.015625 so across 18" the .01 right now it is out is not to shabby, again...I am sure I can get it better will a little more adjustment.

So I am very please with this sander right now. I have managed to make it bog, but that was me just being stupid and not paying attention to how much I was trying to bite off. The 1-1/2 HP motor is more than adequate when paired with the correct grit of paper. The dust collection is FANTASTIC when hooked up to a high CFM collector.

I stand by my original 5 star review and while I think it is pricey (aren't all drum sanders) I like that it is covered by a 5 year warranty and everything is working as it should. I am feeling less buyers remorse every time I use it ( I originally wanted a 26" Woodmaster DS... More power and more $$$) because it is getting the job done.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2010
I have had this unit for over a year now and have been fairly pleased. It went together well and does a good job of sanding pieces flat. I had the same problem that an earlier reviewer had with the pressure rollers exerting too much pressure. There is a fix for this. Both roller bars are connected to the sides of the machine by a pair of brackets that pivot. The downward travel of the bars is limited by a bolt that the brackets rest against. I took some plastic tubing that just fits over the bolt and has a wall about 1/16" thick, slid some 1/2" long pieces over the bolts, and held them in place with nuts. This causes the bars to move down less and therefore exert less pressure. I also get about 0.004" of snipe and have not been able to fix this.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2013
I've been a loyal customer and Delta machine user for nearly 30 years and as the shop manager for a university design lab I've purchased and used two of these machines over the years. They are good for a one man shop but unacceptable for more than one user or heavy use. The most positive aspect of this product is its ability to sand material exteamly thin which is perfect for small projects. Presently my personal experience with the sanders and Delta haven't been very enjoyable. The primary weakness of this machine is the table elevation mechinism. It is driven by a cogged belt that moves 4 screws simultaniously, this should be a chain drive because the belt slips often on one or more screw post cogs and then the table gets out of parallelism with the drum. The miter gears that transfer the hand-wheel crank motion to the belt are ABS and it's easy to shear teeth off of them, which we did. I ordered new gears in October 2011 and I have tried to get Delta to send them to me since. I've called, e-mailed and begged to get these gears but to no avail. Did Delta bother to tell me, at any time, that they were discontinuing the machine? Of course not. I know Delta has split off from Stanley Corp. and has become its own company again. I hope they are able to improve their product design and their customer service. If I can I no longer consider Delta products for purchase. A sad end to a good company.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2014
Like the headline says.Setup. Parallel setup of the feed table and roller.A very easy adjustment. if one side is significantly higher or lower this will affect tracking and or cause the machine to stall. This is a sander not a thickness planer.but that being said using 36 grit paper you can take about.015 ( 15 thousandts) at time . 4 passes gives you a sixteenth. I cut and dry my own oak and process it all on this machine. patience ,patience. move up to sixty grit then 80 and so on. Also i don't run anything wider than six inches. because you should make glued up panels for anything wider than 3 inches anyway. I have run thousands of feet over the years.but i am NOT a production shop. It is a good idea to let the roller cool every hour or so. If you run a production shop this is NOT the machine for you.Get a TWO roller model. Also dust collection is not an option. You have to have one period end of story. As far a snipe goes cut a scrap piece to exactly the same thickness as your work piece.feed the scrap through first and put your work piece directly behind it just like it is one piece.when the scrap piece comes through put it directly behind your work piece.. Zero snipe..If you are sanding multiple pieces feed one in after another. Same result.NO SNIPE.On the last piece lift slightly as the work piece is almost finished and this will stop or reduce snipe also.I use mostly oak. Knots are not good they will gum up your paper in no time flat.So pine is out unless it is select or clear grade.Hope this helps.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2010
This is a nice sander for the home workshop but if you are into more serious sanding you might want something more powerful. I find that I have to make many small incremental passes to get the job done even with coarse sand paper. The hardness of the wood does play a role. The other problem for me is that the finer grits tend to burn the wood and seem to get worn too quickly. Maybe it is operator error ...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2014
I hated this machine from the start, vibrations and out of balance created VERY poor finish results. By the time I got it dialed in and working as a "rough only" sander (over 10 years) it broke! The clip that holds the sand paper broke and Delta has discontinued the tool and all parts. After a number of inquires to them they do not even return emails. They have given up entirely! So Sad! Sorry Amazon, I hope you don't actually have any your stuck with. Maybe you should sell them as spare parts! I am in need of a drum clip assembly, lol
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