Over the years I have learned, the hard way sometimes, that the tools which I use often, should be of the highest quality that I can afford. In 2022 I learned of the existence of Ultimation, a Canadian company, and made plans to purchase their tools. The Sander is a hand-powered disc sander with a small perpendicular table. This photo shows the box in which it arrives.
(external link: Ultimation Sander)
Inside the box are the sander, its miter, a features sheet, instructions, and a spare sanding sheet. The yellow piece of paper provides information about which sandpaper sheets the company recommends that you buy. One thing I noticed was that the backing of the spare sheet they provide is fully exposed to the plastic bag it comes in, and so my spare sheet is basically now permanently attached to the plastic bag.
This little unit (7" wide, 4-1/2" deep, 5-1/2" tall) is surprisingly heavy. This, of course, is a good thing, so that it will be as stable as possible. There is a lip on the bottom, right-hand side with a hole in it, which makes it easy to temporarily clamp it, or permanently mount it, to a bench. The sanding sheet does come loose from the edges, so before using it, you have to push it back into place. The table lifts up so that you can gain access to the full sheet of sandpaper, to replace it.
If you look at the "table" portion, you'll see the silver surface and a black base underneath. The black base is permanently attached to the base of the Sander. However, the silver table can be moved to the left and right. Since the miter gauge is fixed in position on this silver table, what happens over time is that the same circular area of the sandpaper is used, predominantly. This is inefficient use of the sandpaper, so the silver portion of the table can be moved to the left and right, so that other areas of the sandpaper can be used. Very clever design.
When it arrives, the handle is installed backwards, so as to reduce the size of the shipping box required. The way the tool operates is that you simply rotate the handle. It has a nice, heavy feel to it. This allows you to sand as much or as little as you need, and with the table and the miter gauge you can precisely dial-in the angle that you need. Not only that, the outer edge of the disk has a rubber coating on it, making it easy to do very light and precise sanding motions by just moving your finger back and forth while touching the outer rim. I do a lot of scratchbuilding, so this tool is worth the money.
I also went ahead and added their Repeater to my order. This is an add-on tool to be able to make repetitive pieces with the Sander. Their web site has a video on how to install it and how to use it.
(external link: Ultimation Repeater)
This photo shows all of the content of the box. The way this add-on tool works is, you insert an item between the "plunger" and the sanding disk. As you turn the sanding disk wheel, the plunger pushes the part into the sandpaper. When the knurled knob on the right-hand side reaches the stop (black knob), it will stop pushing it into the sandpaper. Each piece that you sand will then be of the same length and at the same angle. Brilliant design. The knurled knob allows for very precise fine-tuning of the final length of the work piece.
After using the Sander and the Slicer for a little while, I learned two things. One, the Sander is quite heavy and could be operated stand-alone, but I found it was too easy to pull on the handle just enough to move the unit on the workbench. Two, being right-handed, I found it easier to use the Sander when it was perpendicular to my body, so that my left hand could easily reach and control the handle, while my right hand held the work piece in position. It also allows me to keep a close eye on the sanding surface. So, to solve both problems, I built this moveable base to which I attached both the Sander (left) and the Slicer (right). Both come with a number of spare parts, tools, and I also bought the Repeater, so I made space for those on the base itself. That way everything I need to use either tool is handy. I use both tools together when I do work that involves either of them, so having them together on a more permanent basis works for me. The board, itself, of course, can be clamped to the workbench as needed, and moved away when not needed. Since these tools are both quite heavy, this board is definitely a two-hander.
This is a close-up photo of one of the two bolts I installed into the 3/4" plywood base to attach the Sander to the base. To do this, I first determined where on the board I wanted the Sander, and put a mark at the center of each of the two mounting holes that are in the Sander's base. I then used an awl to poke the center hole, and then drilled a pilot hole at those locations. Next, I used a Forstner bit to drill out a large hole in the bottom of the plywood base just deep enough to match the bolt's head and a flat washer. With that done, I drilled a 1/4" hole using the pilot hole for the bolt I used. It was then just a matter of attaching the Sander to the base with a washer at the top and the matching nut. I tightened them up enough to keep them from coming loose, but not overly tight. Because of the overall weight of this base, I was able to use the Sander without even needing to clamp it to the workbench.