JET 629004K 16-32 16-Inch 1-1/2-Horsepower Open Stand Drum Sander Review
The JET 629004K is a professional drum sander intended for commercial purposes. However, any woodworker of any background can use this drum sander for material resurfacing, sanding or polishing work on a wide array of material. If have made some prior research about this model, then surely you have seen that the JET 629004K 16-32 is also known as the Performax 16-32 or simply JET 16-32. They are all the same device. Different online and off-line power tool sellers use those names interchangeably for marketing and commercial reasons. But how well does it perform in the workshop and is it worth its price tag? That is the question! Let us find out.
If you want to buy a sander, here are some reviews that I recommend you to read such as drum sander, random orbit sander, belt sander, belt-disc sander, spindle sander, palm sander, detail sander, Supermax 19-38 drum sander.
Table of Contents
Jet 629004K 16-32 Drum Sander Review
#1. Technical Feature
The motor power in a drum sander is essential. This is a core component that provides the required torque for the drum sander rollers. The JET 629004K comes with twin 14-Amp 1-1/2 HP inductive motors that are powerful enough to provide a constant torque to the drum without stalling. It is a little bit less performing than the SuperMax 19-38 previously reviewed and rated at 1-3/4 HP. But the difference here is quite negligible. Indeed, this dual motor system allows you to work with any type of material, regardless of toughness. Both softwood and hardwood can easily be used with this model.
Additionally, the speed is equally important as it dictates the finished result. This model has a drum speed of 1700 RPM and an infinite variable feed rate system with automatic belt tracking, all monitored by Sandsmart technology. This simply means that it will automatically adapt the feed rate to the type of material you are sanding without the need of adjusting the conveyor belts manually. This helps you gain speed, productivity and allows you to sand more material in less time. We can definitely see why JET promotes this drum sander as a commercial unit.
We have to say, for a commercial unit the drum size of this model is not the biggest one can expect. The drum has a maximum length of 16 inches with a diameter of 5 inches. Since this model is an “open design”, it can work with a stock of 32 inches in width in 2 passes. It is still very generous but definitely not the biggest drum size we have seen, especially for those who work with stock wider than 32 inches. On the bright side, it can easily shave 0.01 inch of material surface in a uniform manner regardless of stock size.
The plate or conveyor table is another one big feature of this model. It is a few inches bigger than the 16 inches roller pads and built from a special material that offers high resistance and prevent the stock from skidding. In turn, this provides better maneuverability and sanding accuracy. Furthermore, it features a dual parallelism adjustment dial that makes it easy to adjust and calibrate the work table to provide a smooth and equal sanding throughout the stock.
We absolutely need to mention the dust collection system when reviewing a drum sander. Indeed, this power tool generates a lot of sawdust that needs to be accounted for. The 629004K has a 4 inches dust port and encapsulated in the upper shroud of the unit for maximum dust extraction efficiency. A 4 inches dust board might be too big for many smaller sized external vacuum systems, but you can easily use a dust port adapter to accommodate 1-1/4 inches or other sized vacuum systems.
Since the dust port forms part of the unibody plastic top cover design, it is firm with little vibrations during operation. Additionally, it operates with less noise when compared to other drum sanders in this price and performance category. Overall, it does a very good job filtering tiny debris out and helps keep your workshop air clean and healthy.
Material Quality and Type
In tandem with Sandsmart technology and a 14 Amps dual motor, this unit can easily work with a wide variety of material. It can be used with both hardwood and softwood, including thin plywood. This model will work with material as thick as 3 inches and as thin as 1/32 inch, which is more precision than what most people need.
Additionally, you can “fine-tune” your finish result by using different sandpaper grit sizes. Depending on material type, it offers great versatility on both rough wood and soft wood - and delivers a smooth and polished surface that is equal, if not superior to a traditional wood planer.
What we like the most about this model is its ability to work with materials that are both big and small. You are not limited in any way, especially when working with small materials. It can comfortably work with stock as small as 2-1/4 inches. Additionally, as stated before, the maximum thickness is 3 inches and minimum 1/32 inch. This offers great versatility especially if you consistently work with different materials of different thickness and sizes. Those who regularly work with a wood planer can easily see how much more versatile this drum sander is - for the exact same finish quality.
User-friendliness is a very important factor, especially for those who work with a drum sander for long hours. This model makes it as comfortable as possible when working with it.
It incorporates the Smartsand function that makes it easy for newbies to get a professional finish sanding without complex adjustments. This technology automatically adjusts the drum speed and power so as to produce a linear and consistent sanding finish free of abrasions and wood burns.
The large upper crank allows you to easily adjust the downward or upward pressure to match the thickness of your material. One turn makes it move 1/16 inch which is excellent precision. You will not have to perform complex calculations or adjustments with this power tool. Almost everything is done automatically and easily for you.
Lastly, the On/Off power button is located right at the front of the unit making it easy to start or switch off the unit. Additionally, it can be locked and keyed to prevent unauthorized use of the device.
All in all, the JET 629004K is a very user-friendly model that despite it being a professional drum sander for professionals, even beginners can use quite comfortably with little to no upfront skill.
- Belt Trackers: The belt trackers automatically center the conveyor belts allowing to you to use it for longer and more effortlessly.
- Self-Cooling Drums: The aluminum die-cast drums are smooth and evacuate heat away helping it stay cool. In turn, this allows you to use this device for heavy-duty sanding applications without worrying about heat or efficiency.
- Overload protection: The dual motors are equipped with an overload protection circuitry for maximum dependability and peace of mind - especially during heavy-duty use.
This model is not cheap. It is a professional drum sander with an equally professional price. Compared to other competitive products like the SuperMax 19-38, we feel that it is a little bit on the expensive side. However, when compared with other drum sanders with similar specs, it is very competitively priced indeed. Bottom line, if you can afford the asking price and work with material less than 32 inches, it is an excellent purchase. If not, there are better models for the price. (See our conclusion)
- The 16 inches drums are made from a quality diecast aluminum that dissipates heat away.
- The feed table is made from non-friction aluminum.
- The conveyor belt table offers little resistance for great maneuverability. It also keeps the material in position and prevents skidding for better accuracy.
- Very easy to use with easy to make adjustments of both height and downward/upward drum pressure.
- Dust collection system is very efficient with a 4 inches dust port. An adapter can be used to make it work with ports smaller than 4 inches.
- Competitive pricing when compared to drum sanders with similar specs.
- 5-year manufacturer warranty for peace of mind.
- The maximum stock size of 32 inches can be a downer for those who work with larger material. A drum sander like the SuperMax 19-38 is a better alternative with superior features.
- It can work with only a maximum thickness of 3 inches which is not the most versatile in a commercial setting.
#4. Expert Review
Tom Hintz, admin of NewWoodWorker.com made an excellent evaluation of this drum sander. He goes through the various features of the device and shows use how easy and straightforward it is. He shows us how the inboard tensioning clip can be hard to operate and how to use the clip to remove the pad. He talks about the automatic belt adjustments and how you can further use the included wrenches to compensate for “belt stretch”. All in all, it is a very informative video that will give you a very good idea of what this drum sander is all about.
#5. Who Should Buy?
We think that this model is very competitively priced, especially considering its features and ease of use. The power is adequate for both hardwood and softwood, and it manages to offer a professional finish free from abrasion and burns regardless of material type and density.On the downside, it only offers a maximum of 32 inches stock size and thickness of 3 inches, which is not very big. Therefore, we recommend this unit for workshops that work with small to medium size stock of no more than 3 inches in thickness and 32 inches in width.