Bicycle Powered Sander


[Andy] does a lot of framing and needed a way to sand down pieces at proper angles. He goes by the moniker [Organikmechanic] on YouTube, and as such is trying to rely less and less on electricity — so he’s created this hand-powered sander using components from a bicycle.

His first iteration just used the spindle off of a bicycle wheel as the main axle, but he quickly found it wasn’t rigid enough for the sanding disk. Instead he decided to make use of the entire crankshaft assembly off of an old bicycle. He cut the frame down to size, removed one of the pedals, and shortened the other one to a more useful hand cranking length. The main gear of the bicycle provides a large and sturdy mounting surface for his home-made sanding disk which consists of a large piece of rounded chipboard.

It’s a pretty clever use of recycled parts — but what do you think? Are you environmentally inclined enough to give up your power tools? A full video explanation of the project is after the break.


  1. MrX says:

    Why didn’t he keep the foot pedals and bicycle gearing system? They would provide a much better sander.

  2. Fabien says:

    >Are you environmentally inclined enough to give up your power tools?

    Hand tools have other advantages over power tools :
    -Less noise
    -Easier to fix
    -Faster to install if they don’t have a dedicated place on the workbench or if you need to carry them

    Of course not all of my tools are hand toosl, but once you learned how to sharpen and use a good $50 hand plane, you’ll never want a sub $300 electric plane.

    • J E Carter II says:

      Same here. I love nature, but this just makes so much financial sense. It’s now on my must-build list. Great idea.

      Also fully agree: you can’t beat the control and nuance afforded by good hand tools for some jobs.

  3. More great videos about hand tools (is that the term?), including a lathe:

  4. henterfender says:

    Don’t get me wrong it’s a great hack but …
    You just needed two ball bearings and a shaft to make this sander?
    – And to get that you destroyed, what looks like a fully functionally bike that needed a little love and care to be running again?

  5. Matt says:

    Give me a decent electric disc sander any day, but this is pretty neat. Very tidy job. I feel like it’s something I’d use if I lived in the middle of nowhere with plenty of spare time on my hands.

  6. Ed Clarke says:

    If you’re doing this for a business you should invest in a lion miter trimmer or one of the many clones. If you are interested in avoiding powered tools, invest in a few hollows and rounds and a clone of the Stanley 51 from Lee Valley or Lie-Nielsen. These few tools will let you make really nice mouldings without the noise of a router.

    Get a copy of MS Bickford’s book “Mouldings In Practice” to see how easy it is. The model 51 clone will replace your sander and give you a much better finish with much less work. And no sawdust – important if you have asthma as I do.

  7. Simon says:

    If you still have to run electric dust collection with your hand/pedal sander you haven’t accomplished that much.

  8. Luke says:

    I would have considered a treadle powered rather than hand powered solution. Add a link to a pedal on the floor and that frees your other hand for work.

  9. BruceJ says:

    What Luke said, a treadle powered system would leave both hands free. What I can’t believe is that no one’s brought up “The Woodwright’s Shop”

  10. Luke says:

    When I read “bicycle powered”, I thought it was powered by pedaling an actual bicycle, or at least would make use of leg power using bike pedals.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s a neat project, but I’d have gone about it differently. Using your legs means you have both hands with which to control the piece you’re working on.

  11. vonskippy says:

    Not being Amish, I have no need for reinventing stuff that is already a cheap commodity item at every Walmart, HomeDepot, Lowes, True Value, Ace, Harbor Freight, etc. etc. I’ll worry about the Zombie Apocalypse when it actually arrives, and not a minute sooner.

  12. Shez says:

    This is quite an ‘inorganic’ way of going about this compared to the traditional way – a hand plane and shooting board. Tool steel (for a plane blade) will probably be around for longer than sandpaper come the zombie apocalypse!

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