SuperMax 19 38 Drum Sander Review [2023]

The SuperMax 19-38 Drum Sander is an excellent addition for small workshops or sole proprietors looking to achieve a high-quality sanded finish on panels and slabs up to 960mm wide. With its rugged 155kg cast iron and steel construction, 1.5hp drum motor, and convenient features like the digital gauge and IntelliSand feed control, this Taiwan-made machine provides sanding accuracy and simplicity that belies its reasonable price tag.

In this hands-on review, we’ll take an in-depth look at the key features and performance of the SuperMax 19-38 to help you determine if it’s the right drum sander for your needs. From unpacking and assembly to dialing in the alignment and testing on softwoods and hardwoods, we’ll cover everything about this sander during a full day’s use in a small furniture shop.

You’ll get the details on how the SuperMax 19-38 excels at dimensioning panels and slabs while also being suitable for sanding softer woods like pine as well as harder woods like maple to a fine smooth finish. We’ll also discuss important factors like sanding belt changes, dust collection, and overall convenience of use.

Unpacking and Assembly

Unboxing the SuperMax 19-38 is straightforward, with the main sander components pre-assembled. Some minimal assembly is required, like attaching the optional infeed and outfeed supports. With the beefy cast iron and steel parts, the high build quality is immediately apparent.

Expect the optional base and support wings to need about 45 minutes of bolting together. It’s reassuring to feel how solid and rigid the main castings are on this 155kg machine.

Key Components

The heart of the sander is the 480mm diameter aluminum drum powered by a potent 1.5hp motor. This sits above the continuous feed belt driven by a smaller DC motor. The spring-loaded tension rollers on either side of the drum help minimize snipe.

For adjusting the sanding height, a large threaded handle winds the drum up or down with impressive precision. In testing, I calculated about 1.6mm of height change per full rotation, allowing for very fine adjustment.

Setup and Alignment

The instructions state that the drum is pre-aligned at the factory, but it’s wise to double check this vital adjustment. Proper drum alignment ensures full-width sanding contact and prevents uneven wear on the abrasive belt.

After loosening the four allen screws, the drum height is adjusted via a 7/16″ hex bolt on the spring-loaded mechanism. I sanded test panels across the full width while tweaking the alignment until tolerance was within 0.2mm, with full sanding contact across the drum.

Once aligned, the drum position stayed locked in with no further adjustment needed after swapping belts. Overall the alignment system is easy to use and provides excellent results.

Abrasive Belts

The sanding belt wraps fully around the aluminum drum and is held in place by finger-operated levers, one with a spring for tensioning. After testing the pre-installed 80 grit belt, I wanted to experience changing it out.

Using an existing belt as a template makes cutting a fresh belt simple. Swapping belts takes just a couple of minutes and the spring-loaded tensioner makes it easy to get consistently tight installation.

I appreciated that SuperMax includes tables for calculating belt length based on the grit you’ll be using. This extra detail ensures a perfect fitting belt every time.

Feed Speed

The maximum feed rate of 1.8km/hr won’t win any races, but speed is not the forte of this type of sander. The electronic IntelliSand system monitors loading and automatically reduces feed speed to prevent stalls or burning.

I prefer the precision and consistency provided by the IntelliSand over trying to manually control feed rate. After extensive use, the feed belt needed minor re-tensioning which is easily accomplished with thesupplied spanners.

Dust Collection

An important but often overlooked detail on sanders is how effective the dust collection is. On the 19-38, the 100mm dust port is positioned very close to the sanding point, which proved very efficient.

Connected to a 3hp cyclone, the fine dust generated when finish sanding woods like maple was captured with minimal escape. The open ends still allow some dust kick-out, so a cabinet enclosure would improve containment further.

Sanding Experience

After dialing in the alignment and getting familiar with the belt changes and feed speed, it was time to put the SuperMax 19-38 to work on some real-world sanding tasks.

Dimensioning Slabs

I started with dimensioning a 550mm wide softwood slab that was roughly 20mm too thick. Taking light passes of just 0.4mm with an 80 grit belt, the SuperMax made short work of removing the excess thickness.

The extra width capacity of this sander allowed full sanding without flipping the slab. The thickness came out perfectly parallel across the entire width – a difficult task without a drum sander.

Finishing Panels

Next was finish sanding a 450mm wide figured maple guitar body blank that I had roughly dimensioned with hand planes.

The SuperMax quickly evened out the slight thickness variations and left a perfectly flat panel ready for other fabrication steps. The 0.3mm tolerance across the entire width saved many hours of hand sanding.

Fine Finish on Hardwoods

After sanding the maple guitar body with 120 grit, I wanted to see how smooth of a finish the 19-38 was capable of.

Using 180 grit on a hard maple test piece, the SuperMax produced a finish ready for finishing – smooth enough that no additional hand sanding would be needed prior to spraying lacquer.

The minimal 0.1-0.2mm depth of cut prevented over-sanding or dishout when running highly figured or fragile woods.

Softwood Experience

While many drum sanders struggle with dry softwoods like pine that can clog belts quickly, the SuperMax 19-38 had no issues removing up to 0.5mm per pass.

The key is to let the IntelliSand system automatically adjust the feed rate to maintain optimal cutting speed without overload. This prevents clogging and burning.

With light final passes, surfaces were ready for paint prep – an ideal outcome for softwood panels.

Sanding Veneers

The final test was running veneered panels with solid wood edges. Starting with 80 grit to level the surfaces, I was impressed that the SuperMax easily trimmed the solid wood frame flush without sanding through or damaging the thinner veneers.

Stepping down to 220 grit, the drum left a perfectly smooth surface on both the veneers and solid wood edges. The thin depth of cut really shines on materials prone to oversanding.

Long-Term Usage Notes

After completing a variety of sanding tests during my review process, I have a few usage notes to share from a long day of hands-on use.

  • The digital readout for the height gauge is handy but due to some backlash in the mechanism, I found it easier to use test pieces to dial in height instead.
  • With the fixed drum height, thicker stock requires multiple light passes. Take more time with initial dimensioning for best results.
  • While drum sanders excel at flattening, some edges still benefit from additional hand sanding depending on tolerance needs.
  • When working with figured woods, keep feed speed slower and use light passes to avoid damaging fragile surface details.
  • Allowing the intake port to get partially blocked by chips can overload the dust collection – try to avoid this.
  • Expect to go through more sandpaper compared to wide belt or belt sander options. Plan costs accordingly.
  • SuperMax provides a limited 2 year warranty on the machine, which offers peace of mind for any manufacturing issues.

SuperMax 19-38 Drum Sander Pros Cons:


  • Heavy-duty steel and cast iron construction provides durability
    • Weighing in at 155kg, the materials used can withstand years of regular use
  • Powerful 1.5hp drum motor
    • Provides sufficient power to dimension thick slabs and panels
  • 480mm wide sanding drum for panels up to 960mm
    • Allows sanding of guitar bodies, furniture parts, and other objects up to 19.5 inches wide
  • Precise 1.6mm per rotation height adjustment
    • The large threaded handle allows incredibly precise adjustments
  • Easy to align drum for full sanding width
    • Simple yet effective alignment system stays locked in once set
  • Quick abrasive belt changes
    • Changing belts takes just a couple minutes thanks to convenient levers
  • IntelliSand feed control prevents stalls/burning
    • Monitors load and reduces feed speed automatically to optimize cutting
  • Effective built-in dust collection
    • Well-positioned 100mm port captures most fine dust from sanding
  • Excellent for dimensioning and smoothing panels
    • Makes quick work of taking slab or panel thickness down evenly
  • Quality results on softwoods and hardwoods
    • Handles pine as well as maple without issue when used properly
  • Leaves professional ready finish on hardwoods
    • Minimal sanding needed after using 180 grit on hard maple
  • Limited 2 year warranty
    • Peace of mind that any manufacturing issues will be covered


  • Slight backlash in height gauge readout
    • The digital readout is handy but not reliable enough for precision work
  • Maximum feed rate of only 1.8km/hr
    • Lacks speed needed for high volume production applications
  • Requires multiple light passes for thicker stock
    • Drum height means dimensioning thicker pieces takes more time
  • Some edge cleanup may require additional sanding
    • Drum sanders excel at flattening but not edge work
  • Can overload dust collection if port gets blocked
    • Allowing dust buildup in the intake area can reduce performance
  • Goes through more sandpaper than wide belt sanders
    • Expect to go through sanding belts fairly quickly
  • Not suitable for high volume production shops
    • Better suited for small workshops, not high throughput needs
  • Additional accessories like stand not included
    • Base, wings, and casters add to cost if needed


After completing a wide range of sanding tests from dimensioning slabs and panels to finish sanding guitars and furniture parts, I’m confident in recommending the SuperMax 19-38 Drum Sander for small professional workshops or dedicated hobbyists.

The thoughtful design choices like the spring-loaded tension rollers, 7/16″ height adjustment hex bolt, and IntelliSand speed control combine to make this drum sander accurate, consistent, and reliable.

Factor in the heavy-duty steel and cast iron build quality and powerful 1.5hp drum motor and you have a machine built to withstand years of regular use.

For anyone producing smaller quantity workpieces in the 500-1000mm width range, the SuperMax 19-38 offers an ideal blend of sanding precision and capability in a compact format. It’s a great option for guitar makers, furniture builders, and craftspeople working with wide slabs and panels.

The additional accessories like the stand, wings, and casters make integrating this 155kg drum sander into your workspace straightforward. While it lacks the feed speed needed for high volume production work, it certainly excels at delivering professional results for the busy small shop.

Fa Qs About Super Max 19-38 Drum Sander

What size and type of stock can the SuperMax 19-38 drum sander handle?

The 19-38 can sand panels and slabs up to 960mm (38 inches) wide thanks to its 480mm (19 inch) diameter sanding drum. The open design allows pieces wider than the drum itself. It excels at working with softer woods like pine as well as harder woods like maple and works well on stock between 5-100mm thick. Multiple light passes are recommended for thicker material over 50mm.

How does the abrasive belt mount onto the drum?

The sanding belt wraps fully around the aluminum drum and is held in place by two finger-operated levers – one with a spring for consistent tensioning. The belt attaches using hooks on the end that grab onto pins in the drum. Proper belt tension prevents drift and uneven wear so the spring loaded lever is important.

What adjustment features help ensure smooth and even sanding?

A large threaded handle allows precise height adjustment of the drum, providing up to 1.6mm change per full rotation. This allows you to set the cutting depth very accurately. The drum also has an alignment system using spring-loaded screws on either side, making it easy to align the drum parallel to the feed belt for consistent results across the entire sanding width.

How does the IntelliSand feed control work?

The IntelliSand system uses a small DC motor to drive the feed belt. It has electronic monitoring that detects when too much load is put on the drum motor. When overload is sensed, indicating too aggressive of a cut, the IntelliSand will automatically reduce the feed speed to maintain optimal cutting. This prevents stalls, burning, and clogging.

What maintenance does the SuperMax 19-38 require?

Other than periodically ensuring proper belt tension on the feed belt and keeping the dust port clear of obstructions, the 19-38 requires minimal maintenance thanks to its heavy duty construction. The pre-aligned drum holds its set position well so re-alignment is rarely needed. Changing the sanding belts as they wear and replacing items like the feed belt are the primary maintenance tasks.

How effective is the built-in dust collection system?

A 4 inch dust port is positioned very close to the sanding point for efficient suction. When connected to a powerful dust collector, it captures the majority of fine dust from sanding operations with minimal escape into the workspace. Some dust ejects from the open ends of the drum, so enclosing the sander could improve dust containment further.

What safety features does this drum sander have?

It has a completely enclosed drum and feed belt drive system to prevent accidental contact. The IntelliSand system helps prevent aggressive jams that could kickback stock. As with any sander, always feed stock properly and use push blocks when needed. Unplug machine before any maintenance or adjustments. Wear proper dust mask and safety glasses when operating.

What are the positives of the optional accessories?

The stand and extension tables provide sturdy support and expanded infeed/outfeed space. The casters make it easy to move the 155kg machine around the shop as needed. These accessories bolster the functionality and convenience of the drum sander without being overly expensive add-ons.

What projects is the SuperMax 19-38 ideal for?

It’s perfectly suited for guitar body and neck shaping, furniture panels and parts, wide live-edge slabs, and any project requiring smoothly flattened boards up to 38 inches wide. The precision and smooth finish it can produce makes it a great addition for craftspeople working on smaller quantity projects with softer or harder woods.

How does the SuperMax 19-38 compare with other drum sanders in its class?

It punches above its weight class thanks to robust construction, thoughtful design features like the spring tension rollers and alignment system, and versatile performance on both softwoods and hardwoods. The reasonable price tag and 2 year warranty make it stand out compared to other light production drum sanders in the sub $2000 price range. It hits a nice sweet spot between hobbyist and industrial level drum sanders.