Electric Toothbrush Sander

So, I was sitting at home one day, sanding away at one of my many scratchbuilding projects, when my mind started to wander. I thought back to a time when I was sanding my front door with the random orbital sander, and imagined how cool it would be if I were able to make a miniature version of this sander. It'd be easier to sand rough surfaces, less repetitive motion, quicker material removal - and I started thinking how I could miniaturize one. Gears and motors and offset weights floated through my head, and I started grasping the enormity of the task - so I put it aside, and got back to sanding. Then today, in a thread on Fichten Foo Forums, gamera mentions a sander made with an electric toothbrush - and a light went on. I could use that as my base for this miniature sander, so I went to work gathering my supplies.


I purchased a cheap electric toothbrush for $6 at Eckerd, and started there. First, I chopped the bristles off the brush, and sanded it down flat. Then, I removed the section of the head that moved forwards and backwards (this was a dual action toothbrush - a rotary action, and a linear action - the linear being unnecessary) Once that was done, I cut out a piece of self adhesive sand paper (purchased from a local hobby shop) and stuck it on the end of the toothbrush - viola! The miniature electirc sander was born!


Well, so far so good. This little guy sands resins and SGT rather easily, and quickly, and leaves a relatively smooth even finish. However, results could be better. I am planning on using some foam double sided tape to hold the sandpaper on in the future, to allow some compliance when sanding. I'm also going to 'borrow' the punch set from work, and cut out a bunch of sanding discs, probably 1/2" in diameter, so I have a nice little stockpile of them, in various thicknesses (though, I could probably buy some for use on a Dremel). I also want to add some styrene to the head and round part - so the sand paper is spaced off the head a little more, and the internals aren't exposed to the sanding dust. Oh, and one last mod - this toothbrush runs on a single AA battery - which is kinda wimpy. I want to get an appropriately sized power supply, and try cranking the juice up a little, see if that boosts the performance anymore. Overall, great results were achieved with minimal effort and minimal costs - my kind of tool!