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Thread: About variable speed motors

  1. #1
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    About variable speed motors

    I have read somewhere that it may be possible to use a motor out of a treadmill to power a lathe but don't remember where I read it is this really possible? I see treadmills from time to time on freecycle. There is one there now.
    Last edited by Bart Leetch; 09-12-2009 at 03:39 PM.
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  2. #2
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    First of all tread mill motors are geared down so that the person using the tread mill can keep up with the belt. Second They are fractional hp motors so they don't have the power without the gearing to do much good. If it were a very small lathe maybe but I personaly don't think it would do very good.
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  3. #3
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    Bart,

    I've heard of a lot of people doing this. I think most of them pair the motor with some kind of control to take advantage of the variable speed options. If you can get one on freecycle, it's probably worth a try.

    Thanks,

    Bill

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Baer View Post
    First of all tread mill motors are geared down so that the person using the tread mill can keep up with the belt. Second They are fractional hp motors so they don't have the power without the gearing to do much good. If it were a very small lathe maybe but I personaly don't think it would do very good.
    Don,
    The motor on mine is 1¼ hp, and the gearing is external.

    The main problem, as I see it, is adapting the electronics from the treadmill control panel to a smaller controller box for the lathe.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  5. #5
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    Well most treadmill motors are DC and rated around 2 HP. This is very likely very small horses but they are way more than fractional horse power.

    There has been a lot of information on the metalworking lathe groups about using these.

    I have two sitting in my basement now waiting for time to put on my mill and drill press.

    Also 3 phase solid state drives for 3 phase motors are becoming quite affordable in the 2 hp and under range. They are probably a better way to go even if a bit pricer.

    Garry

  6. #6
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    About variable speed motors

    Bart,

    Jim and Gary are correct.

    The DC motors will work nicely and those are "Traction motors" so their torque is fairly constant throughout the speed ranges. If the treadmill controller won't work, or is too hard to minimize in physical size, there are aftermarket controllers that are reasonable.

    As for the 3 phase motors, some VFD's are not that expensive and will give good control of a 3 ph treadmill motor.

    Either choice will give you good power and nice usable speed ranges. I have one of each just waiting to be used on one of my lathes.

    Aloha, Tony
    Last edited by Tony Baideme; 09-12-2009 at 06:05 PM.
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