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Thread: Variable Speed-Induction Motor

  1. #1

    Variable Speed-Induction Motor

    Good afternoon! First, I am not much of an electronics "guru." I have done some "more than mild, but not yet wild" electricial wiring, but am a musician by training.

    Anywho, I have my grandfather's circa 1940 Beaver wood lathe. It's heavy and well-built with an induction motor. It has 3 pulleys and that is it for speed control.

    My questions are it possible to buy a speed control unit? What are they called and what can I expect to spend for a 1HP unit? As it is now, I have but 3 speeds....all of them far too fast for roughing out bowls.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Nova Scotia's beautiful south shore
    Hi Russell

    Welcome to the forum. There's been some discussion on this recently on the forum. Check out this thread

    It starts out with DC motor information, but others sraightened me out and we got some good discussion on AC induction motors.

    The short answer is, no, it's not practical with a single phase motor. In addition to that, you could easily surpass the value of your lathe with the items you need to convert it.

    All the best,
    Ian G

    **Now holding auditions for a catchy new signature**

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Heart of Dixie
    Well Ian just covered it!

    About the only reasonable option is adding a jackshaft with a set of pulleys between the motor and the lathe. Unless you get lucky and find a surplus VFD and 3 phase motor cheap or a DC motor and controller cheap.

    You might check The Surplus Center, sometimes they have the DC motors and controllers. I picked up both for around $125 from them for a lathe project.

    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.

    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    HI Russell

    The other thing you can do is to find a 5 step pulley for the motor and the lathe, and figure out if that would give you speeds that are slow enough, I think that the Sears tube lathe or the Ridgid one would be good places to look, depends on the shaft size of the lathe and motor you have now.

    Otherwise like was said by Ian, a VFD and a 3-phase motor are the way to go.

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

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