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Thread: Turn a machine into a variable speed machine ie drill or lathe etc.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

    Turn a machine into a variable speed machine ie drill or lathe etc.

    This week i received a jet machine tools flyer with their annual sales pitch of 15% off and looked up their variable speed lathes. Then i nearly fell off my chair. Over 2K for what i want. (note want not need )

    I really want a Nova in actual fact.

    Anyhow it got me thinking just what does it take to make a machine variable speed so i did some quick research and came across this guy.

    He has converted his drill press , metal lathe and milling machine all to variable speed.

    Here is the link to the company supplying the parts for his drill press conversion
    The motor

    The VFD (Variable Frequency Drive)

    Total cost before shipping and taxes roughly $300 US

    What am I missing? Seems too good to be true.

    Why we not seeing a bunch of guys convert their lathes. The premium for variable speed appears to be outrageous from the manufacturers and in this case one gets the bonus of a spare motor after plus the parts are non propriety but also the removable control would be ideal for lathe work to put it where you want it or even make a foot pedal for emergency stop.

    The PC market benefited big time from "open source" components its time the machine guys did the same. Unless i am totally missing something.

    Sure not every turner is comfortable messing with the machine and electrics etc but this is not that hard looking at what the guy in the video did.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Northwest Georgia U.S

    Turn a machine into a variable speed machine ie drill or lathe etc.

    Rob I think why we don't see this very often in our world is because most of us are only going to have smaller machines with A/C motors. And i "believe" that most of us aren't going to go through the trouble to go online to order a d/c motor and vfc controller.
    As much as we would want! One ! I do good to spend 300$ on a tool let alone for and upgrade to a motor (as most of us would say )
    But if your really brave and can find a place to put this you can always do this


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    I think if you can get the rpm's and torque you need without the use of pulleys then I can't see why one couldn't do this, even then you can use your existing pulleys to add torque and adjust speed. Obviously the guy doesn't need the old pulleys on the DP, doesn't really say on the other two. I'm sure that 3 phase motor is a lot more efficient though.

    BTW...I like the demagnetization tip the guy gives at the end of that video, never seen that one before.

    Ninh, that Scariac is just crazy... but thanks, will be falling down the youtube rabbit hole all afternoon now seeing what else the guy has come up with.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    I think part of it is that the price point on smaller VFDs has dropped dramatically in the last few years and the market is just starting to figure that out. This appears to be true up to around the 3HP range. On a side note you can often get 3phase motors used fairly cheap as they end up being pulled out of various industrial applications and sit around in the better kinds of junk yards waiting for some enterprising soul to find them.

    For my DP I'd have a hard time justifying it... if I had an older metal lathe or mill with a single speed motor that I got cheap to begin with I agree it seems like a no brainer.

    FYI: Darren the power curve on the 3 phase motors is quite good. It does drop off at lower rpms, but not to badly.

    A couple of other commonly used vendors:

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Wapakoneta, OH
    I think Ryan hit a key point. The cost of VFD's has really come down and you can pick up 3 phase motors cheaper than ever. I have a Nova 3000 that the PO changed over the a VFD and a 3 phase motor. The way he did it was very well thought out and took some bracket fabrication. He used an industrial GE VFD and a 1.5HP 3 phase Baldor. Maybe the only downside to it is you need 240V power to run it (you could also use 480V if you wanted too). So my 3000 has the 8 pulleys and a variable speed motor...actually worked out quite well; now if I only knew how to use the dang thing!

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