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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone. This is the first discussion post that I’ve ever posted in my lifetime. I already messed up my New Member Introduction somehow, so I hope this goes better. I have an old Rockwell/Delta wood lathe and I’d like to do away with the motor and pulley system and replace it with a VS motor. Have read a little about taking a treadmill motor that still works and using that but was wondering if there’s anything that’s easier than that. Such as not having to buy and lug a big heavy piece of equipment into my basement(my back). Such as something so simple that even a woodworker could install it. I understand “take the two white wires and put a wire nut on them”. For some reason, most electronics talk goes over my head. So I’m looking for suggestions as to how to accomplish this or if it’s even worth trying.
Thanks for listening
 

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Theo
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I imagine it could be done, but why replace a working system, with variable speed? Old saying, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I wouldn't say it's exactly working, but it's what I got when I purchased it. A bunch of belts and pulleys in a box. The guy was just selling it. He knew nothing about it. I've made it work for the last couple years but it's not at all efficient for me. I never intended for this set-up to be permanent. I can't keep bending down to change pulleys and I have very little space for making a better pulley system. But I could use the space the pulleys and belts occupy to store more junk.
 

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You could replace the motor with one that can vary in speed. If you kept the stepped pulleys it would allow speed ranges.

A DC motor would need a DC power supply and for it to hold speed well, a sensor/tachometer would need to measure the shaft speed of the motor and feed this signal back to the special power supply to increase the motor current as the load increased, and reduce it as the load decreased.

An AC induction motor varies it's speed when the frequency of the AC power going to it changes in frequency. There are single to 3 phase controllers that can now be used to provide 3 phase power to a 3 phase type induction motor, and these will allow you to change the speed of this kind of motor. Don't try to slow a single phase induction motor by reducing it's voltage. It will loose power as well as speed, and when slow enough, the centrifugal start switch will close and energize the motor start winding, which is not designed to be energized for more than a few seconds at a time, and this winding will burn up rather quickly. A three phase motor has no centrifugal switch or start winding, so does not have this problem at slower speeds, but can have the cooling problem due to reduced fan speed.

I caution that with either AC or DC motors, the motor fan is usually connected to the motor shaft, so slowing the speed of the motor significantly when under load will result in the motor overheating. Keeping the speed at 50% or above will usually prevent overheating. Having the step pulleys between the motor and load will allow you to run the lathe very slow and still be variable in speed within the slow pulley/belt position without slowing the motor to less than 50%. Large motors that need a wide speed range are built with an auxiliary fan that runs at a constant full speed that is mechanically attached to the larger motor and it drives a fan to provide full cooling of the larger motor at any operating speed or load.

Charley (an EE in a former life)
 

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VS Conversion for Lathe Take a look at this. You would still have the belts, but variable speed within 3 speed ranges. You don't mention the lathe model, but the write-up says that it fits Delta Midi Lathe #DEL46-45 (and maybe others with a little work). Looking at this to add variable speed to my Excelsior - seems like a good deal for $170. Check YouTube, there are a couple of videos out there showing the procedure.
 

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Ross
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Welcome to the forum.
 

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Theo
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Amazing. In all the time I owned, and used, my wood lathe, I never once changed the speed. And it worked just fine. Made a whole slew of carving mallets, found out that was all I liked to make on it, so sold it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
A DC motor would need a DC power supply and for it to hold speed well, a sensor/tachometer would need to measure the shaft speed of the motor and feed this signal back to the special power supply to increase the motor current as the load increased, and reduce it as the load decreased.
Charley, thanks for your feedback. I basically understand what you're saying and how it works and will keep your idea in mind. I'll have to do some more reading.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
VS Conversion for Lathe Take a look at this. You would still have the belts, but variable speed within 3 speed ranges. You don't mention the lathe model, but the write-up says that it fits Delta Midi Lathe #DEL46-45 (and maybe others with a little work). Looking at this to add variable speed to my Excelsior - seems like a good deal for $170. Check YouTube, there are a couple of videos out there showing the procedure.
Thanks Tom but this won't work on the lathe I have. I have a Rockwell/Delta model 46-111, maybe 1960's. Looks like a nice conversion unit though, that would fit an Excelsior lathe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank everyone for all your Welcomes! This is a nice site to visit....wouldn't want to leave here.
Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I never once changed the speed. And it worked just fine.
That's pretty much what I've been doing. I turned new handles for all of my lathe chisels. It was such a pain to change speeds that I didn't. You just learn to adapt. But now I want to change speeds quickly so that I actually do and learn why you do. I wanna make some misteaks. And then not. I really like the lathe I have and I don't think it's beyond me to be able to do this modification.
 

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G'day, and welcome to the forum.
I hope your issue is sorted out?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
G'day, and welcome to the forum.
I hope your issue is sorted out?
G'day to you as well and thanks for such a great site.
My lathe issue is slowly starting to sort itself out. Now it needs to explain it to me.
 

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Well you are opening a can of worms. I have a nova 16 inch you have to change pilly to change speed. I also have a jet 12 vs lathe. In 20 years the parts for the jet will be impossible to get. 40 year lathes with pillows will still be running. Figure out how to install motor and pillows, get running and sell it and get a vs speed lathe. Old lathes are good sellers. If you get it running you might like it. Changing speed is simple but you will find you don't need to change speed often.
 

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Well you are opening a can of worms. I have a nova 16 inch you have to change pilly to change speed. I also have a jet 12 vs lathe. In 20 years the parts for the jet will be impossible to get. 40 year lathes with pillows will still be running. Figure out how to install motor and pillows, get running and sell it and get a vs speed lathe. Old lathes are good sellers. If you get it running you might like it. Changing speed is simple but you will find you don't need to change speed often.
[/QQUO
Pullies not pillows. Autocorrect darn
 
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