Need advice on acquiring new machines

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Forum topic by Josh Goulart posted 10-02-2010 12:38 AM 1419 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Josh Goulart

36 posts in 2997 days

10-02-2010 12:38 AM

Hello all!

I’m a sculptor who recently graduated college and am trying to set myself up with the tools i need to continue my woodworking and metalworking. Like all recent grads, I am somewhat broke and in debt (awesome!). So with that in mind i’m trying to set myself up as cost efficiently as possible.

The Deal:
Ive just come into a situation where a local school is giving away a drill press, band saw, and lathe for free! They are really good looking commercial machines with only one hitch. They all run off of three phased power. does anyone have any ideas as how i can get these machines to work for me at home with regular single phase power.

Ive done some preliminary research into rotary phase adapters, but they are all pretty expensive.

To add, i am very handy, i recently made a forge from scratch because buying a forge was too expensive. No idea is too crazy for me to handle.

I really want to take advantage of this opportunity for free machines that i need, any advice would be great.
(im going back to the school now the get the specifics on the machines, will repost in an hour or so)

-- see my story @

12 replies so far

View uffitze's profile


199 posts in 3158 days

#1 posted 10-02-2010 01:29 AM

just buy a rotary (or static) phase converter.

how big are the motors on the 3 ph equipment? you can get a static phase converter from grizzly for less than $250, and if you need a rotary phase converter, grizzly’s start at $750. you should be able to scrimp that much together.

(and, no, i don’t care how handy you are, i doubt that you’ll be able to build a rotary phase converter.)

View Josh Goulart's profile

Josh Goulart

36 posts in 2997 days

#2 posted 10-02-2010 02:33 AM

ok so heres the info:

lathe is:
South Bend
precision lathe model a
1/2 hp 1725 rpm
230/460 volts
3/1.5 amps

the drill press is a 1.75hp Powermatic

I was looking up some static phase converters and found this one for $65
is this what im looking for?

I dont think ill be building a rotary phase converter either, i was just trying to convey that I am resourceful and can work with creative solutions.

-- see my story @

View grosa's profile


1005 posts in 3032 days

#3 posted 10-02-2010 02:43 AM

I agree with uffitze. You need to bring 220 power to the converter. You need to know the motor size. For example I have a heavy duty phase-a-matic converter runs 220v – 3 phase motors on 220v – single phase power. Hp range, min. 8 hp, max hp 12. Single phase full – load is 33.6 ampers. You need 1 converter for each tool for best results. It might be cheaper to change the motors.

-- Have a great day.

View Josh Goulart's profile

Josh Goulart

36 posts in 2997 days

#4 posted 10-02-2010 04:25 AM

thanks for the info. where would be a good place to start looking for replacement motors?

-- see my story @

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3683 days

#5 posted 10-02-2010 04:41 AM

I would try looking on Ebay first.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View PurpLev's profile


8547 posts in 3851 days

#6 posted 10-02-2010 04:49 AM

if you can get 220 single phase to your work area, you can then pass it through a phase convertor to get 3 phase. depending on the capacity , you can get 1 convertor to power all 3 machines.

the south bend sounds fantastic – and at FREE almost unbelievable. since it’s a 1/2 hp 1720 rpm, another thought is that you could just replace the motor with an equivalent single phase motor. these are not really super powerfull motors, and only run on 3 phase to match the electric current found in industrial facilities.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View canadianchips's profile


2613 posts in 3200 days

#7 posted 10-02-2010 05:03 AM

I would bother with phase converters. The lathe is using 1/2 hp motor at 1725 RPM, you can buy used motor that size cheaper than the hassle of matching phase convertors. IF you are running your motors ALL day long, 5 days a week ,yes 3 phase will save you money. Being a hobbyist.Change the motors to single phase.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Josh Goulart's profile

Josh Goulart

36 posts in 2997 days

#8 posted 10-02-2010 06:21 AM

thanks so much for the additional comments guys. With what you guys are saying im going to grab these machines for sure, and start searching for a replacement motor.

-- see my story @

View wysong's profile


17 posts in 3025 days

#9 posted 10-02-2010 08:59 AM

Both machines can be motor switched out
or run off a VFD ,for about $150 each

Forget ya ever herd of a Static converter

-- Hutch

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3277 days

#10 posted 10-02-2010 05:23 PM

I don’t know anything about the lathe but, in general, I consider 1/2 hp to be too light for a lathe, unless it is a very small lathe and you only intend to turn very small items.

If you follow the change the motor route, this will give you an opportunity to increase the hp on your lathe. I’d suggest at least 1 hp.

1.75 hp for the drill press is plenty. You could even save some money by getting a smaller motor. The 1 hp motor on me Delta drill press is all anyone needs if you are only working with wood. Sometimes drill presses have more hp for the people who drill holes in steel.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View twiceisnice's profile


95 posts in 3030 days

#11 posted 10-03-2010 07:58 PM

Nobody ever mentions how much power you lose with static converters.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18394 posts in 3879 days

#12 posted 10-04-2010 06:45 AM

Those small motors are ealily replaced, that is what I would do. Second option would be to get a small VFD to run them.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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