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direct drive vs. belt drive jointers

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Forum topic by yellowtruck75 posted 118 days ago 778 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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yellowtruck75

404 posts in 1669 days


118 days ago

I am in the market for a large capacity jointer and have been looking at some decent used machines. A lot of the older models are direct drive, what are the advantages/disadvantages to direct vs. belt drive motors?


20 replies so far

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

1382 posts in 322 days


#1 posted 118 days ago

Almost all of the large older direct drive jointers are three phase. The belt drive ones allow the replacement of a single phase motor, as well as getting the cutter head speed exactly where it needs to be. In the event of a catastrophic failure, belt drive would be allowed to slip where as direct drive would carry the additional inertia of the motor’s rotor potentially adding to whatever destruction you might be dealing with.

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yellowtruck75

404 posts in 1669 days


#2 posted 118 days ago

So direct drive are more dangerous?

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bigblockyeti

1382 posts in 322 days


#3 posted 118 days ago

I would say they are more dangerous per se, I’ve only seen two clam shell cutterheads that have come apart, both were one direct drive jointers and both jointers were destroyed as a result. Not to say that wouldn’t have happened with a belt drive also. Forgot the other big difference is with direct drive you can’t push them as close to the wall due to the motor hanging off the back.

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Loren

7259 posts in 2249 days


#4 posted 118 days ago

I reckon the older designs favored direct drive for
more consistency in powering through heavier work.

Northfield still makes direct drive jointers. An engineer
or salesperson there might be able to tell you why they
still do it.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1243 posts in 550 days


#5 posted 118 days ago

I think DD run smoother. Thats just a theory, since there is no belt. as for being 3phz, thats no problem because they can use a static converter and those are cheap enough that motor swap would be silly, unless you needed more power.
I personally wouldn’t own one.
1. They take more room, due to the motor hanging off the back.
2. If the motor gives out you have to spend the money to have it rebuilt because a new motor would be hard to find.

IMHO

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Loren

7259 posts in 2249 days


#6 posted 118 days ago

On my DD jointer I could just take the motor off, fit a
sheave to the shaft and set it up with a belt. They
may not all be like that.

I haven’t actually taken it apart to make sure, but since
the jointer was imported and fitted with an American
made motor by a dealer, I’m reasonably certain there’s
some flexibility. Though the motor casting appears
integral and proprietary at first glance, I looked and
under the thick paint it is clear it’s not.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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Shawn Masterson

1243 posts in 550 days


#7 posted 118 days ago

Hey thanks I was judging from first impressions. Thats why I love it here someone on this site has either been there or done that.

View Jeff Heath's profile

Jeff Heath

54 posts in 1671 days


#8 posted 118 days ago

If I may…..

Direct drive jointers are not more dangerous than belt drive jointers. I don’t post here often, but I thought I’d chime in on this. I’ve been using industrial machinery in my shop for 20 plus years, and a direct drive jointer is an excellent machine. They didn’t make them that way for 75 years plus because the design was flawed.

A belt drive machine can be a little bouncy in the cut because of the belt. Most belt drive machines are pulleyed to run between 4000 and 5000 rpm’s. 5000 is very fast. Direct drive jointers run at the motor speed; usually 3600 rpms, give or take 50. A dd jointer with a 4 knife head gives 14,400 cuts per minute. A 3 knife still gives 10,800 cpm….still plenty enough to do the job.

To add to that, the 3 phase motors put on them are beasts. You can really hog wood, as is the purpose. Remember that these machines were designed to used in an industrial setting, and will run quietly and without heating the bearings for hours on end with little maintenance.

Clamshell/safety cutterheads were used and installed on jointers a hundred years ago, up to about 1925, give or take. Their flaws were recognized, and replaced with traditional 3 or 4 knife cutterheads. You have nothing to be concerned about with a traditional 3 or 4 knife cutterhead as long as the knives and gibs are installed and tightened correctly.

Also, there is no need to cut off or scrap a 3 phase motor. They can easily be operated with single phase power using a VFD or a rotary phase converter. I have both in my shop. Typically, you can get a good enough deal on an old jointer that the money saved will easily pay for a vfd or RPC.

Here are some examples of direct drive jointers that have all gone through my shop:

12” Yates American from the 1950’s 3 hp direct drive motor

8” Yates American (rare size) 2 hp direct drive motor

24” Yates American air craft carrier with 7.5 hp direct drive motor (restored by me) I paid $750 for this one

And a 1957 12” Northfield HD jointer w/ 3 hp direct drive motor

Here’s the big caveat with these. They are easy to run, even with 3 phase. Up to 3 hp can be run with an FM50 vfd….I paid $150 for mine. Jointers up to 12” are usually 3 hp or less.

As far as performance goes, any of the machines shown can easily hog a 1/2” off a 12/4 slab on edge, or can flatten up to 1/4” in one pass when facing a board. This is a huge time saver when you have 1000 bf of rough lumber to prep.

No jointer being built by any of the typically mentioned companies can perform with these industrial machines. I know from personal experience.

-- Jeff Heath Heath Toolworks planes

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1243 posts in 550 days


#9 posted 118 days ago

Just looking at the 20” just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Do you still have it. 7.5hp must really make the meter spin.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7622 posts in 2654 days


#10 posted 118 days ago

I want the 24” one! AWESOME!

Looks like Direct Drive is a good efficient way to get good power transfer… forgetting belts…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

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Joe Lyddon

7622 posts in 2654 days


#11 posted 118 days ago

Yellowtruck75… do you check for PM’s?

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View levan's profile

levan

397 posts in 1581 days


#12 posted 118 days ago

THIS MAY BE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD Looks like its in good shape and a good brand. 12”

http://m.publicsurplus.com/sms/auction/view?auc=1094233

-- Lynn "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

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Joe Lyddon

7622 posts in 2654 days


#13 posted 118 days ago

“The motor does not run smooth and will need to be rewound. The motor is direct drive. It does not come with a fence. The outfeed table does not maintain its setting. It is an older model that does not have a dust collector port.
Additional parts needed.”

I would PASS on this one…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Loren's profile

Loren

7259 posts in 2249 days


#14 posted 118 days ago

Northfield jointers are adjustable to compensate for (get this)
movement of the cast iron over time. Seriously. You can get
a table reground if you want, put it back on the machine
and microadjust both tables to perfect parallelism. The seller
probably doesn’t understand the machine. Northfield still
makes parts too.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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yellowtruck75

404 posts in 1669 days


#15 posted 117 days ago

I am gonna hold off on the Northfield jointer up for auction right now. If I am going to get a “vintage” jointer I want to try and shoot for 16”+. I also don’t have a phase converter in my shop at this time and have no idea what I need to do to get one or what I would need.

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