Can this motor be used on a lathe?

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Forum topic by JoeinGa posted 01-21-2015 08:19 PM 3264 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7735 posts in 1974 days

01-21-2015 08:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe washing machine motor question treadmill

We had a washing machine die and before taking it to the dump I pulled the motor out. After looking at how RickM and others have used Treadmill motors with variable speeds on lathes, I’m wondering if this one can be adapted? I could pretty much work out the mechanics of mounting it, and I could probably figure out a way to get the some kind of pulleys that would mate up, but the electrical wiring is what will stump me. I took some pix so you can see the label …. waddya think? Is this “doable”?





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23 replies so far

View Mas's profile


57 posts in 2229 days

#1 posted 01-21-2015 08:35 PM

I’m sure somebody else on here will have a lot more knowledge than I do.
But I see the sticker saying 3 phase 195 volt 310 Hz

your home shop is either 120 or 240 volt 60 Hz
Now if you have 3 phase ( or a 3 phase inverter ) in your shop you may have a shot of it working but I cant say.

I’m guessing you got this out of a large industrial front load unit? that flat micro V belt would be nice to be able to use.

View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 2572 days

#2 posted 01-21-2015 08:44 PM

How confident are you in your wiring abilities?

You will most likely need a Variable Frequency Drive or VFD to get this motor to work. This will convert your single phase power to 3 phase power and also allow you speed control as well.

Everything else you can probably figure out from what size pulley you will need to how to mount it. But wiring the vfd is not like plugging in a light. There are tutorials to help but if you hesitate to do something like wire a new plug in a wall then this is not going to be for you.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3552 days

#3 posted 01-21-2015 08:47 PM

I cannot comment on single or three phase in the USA but in the UK a single phase motor I E 220 v to 240 v cannot really be converted realistically with speed control. It is always done with 440 volts three phase.In which case you do so with an invertor to get it to run 3 phase equipment albeit on single phase .As far as I know single phase as in your treadmill can be converted with the same process as a large light dimmer switch , but this for a large motor and not a little light bulb is exrtremely expensive . Making it not ecconomical. All modern lathes converted with speed control here in the uk come with inbuilt invertors and 3 phase motors.Have fun.PS your washing machine motor will run a lathe with single speed or fitted with a pulley will give you a range of different speeds but not as with three phase proper control over speed as with an invertor.I changed all my lathes from single to three pahse and fitted them with invertors.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View woodshopmike's profile


226 posts in 1631 days

#4 posted 01-21-2015 08:55 PM

I’d say probably not worth the effort.

In short, yes you could use it. How big is the lathe though? Also, you will need a VFD to change the speed as a few others have already said. Since the voltage is 195 and not 220 or 440, you may end up needing a transformer to correct the voltage so that the VFD will drive it properly.


View JoeinGa's profile


7735 posts in 1974 days

#5 posted 01-21-2015 09:11 PM

At first I was wondering about the 195v and 3-phase also. But remember, this was a regular LG front-load washing machine that we plugged into a 110volt outlet. Unfortunately it was the computer brain that crapped out so I didn’t keep any of the controls from the machine. The replacement parts would have cost almost as much as a new washer.

My lathe is a Chinese “generic” version of the HF lathe

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View Woodknack's profile


11482 posts in 2347 days

#6 posted 01-21-2015 09:13 PM

17,500 RPM, lol, that will be one fast lathe.

You should have saved all the electronics right down to the plug, plus pulleys and belts. As it is, I don’t know if you can use it or not. I assume it ran off 220v [EDIT; apparently it was 120v] and the electronics inside did whatever they had to do for matching up power requirements. Google tells me 820W = ~1HP.

-- Rick M,

View REO's profile


928 posts in 2041 days

#7 posted 01-21-2015 09:48 PM

someone else on LJ’s made a comment about using a washing machine motor and the inverter that came with the machine. out of my experience but an interesting concept! I’ll be following this thread! at 60 Hz it would be a 3450 rpm motor.

View Woodknack's profile


11482 posts in 2347 days

#8 posted 01-21-2015 10:40 PM

From a little reading I’ve learned these motors are used because they have a high starting torque and are designed for variable speed but controlling them is fairly complicated and you need the electronics that came with it or the speed may continue increasing until the motor goes poof. I get the impression they have many benefits of a DC motor but in an AC induction package with much higher torque. So I think yes, you could use this for a lathe provided the original electronics are intact to control the speed. I also found a blurb that these are similar to motors used in wood shapers. These motors have only been commonly available for about 10 years so I doubt there are many resources yet on how to hack them into other purposes. DC motors have been around forever and there are few resources on reusing them for other purposes.

-- Rick M,

View MrUnix's profile


6594 posts in 2166 days

#9 posted 01-21-2015 10:52 PM

You would need a way to 1) change your 110/220v source to what the motor wants (195v), 2) convert your single phase power into three phase and 3) have a way to vary the frequency to control the speed. Three phase is much more efficient, and it can be done, but it won’t be easy or cheap.


PS: Without #3 above, it would run at slightly less than 3400 rpm if you use the standard 60hz juice from your panel (converted to proper voltage and phase).

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View bigblockyeti's profile


5096 posts in 1688 days

#10 posted 01-21-2015 10:54 PM

You will need a VFD (variable frequency drive) to control that motor. The board that was in the washer could have possibly been used, but would have had to be hacked into as the pre-programmed cycles determine what the motor does and when it does it. Used VFDs can be a viable, less expensive option, new ones, especially Chinese ones are getting cheaper, can’t attest to the quality though.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5096 posts in 1688 days

#11 posted 01-21-2015 10:55 PM

Just out of curiosity, what was the make and model of the washer you pulled the motor from?

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18248 posts in 3643 days

#12 posted 01-21-2015 11:45 PM

I’m sure it could be made to work, but it is probably more economical to just get an American electrical system compatible motor.

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

View Todd Swartwood's profile

Todd Swartwood

258 posts in 1692 days

#13 posted 01-22-2015 01:08 AM

Sorry I can not help Joe, I would like to know more about changing 3phase to single phase.

Good luck and have a blessed evening, Todd

-- Todd Swartwood (Todd Swart-Woodworks)

View REO's profile


928 posts in 2041 days

#14 posted 01-22-2015 04:08 AM

I did a little looking around and it looks like a typical VFD can be used for controlling the motor. There is a Vid on youtube with that same motor hooked up to a danfoss VFD. The VFD takes in AC and converts it to DC for the electronics and then generates an AC output to drive the motor.

View dhazelton's profile


2756 posts in 2264 days

#15 posted 01-22-2015 01:39 PM

It would seem easier to troll craigslist for a free treadmill with a dc motor and use that.

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