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Thread: Conversion of a mini import step pulley drive lathe to a variable speed motor?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Macomb county Michigan
    Posts
    22

    Default Conversion of a mini import step pulley drive lathe to a variable speed motor?

    Has anybody done this with the motor controller set up, that PSI sells for the mini lathe imports. I have been told that they aren't worth the money. Also if some body has done this any suggestions for motor or controller for a DC motor set-up. I'm currently thinking and researching a Sherline set up, as the lathe and mill I have are great.

  2. Default

    I originally bought the PSI lathe w/o variable speed and found it a pain changing speeds so I bought the VS motor upgrade. It works fine for small light stuff like pens/bottle stoppers but for small bowls/plates it overheats/stops. I put the original motor back in again. I'm going to use the moter on my rose engine machine. Also I bought another PSI lathe with VS and the same issues with larger pieces.

  3. #3

    Default

    I bought the PSI VS motor (for use with my rose engine) and the speed controller went up in smoke within a year. They were kind enough to replace it at no charge, but I replaced it with a Sherline motor while I was waiting for PSI to respond. Now, the PSI motor is set aside and I only use it for doing demos so I don't know if the replaced speed controller is any better.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Central Washington State, the dry side.
    Posts
    115

    Default done it

    I bought a Turncrafter Pro with step pulleys and later purchased PSI's variable speed package- cost $100.00 at the time. It works OK with some caveats-
    1) If I run at a low speed with a load for 10 minutes or so the thermal overload will kick out and I have to let the thing set for a bit, push the reset button on the control box and go again.
    2) The slowest speed even in the slow belt setting was still too fast for me, around 500rpm. It seems like the new motor came with a 3 step pulley installed versus 5. I took the 5 step pulley from the old motor and put it on the new motor with the smallest motor diameter lined up with the largest spindle pulley to give me a slower speed closer to 300rpm.
    The convenience was worth 100 bucks to me but not much more. I did use the original motor as a polishing buff unit so there was that plus also.
    --pat
    "let the chips fall where they may"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Western North Carolina mountains
    Posts
    96

    Wink

    I did the PSI conversion about four years ago. Works good. I turned a 8" bowl from S. Red maple with it. Was able to use original step pulleys which yielded a slower slow speed. Be sure to make a centering block as per instructions BEFORE tearing lathe apart.
    Attempting to let God's beauty out of the logs!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    North Central Texas -- Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex
    Posts
    4,622

    Default

    The biggest problem with their design is that the motor is not designed to run at slow speeds under heavy load for any significant length of time. On DC motors, speed is a function of applied voltage and current is a function of output torque. The motor attempts to maintain speed under heavy torque load by increasing current. The problem here is that when running at slow speed the motor is not being cooled by its internal fan and very quickly overheats. If the controller were a better design, it would have a more robust current limiting circuit, but it does not. Even under the best conditions, the power output at the low speed end is marginal for anything except small items.
    Bill Boehme
    AAW Forums Moderator
    My Photo Gallery

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Macomb county Michigan
    Posts
    22

    Default

    Thanks that is what I needed to know. I will check into the Sherline and also considering a tread mill motor and controller. Since that also was recommend by a number of people on a general shop forum.
    I will only be doing small stuff on the mini, and have an old Delta with a 1hp motor if I decide to do any heavy large stuff.

  8. #8

    Default Vicmarc variable speed

    I have an early Vicmarc VL100 with a simple on/off switch, unidirectional and which I would dearly like wish to convert to variable speed bidirectional. Vicmarc offered me a motor upgrade with variable speed at more than I paid for the lathe. I guess there is an easy solution? I do have a variable 0.5hp 3 phase digital inverter knocking around which may be part of a solution?

    Any advice would be welcome.

    Thanks

    Tony

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central Michigan
    Posts
    38

    Default

    I bought the VS motor from PSI to upgrade my Jet mini a year ago and have had no problems. I really love it. I usually do smaller stuff so I don't know how it would work with a 8-10 in bowl.
    Tim.
    Seven days without turning makes one weak.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rocky Mountain House, AB
    Posts
    132

    cool2 VFD For 3 Phase Motors

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Pinkus View Post
    I have an early Vicmarc VL100 with a simple on/off switch, unidirectional and which I would dearly like wish to convert to variable speed bidirectional. Vicmarc offered me a motor upgrade with variable speed at more than I paid for the lathe. I guess there is an easy solution? I do have a variable 0.5hp 3 phase digital inverter knocking around which may be part of a solution?

    Any advice would be welcome.

    Thanks

    Tony
    Hi Tony, I have installed speed controls on my lathes, bandsaw and press drill with a small box of electronics made by KB Electronics Controls.
    KB Drives, KB Electroinic Drives, KB Speed Controls, KB Accessories
    They are based out of Florida.

    If you can work with Electrical items and wire things, you can make yourself very nice variable speed drives for all your machines.
    I was able to find old used 3 Phase motors at a great price and put this VFD on them. The same box of electronics will provide Variable speed and Forward and Reverse. You plug this unit into standard 120 Volt single Phase power and it produces 220/440 volt 3 Phase power for the motor.
    The only draw back is that they produce RFI and your radio will complain a whole lot....

    Check it out, they cost around $170.00 each.
    Syd.
    Syd Sellers
    Old wood Turners never die, they just keep chipping away.
    sydsellers@gmail.com Http://www.rocky-roost-woodturnings.com

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