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Variable Speed Controllers for Lathes

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John Wood121/07/2009 18:39:51
116 forum posts
I want to add a variable speed control system to my Warco WMT300 lathe - 'cos I'm fed-up with the present long winded belt change method.  Part of this is that it would provide an opportunity to change the motor to a 3-phase one and so provide the additional benefits which that would bring.
I am looking at the Newton Tesla CL series that, with a 1hp motor would seem ideal, but, Drives Direct can also supply a 3-phase motor and inverter which, as far as I can see at the moment, will do the same job. The price of the Newton is around £425 but I havn't enquired about the Drives Direct one.
Has anyone any experience of these systems please?
Many thanks,  John
Michael Freeman22/07/2009 14:01:08
11 forum posts
20 photos
Hello John. 
I recently refurbished a Myford ML7 and covered the rebuild on my website  www.mikes-models if the ink doesn't work.
I fitted a new 3 phase motor from Direct Drives who advertise in the magazine although I found them on eBay. I must say I have not regretted it al all and am very pleased to be able to control the speed. The only issue I have had is that if the wife has the cooker on in the house and other items such as washing machine etc, it can trip the RCB. I beleive from others that this is not uncoommon. the amount of times this has happened has reduced virtually to zero if I am aware of the load already placed on our domestick supply.
The support via telephone frome Direct Drives was excellent and I have no hesitation of recommending them (I have no link to them other than a customer).
As I said you can see some detail about my experience on the website or my blog  
Kind regards, Mike 

Edited By Michael Freeman on 22/07/2009 14:02:29

Edited By Katy Purvis on 01/06/2015 09:46:38

Dougie Swan22/07/2009 19:32:51
212 forum posts
53 photos
I recently fitted an inverter to a Harrison M300 that I bought from drives direct, it has worked faultlessly. I actually bought it on ebay with a saving of around £100 from the list price and I would agree that the telephone support is excellent
David Clark 122/07/2009 20:18:27
3357 forum posts
112 photos
10 articles
Hi there
The next Model Engineers' Workshop, 154 has an article about fitting an inverter to a Harrison M300.
regards David
Steve Sparrow26/07/2009 10:46:35
8 forum posts
Hi John,
A few years ago I wrote an article for ME on inverters / converters to try and make things a little easier. The article can be seen on my website at this location -
WALLACE31/07/2009 11:50:23
304 forum posts
17 photos
One thing I've never seen mentioned is using a single to three phase inverter to power more than one machine (not at the same time !).
I bult one a few years ago from an Elektor design  - although I up-spec'd a few components   so it would deliver a bit more power. It's on a '3 phase ring main' around the workshop with each machine having a big relay to isolate it when not in use. There's a seperate control box on each as well with the direction and speed controls - this is linked back to the ocnverter on what I suppose you could call a 'control ring main'.
Each control box has a phono socket on it - to take control, I just plug in a coresponding plug. There's only one which means I can't have more than one running at a time !
Works a treat.
John Wood108/08/2009 11:45:45
116 forum posts
Thanks to all for the postings which has pointed me in the right (I hope) direction. I went for the Newton Tesla system which is now up and running and, so far, I am very pleased with it.
For the Warco lathe it did need a bit of fettling because I chose the Italian motor rather than the Chinese. The Italian one has a different mounting so I had to fabricate fittings in order to fit it to the existing motor mount. Also this motor has a 19mm shaft so I had to bore out the original motor pulley to fit. Otherwise  all went very easily.
The company was very helpful and the whole experience can be recommended to anyone contemplating a similar upgrade.
Now then, what shall I do now.....!
John Wood107/11/2009 16:14:14
116 forum posts
Just an update. 
I have used the new controller system for several weeks now and find it to be a delight to use. Very little belt changing now for different speeds, only for the very high and rarely used speeds. The torque remains constant even at the lowest speeds, it helps greatly with screwcutting and the 'nudge' feature is most useful. After a while you begin to wonder why you struggled all that time when the solution was so easy. The cost of course is the obvious answer.
Jim K08/11/2009 07:18:17
44 forum posts
I have often wondered about these and also for using it in my Boxford. What i was wondering is, do you still use the pulleys for the different ranges of speeds or do you configure the pulley system so that you have a sort of direct drive?
Has anyone ever done it to a boxford.?
John Wood113/11/2009 15:47:36
116 forum posts
Hi Jim.  Because of the wide speed range of the new controller I find that I can leave the speed change belt on the lathe in a medium setting as for the original motor, I can then vary the spindle speed from virtually nothing to faster than the original without changing belts and this has been fine for all my work so far. Of course you can still do your original speed changing if you need to change ranges.  I have also calculated the approximate spindle speeds achieved at various settings of the coltroller although this would alter if I changed my belt/pulley combination.   Sorry but I have no experience of the boxford.
Regards,  John
Jim K14/11/2009 02:55:39
44 forum posts
thanks this answers my question.

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