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Thread: How to upgrade my Rockwell/Delta to a variable speed drive?

  1. #1

    How to upgrade my Rockwell/Delta to a variable speed drive?

    I have a 12" older model Rockwell/Delta wood lathe. I'm fed-up with moving the belt on the step pulleys to change speed. Even at the lowest speed it is still too fast for drilling with a large bit and for a large out of balance bowl blank. I would like to upgrade to a variable speed motor, maybe about 1 hp, at a reasonable cost. Any ideas and/or recomendations would be appreciated.


  2. #2
    A VFD (variable frequency drive) would be a great upgrade. I have done this for a couple of friends machines (they both had reeves drive but the minimum speeds were too high). I am not sure if you will consider the cost "reasonable", its not cheap. If you go this way, careful motor selection (frame size and rpm) will be worth the trouble.

    There is some information about this subject in the "tips" section at this location

    Another option would be a used treadmill motor with a contoller similiar to this:
    When failure is not an option
    Mediocre is assured.

  3. #3
    I had the same lathe.
    Thought about the same thing for a year.

    Sold it and picked up a Jet 1642 1-1/2 hp.

    SO glad I did this and the difference in the money is not great but the difference in what you end up!

    Aloha, Pete

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Horsham, PA
    I upgraded my older Delta 4 speed to VS using a treadmill motor. Craigslist provided me with used treadmill for $20 and I stripped the motor and control board out and mounted it on the lathe. I left the 4 step pulley on, because I didn't want to take apart the headstock, and use the largest step. The motor is rated at 2.25 hp and 5000RPM. My speed range is 0-2000 RPM. If I need more speed I can just move to the next pulley step. You can see some pics in this thread:
    I was sad because I had no shoes,
    Then I saw a man who had no feet
    If you do today what no one else will,
    You'll do tomorrow what no one else can

  5. #5

    Thanks to everyone for the variable speed drive info.

    Thanks to everyone for the variable speed drive info, I had heard about the treadmill motor upgrade but now I have several options to consider.

    Thanks again,
    Dale Winburn

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