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Thread: VFD or New Motor for Drill Press?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    VFD or New Motor for Drill Press?

    So, I was fortunate enough to win a Powermatic 1150 (circa 1967) for a good price in an online auction. It's got the Reeves drive variable speed control and currently has a 3 phase motor -- original as far as I can tell. Of course, I only have single phase power in my home shop. I know many folks implement a VFD with 3 phase drill presses, but I don't really need the variable speed control of the VFD since the press already has that capability. The other option, of course, is to swap out the motor for a single phase. I expect this would be a more expensive option for a quality American-made motor. Other than price, are there are factors to consider in choosing a VFD or a new motor?

    Thanks,
    Tom

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Edmonton, Canada
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    I'm not a fan of reeves drive speed control. They become loose over time and wobbly. I have a few 3-phase machines that I power with VFD's.
    Drill press is definitely one of the machines that would benefit a lot from 3-phase and VFD's, JMHO.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    N.W. Missouri
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    I just bought a Powermatic 1150A with the variable speed and single phase motor. If I had yours, I would get a VFD. Then you can get slower slow and faster fast speeds if you want them.

    BTW, my reeves drive runs smooth and rather quiet.

    John

  4. #4
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    Oct 2009
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    Des Moines, IA
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    I say neither -- find another 3 phase motor and build a cheap phase converter. I have less than $100 into mine, including switches, relays, capacitors, and the motor.

    Very few woodworking machines need the variable speed a VFD provides, and one phase converter can run many machines. A 5 hp or larger phase converter will open a world of cheap, high quality machines.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Toronto Ontario
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    I would keep the motor and drive and purchase a VFD to use as a fixed frequency converter.

    The reeves drive is far superior to using a VFD for wide range speed changes as the reeves remains a constant horsepower drive as opposed to constant torque (declining power) with a VFD.

    Regards, Rod.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Southwestern CT
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    My inclination would be to keep the motor and drive and purchase the VFD. The variables that affect cost are the hp required, and need for a Nema enclosure. The 1150 from that era (see original manual) typically had either 1/2 or 3/4 hp for the 3-phase models. A new VFD of that size is very reasonably priced unless it requires a Nema enclosure. VFDs can, depending on motor capability, provide emergency stop. I am totally unqualified to talk about that capability, but if it is of interest to you, perhaps others are (or look at Practical Machinist).

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Crozet, VA
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    Ok, it sounds like the consensus is to go with the VFD. I can just set it and forget it, and use the Reeves drive for speed control ... and if that ever craps out then I have the VFD as a backup. Thanks.

  8. #8
    Once you get the VFD, my guess is that you will use both the Reeves and VFD combined; for a very slow speed (occasionally).
    _______________________________________
    When failure is not an option
    Mediocre is assured.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Fort Wayne, Indiana
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    What HP is the motor?
    I have a spare VFD that needs a home..

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Crozet, VA
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    258
    Brett -- Thanks for the offer, but I've already got a VFD for the press. I'm sure you can find another worthy recipient for yours!

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