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Thread: Dryer/Washer Motor

  1. #1

    Dryer/Washer Motor

    Anyone know if the motor in old washers and dryers are any good to use in, or as, a power tool? - Or built a custom tool using one of these?

    I did a search on here and I did see anyone specifically talk about that...

    just curious. I see them all the time on craigslist for free...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Raleigh, NC
    I put a treadmill motor in my Shopsmith scroll saw a few years ago. Just had to wire past the relay. It was free.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Lawndale, CA
    I built an air cleaner with the motor and blower fan that I salvaged when we replaced our FAU furnace. I think a washing machine motor has a bunch more wires and relays and stuff I don't know what it is to make it turn different ways and different speeds. Or maybe a washer has a gearbox that does all that. I guess if I new how a washer worked I'd be of more help. Anyone out there service washers and got any advice for this guy?

  4. #4
    The problem would be trying to figure out how to wire it up. To the best of my knowledge, the old washer motors were regular induction motors but they had the ability to change the number of poles, which would change the speed. Also, I would guess that they had the ability to reverse the motor.

    That would mean that you'd have a bunch of wires coming out of the motor. If you can figure out what wire is what, you can wire it up for a single speed and use it.

    But low HP motors aren't very expensive so you may be better off to just buy a 1/2 HP motor off eBay.

    BTW, the motors in new washers are inverter motors with the VFD built into the motor. Not a lot of HP, but I look to the day when someone figures out how to use those motors as variable speed motors for woodworking applications.

    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Bucks County, Pennsylvania
    My grandfather ran everything off of old motors from--mostly washing machines. I think that dryer motors were something like 1/10 HP.

    Most of my old stuff from him was 1/3 hp some 1/2. They work fine for shop built buffing wheels and the small shop tools that were available years ago that ran off belts. My buffing setup uses one as does a wire brush arbor I use a lot. I also have a small drill press that I use for small work that runs off of one.

    I am talking about older stuff -- Most models built in the last 20 years come with direct drive or they have mountings that make it hard to retrofit into a tool.

    I think the type of motor I am talking about had a "C" mount The motor was held in place at both ends with a clamp and rubber grommet. They are also used in furnace blowers that use a belt.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Louisville, Ky
    I got a 1/6 washer motor to put on a really old style scroll saw. It didnt have the base but I faked it. Wiring was no problem pull plugs to reverse the direction of spin and grounding it was easy. The only problem is it seems to need a bit to start up... sometimes it spins right up and other times I have to turn it off and nudge the pulley and restart. They seem to come in all kinds of different horse powers. Check people giving away washers and dryers (papers, craigslist etc) and maybe look into furnace blower fans.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Canada...oot in the woods
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Scharle View Post
    I put a treadmill motor in my Shopsmith scroll saw a few years ago. Just had to wire past the relay. It was free.
    Joe, I like the way you think. I set my Shopsmith strip sander up with a 1/3hp furnace fan motor and I may do something with the bandsaw and a larger motor as well. Between the MK-V, the Powerstation and a couple of homemade stand-alones I can mount almost all of the Shopsmith toys at the same time. For the most part that means that I have two of everything ready to go since I already have my stand-alone tools as well. Now for a bigger shop!


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Northern California

    The various notes explain why they are free more than

    the minimal potential value to a WW shop; generally they are relatively low power; induction not capacitor for heavy load - the washer's drive chain handles that; they don't have mounting plates that readily lend themselves to equipment; no, they don't reverse themselves - the reverse operation is in the washer through shifting belts or gears on simple clutch mechanisms;

    as several notes point out, they differ drastically in direct drive away from belt drive depending on the vintage o the original washer; the kluge of relays us pain to figure out....

    Kraig's list is free I believe so people don't want to pay recycling fees and advertise them just for the heck of it.

  9. #9
    My dad used to use washer motors, to run home made grinders, and sanders. He glued sandpaper to a washer ringer roller, and made a small drum sander. He made about everything in his shop.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Poulsbo WA

    Use for old washer motors

    I used one to run a Craftsman lathe, with stepped pulleys on both the motor and the lathe. I used another one to run an apple chopper on a cider press made from a Mother Earth News plan. The chopper was made from parts of a car's starter motor, built into a plywood box/chute.

  11. #11
    Wow guys! Cool stuff!!

    I have a few ShopSmith tools I was thinking about, actually - funny a couple of you mentioned that.

    I'll be sure to inquire how old the washer/dryer is if I see one then!

    I especially like the Threadmill idea!! I see those a lot, too!

    As far as Grinders/Polishers - I find those for darn near free a lot! Yard Sales, too. I recently got one - it was old, but man it was powerful! I turned it off and it spun for almost 5 more minutes until coming to a rest!!

    Anyway - I love hearing when ppl get creative with this sort of stuff - it get MY creative juices flowin' too!!

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Scharle View Post
    I put a treadmill motor in my Shopsmith scroll saw a few years ago. Just had to wire past the relay. It was free.
    Hey Joe - about how many HP is a threadmill motor?

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