Turning Archive 2008

Three phase machines *PIC*

Doug Thompson near Cleveland
>Did you ever see a machine that would be perfect for the shop but after looking at it you found out it ran on 3 phase. Machines like this are made for the industrial world because itís more efficient to run a motor off this than single phase like we have in our homes. There is a way to convert one of these industrial machines to run in your home shop.

There are two groups of machines for sale. The first is a machine that is currently running so you could see that everything is working order, you will pay more but there wonít be any surprises. Even if the machine runs well it still has to checked for wear, the ways and the spindle bearings must be in good shape before it is purchased, these are costly repairs. The second group is found at a machine dealer, they are not under power so there is no way to see them run but because of this the value is reduced to bargin basement prices. These are my favorite group to look for but remember there is a reason these machines are not in a shop running production.

. Before you purchase a machine that is not running you need to ask yourself a series of questions. What if parts of this machine donít work how are you going to fix them and how much will it cost, do this before a machine is purchased. I found this one at a local used machine dealer to show as an example how this was done. This older CNC production lathe was at a local dealer, I made a list of each part that might need to be replaced then researched the price on the internet. The list for this machine started with the motor that has to be replaced because itís only 1 hp so a 2 hp motor is about $300; the CNC controller is almost guaranteed not to run so I planned to spend $1,000 to build a new one. Other parts that might not work are the servo motors at $200 each and a ball screw that is around $200 from ebay. The spindle has a simple arrangement of 2 sealed bearings which is no problem. This was purchased for $399 which sounds like a deal but remember it wasnít running and I have no idea if it will or not. The total cost for this project should be $2,000 to $2,500 which is a good price for a small production CNC lathe.

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