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Thread: How do I slow down an electric motor?

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    How do I slow down an electric motor?

    I use an old Sears Craftsman electric motor to turn a spindle sander for wood working. The motor data plate tells me that its rotation speed is 3450 rpm, but the spindle sanders are supposed to turn at about 1700, give or take. I know there is some type of device I can install between the electric outlet and the electric motor to vary the motor speed, but darned if I can remember what it's called. (Yet another symptom of middle-aged-memory-syndrome. Sigh.) Any help out there?

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    If it's direct drive you can install a VFD (variable frequency drive control) - not real cheap. If belt driven, you can change the sheaves to slow down (increase driven sheave dia. or decrease driver diameter.

    If using a VFD becareful you don't burn up motor at low RPM.

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    You could probably use a router speed controller - although they usually tell you not to. Not that it's a problem for the controller, but it might be for the motor. Some electrical motors evidently don't like being run at lower voltages. The controller goes between the plug and the outlet, and generally looks something like this -

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    I am NOT an electrician so use this info with caution...What your looking for is a rheostat, it allows you to manually control the resistance that electricity "flows". Now a sinple one would be a ceiling fan switch. It would allow your to adjust the motors speed. Be carefull they can create a lot of heat and even cause fires. They also make them that dont have presets like Hi-MED-Low. Some are like a light dimmer and you can dial your own. Be carefull they can create a lot of heat and even cause fires. You might check your local Radio Shack or electrical supply house.
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    I just had a thought: What is the foot speed control device used on sewing machines?
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    Debeardslee is correct a motor speed controller is what should be used. You can make one using a light rheostat, install on the white wire not the black use one rated above 500 watts. Watts / amps = volts, Amps x volts = watts. The exact motor speed isn't that important as long as its fast enough to cut with out over speed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wino View Post
    If it's direct drive you can install a VFD (variable frequency drive control) - not real cheap. If belt driven, you can change the sheaves to slow down (increase driven sheave dia. or decrease driver diameter.

    If using a VFD becareful you don't burn up motor at low RPM.

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    changing sheeves (pullys) is the best route to go if it is belt driven. the ony other way to safely change speed would be a vfd or have a motorshop rewind the motor (but this can be expensive as well) another option is trade yours for a slower one or sell it and buy another.

    the rheostats like for ceiling fan controls are not designed for bigger motors, but you may find something from an industrial place that may have something that will work safely.

    usually i work with 3 phase motors but we do mess with 120 or 240 single phase occasionaly and changing out pullys is what we usually do
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    What Horsepower is the motor, 1/3, 1/2, ??? Do we assume 60Hz and 120V?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxtail207 View Post
    What Horsepower is the motor, 1/3, 1/2, ??? Do we assume 60Hz and 120V?
    1/2 horsepower, single phase, 115 volt, 7.8 amps. Spindle mounted directly to output shaft.
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    I think you are referring to an auto transformer with a dial to adjust the output voltage.
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