Single phase, 3 phase power tools in Australia

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Single phase, 3 phase power tools in Australia

Postby Clifton fynn » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:41 am

Hi guys

Im a hobbyist newbie so need some direction. I’m considering having a go at building a guitar body, I did an apprenticeship in carpentry so have an intermediate level understanding of working with wood and tools. I was thinking of purchasing specific tools (to setup in my garage) like a drill press, jointer/planer ect but a lot of these tools require 3phase power my house only has single phase power, can anyone please offer an alternative or point me in the direction of tools that I can use that run on single phase power that I can run in my garage. Thanks in advance
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Re: Single phase, 3 phase power tools in Australia

Postby Daryl Kosinski » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:10 am

3 phase machine tools in the used market can be had for much less than the same in single phase.

A 3 phase converter may be the way to go. You can build a rotary converter yourself out of a larger 3 phase motor or buy one ready made.

This 5 hp should take care of a small wood shop.

https://www.southern-tool.com/store/ar_ ... verter.php
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Re: Single phase, 3 phase power tools in Australia

Postby Brian Evans » Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:02 pm

What I did when purchasing three phase industrial machine tools (like a Bridgeport, Southbend metal lathe, others) is either simply replace the motor with a single phase of appropriate size, or in the case of the Bridgeport I had it rewound from three phase 600 volt (all common three phase power supply is 600 volt in Canada, or full tilt industrial direct to grid)to 240 volt, and used a three phase "starter box". Three phase motors will run just fine on two phases, but need the third phase to start. The box was around $200, and worked great - but you de-rate the HP rating of the motor by 1/3. So you need to look at both phase and voltage supply requirement when deciding how to deal with the conversion. My understanding is that Australia is 400 volt for three phase power, and 230 volt for single phase.

It might be cheaper to just buy home/residential shop tools that will run on your house mains supply, rather than try to adapt industrial tools. All of the common tools - drill press, planer, jointer, table and band saw - will be very common with a 230 volt 50 hz single phase motors.
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Re: Single phase, 3 phase power tools in Australia

Postby David King » Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:57 pm

I run three phase machines in my basement shop. I have a 7.5HP home-built rotary phase converter for the table saw and the jointer which are fixed speed. For the drill press, milling machine, lathe, and exhaust fan I bought a bunch of variable frequency drives off ebay which allow me to run those machines at any speed I need at the turn of a dial and also flip in reverse at the flip of a switch. I can't begin tell you how useful this is for all kinds of every day operations. I look forward to equipping my 14" bandsaw with a 2HP motor and VFD as well. The VFDs cost between $40-80 and are all the same type: Reliance SP500 which came out in the early 1990s and will convert single phase to 3 phase at full power.
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Re: Single phase, 3 phase power tools in Australia

Postby Barry Daniels » Thu Dec 05, 2019 2:05 pm

David, I have looked into the VFDs but they seem fairly complicated and sensitive to dust. Do you put them into sealed enclosures. Do you have to do any programming? I am interested but need a "VFD for Dummies" approach.
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Re: Single phase, 3 phase power tools in Australia

Postby David King » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:06 pm

The reliance SP500 come in a sealed "washdown" version for food prep facilities and I lucked into a couple of these. The one on my mill is in a sealed plastic enclosure called a UL type 4X which has Din rails inside that the VFD clips onto. Programming is very elementary and if you can handle a smart phone or a programmable thermostat you'll have no problems. One consideration is that the larger models, 2HP+ can accommodate a braking resistor so you can program instant braking action which I would gladly have paid extra for had I known about it.
Great info about all models and permutations over at the Practical Machinist forum. They also have great plans for home made rotary phase conveters (RPCs).
When searching out ebay deals search for VFD and also AC inverter and Frequency drive.
The Teco 510 is also popular in small shops but not as many turning up on the used market.
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Re: Single phase, 3 phase power tools in Australia

Postby Brian Evans » Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:42 am

David, will the VFD's you are using convert the 230 VAC 50 hz single phase power into 400 VAC three phase power for use with machines commonly available in Australia? A great solution if so, but only available used - discontinued over 10 years ago by Rockwell.
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Re: Single phase, 3 phase power tools in Australia

Postby Bob Howell » Sat Dec 07, 2019 3:25 pm

I put a VFD on an old lathe 10 years ago. They are intimidating to read about but most have a simple solution. I used the cook book setup for a fan motor. Dust is a problem but I built a box for protection. I studied the manual for a month then realized I had found a simple setup to use.
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Re: Single phase, 3 phase power tools in Australia

Postby David King » Tue Dec 10, 2019 1:38 am

Typically VFDs don't step up voltage. I'd look for a used step-up transformer. My Hardinge runs on 440V and I found a used 9KVA 220-440V transformer for $180. The previous owner had packed it 20 miles out of the Alaskan wilderness on his back and wasn't going to take any less. Just count up the HP you need to run (745.8Watts per Horsepower) A 2.2KVA transformer runs a 3HP motor and that should be plenty for most one man shops but if a bigger one is 1/4 the price there's no reason not to go bigger.

Transformers will often have multiple taps to get you 120, 208, 230, 380, 440, 600 etc. There's a small loss going up or down so there may be separate taps to accommodate that small percentage of voltage drop in each direction.
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