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    Rotary phase convertors

    Just scored 2 shapers on auction for less than 1/4 new price, but they are 7.5hp 230v three phase.

    So we are in for a rotary phase converter. I plan running only one machine at a time, so I think:

    20hp phase convertor, 50 amp breaker to convertor and 6awg wire.

    Any input appreciated.

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    Re: Rotary phase convertors

    Willem, check over on OWWM.org for rotary phase converters. There are a lot of entries about setting them up and making your own. Back in the day FWW had an article about them and I made one with a 3-phase motor, a switch and a capacitor. It worked just fine, even though I probably did some sort of electrical crime to the motors. But 3-phase motors were cheap and I was young.

    Roy G

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    Re: Rotary phase convertors

    I should not follow this thread. I have no business even thinking about additional machines. For some reason I couldn't stop myself from subscribing to this thread. So many good deals on three phase machines...... Maybe I'll just see what happens here. No harm in that right?

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    Re: Rotary phase convertors

    Contact Bernhard at this site. He has a rotary phase converter for his woodworking shop and multiple 3 phase machines.

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    Re: Rotary phase convertors

    You might also consider a variable frequency drive. The cost of these is not too much for a 7.5 hp motor, and it won't require a new circuit or heavy wiring. You may not want to use the drive for speed control, but you can get one with single phase input and three phase output.
    Jim Wallace
    919-616-5248
    jimwallacewoodturning.com

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    Re: Rotary phase convertors

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Wallace View Post
    You might also consider a variable frequency drive. The cost of these is not too much for a 7.5 hp motor, and it won't require a new circuit or heavy wiring. You may not want to use the drive for speed control, but you can get one with single phase input and three phase output.
    Replacing the motors on each machine will be cheaper than VFD.
    With a phase converter we can do a bit of power distribution to run each shaper with its power 1hp power feeder, they are all 3ph.

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    Re: Rotary phase convertors

    With most of the salvage yards no longer allowing people in, 3 phase motors are a more expensive. I built my neighbor a 3 phase converter several years back. It's a 3 phase motor (3.0HP,) connected to a single phase Herbesh dryer motor with a LoveJoy coupling. The dryer motor has a winding, upon which line voltage appears when full speed is reached. We use this to pull in relay to supply power to 3 phase motor. We use a push button to start motor, and then it's self sustaining. In case of lose of power, relay drops out, preventing damage to RPC. He is located a couple miles off US1 at the exit 89. Maybe you could stop by and see it.

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    Re: Rotary phase convertors

    Rotary converters are loud. If you get one, isolate it somewhere and set up a contactor/relay with a remote to turn it on and off. Mine drove me nuts.

    In my former set up I ran looped wiring from my phase converter to each machine. I think I had #8 to the converter and #10 on the output with twist lock receptacles.

    Looped wiring with number 10 is tough. That is a lot of thick copper in a box.

    On my current set up I bought a 3 phase panel and breakers and set it up with a breaker to each machine. Again number 10. Pricing for panel and breakers was pretty cheap from what I remember. Got it all on eBay.

    A 20 hp converter is going to need some juice. My 20 hp digital if memory serves wants 75 amps. Personally, I would start smaller, and work my way up. With rotary you can add additional units, or bite the bullet and upgrade to a digital if you continue down the 3 phase path.

    You can get some very nice iron with 3 phase. I currently have 3 machines using it. My favorite machine is probably the wide belt sander. Once you get one, you will never turn back.

    Good luck
    Last edited by Travis Porter; 09-09-2018 at 12:39 AM.

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    Re: Rotary phase convertors

    Hello Willem, I run 3 rotary phase converters. I have a large 75hp that feeds a 200 amp panel in my shop, then in the other building where the CNC is at, I run 2 separate. 1 for the cnc and the second for the rotary vane pump. I have bought American Rotary units. I have had no issues. The rule of thumb I use is single phase input should be 1.8 times the rated amperage of the 3 phase motor. Most of it comes in well under that, but it's a good rule of thumb from the amperage load testing I have done. You might be able to order one with the IWF special on pricing, you would need to call. I know some manufactures are still offering that special. They due have a hummmmm to them while idling so if you have a separate room to put it in or even put it outside and order it with the exterior package. I have a friend who's 75hp idler motor is outside so he doesn't listen to it.

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    Re: Rotary phase convertors

    Nice score on the shapers!

    Very good advice above - especially from Travis and Chris.

    I have two rotary converters; a 30 hp in the wood shop that feeds a 240V 3 phase load center via a transfer switch, and a 2 hp “kick start” unit that is slaved to a vertical milling machine.

    Watch craigslist and e-bay for converters as well as 3 phase panelboards (I bought my 400A and 800A panelboards used - complete with breakers). Personally I would suggest a 200A panelboard, but set it up so that you can change converters over time if you need a larger one.

    20HP should work great for what you want to do. Mine is started with a three phase disconnect (safety switch) that also provides the additional phases to the panelboard via the transfer switch (the other input to the transfer switch is a 225KW generator).

    Feel free to give me a call if you’d like to look at my setup.

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    Re: Rotary phase convertors

    Willem, I may have a 200 amp 3-phase SquareD panel that you can have. It was surplus from a commercial job. I saw it in the corner of the electrical room on Friday. If it is still there on Monday I will toss it in the truck. Just let me know if you want it

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    Re: Rotary phase convertors

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil S View Post
    Willem, I may have a 200 amp 3-phase SquareD panel that you can have. It was surplus from a commercial job. I saw it in the corner of the electrical room on Friday. If it is still there on Monday I will toss it in the truck. Just let me know if you want it
    That’s a great offer Phil. If Willem doesn’t take it, I would love to have it for a new building.

    Willem - you need to jump on Phil’s offer!

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    Re: Rotary phase convertors

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil S View Post
    Willem, I may have a 200 amp 3-phase SquareD panel that you can have. It was surplus from a commercial job. I saw it in the corner of the electrical room on Friday. If it is still there on Monday I will toss it in the truck. Just let me know if you want it
    Phil, thanks appreciated. I am sure Scott will have better use for it. I managed to get a smaller one on the auction.

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    Re: Rotary phase convertors

    Scott and Willem, I have 1 3/4 3-phase commercial panels in my truck. One is complete with the front panel still in the box. The panel is complete with a 150 amp main and a few double and triple pole breakers. I am quite certain this panel has never been powered. The other panel has all the important parts also with a 150 main, but the main box is gone. The main box can be ordered from any elec supply house.

    Scott, I can deliver

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    Re: Rotary phase convertors

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil S View Post
    Scott and Willem, I have 1 3/4 3-phase commercial panels in my truck. One is complete with the front panel still in the box. The panel is complete with a 150 amp main and a few double and triple pole breakers. I am quite certain this panel has never been powered. The other panel has all the important parts also with a 150 main, but the main box is gone. The main box can be ordered from any elec supply house.

    Scott, I can deliver
    Phil, that’s fantastic; thanks much!

    I’m happy to meet up with you to save you the trip though (unless you need some lumber...)

    Scott

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