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Blog entry by Troy posted 07-07-2010 05:07 AM 7058 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was never under any delusion that having my own woodworking business would be all fun, just making stuff from wood. All in all, it’s been about 50% of it at best so far. That’s another discussion though, esp. since I am still fully adjusting.

So I finally had a significant machine failure. I was feeding a piece of maple through the planer and it slowed part way through, like it was turned off mid-feed, except that it wasn’t consistent. There was nothing unusual about the wood or the method of feeding it. I heard a strange sound from the left side so I took off the belt cover and got an unpleasant surprise, as well as the reason. The lower, motor shaft pulley came loose when the bolt washer and key came off. It didn’t appear there was much damage so I tried to reset it, but the key holes weren’t aligned properly. The 3 belts would have to come off to work on that. That was easy enough, but I tried to pull off the pulley without much luck. I reseated the pulley fully and found that it could spin with a bit of effort. Seems when the parts came off, the pulley was allowed to spin on the shaft, enough to loosen it slightly. There was a tiny bit of metal shavings and no marks on the shaft so chances are it’s from the pulley.

Once the pulley was seated and secured (using a couple blocks of wood and a clamp to keep the pulley from spinning), I put the belts back on. With the motor mounting bolts tightened, I fired the machine back up only to see it struggling to rotate very slowly and pop the internal circuit. It seemed like the start capacitor was failing so I went into town to get a new one. I soldered on the new one, but that turned out to not be the solution. There was only one more logical possibility for this problem.

I removed the fan cover from the motor as well as the fan. It became apparent quickly that trying to take off the pulley caused a misalignment of the start switch contact points. The contact point was off enough to prevent the capacitor from getting the proper charge. Once it was adjusted the motor started properly with the centrifugal switch engaging fully.

3hp Motor

After, it was all back together, I started it up for a test run only to hear a loud ping each time it started. I took the cover off to see if the pulley had a new problem. I started it up and there was no ping. I figured the belts weren’t tensioned properly so I adjusted the motor mounts. That did it.

I ended up with a missed day of productivity in the shop. If it ain’t one thing, it’s another – all part of the deal.

-- Troy Bouffard || Master Sergeant, US Army (Retired) ||

9 comments so far

View Gary's profile


9425 posts in 4766 days

#1 posted 07-07-2010 07:04 AM

Man, Troy….talk about a bad hair day. Hope it all goes well from now on..

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 4267 days

#2 posted 07-07-2010 07:07 AM

Every business have those down times. From driver stuck in trafic and delivery not made to wrong parts to broken machines. The list is long.
the good thing is you sound positive and that’s what counts.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4910 days

#3 posted 07-07-2010 07:08 AM

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4448 days

#4 posted 07-07-2010 08:26 AM

even thow you said you missed a full production day
and the the maschine failiyer I wooood still say you got
a good productionday you are lucky you could repair the maschine
by your self , think of if you couldn´t do that then you shuold pay
someone to fix it and if he hadn´t the sparepart or you shuold have bought a new
what would that have cost you a weeks production , 2 weeks or ?

no you got a good days work done and saved some money
and saved money is earnd money and is the dubble worth :—)


View degoose's profile


7286 posts in 4687 days

#5 posted 07-07-2010 08:37 AM

I had the same thing happen only last month.. a noisy gearbox in the planer.. 15 inch industrial 15 amp circuit… or so I though… the bolt in the lower pulley was loose .. well not just loose actually out… sitting on the inside of the belt cover…. and the keyway was half out… hammered the keyway back in and reinstalled the bolt.. works like a dream.. and no noise.. took a while to work it out but…now I know a little more about another bit of equipment…
Have fun…

-- Be safe.

View lew's profile


13486 posts in 5088 days

#6 posted 07-07-2010 04:34 PM

On the good side, you could fix it yourself at no cost- other than time.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View RichardH's profile


295 posts in 4335 days

#7 posted 07-08-2010 12:23 AM

I like Dennis way of looking at this. Basically say that you earned the money you saved by (1) not having to pay someone a lot to repair it and (2) not having to wait for someone to come out and do the job. Pat yourself on the back for solving a tricky problem that others might have struggled with a lot more. Cheers, Richard

-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

View Troy's profile


186 posts in 4396 days

#8 posted 07-08-2010 12:41 AM

Thanks guys, I didn’t look at it quite like that. It’s partly the Woodworking way, as well as life in Alaska. Woodworkers are exceptional problem solvers, and then some. I posted this, in part, out of frustration, but mostly cause I know how nice it is to find help from the community. I used plenty of tags so if anyone does a search, hopefully they find this or similar posts and it helps them.
I wish I had a capacitor tester though, it would have saved me a step and a few dollars. The typical multimeter doesn’t seem to be able to test it. I couldn’t even get a gradual reading or drop.
There are a lot of really smart people here. It’s great to share info and experiences.

-- Troy Bouffard || Master Sergeant, US Army (Retired) ||

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4448 days

#9 posted 07-08-2010 01:00 AM

I have had two busyness one with semitrucks and a Taxicompani
and both time I had my own little repairgarage and allso equipt so I
cuold change tyres that saved me a lot of money even thow I nearly
always had to do the work over nigth becourse the wheels should
run in daylight
and now I have sneaked me into the hobby of woodworking and
have a wish of doing it unplugged there is this old DNA that says
about a big bandsaw to resawing with and cut lumber and if I ever buy it
you can be sure I will have all the small spareparts and a rubber tyer ready
in a drawer just in case , and we both know the day will come and always
in a weekend

and I think thats one thing prof. woodworkers shuold do allso

even if they don´t have the slides Idea of how a maschine work
that will save them down time when they had call the electric guy


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