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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There is plenty of refurbishing videos and articles online about cleaning up older Delta unisaws, but I'm not finding a whole lot of motor swap information. I have an older 1960s unisaw that I would like to get a 120v motor for, and replace it and refurbish the machine over this winter.

I don't have an electrical background, but I think spending a few months doing this will help me learn a lot. I also have a friend who is an electrician that can give me a hand.

I can find Leeson replacement motors online for unisaws, but I don't see much information on if they are compatible with my saw. Is there anyone with any information on motor swaps that could point me in the right direction? Thank you.
 

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The only thing you need to confirm is if it has the proper mounts for a Unisaw, and if it will match your machines 'tiltness' (left or right tilt). The Unisaw mount is unique to the Unisaw,

Other than that, you will need to change the heating elements in your starter to match the new motor. That may prove a bit more difficult depending on what starter you have.

Keep in mind, there are Unisaws out there that happily run on 120V. It might be easier and more economical to just keep an eye out for one of them instead of modifying your existing one. The 1 and 1.5HP Unisaws typically will resell for less money than their 3HP counterparts, so you could sell your current saw and recover most of the money you spend on the other saw, maybe even make a profit.

Cheers,
Brad
 

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Unisaw uses a special "Y" motor frame due custom motor brackets with 3/4" shaft. Unisaw's have used same motor frame design from conception in 1940's until the redesign with 2 handles in front this century. Motors for left and right tilt are different (mirror image of each other). Unisaw pulley's are non-standard groove spacing, and are not compatible with standard 4L pulley; despite using standard 4L belts; making motor substitution more challenging.

During the 60+ years the Unisaw was sold, there have been many different motor options. If you want a period correct motor option, suggest you visit the VintageMachinery.org site and search through the Delta catalogs of that time period. If you Unisaw has the small oval opening, intended for Goose-egg cover; finding motors to fit inside opening is harder, and likely need to find a used motor from that time frame. If you Unisaw has larger rectangular opening, there are many motor options available, including; use of alternate motor brackets using standard base mount motor.

+1 Desire for 120v motor severely limits your options and choices.
Buying a new 120v 1.5HP will be expensive. The lowest cost option is to find a different Unisaw, or buy a damaged Unisaw for parts.

Swapping Unisaw motor requires changing the motor starter. Early < 1.5HP models used a simple manual motor starter switch (looks like light switch, but it is not same). Industrial machines, or units with 2HP+ motors are required to use a magnetic motor starter. Magnetic motor starters contain a contactor, thermal overload; wired to on/off switches. Some Magentic starters have 24V control transformer for the switches and contactor coil. Will require modification or a new magnetic starter with proper supply voltage, and thermal overload sized for the motor current used. Delta sold these as LVC starters, mounted into or on the back of cabinet. Information on Delta OEM LVC can also be found on vintagemachinery site.

Best Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Unisaw uses a special "Y" motor frame due custom motor brackets with 3/4" shaft. Unisaw's have used same motor frame design from conception in 1940's until the redesign with 2 handles in front this century. Motors for left and right tilt are different (mirror image of each other). Unisaw pulley's are non-standard groove spacing, and are not compatible with standard 4L pulley; despite using standard 4L belts; making motor substitution more challenging.

During the 60+ years the Unisaw was sold, there have been many different motor options. If you want a period correct motor option, suggest you visit the VintageMachinery.org site and search through the Delta catalogs of that time period. If you Unisaw has the small oval opening, intended for Goose-egg cover; finding motors to fit inside opening is harder, and likely need to find a used motor from that time frame. If you Unisaw has larger rectangular opening, there are many motor options available, including; use of alternate motor brackets using standard base mount motor.

+1 Desire for 120v motor severely limits your options and choices.
Buying a new 120v 1.5HP will be expensive. The lowest cost option is to find a different Unisaw, or buy a damaged Unisaw for parts.

Swapping Unisaw motor requires changing the motor starter. Early < 1.5HP models used a simple manual motor starter switch (looks like light switch, but it is not same). Industrial machines, or units with 2HP+ motors are required to use a magnetic motor starter. Magnetic motor starters contain a contactor, thermal overload; wired to on/off switches. Some Magentic starters have 24V control transformer for the switches and contactor coil. Will require modification or a new magnetic starter with proper supply voltage, and thermal overload sized for the motor current used. Delta sold these as LVC starters, mounted into or on the back of cabinet. Information on Delta OEM LVC can also be found on vintagemachinery site.

Best Luck.
Man this really makes me think I should just put this saw on eBay and find a 120v saw. Seems pretty overwhelming, and quite a long and daunting task, considering I'd be in the dark most of the time. Plus finding parts might be difficult.
 

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Selling locally, like on CL or FB, would probably be a better route. E-bay is great for global stuff that you can ship easily, which is the opposite of a Unisaw ;)

Alternatively, I'm willing to bet that motor can be wired for 240V three phase [1]... so you could get a relatively inexpensive VFD to run it on 240V single phase power.

Cheers,
Brad

[1] Almost every three phase motor Delta sold was dual voltage capable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Selling locally, like on CL or FB, would probably be a better route. E-bay is great for global stuff that you can ship easily, which is the opposite of a Unisaw ;)

Alternatively, I'm willing to bet that motor can be wired for 240V three phase [1]... so you could get a relatively inexpensive VFD to run it on 240V single phase power.

Cheers,
Brad

[1] Almost every three phase motor Delta sold was dual voltage capable.
Correct - this can be wired for 240v.. but where I'm moving to is a rental, and i can't get a 240v outlet 😭
 

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Seems pretty overwhelming, and quite a long and daunting task, considering I'd be in the dark most of the time. Plus finding parts might be difficult.
Changing a motor can be a challenge for the electrically challenged. Finding parts is not too hard, once you know what you need.
Takes me a couple hours max to swap a motor with parts in hand. But then I strip a Unisaw cabinet naked for restoration/paint in ~2 hours, have done it so many times. 😁

The folks over at the OWWM.org forums have hundreds of threads describing Unisaw restoration, motor swaps, and challenges posed. The sister site vintagemachinery.org also has many Unisaw documents in the WIKI and Delta machinery section that are invaluable to any Unisaw owner.

IMHO The choice is (not so) simple:
Do you want to spend your time on an Unisaw motor swap, or does your area commonly have 120v Unisaw posted so you can sell yours and buy another with 120v motor?

In my area, finding a 120v Unisaw is rare, they show up maybe 1-2 times a year; despite having 2-6 Unisaw for sale at any give time. Plus majority of 120v Unisaw need a complete restoration as they are 60+ years old, which takes time away from working wood. But every region in USA is different. I agree with Brad: I would add a VFD to your current TS and find some 240v power in the new shop as buying a 120v motor new is over $500, and different saw requires patience to find. Adding a VFD will be ~$250 in parts, and might be able to sell the stuff you remove to recoup some cash.

is a rental, and i can't get a 240v outlet 😭
Where there is a will, there is a way.... Now living in my 3rd rental home - with a full 240v shop.
Suggestions:

1) Is the laundry area near the garage?
Newer homes with electric dryers use a 30A 240v power, and the receptacle that can be used with extension cord to garage. SWMBO only uses the dryer 1-2 times a week, right?
A 30A dryer outlet has enough power to run a 3HP TS, 5HP TS on a VFD, or can run a 240v 2HP TS AND a 240v 2HP dust collector with small sub-panel (started at different times). :p

2) Ask about 240v plug for your EV:
Can always ask the homeowner if you can install a charger for your electric car (cough, cough, wink, wink). Having a 240v 50a plug in garage as a fast charging EV port is slowly becoming a must have option, and always been approved by my slumlords. Some might even split the cost with you, or pay for it entirely. But suggest you wait till you sign the paperwork.
BTW - The EV forums are full of rental home users asking how to use dryer receptacle for garage power. ;)

This post is already too long, but let me explain further:

If breaker panel is nearby garage, should only cost $250-$400 for installation of single 240v 50A outlet, if the electrician can install a receptacle without a building permit. If they need a permit, have to add another $500-1000 depending on how busy the electrician is, and if they want a small filler job with lots of paperwork. :(

Once you have an 50A outlet: you or the electrician can build a portable sub-panel on 2'x'2' plywood plate you screw to studs near outlet. The panel is easy to build, costs ~$100 in parts. Mine has a 4 slot panel, with quad breaker. If offers a 240v 30A breaker with two different 240v receptacles (run one at time), and two 120v 20A breakers with quad outlet boxes on each circuit. Voilà - Instant shop power panel.

BTW - Most rental homes have a single 120v GFI outlet in garage, and it is shared with all bathrooms in house. So I have ALWAYS needed more 120v power as well as 240v in rental home (unless you move in after someone like me?)

Hope you find this helpful.
Thanks for reading to end. 🤪
 

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There is plenty of refurbishing videos and articles online about cleaning up older Delta unisaws, but I'm not finding a whole lot of motor swap information. I have an older 1960s unisaw that I would like to get a 120v motor for, and replace it and refurbish the machine over this winter.

I don't have an electrical background, but I think spending a few months doing this will help me learn a lot. I also have a friend who is an electrician that can give me a hand.

I can find Leeson replacement motors online for unisaws, but I don't see much information on if they are compatible with my saw. Is there anyone with any information on motor swaps that could point me in the right direction? Thank you.
About 35 years ago I swapped out a 3 phase motor on a Unisaw with a 110/220v motor that I bought from Grainger. It came out of the box with the proper mount for the saw and was a pretty easy swap for a novice. The only issue I had was the motor is a bit longer and would not tilt fully until I modified (cut) the metal housing at the motor end. Still runs fine. Moral of the story? A good industrial supply house may be able to point you to the proper replacement motor.
 

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There is plenty of refurbishing videos and articles online about cleaning up older Delta unisaws, but I'm not finding a whole lot of motor swap information. I have an older 1960s unisaw that I would like to get a 120v motor for, and replace it and refurbish the machine over this winter.

I don't have an electrical background, but I think spending a few months doing this will help me learn a lot. I also have a friend who is an electrician that can give me a hand.

I can find Leeson replacement motors online for unisaws, but I don't see much information on if they are compatible with my saw. Is there anyone with any information on motor swaps that could point me in the right direction? Thank you.
Being a pack rat when I changed my motor out 35 years ago I saved the old 3 phase motor in the box the new 110/220v motor came in. Don’t know if these photos will help you but here they are.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Being a pack rat when I changed my motor out 35 years ago I saved the old 3 phase motor in the box the new 110/220v motor came in. Don’t know if these photos will help you but here they are.
This helps! I might look into this! Thank you!


Changing a motor can be a challenge for the electrically challenged. Finding parts is not too hard, once you know what you need.
Takes me a couple hours max to swap a motor with parts in hand. But then I strip a Unisaw cabinet naked for restoration/paint in ~2 hours, have done it so many times. 😁

The folks over at the OWWM.org forums have hundreds of threads describing Unisaw restoration, motor swaps, and challenges posed. The sister site vintagemachinery.org also has many Unisaw documents in the WIKI and Delta machinery section that are invaluable to any Unisaw owner.

IMHO The choice is (not so) simple:
Do you want to spend your time on an Unisaw motor swap, or does your area commonly have 120v Unisaw posted so you can sell yours and buy another with 120v motor?

In my area, finding a 120v Unisaw is rare, they show up maybe 1-2 times a year; despite having 2-6 Unisaw for sale at any give time. Plus majority of 120v Unisaw need a complete restoration as they are 60+ years old, which takes time away from working wood. But every region in USA is different. I agree with Brad: I would add a VFD to your current TS and find some 240v power in the new shop as buying a 120v motor new is over $500, and different saw requires patience to find. Adding a VFD will be ~$250 in parts, and might be able to sell the stuff you remove to recoup some cash.


Where there is a will, there is a way.... Now living in my 3rd rental home - with a full 240v shop.
Suggestions:

1) Is the laundry area near the garage?
Newer homes with electric dryers use a 30A 240v power, and the receptacle that can be used with extension cord to garage. SWMBO only uses the dryer 1-2 times a week, right?
A 30A dryer outlet has enough power to run a 3HP TS, 5HP TS on a VFD, or can run a 240v 2HP TS AND a 240v 2HP dust collector with small sub-panel (started at different times). :p

2) Ask about 240v plug for your EV:
Can always ask the homeowner if you can install a charger for your electric car (cough, cough, wink, wink). Having a 240v 50a plug in garage as a fast charging EV port is slowly becoming a must have option, and always been approved by my slumlords. Some might even split the cost with you, or pay for it entirely. But suggest you wait till you sign the paperwork.
BTW - The EV forums are full of rental home users asking how to use dryer receptacle for garage power. ;)

This post is already too long, but let me explain further:

If breaker panel is nearby garage, should only cost $250-$400 for installation of single 240v 50A outlet, if the electrician can install a receptacle without a building permit. If they need a permit, have to add another $500-1000 depending on how busy the electrician is, and if they want a small filler job with lots of paperwork. :(

Once you have an 50A outlet: you or the electrician can build a portable sub-panel on 2'x'2' plywood plate you screw to studs near outlet. The panel is easy to build, costs ~$100 in parts. Mine has a 4 slot panel, with quad breaker. If offers a 240v 30A breaker with two different 240v receptacles (run one at time), and two 120v 20A breakers with quad outlet boxes on each circuit. Voilà - Instant shop power panel.

BTW - Most rental homes have a single 120v GFI outlet in garage, and it is shared with all bathrooms in house. So I have ALWAYS needed more 120v power as well as 240v in rental home (unless you move in after someone like me?)

Hope you find this helpful.
Thanks for reading to end. 🤪
Man this is unbelievably helpful. I'm pretty sure my breaker box is not horrible far from the garage (might be on the other side of the back wall, actually). I move in January 1st, so I will confirm. My landlord is a really nice guy; would probably not care if I put in a sub panel in the garage with a 240v outlet.
 

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There is plenty of refurbishing videos and articles online about cleaning up older Delta unisaws, but I'm not finding a whole lot of motor swap information. I have an older 1960s unisaw that I would like to get a 120v motor for, and replace it and refurbish the machine over this winter.

I don't have an electrical background, but I think spending a few months doing this will help me learn a lot. I also have a friend who is an electrician that can give me a hand.

I can find Leeson replacement motors online for unisaws, but I don't see much information on if they are compatible with my saw. Is there anyone with any information on motor swaps that could point me in the right direction? Thank you.
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Here’s the 110/220v motor with the ‘modification’ to allow full tilt when the cowling is in place.
 

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View attachment 3862143 View attachment 3862144
Here’s the 110/220v motor with the ‘modification’ to allow full tilt when the cowling is in place.
If you look at the motor data plate, 19.2A @ 115V will overwhelm any 15A or 20A 120V branch circuit with any bit of a load, a 1 1/2 HP motor is iffy on 120 volt circuit, that motor in the photo will not run long on a 20A 120V circuit unless very lightly loaded.
 
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