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Long-time lurker, first time poster…

I was browsing my local craigslist and found a cabinet shop selling 3ph, 5hp Powermatic Model 66 for a pretty good deal. I contacted the owner and he told me he is selling because he has newbies in his shop that are not showing propper love to their own fingers. So to combat the rising insureance costs, he is replacing with StopSaws. I have also been eyeing a new Delta Unisaw in the 1ph, 3hp flavor. My intent is not to start a brand-based flame war here; I know that it is my limitations, not the PM's or Delta's, that will influence my handy work. Also, I have read and re-read all of the arguments for the StopSaw, but I know that it is just not for me. The first time I forget to disengage the safety (for whatever reason) and I lock-up my blade I will be fuming…

To get the PM66 to run in my shop I will either need to run 3ph to my shop (probably too expensive), purchase a phase converter (and loose power or spend some big dollars) or replace the 3ph motor with a 1ph motor (about $800).

My question comes down to this: do I buy used, put in the work and save some cash, or go for new and not worry about the hassle of buying used?

Any community knowledge/wisdom on this is much appreciated.

Thank you.
 

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Buy used, but not a three phase model. Most markets are flooded with good TS deals.
I would rather buy a cabinet saw from a hobby woodworker, as compared to a cabinet shop. I'm sure the tools get used and abused there.
 

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I strongly vote for used table saws. I have a 30-yr-old PM 66. Took a weekend to clean the gears and get the top in shape. Then I added extensions, love it. I just saw a unisaw on Craigslist Hartford for $700. I'd only go new to buy a Saw Stop. There are photos posted of my table saw on my home page.
Good luck
 

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You have not included some criteria in your question,PRICE.

That is if that is of much relavence to the equation It would not be too me if it was to be the one and only saw purchase I would ever make.

Getting the 3 phase machine operating will probably outweigh the savings you might enjoy, and yes you could cheap out and go with a static converter but will likely be replacing it at some point or install a rotary system which opens up some other doors that will be troublesome down the road.

Having three phase installed if not readily accessible, well forget that

Replacing the motor and controls with single phase is the way to go but shouldn't be neccessary with a little more searching due to pm 66s being a dime a dozen I don't know what percentage will be single phase but they are plentiful

I use two saws these days in two shops at a professional level: a pm 66 , 5hp, three phase and a delta 12-14 , 5hp single phase

If the two were making a court plea the 66 Sadley would plea no contest due to its light stature in comparison.

I can't tell you much about the sawstops other than I have put two of their contractor models together for two schools and was not impressed. I have looked at the heavier models they offer and they appear to be a decent machine but I dont care for black and the table is just smaller than I prefer kinda like the 66

We're it me I would keep looking! JB
 

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I have had a PM66 pushing 30 years and it's a great saw,I bought mine new ,but if I could afford a 5hp Saw stop I'd send the PM 66 out the door in a flash. I have been using a5 hp SS for 7 years were I teach my woodworking class and it's a quality table saw.On the other hand I've read a number of reviews saying the Contractor SS is under powered.
Just for the record replacing saw blades are far less expensive and less painful than hand surgery :)
 

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For a 10" cabinet saw, messing with 3 phase is not worth it. There
are plenty of single phase cabinet saws out there. We can argue,
but a LOBO is about the same as a Powermatic… they are
both competent cabinet saws found in pro shops.

I'm a used guy. Get more bang that way and upgrades turn
out to be no-loss ('cept sweat on my part) usually.

I think I have six 3 phase machines now. I got it bad, admittedly,
and I like my machines a bit too much. That said, they are all
specialized or larger capacity than the woodworking stuff typically
sold as single phase like 10" cabinet saws and 8" jointers.
 

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Thanks, keep up the 3phase scare, it makes those better machines available to to us that know better much cheaper!
The highly inflated price of phase conversion, is just great also.
Most helpful is, having to buy a 1 phase motor!

I have to say this helpful stuff is only on woodworking sites, the people on metal working sites know better, and the prices are climbing on that equipment.

Deal breaker, power loss, hassle, and cost "YES", keep using those key words!
 

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When it comes to large power tools such as planers, jointer, tablesaw, bandsaws, etc. I am firmly in the "buy used" camp. My experience has been that you can get a lot more machine for your buck on craigslist than you can buying new. I have bought 3 major tools on craigslist and have been happy with them all:

1. Mid 90's delta unisaw, 1 phase 3hp, 220 (USA made) in great condition with a extension table, 3 hp router in the extension table, and a excalibur fence. Cost me $1050 and a Saturday. If I bought that setup new it would probably be in the $4000-$5000 range.

2. 13" Cast iron Delta DC33 planer (USA made) 1 phase 2hp, 220 In decent condition. With some love and a new set of blades, it runs great. Paid $200. A comparable new machine would probably run at least $1000.

3. 1965 20" Powermatic Bandsaw, model 81 (USA made) 1 phase 1.5 hp, 220 in decent condition with a few new blades. Paid $1000. If I bought the same same saw new, I would be looking at $5000.

You can get some incredible machinery that will outlast you for good prices on craigslist. On the three tools above, I probably saved about $9000. Now the argument can be made that the "new" prices I am quoting are crazy high, but that is because I am quoting something of similar quality that will measure up to the used tools I got. Someone can tell me all day long that a Laguna or a Grizzly will do what my unisaw or bandsaw will do and is comparable. They are not comparable. They are good machines, but they haven't been running for 50 years like some of my tools. Heavy American made machinery cannot be beat. Go used.

A few tips about your CL seaching.

1. If you see a pretty good deal on an awesome machine, pounce on it. If you have years to wait for that perfect deal then that is fine, but I have been very happy with my "pretty good" deals once I got the machine into the shop and making sawdust. Powermatics 81s don't just show up on the curb, you have to grab things like that when you see them.

2. Stay with 1 phase. 3 phase can be a headache and unless you are running a large commercial shop. you likely don't need it.

Buying used is a little bit of a hassle, but you can get some awesome machines and they are usually up and running within a day or so if you bought them in average running condition. It is totally worth buying used. $9000 saved in a year, just think about that…
 

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Unbob has a point which I actually agree with, but I think
we share the same affliction of actually enjoying moving
heavy machinery around. This is an odd thing to enjoy,
but if your wife is rolling her eyes and you need a little
y-chromosome support, go to http://owwm.org and
you'll find it.

3 phase conversion is not that complicated but unless
you're particularly fascinated by heavier-class machinery
I'm not sure your time and energy won't be better
used making furniture or whatever you're sincerely
interested in.
 

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Now dont tell anybody! A single phase motor is really much like a 3phase motor.
The single phase motor has a third winding also that is fired buy a capacitor using a mechanical switch that cuts out when the motor starts spinning.
A phase converter such as the Autogen, acts the same way except its out board and all electronic, and is capacitor run also giving near full power. Grizzly sells those now-under $250 for a 3 to 7hp model.
I am running 4 machines in my workshop using 1 of those.
I stumbled upon the Autogen when I purchased the Delta 12-14 below.
The previous owner at first started the idler motor seen on the floor then started the saw, but discovered the idler motor was not needed. So, the saw is now simply hooked up only to the Autogen converter.
The saw is 7.5 hp, the 7 hp Autogen starts it with no problem. It has a nice two stage soft start, nothing so far has even slowed down that saw, even 5" depth in hard maple with a 14" blade.
The photo was the CL shot. $800 for all that.
Gas Engineering Machine Electrical wiring Electronic engineering
 

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The price point is the important part. If you could pick up the saw for under $400 then its well worth it. A static converter is a simple install and cheap Once it is hooked up you will never know that it is not single phase. mount the box to the saw and wire it up. there are 5 wire connections to make and you are up and running. On a TS with a 5 hp running at 2/3 power is more than any hobbyist needs. To all that are scared of three phase stop scaring others. there are simple and cost effective options out there. I have a 10 hp rotary phase converter, and less than $300 invested. The panel was pre wired, all I had to do was wire up the pony motor, and put on a plug. I have seen plenty of quality 3 phz machines sold at auction for less than scrap prices because there is a gross misunderstanding of how simple and cost effective a converter is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Gents,

Thank you all for the feed-back.

Cabmaker - The Delta Unisaw I was looking at was $3,200, so spending a $1,000 on a PM66 and then dropping another $800 for a 1ph, 5hp motor would be a savings for me. From a few other forums I read about going the power converter route, I was dissuaded from going that way for fear of buying a converter and then having the motor go south on me. Also, I have been searching my local ads for over a year and this is one of the first cabinet saws I have seen; I'm not sure where you are located, but in my neck of the woods (middle GA) neither PM 66s or older Unisaws are found lurking on CL with "a dime a dozen" regularity. Really nothing beyond a worn out craftsman table saw or two (based on the pictures) is found.

For everyone else: I was really thinking of swapping out the 3 phase motor because of the cost associated with running 3 phase from the street to my shop. I am fairly mechanically inclined, so swapping the motor doesn't phase me a bit (I do apologize for the pun).

So, back to the community, I am feeling the buy used (be it this saw or another) but buy one that is single phase. Does that sound about right?
 

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There certainly is some kind of mindset of having to buy needless expensive single phase motors for 3phase equipment. Only seen on woodworking sites-all of them.
Most all metal working machines are 3phase, many have been using converters of various types for decades with success.
The Monarch EE lathe in my avatar runs on 220 single phase via vacuum tubes to produce 220 volt DC 5hp variable speed power. that one is an exception.
 

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Another lurker is going to weigh in. I am assuming you are a hobby woodworker, correct?

I have not bought any major tools used, I have looked and thought about it but never pulled the trigger. The deals just were not good enough. I have a 3hp cabinet saw that is more than I could imagine I will ever need.

As others have said, there are plenty of nice used saws at attractive prices. Why would one consider any type of conversion?

Get yourself a nice 3hp or depending on your needs a 1.75hp hybrid. Plug it in and enjoy the craft.

How close are you to ATL? Based on the population, if it is not too far, I would think you could find a load of saws to buy.
 

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All the 3 phase guys definitely have points. If you feel like you could come out on top monetarily by going to 3 phase, then go for it. For me and most other hobbiest woodworkers, it is just something we don't really get into. Could we do it if we really wanted to? Yes, of course we could, but it would take some elbow grease, additional time and probably money. I really just haven't gotten into it because I don't see the point in complicating my shop. I don't need any of my machines to be more than 3 hp single phase 220. For that reason, I have never seen the need to go to 3 phase. I have no problem with used machines and putting in your time to tune them up, but in the end, I want to be woodworking. I have found that good condition used single phase machines give me a good medium of saving money but also being fairly straightforward as far as putting them to work after 4 to 8 hours of setup time.
 

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The Delta 12-14 in the photo above was on CL for six months. It started at $2000 kept going down, when it hit $950, I called and offered $800. Sold!
At the same time a single phase Unisaw in reasonable condition were $1200+, a PM 66 a bit more.
The 12-14 needed nothing except 4 new belts. It came with massive amount of extras, but the 3phase scared all others away, even though it came already wired with a converter.
Well, I lived with a Contractors saw for 20yrs, had enough of that nonsense.
However, that 12-14 is a powerful and accurate industrial machine tool, and not to be confused with consumer grade machines, requires due respect, get in the way of a kick-back, it could kill.
Very happy with that saw, excellent results, settings dont drift out.
Comparing value and function of any new hybrid saw to that 12-14…..not even close.
By the way, the 12-14 can use any blades 6" to 14", hole sizes 5/8" to 1 1/4", and 30mm.
 
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