typed of motors that are useful to save for woodworking?

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Forum topic by HokieMojo posted 10-28-2010 04:23 AM 7564 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2104 posts in 4031 days

10-28-2010 04:23 AM

This is a 2 part question.
1) I have a sink disposal that still runs well. Is there any point in trying to get the 1/2 hp motor out of it to use to make anything?
2) what types of motors would someone want to keep (treadmill, kitchen stand mixer, garage door opener, etc?

I don’t know much about motors or how they work. Basically, the only things I would know to check for are HP and size (will it fit where it needs to go).

Juts wondering what other’s thoughts are. I don’t want to be a pack rat if I couldn’t use this for something (like some sort of disk sander or something.

9 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3153 days

#1 posted 10-28-2010 05:50 AM

This is a good question. The key issue is mounting the motor, provided the hp and the rpms are right. Oh, and there’s rotation too, though on many motors that can be changed.

The only easy application for a mountable electric motor is as a grinder. You can buy an arbor that attaches to the flatted shaft with set screws. Putting on three wire brushes on an arbor like this makes a nice rust-remover, burnisher, thread cleaning machine.

Most of the motors you’re describing are too puny for the shop. 1/2 hp would be the minimum for the grinder/wire brush application.

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Alexander's profile


194 posts in 3414 days

#2 posted 10-28-2010 06:56 AM

I used a couple of old washing machine motor for a disk sander and a bench grinder for my glass art.

I also used the squirral cage unit from a furnace as a fan for burning brush.

-- John at Sugarloft Mountain........Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.

View PurpLev's profile


8550 posts in 3951 days

#3 posted 10-28-2010 07:23 AM

it really depends on your needs. you really want to consider HP, voltage, Amperage, and RPM. many motors can be used in the shop for many things from shop made machines, to replacement motors to existing machines etc. but you have to match the motor to the application it’s set to do. AC motors are easier to deal with than DC motors as they don’t require an additional controller/driver, but DC motors can give you variable speeds and reverse operation with ease as long as you have a proper driver for it.

treadmill motors are a good case of DC motors that can be used for variable speed applications (replacing your Drill press motor for example and getting rid of changing belts). any AC motor that runs at 1750 RPM or lower can be used for a honing/sharpening station hp can be as low as 1/3hp or even less.

it really depends. but I’d save good functional motors at least long enough for me to figure out if I can utilize them for anything.

(am actually in the process of replacing an AC motor on a lathe with a DC motor for variable speed without having to deal with belts):

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 3684 days

#4 posted 10-28-2010 07:29 AM

That’s pretty cool, PurpLev.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11333 posts in 3731 days

#5 posted 10-28-2010 02:42 PM

I’ve been saving a squirrel cage and motor to build a shop air cleaner, and I use a serviceable garbage disposal to chunk up turquoise for inlays. Oh, and my home made disk sander is just an old 1HP motor from a table saw with a plywood base and table.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4031 days

#6 posted 10-28-2010 05:00 PM

well, i just remembered a favorite option for the garbage disposal (if not for the fact that it is used). I think some people have used it to process apples into cider. Then you can go further and make hard cider if yo want. I guess this isn’t a great application for a used one though. LOL.

Thanks for the ideas guys. I’m not sure what I’ll do with the disposal now, but we’ll see.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4428 days

#7 posted 10-28-2010 06:22 PM

I recently saw a demonstration of a lathe that used a small low speed motor with a speed control to rotate the stock, and a router on a sled with some shaped rails as the tool. The guy who built it used it to make shaped dowels (what do you call those things? If they were flat I’d call ‘em slats) for a cradle.

Seems like a treadmill motor and gearbox, with the speed controller, would be great for that. Gotta build my shop so I’ve got room for toys like this…

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3498 days

#8 posted 10-28-2010 07:56 PM

Here’s one example: A v-drum sander requires a minimum 1/4hp motor which turns at 1750rpm. You can get the kit here.

There have been several LJ who have made them and they all see happy with it.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3169 days

#9 posted 10-28-2010 08:08 PM

Purplev, I’m going to have to give you some nice credit on that motor mount that you made there. That is a mighty fine job that you did there. Yes Sir it is.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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