New variable speed motor for old Delta lathe

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Forum topic by greatview posted 05-21-2017 02:49 PM 3418 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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135 posts in 3761 days

05-21-2017 02:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

There are several conversations on this topic but I cannot find what I’d call a “how to” discussion. Many say to get a motor from a tread mill or from some other similar source. I’d like to buy something that is simple to get up and running. Easy to do is more important that low cost. The lathe with a 4 step pulley does what I need it to do but having a variable speed set up would be more convenient. Currently I have a half horsepower motor which barely does the job. More horsepower would be great.

-- Tom, New London, NH

8 replies so far

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1660 posts in 2333 days

#1 posted 05-21-2017 03:38 PM

What is the model number of the lathe shown? Looks similar to Delta Milwaukee 1460. If so, it is a good lathe worth putting about $600 into, and it will be as comparable if not better as any of the new machines currently on the market today. The swing is the only drawback as for the solidly built bed, it should be at least a 14-16” lathe..

The first thing I would do if that was my lathe is move that switch to the tailstock end for the time being.

What is your serial number?

If you want pictures of what I did, will be glad to post them. .............. Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View greatview's profile


135 posts in 3761 days

#2 posted 05-21-2017 03:59 PM

Unfortunately, the tag with the model number and serial number is gone. I bought it at an auction maybe 40 years ago and there was no identification then. The best I can do is there are numbers on the head stock and tail stock CBL-401 and CBL-402. Certainly seems like the model 1460 based on pictures I’ve seen. Good and solid with relatively new bearings.

Would appreciate seeing your pictures.


-- Tom, New London, NH

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1660 posts in 2333 days

#3 posted 05-22-2017 03:47 PM

Tom, I haven’t forgotten you. I’m trying to downsize my pictures to be able to post them. But every day, my computer wants to fight me, and I don’t care how much it costs, I ain’t gonna lose….... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

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13007 posts in 2983 days

#4 posted 05-22-2017 04:32 PM

Treadmill motors are relatively simple, the older the treadmill the simpler usually. There are some resources on my personal blog, link below. It’s not really a step by step because I wasn’t focused on making a tutorial when I did it.

-- Rick M,

View MrUnix's profile


7582 posts in 2802 days

#5 posted 05-22-2017 06:12 PM

I think a detailed how-to might be difficult to find, given the differences in lathes and treadmill motors that might be involved… I doubt there is a one size fits all tutorial. At best, you will get a lot of good ideas on how to go about doing it, and can then adapt them to your particular situation with a little creativity.

The lathe you have does appear to be the 1460, or later known as the 46-305 (4 speed) or the 46-310 (16 speed) which used stepped pulleys. Manual can be found here: No. 46-305 12-inch Woodworking Lathe

The most difficult part will be getting the drive pulley on the motor, as they typically use those wide ribbed serpentine type belts, not a V-belt like what is used on your headstock. Depending on what motor you wind up with, you might be able to find a bushing for it so you can re-use the existing motor pulley. Once you work that out, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to mount the motor in conjunction with the proper length belt, and deciding where/how to mount the electronics.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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50 posts in 1986 days

#6 posted 05-22-2017 09:59 PM

It sure looks like my 1460. I put a 1hp 3phase motor and a VFD and really like it. While installing a VFD seems daunting once you get into it it’s pretty easy. I have a remote switch box on the tailstock end with forward and reverse and a speed control. I haven’t felt I needed more than 1hp but others may disagree. You should be able to make the conversion for around $300.

-- Member Valley Woodturners Ottawa. Member AAW

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1660 posts in 2333 days

#7 posted 05-23-2017 04:16 AM

Tom, I don’t know if this will help, but here are some of the pictures I could find. I don’t think any really address what you are looking for.

I made a 2” 4” two step spindle pulley driven by a J8 belt. I don’t know why I used a J8, but I did. I never had any belt slippage nor any vibrations caused by a belt like I had with regular V belts.

I used my 2 hp 3phase motor from my dust collector that I retired when I closed my business. It has a 2” drive pulley for the J8 belt. Any parts you see in the pictures that are red or blue, I made them. The face mount motor mounting bracket was a challenge because I’d never used a rotary table before.

This is the Hitachi VFD used to drive the motor. It’s a 3 hp and powering a 2 hp motor. I had plans to put in a smaller dust collector but haven’t really had the need yet..

This is the best part of how I set up the power supply. The VFD is just above. The black wire going into the switch box from below is the incoming 220 volt 30 amp wire. It goes into the switch so I can power off the VFD when not in use. The power goes into the VFD, does it’s thing and then goes out the top as 3 phase in the above picture, and comes back around to the receptacle below the VFD next to the switch box. Instead of hard wiring the 3 phase power to the lathe, I did it this way because the lathe was outside under a roof, but was not waterproofed. I could unplug the lathe from the VFD and take the VFD into a water proof area. Also, if I had another 3 phase machine with the same 3 phase plug that met the VFD criteria, when not using the lathe, I could use the VFD to power any machine that I needed to use.

I mounted the 1460 to a frame I made to use with a Boice Crane long bed lathe I ended up giving to a friend in Oklahoma.

........... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View Kenbu's profile


36 posts in 2484 days

#8 posted 05-24-2017 12:51 PM

A neat and inexpensive solution discussed in the following Shopsmith forum thread is a variable speed DC industrial sewing machine motor. Looks ideal for your application, but you’ll have to research a bit. Food for thought here, anyway.


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