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Advantages of a drum switch over a standard toggle?

calstar

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
#1
I have an Atlas 12x36 lathe with the stock toggle on/off switch. Also have a drum switch taken off another machine I have. Would someone kindly explain why most folks feel the drum to be superior. Since the Atlas has a threaded spindle the drum won't be used to reverse the lathe. Motor on both machines is 110v. thanks, Brian
 

Splat

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
#4
For motors larger than 1HP go with the drum switch because it handles the surge load better. For low voltage applications like controlling a VFD a good toggle switch is fine. I'm using two NKK toggle switches to control my VFD; one is for rotation and the other for power.
 

docn8as

Active User
Active Member
#5
when using a tool post grinder , one wud normally run the spindle in reverse ......

when cutting a thread TO A SHOULDER , ,it is MUCH simpler to run the spindle in reverse & feed toward the tailstock, thereby cutting AWAY from the shoulder ,particularly internal threading where visibility is challenged .........lightly bumping the chuck to register & w/ the lite thread cuts , & slo speeds , the problem of chuck unscrewing simply evaporates....screw on chucks & reverse spindle motion when needed, were used for near 150 years ...perhaps the fudge factor was they were used by people who knew what they were doing ( or were properly instructed while in their qpprenticeships )
best wishes
doc
 

markba633csi

Active Member
Active Member
#6
Another case is if you happen to be cutting a metric thread; slow speed reversal is required. (can't use the threading dial)
MS
 

Tony Wells

Former Vice President
Staff member
Administrator
#7
In the big picture, drum switches can be rated to handle more current for one thing, and another is the number of "poles", or actual separate switches inside. I don't think I have seen a triple pole single or double throw toggle. Not saying they don't exist, but I just haven't seen them, but in drum switches, the extra pole switching is simple as stacking more wafers in and adding contacts.

One other thing just crossed my mind. Some double throw switches have a safety feature to prevent flipping across the off position and going straight from forward to reverse. Not all, but a really good idea. That's a feature I haven't seen on a toggle switch either. I have seen it on a few drum switches though.

All things considered, if you find a switch rated for the load you have, and it has the poles and throws you need, then the only thing I can think of MIGHT be duty rating. I would expect a drum switch to outlive several toggle switches.
 

AlbertNakaji

Active Member
Active Member
#8
Brian, could you please show an image, and provide a description, of the drum switch you are talking about? I have the same lathe and am wondering where you would mount it.
 

Ulma Doctor

Infinitely Curious
Active Member
#9
Although uncommon, I have and use 3PST toggle switches rated for 250vac @ 15A.
I use them on small table top 3 phase meat grinders with <3/4 hp motors.

no matter what method you use, toggle or drum, the effect is the very same- power is switched on and off
as long as the switch meets or exceeds the circuit requirements, both will provide the exact same function.
 

hman

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium
#10
One other thing just crossed my mind. Some double throw switches have a safety feature to prevent flipping across the off position and going straight from forward to reverse. Not all, but a really good idea. That's a feature I haven't seen on a toggle switch either. I have seen it on a few drum switches though.
Toggle switches of this type do exist ... or at least one does:
http://www.eaton.com/Eaton/Products...Controls/Toggles/HeavyDutyHesitationSwitches/
https://www.amazon.com/Eaton-7992K10-Hesitation-Toggle-Contacts/dp/B005T6B3JM
I'll agree with you, though, that they're pretty scarce. I needed one several years ago, and it took me a while to even come up with the correct terminology. I bought the "bat handle" style (shown on the left on the Eaton page). The current Amazon price is $31.49, but I'm pretty sure I paid a lot more back then.

Other than this minor detail, I agree with everything else posted here. I've since installed a Dayton drum switch on another tool, and just love swinging that big red knob. It's not something you're going to accidentally bump and start the machine.

Albert - here's a link to Grainger's drum switches:
https://www.grainger.com/category/drum-switches/motor-controls/electrical/ecatalog/N-qkp
I'm pretty sure I got the 2X441.
 

4gsr

Global Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter-Premium
#11
When you pull up the Amazon page for the 2PDT switch, there is a 4PDT switch listed at the bottom. Wow! You know, I think I have one of these in my hoarding collection somewhere.

My KO Lee T & C grinder uses a 3PDT switch on it. The motor is only 1/2 HP!
 

4gsr

Global Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter-Premium
#13
Yeah, $540 something dollars is a lot for something that looks like a bunch of miniature limit switches ganged together and made into a switch. I can get a 8 stage contactor and one toggle switch or push buttons and do the same thing for a third of the price. Might take up some room in the enclosure. Ken
 

pstemari

H-M Supporter - Premium Content
H-M Supporter-Premium
#16
Yeah, $540 something dollars is a lot for something that looks like a bunch of miniature limit switches ganged together and made into a switch.
Honeywell certainly isn't shy about charging absurd prices for their switches.
 

larry4406

Steel
Registered Member
#17
New guy here with similar questions.

I bought a 101.27440 Craftsman 12x36 lathe and it came with a drum switch. The "on/off" original switch had been bypassed. The wiring is/was very sketchy and I will be redoing it. 120VAC reversible motor.

Where are folks mounting the drum switch? I want to mount it ON the lathe somewhere, NOT on the bench as I have not determined where I will ultimately place the lathe. The prior owner had the drum switch mounted on his bench, so it had to be disconnected to move the lathe. Currently I am missing some of the guards (I've ordered them) so I am not able to yet figure out a good location.

I am planning on installing a metal junction box on the motor proper. Grounded power cord will go into the junction box, the "on/off" switch will become a switch leg, thinking of having a switched outlet on the junction box (for lamp), then to the drum switch and motor.

I could put a nipple on the junction box and mount the drum switch on it. Any concerns having the drum switch on the back side of the lathe by the motor? I can't imagine that I will be using the reverse feature so much that it needs to be front and center.

Pictures of mounting of a drum switch on an Atlas/Craftsman would be appreciated.
 

Reeltor

Active User
Active Member
#19
Just two comments......have it within easy reach of the operator. And where you don't have to reach over the machine to use it.
Please take Tony's advice
There are several videos around showing how someone was injured reaching up and over the lathe to reach the switch.

I am going to mount a drum switch on the rear of my lathe just to switch to reverse, the front mounted, magnetic power switch will still power the machine and I have a clutch so the spindle doesn't turn when the motor is powered up.
 

larry4406

Steel
Registered Member
#20
I made a mount for the drum switch to place it adjacent the QCGB. Still need to bump out the shrinkage from welding, paint it, and wire the lathe. I will be using the original on/off switch as a switch leg for master on/off. It will also switch an outlet that I will add to the motor for plugging in a lamp.

The mount I made does not alter any of the covers and swings nicely when the cover is swung open
 

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