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Need some help - motor size on a Hercules-Ajax 14x60 lathe

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Registered Member
Nov 5, 2015
I am looking at upgrading from my South Bend 9A to something bigger. I found a Hercules-Ajax 14x60 (made by Mazak) from the early 1970s. I have the space, and can afford the machine. My only question is power. The owner thinks is has a 5HP motor, and that it can be re-wired from 440 3PH to 220 3PH. I can get a VFD to convert 220 1PH to 220 3PH up to 5HP. If it is any more than that I don't know if I will be able to power it. Does anyone know for sure that the stock motor is 5HP? Information on this particular lathe is pretty scant on the internet.

Also, I know (from the VFD on my mill) that the VFD doesn't like to play well with the forward/reverse switches on the motor. It wants to be the switch. Has anyone successfully re-wired the forward/reverse switches on an apron to work with the VFD rather than being hard wired into the motor?



Bob Korves

H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
H-M Supporter - Sustaining Member
Jul 2, 2014
Use the forward/reverse switch on the lathe to control the VFD. Or add a switch. It is a low voltage, low amp circuit. The lathe drum switch is massive overkill, but it will work fine. Putting a switch in between the VFD and the motor is a very bad idea. I prefer a VFD rated higher than the motor rating, especially with Chinese VFD's. Have the seller look at the motor label and get you the data. It might not be the original motor.
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