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What is a DC Treadmill Motor?

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oskar

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#1
Just wondering what is a DC Treadmill Motor. Why?

Recently I bought a Taig mini metalworking lathe and eventually I plan to convert it to cnc. I have experience with cnc mills but never used or seen a lathe before and it’s all for hobby use.

Back in 2012 I bought a set of Taig ER16 headstock along with a Sherline KBIC DC Motor Speed Control for the cnc mill I was building. Since then I replaced the Taig / KBIC with a VFD / water cooled spindle and I’m thinking to use the KBIC on my new Taig.

Somehow I believe the Treadmill and KBIC do the same thing but not sure
 

Ulma Doctor

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#2
a DC treadmill motor is a small but powerful permanent magnet DC motor. sometimes up to 3 hp
A treadmill motor and a controller like the KBIC can be used for operating a lathe, provided that the KBIC controller matches the HP rating of the DC motor, otherwise you will not get full performance from the motor and may damage the controller as a result
 

Hawkeye

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#3
If you were going to use a treadmill motor for a piece of equipment, but didn't have a suitable controller, the best (or cheapest) approach is to use the controller that came with the motor. A newer, push-button controlled treadmill is a pain to run. They don't seem to ramp up by holding down the button. You have to punch the button a hundred times to get to the speed you want.

The older treadmills with rotary or slide pots are much nicer to run.
 

jwmay

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#4
DC stands for direct current, which is like a battery, or your cell phone charger output. There’s a positive (+) and negative (-) electron flow. AC current is what your refrigerator, air compressor, and hair dryer run on. The electron flow is cyclic. And now I see someone else posted, so they’ve probably answered it better than I would have in much less time. There are books devoted to the subject though. Google can help.
 

oskar

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Thanks to all for the great help

BTW the KBIC DC Motor Speed Control I used came together with a 90VDC motor and both worked nicely on my cnc mill and hopefully will work nice on my Taig conversion
 

jwmay

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#6
That’s great! I’ve always guessed Cnc machines used stepper motors, so that’s interesting to me that plain old dc motors do the job. Did you buy the motor and controller as a package from a vendor, or how’d you come across them? Apologies if you already mentioned it.
 

Timothyj999

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#7
You need both. CNC machines use stepper motors to control the MOVEMENT of the tables or cutting head in the x, y, and z directions. However they still need to SPIN the mill or lather spindle, and that’s where the DC treadmill motors come in. People are finding them a good substitute for the AC motors that come standard on a lot of small machines (which require a pulley or gear change to adjust the rotational speed of the spindle). A brushless DC motor can be made variable speed with the right controller, and most people upgrade the spindle motor at the same time they’re doing the CNC conversion.
 

oskar

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#8
Tomothyj999 above said it right.

I bought a package back in 2012 of a Taig headstock, Sherline 90VDC motor, the KBIC DC Motor Speed Control, and 4 stepper motors for a cnc mill I was building.
 

jwmay

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#9
Ha! Silly me! I wasn’t even thinking about the spindle motor. Well that explains it all. Oops!
 

outsider347

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#10
Thinking about using a treadmill motor & controller on my 2X72 belt grinder

Thoughts / Suggestions?
 

Z2V

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#11
That’s what I used. 3 hp. Works great, I can spin it over 7 k sfpm
 

ttabbal

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#12
Thinking about using a treadmill motor & controller on my 2X72 belt grinder

Thoughts / Suggestions?
If I hadn't lucked into a great deal on the ideal motor, I would have used a treadmill motor.

3 phase, sealed, 2hp marathon motor in my case. Even had the common size shaft and key to fit the wheel sets sold by the knife makers. Add a VFD and off you go. I even have a treadmill in the garage half disassembled, but I couldn't pass it up. I'll use the treadmill motor for something else.
 

brino

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#13
@oskar,

Check your local for sale site, craigslist, kijij, or equivalent.
I have picked up two treadmills for no cost........the owner just wanted to get rid of them.
One was working perfectly, the other had a bearing gone in one belt axle (the motor and controller worked fine).
Of course they are always in the basement.......take some tools, dis-assemble and make many trips.
(I forgot allen wrenches for one and had to use vise-grips on the heads)

So these motors can be free, for the effort of hauling the treadmill machine away!

-brino
 

middle.road

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#14
@oskar,

Check your local for sale site, craigslist, kijij, or equivalent.
I have picked up two treadmills for no cost........the owner just wanted to get rid of them.
One was working perfectly, the other had a bearing gone in one belt axle (the motor and controller worked fine).
Of course they are always in the basement.......take some tools, dis-assemble and make many trips.
(I forgot allen wrenches for one and had to use vise-grips on the heads)

So these motors can be free, for the effort of hauling the treadmill machine away!

-brino
That's how I scored my two. Now just need to find the time to put them to use...
 

outsider347

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#15
Anyone know the fix to not have to reset the speed controller pot every time the the motor is started?
 

Chris Hamel

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#16
I am pretty sure if you put a switch between the speed controller and the motor you won't have to reset the pot after you turn it off. Switch needs to be a 20 amp rating. It should be a dc switch, but I have gotten by with an ac switch.
 

Chris Hamel

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#17
Another thought. If you put a toggle switch to break the connection on the "wiper" wire you can use it for your on/off and rpm setting should stay.
 

markba633csi

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#18
Actually it's risky to break the connection between the controller and the motor with power applied. It can damage things. Better to switch the pot wiper as mentioned above
Mark
 

eserv

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#19
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f350ca

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#20
Curious. Has anyone actually measured the torque on a treadmill motor? Do they actually produce the advertised HP or are they akin to compressor motor or vacuum motor ratings.

Greg
 

C-Bag

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#21
Curious. Has anyone actually measured the torque on a treadmill motor? Do they actually produce the advertised HP or are they akin to compressor motor or vacuum motor ratings.

Greg
That is the $64,000 question Greg. Main problem with the ones I've run into is there is a vast difference in them. The cheap home units have way different motors and components than the gym grade ones. I paid $50 for a industrial treadmill and the motor had just been replaced. It's way heavier duty then the freebie I got. I got a controller of eBay that's perfect for these kinds of machine setups as it has a speed knob, jog, and reverse. Way easier for me than trying to rig the controls from the old treadmill.
 

chips&more

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#22
If you are using a treadmill motor in a shop environment? The treadmill motors that I have seen are not sealed. So how are you keeping the crap away from the permanent magnets within the motor?...Dave
 

C-Bag

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#23
If you are using a treadmill motor in a shop environment? The treadmill motors that I have seen are not sealed. So how are you keeping the crap away from the permanent magnets within the motor?...Dave
This is a valid point for certain applications in my mind. I've not gotten around to mounting it on my lathe yet. But I feel where the motor is under and behind a splash guard would make it so I was more worried about cooling than dust. I'm also very concerned about metal dust and keep the lathe covered when not in use. But when I think about it many open frame motors on hand grinders, die grinder etc which are right in the thick of it so to speak, last for decades in my shop anyway. But that same concern kept me from using my mill motor for like a band saw or belt grinder. These kinds of info about actual HP and longevity never seem to come up.
 

ttabbal

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#24
If you get it cheap or free, use it. It might not last as long as a sealed motor, but I'll bet it will work a good while. That was my plan until I lucked into a deal on a nice sealed motor. I still have the treadmill motor set aside for a future project. Never know when I might want a spinny thing. :)
 

chips&more

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#25
This is a valid point for certain applications in my mind. I've not gotten around to mounting it on my lathe yet. But I feel where the motor is under and behind a splash guard would make it so I was more worried about cooling than dust. I'm also very concerned about metal dust and keep the lathe covered when not in use. But when I think about it many open frame motors on hand grinders, die grinder etc which are right in the thick of it so to speak, last for decades in my shop anyway. But that same concern kept me from using my mill motor for like a band saw or belt grinder. These kinds of info about actual HP and longevity never seem to come up.
Sorry but IMHO you are not comparing like for like. The open frame motors, hand grinders and such do not have the same motor guts. A treadmill motor has permanent magnets in it. It has a magnetic field even when turned off. Anything that can stick to it will, if it gets close enough and at any time, The other mentioned motors, not so…Dave
 

Z2V

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#26
@oskar,

Check your local for sale site, craigslist, kijij, or equivalent.
I have picked up two treadmills for no cost........the owner just wanted to get rid of them.
One was working perfectly, the other had a bearing gone in one belt axle (the motor and controller worked fine).
Of course they are always in the basement.......take some tools, dis-assemble and make many trips.
(I forgot allen wrenches for one and had to use vise-grips on the heads)

So these motors can be free, for the effort of hauling the treadmill machine away!

-brino
The first treadmill I picked up off CL was in the upstairs bedroom. It was too wide to go thru door let alone down the stairs. It was obviously assembled in the room. The house was being gutted for remodel and had a dumpster in driveway. I put the whole treadmill in the dumpster short of the motor and control board. The home owner was kinda ****** that I only took the motor and left the rest but he got over it I hope.
I use this motor and control board on my belt grinder and have no problem with having to set the speed every time I turn it on. I might spin it 3-4 k fpm to grind a tool bit but only 2k to clean up the end of a bolt I just cut off. I always turn the speed to zero before I turn it off. It will spin to 7 k fpm, that’s scary fast for me, I seldom go past 5k.
Just my 2 cents
 

NortonDommi

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#27
Just deconstructed another treadmill a couple of days ago, commercial unit from a friends Dojo, of the 4 I've pulled apart 2 had brushed motors and 2 were brushless. 1 1 HP, 2 1.5 HP and 1 1.75 Hp Using with original circuit board with added wiper pot. All were sealed motors. I take any tread mill people want to dump and old gym equipment. All good sources of materials.
 

KBeitz

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#28
A cheap controller for a DC motor can be made with only a bridge rectifier and a variac transformer.
 

Tony Pisano

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#29
Thinking about using a treadmill motor & controller on my 2X72 belt grinder

Thoughts / Suggestions?
I would say yes. Several years ago I motorized my honey extractor with a motor and control from a treadmill. I built a box to house the transformer and circuit board, then made a wiring harness so the motor could be easily unplugged from the controls, and also so I could set the control on the kitchen table and run the extractor while I was uncapping the next set of frames.
 

Tony Pisano

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#30
The other great thing about the free treadmills is that you also get square metal tubing rollers, solid shaft material and metal brackets that come in handy for other projects
 
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