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What projects could I do with an industrial electric motor (1 to 7.5 HP)? Answered

My local Habitat for Humanity ReStore has a bunch of used Baldor Brand AC motors for $40. Power ranges from 1HP to 7.5 HP. It seems like a good deal since these things retail for a couple of hundred. I was wondering what I could use one of these for. Also, could I just wire one of these things up to a wall outlet to make it run, or would I need some kind of controller. What considerations should I take in picking which motor to buy? power? 3 phase vs 1 phase? etc?



If you have no 3 phase power supply, then just rip the motor apart and sell the copper and steel for scrap, you may break even on it.

What about attaching a stone and converting some of these motors into grinders? At least the one phase, because the three phase will be mostly for industrial applications.

They are mostly useful for...industrial applications. If you don't have a use for them you're better off selling them. They can do...anything a motor can do :)

As I've recently learned, 3-phase is better for starting under load, but requires a more complex contactor (switch) to turn on.

Single phase motors can be run on standard household wiring (with consideration for voltage) -- some require a capacitor to start; depends on the motor configuration.

Thanks for the tips on phase.

As far as project ideas go, I was looking for suggestions like build a high power chipper using a bucket and a edger blade, or maybe make a giant rock tumbler.

You might consider re-selling for profit and then give Habitat for Humanity ReStore a share.
But otherwise you're going about things the wrong way. It's like asking what you can do with a distributor-cap from a Ford Prefect... You either need a motor for a job or you don't, creating a job around something like this is irrational.


I haven't bought the motor yet to resell. ReStore is selling it, I'll let them figure out their own profit margins. If you've never heard of a ReStore, the accept donations of building supplies, and resell them at discounted prices. It's a cool place, you should look up your local one.

Also, I view this site as a playground for tinkerers like me that are always looking to build some sort of project.

I think my nearest store is a few thousand miles away...


IFF you have 3-phase service at your location, and IFF you use some form of beefy single phase motor for a pump or other purpose (might make a solid source for a small lathe or a near continuous-duty table saw) currently that operates for long durations, then yeah. Otherwise...cool as they look, more work than they will economically return.