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Somebody convince me I'm making a bad choice...

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by J. Oeser, May 3, 2012.

  1. J. Oeser

    J. Oeser

    May 13, 2009
    ... or tell me this will be a good setup. :)

    It's finally time for me to get a "big boy" grinder. I have been reading through all the threads doing my research until I'm cross eyed and dizzy. The final clincher was the thread posted by David66 with his mods and pics. Here is what I plan to buy/build:

    Grinder in a Box

    This motor - 1.5 HP

    And this VFD

    I will get the GIB with the multi platen and put a 2" wheel and 6" wheel on it. I will also be getting a small wheel holder and a 3/4" wheel. I use those three wheel sizes the most now and plan to get a separate tooling arm with an 8" and 14" wheel later.

    I plan to do the mods that David66 did on his GIB with the gas spring and moving the arm forward. I am able to buy metal for tooling arms, tool rests and platens cheap at a local metal mart.

    Here are my limitations. I only have access to 110 power in the little shop I am building by the house. That limits the motor size. I also prefer to have a direct drive grinder since I'm going with a VFD both to save space and money in pulleys, belts, bearings, etc. I am also comfortable in my assembly skills and have a good drill press so building the GIB or even a KMG clone should not be a problem. Not to mention I enjoy it too.

    So there it is. I need somebody to convince me (from actual experience) what mistakes I am making and how I can improve this plan, whether it be a better price on something somewhere else or just a better piece of the puzzle. I would rather spend more money (within reason) or time to get a good dependable grinder that will last me for years. Now before anybody starts recommending a TW90 keep in mind that I have financial constraints (translate - I'm a cheap SOB) as well as a small work space to deal with and other limitations.

    Thank you all for all the help you have already given me through this forum and the multiple threads full of useful info and for any more advice.
  2. daizee

    daizee KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 30, 2009
    Jared, I'm almost afraid to ask.... what have you been producing all these incredible knives on thus far?
  3. J. Oeser

    J. Oeser

    May 13, 2009
    A modified 1x42 Kalamazoo and I am really starting to feel limited by it. I need more speed, power and surface area. :D
  4. cdent


    Aug 28, 2005
    I think, because you're building the shop now, run a 220v line to it. Not really a mistake, but there probably isn't a better time to take the plunge. Chances are cost would be very similar for things like like wiring, vfd, etc., but lots of upside.
  5. J. Oeser

    J. Oeser

    May 13, 2009
    Man, if I could run the 220 now I would. I just honestly don't have room in the breaker box in my basement to expand. The next house I build, which is hopefully soon, will have a dedicated shop with all the power I need. But for now I'm limited.
  6. kc custom

    kc custom KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 20, 2005
    Jared if your knifemaking continues and I believe it will, your, setups, tools, and even shops will be
    in a constant state of evolution. Myself I've always wanted enough more that I never thought "this
    was the way it will be". Do your best for now and enjoy it
  7. Dave Behrens

    Dave Behrens

    Feb 25, 2011

    When I decided to upgrade my grinder(Hurricane 2x36), I bit the bullet, shelled out the cash and bought a TW-90. It replaced my 2x36 grinder, Spindle Sander, and Disc Sander. I was also surprised how quiet it is. It is just awesome, quick belt and tool rest change, freehanding is easy, the small wheel arm takes 1/2" to 2" wheels etc, etc...

    And you can choose 110v or 220v.
  8. J. Oeser

    J. Oeser

    May 13, 2009
    Thanks Ken, that is great advice and really what I am trying to do. I know, because it is already happening, that my tools will constantly progress and improve. My little bench top mill will be replaced by a knee mill and a surface grinder will happen one day. What my intentions are with this grinder is to have one that will last the test of time. Eventually I will have more than one 2x72 grinder and I want this one to last. I bought my 1x42 knowing that eventually I would upgrade but that I could still use the 1x42 to put the edge on my knives as well as some fine finish work. That way it wasn't a bad investment. I want to do the same with this purchase.

    Dave, I'm sure a tw-90 is a future purchase but for now my finances are truly limited. Plus my wife would probably kill me. :D
  9. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    The only advice I can offer is :
    Go 220VAC, you will thank yourself later.
    The VFD shown is just barely big enough for that motor. Not exactly a problem, but a 2-3HP VFD might be a slightly better choice. If you get to really hogging hard, you could pop the internal fuse ( or worse).
  10. J. Oeser

    J. Oeser

    May 13, 2009
    I just don't have a way of getting 220 to my shop now. Maybe I'll talk to my neighbor who is an electrician and see if he has some ideas.
  11. Steinerj


    Jul 6, 2005
    Cant get a really long dryer cord? Ive seen somebody do that for their 220
  12. Metzger


    Mar 9, 2010
    My generic 1.5 HP motor was under powered for how I like to grind. You have read enough to know 1.5hp is as much as you can use with 110v. I was so frustrated I went to a 3HP and upgraded to 220v. Maybe I just had a bad motor or loose or miswired motor. You probably don't have much choice but I thought I would mention it. Maybe others can chime in if 1.5 HP works for them.
  13. J. Oeser

    J. Oeser

    May 13, 2009
    Hmmm, my shop is just outside my laundry room. I bet I could make that work.

    Okay, change that to a 2 hp motor from the same eBay dealer and a KBAC 29d from the same website. Price is essentially the same but I will have more power.

    See, I knew you guys would steer me in the right direction.:)
  14. Shaw Blades

    Shaw Blades

    May 18, 2009
    That guy at PTJ industrial is a great help. If you call him and tell him your situation he could surely give some advice. I saved a pretty good amount of money buying a motor/vfd set up from him instead of the package through Beaumont.
  15. Phil Dwyer

    Phil Dwyer KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 28, 2006
    That's what I do. I even have a few adapters I put together to plug my welder in at other locations with different receptacle pin-outs.
  16. Erin Burke

    Erin Burke KnifeMaker...ish Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 19, 2003
    Hey Stacy... I'm not sure what VFD you're looking at, but the one that Jared linked to is a KBAC-27D... the same VFD that Rob Frink offers with both his 1.5hp and 2hp VS packages. It's the same VFD that I have running two 2hp motors in my shop (my KMG and disc grinder). I don't know exactly what you mean by "barely big enough", but I'm fairly confident that the KBAC-27D is capable of handling the 1.5hp motor that Jared linked. I do agree that it is entirely possible to bog down a 1.5hp motor... no argument with that. ;)
    I apologize in advance if I misunderstood what you were trying to say. :)

  17. Bill Hoffman

    Bill Hoffman

    Jan 2, 2006
    Your electrician can split off lines to add a sub panel for your 220 line...or.....
    if you have an appropriate panel now, use piggy-back breakers to open up enough
    room for a 220 breaker. That's what I did here with a Square-D panel.

  18. 12345678910


    Jul 13, 2009
    Looks like a solid plan to me.

    According to some of Rob's posts here that motor 1.5HP and vfd combo is the most popular he sells.

    If you're used to using a 1x42 then you're not hogging hard and that will be a nice upgrade.

    If you want to go 220v and bigger I won't argue against that, either.
  19. jawilder


    Jun 27, 2006
    Piggy back breakers is exactly what I did to make room for 220
  20. Brian Ayres

    Brian Ayres

    Feb 4, 2011

    I have a GIB with a 1.5hp motor and VFD.

    IF YOU ADJUST THE VFD according to Rob's direction for his KMG package you'll have a hard time bogging down a 1.5 too. I have the same motor from a different eBay dealer. Mine was $20 less with freee shipping, 2 year warranty etc too. It's when you go over 100HZ that you start losing torque. I spent a few hours researching on an electric motor forum to figure out what I needed to do. I'm totally limited to 110. Period. It's fine. Seriously. I have a KBAC 27D. Select 2x speed with a 1725 RPM motor and set the pot limit as Rob suggests.

    Onto the GIB. I welded my upright. Tapping that piece wouldn't be bad but I have a welder at work.....
    Buy wheels from Rob. Budget wheels do not have the spacer between the bushings and when you tighten the bolts to lock em in place it sideloads the bearing and causes friction. I added spacers but it added 4-6 hours to my build.
    I bought a budget 8" wheel and spent another 1-2 hours with a file and a split belt re-crowning the wheel and trimming it. It was almost 2-1/8" wide in some spots and closer to 2" in others....

    I didn't buy 1-1/2" solid tool arm square tube. I bought the heavy wall 1-1/2". It's fine. Likely no reason to go solid, except, Jamie at Polar Bear said solid reduces vibration slightly...

    I'm planning on doing the mod David did with the gas shock. Everyone that does one says it helps so why not....

    I enjoyed my build. Happy I did it.

    Small wheels. I bought the budget pack from Tracy at USAKnifemaker. Great value for the money. Almost the same cost for three wheels and the bracket in a kit as it is for one wheel and the bracket.

    The most critical piece is tapping, drilling and threading the tracking brackets. Mine was off due to the part slipping in the vise when drilling and I had to ask a friend to mill me a new piece. Be sure to spend extra time on it, and shim it like David did in his build.

    Best of luck!!!

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