Last month we were doing some work in Tennessee when we decided to drop into this home workshop to see what was cooking! This video contains a lot of great information for those new to the idea of using a phase converter.
If you have a garage workshop you can probably imagine the possibilities of what you can use a phase converter to save you both time and money. For more information about what phase converter is best for your needs, click here.
A few weeks ago some of the American Rotary team headed back to Indiana to visit Dusty Hicks at his machine shop, where we first met with him a couple of months earlier to get to know him and his work.
Dusty is a hobbyist and machinist who enjoys building (and shooting) cannons and working on other projects around the shop. He was kind enough to take a few moments to share with us his top five tips for those who are looking to get into machining and we are glad to show them with you here.
Recap: 5 Machining Tips and Tricks For Beginners:
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are going to happen. It’s how you learn.
Don’t be afraid to get big equipment. You can outgrow small equipment and you can still make small and intricate pieces on large equipment such as a large lathe.
Use your resources. The internet is a goldmine of information for anything you want to learn. One of Dusty’s favorites to learn from on YouTube was Tubal Cain.
Be creative. Everyone’s different and has a unique perspective to offer.
Have fun. It doesn’t always have to be work.
We hope you enjoyed these tips and find ways to apply them to your work. Starting out in any trade is exciting and you may even discover some things on your own over time that you feel others might like to know as well. By sharing insights with others we can all help each other by paying it forward as those did who helped us.
Well, you’ve done it! You have your own shop just like you’ve always wanted and it is in the perfect location. There is only one problem. You have the equipment of your dreams in your shop, but it is just sitting there, not being able to be used or make you money because it is three-phase and your shop only has single phase power. What do you do now? Well, the good news is, American Rotary is here to save you! With an American Rotary phase converter, you can get your three-phase equipment up and running just like it would run if you had utility three phase power. Below are common questions and tips that will smooth the process of picking out the right phase converter and proper set up for your needs.
Where do I start with sizing a phase converter?
It can be a bit overwhelming just finding out that you need a phase converter and not knowing where to start looking. There is a lot of information out there about phase converters. Some of it is true and some of it is incorrect. The best thing to do is to contact someone that is familiar with the different types of converters out there and can go over what your current and future needs are. This will help design a phase converter that will not only work for you now but also as you grow and add in more equipment. Once you have that initial conversation, of how a phase converter can benefit your shop, then it is time to start tailoring it to the size converter that you need.
What information should I have available to help smooth the process along?
There is actually not too much information that is needed when it comes to sizing a phase converter. All that is needed is the type of machine it is, the machines power requirements (this will be listed in HP, AMPs, kW, or kVA), and the voltage listed. There are different types of phase converters that are designed for different style loads. There are phase converters set up light duty loads, CNC, resistive, and hard starting loads. Each load runs different and has different starting loads. Going over the type of machine will help determine which phase converter will work best. One thing to keep in mind with an American Rotary system is, there is no harm in going with a phase converter for a larger load even if your current load does not require it. It is better to go bigger now than find out later that you need it.
Have an idea on the setup and if you are planning to add in more equipment.
Knowing where you want to place the phase converter will help determine how we tailor the phase converter to your needs. In some cases, the phase converter may need to be portable, you may need it to run multiple machines, or you may need the phase converter to be mounted in a separate location than where the machines will be running. American Rotary has designed many different phase converters options to best fit your particular shop’s needs.
Where does my phase converter have to be installed?
The phase converter can be installed where ever you need it to be. There are different options available depending on where you need the phase converter set up. The unit comes standard as an indoor unit but there are options to split the converter and have the panel inside and the idler outside, vise versa, or even the complete unit outside. There are customers who even have the phase converter split even when installed inside. They will place the panel in one spot and the idler in another. This makes it versatile to meet any shops space considerations and environments.
How loud is the phase converter?
Many people are taken back by the idea of an idler running to manufacture the third leg. They think it will be very loud and distracting in their shop. As this may be the case with some phase converters, that is not the case with an American Rotary Phase Converter. At American Rotary, we utilize a custom designed VIT induction generator. American Rotary worked with Baldor to design and engineer this custom technology to have an idler that runs very efficiently, quietly, and cool. The VIT generator will operate at less than 60 Db, which is comparable to a box fan running. The idler will also operate at a cooler temperature compared to other phase converters of similar size.
What if my shop is extremely dirty?
The American Rotary Phase Converter is designed to withstand your typical shop environment. But we also understand that there are shops out there that produce more dirt than normal. American Rotary took that into consideration and we designed our AI-Industrial line. This line is designed to be in extremely dirty environments or even installed outside. The AI-Industrial line is made as a full NEMA-3R enclosure with solar reflective paint. It also features a washable air filter to filter out any dust and debris from circulating through the phase converter. Since the phase converter is in an all in one, NEMA-3R enclosure it makes for a simpler installation. You just have to run your single phase in and your three-phase out!
My machine is a CNC, I’ve heard you can’t run CNC Machines with a Rotary Converter, is this true?
This is not true with an American Rotary Phase Converter. American Rotary offers a digitally controlled Rotary Phase converter that was designed to run CNC and other computer controlled equipment. Our Patented Micro-smart controller monitors and controls your voltages across the three legs of power ensuring that clean and balanced power is always being produced and provided to your machine. With an American Rotary Phase Converter that features the Micro-Smart Controlled you can expect to see voltages around a 2-5% balance across the three legs. To give some comparison, utility three phase is generally around 10% balance.
Sizing 2:1 Rule of Thumb
A general and quick rule of thumb when sizing a rotary phase converter is that when looking at the HP rating of your machine, you want to double that to get the size phase converter that is needed. For example, if you have a 10 HP motor then a 20 HP phase converter is needed. This is related to the start load of a machine and the fact that you are pulling from single phase power to operate a three-phase machine. However, there are exceptions to this rule but during your first planning stages of looking at a phase converter, this will give you an idea to help budget and plan towards.
One thing that is worth noting is that not all phase converter companies size their phase converters the same. Rotary phase converters all still apply to the 2:1 rule of thumb, but the label on the different phase converter may not be the same. With American Rotary, we size the phase converter based on the actual size of the converter so that way you are aware of the size converter you can expect. Some other companies will label their phase converter based on the size load it can operate. This can be misleading because you may be expecting a 10 HP phase converter since your load is 10 HP, but in reality, you are getting a 20 HP phase converter. This can affect your planning, cost analysis, electrical rough in, and even breaker sizing.
Following these steps and recommendations will help you get started in planning towards utilizing an American Rotary Phase Converter in your shop. Having the ability to run three phase equipment in your shop opens up a lot of options for additional equipment that you can run. A lot of times three phase equipment is less expensive than a comparable single-phase machine due to the availability of three phase. Always feel free to reach out to American Rotary with any questions that you may have, and remember, if it doesn’t carry the American Rotary logo, it isn’t the real thing!
Back at the end of June, we had the honor of attending the 2017 Bar Z Industrial Summer Bash in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.
The Bar Z Summer Bash is an event that takes place every summer and hosted by San Zinkosky of Bar Z Industrial. What makes this event unique is it brings together YouTube creators who are machinists and metal workers and their communities to one place to meet, network, and collaborate.
In our second year there, we were honored to be a main sponsor of the event. In doing so, we raffled off a 20hp AI Industrial phase converter, which found its new home in Louisiana. We also ran a raffled for those in attendance for a 10hp ADX phase converter among many other giveaways from other sponsors.
Overall, it was a great time as expected and it was also nice to meet many new people too. If you weren’t able to make it this year, we hope to see you next.
Here’s What You Need to Know to Make the Most of Your Equipment
Are you confused with the difference between single-phase and three-phase power? If so, you’re not alone.
Although many types of machining equipment operate off three-phase power, owners of this equipment often don’t realize what this means until it’s in their shop. But a lack of proper three phase power can prevent you from getting the equipment you really need, setting up the equipment you have, getting the equipment they really need, or even from growing your business.
So let’s clear the confusion and help you get three-phase power right.
Common Misconceptions about Three-Phase Power
— You have to get a building that already has three- phase power installed.
— You shouldn’t buy three-phase power equipment for your workshop or business because — you won’t be able to install it.
— Your only option for three-phase power is to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get it installed by the electric company.
— You need a diesel-guzzling, dirty, noisy generator to create three-phase power.
Worst of all, some machinists even buy three-phase machinery without knowing it requires three-phase power to run! Now, that’s frustrating!
3 Keys to Optimal 3-Phase Power
Whether you operate a full-time shop or like to tinker around in your garage on the weekends, here’s some good news. For manual mills and lathes, CNC mills and lathes, or machine and turning centers, a rotary phase converter can give you the precise power you need while keeping your costs low.
So, what makes a good rotary phase converter? The right solution should provide these three advantages:
1. Voltage Balance 2. Reliable Start-up 3. Scalability
1. Voltage Balance
CNC phase converters are phase converters that meet the requirements of 3-phase CNC applications by maintaining at least a +/-5% voltage balance. The more balanced the output of the rotary phase, the better a piece of equipment will operate and the longer it will last. Unbalanced voltages seen with non-CNC phase converters can be hard on the equipment, causing undesirable conditions such as excess noise and poor performance.
Rotary CNC phase converters can be used on any type of equipment, especially voltage sensitive machines such as CNC machining centers, milling machines, lathes, PLCs, EDMs and any other type of equipment that relies on balanced input power. But first, verify that the rotary CNC phase converter is rated for the specific kilowatts (kW) that your equipment or machine requires.
2. Reliable Start-up
For years, phase converters have had a reputation of drawing a huge inrush current upon start-up. This disproportionate power draw has resulted in, among other problems, dimming neighbors’ lights, demand charges from the utility and large increases on power bills.
So it’s important to look for a phase converter that has variable impedance technology built directly into the idler/generator. This will drastically reduce inrush (starting) current for reliable starts, every time, with no voltage drop.
Unfortunately, many phase converter manufacturers claim that they have such technology, when they instead use a regular stock motor, rewire it for low voltage and cut off the exposed rotating shaft, which is also a huge safety hazard. If you’re not sure whether a particular phase converter actually provides variable impedance, feel free to contact us.
Additionally, a phase converter should be rated to run single or multiple motor loads. This capacity is only limited by the single-phase current available. By selecting a converter with precision balanced from a “no-load” condition, you don’t need to worry about running a small motor together with larger ones using the same phase converter. More importantly, it should also be able to operate with no load engaged for an indefinite period, so you don’t have to worry about damaging your unit while your equipment loads are not operating.
One of the great things about phase converters is the ability to scale your energy use as your shop or business grows. However, if you build your own or buy a lesser-quality converter, this is hard to do. You might not get the best fit for your usage and equipment.
High-quality phase converters are capable of phase synchronization for increased capacity to double, triple or quadruple your power.
With these three key attributes in mind, you have a good head start toward finding a rotary phase converter that best suits your needs. But if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
In the meantime, here’s an example of how a machining company is scaling their business with help from rotary phase converters.
In our first YouTube Tips video, we gave you a first-hand take on the top 3 tips for creating a successful YouTube channel from many of your favorite machinists.
In this video, we go a little deeper and get their thoughts on how they got started, why they share video content, and how to create content people want to watch.
Whether you’re a machinist, metalworker, woodworker, or maker of any sort and have been thinking about how to share your knowledge with others, video is a great way to do it. It’s often faster than writing, it’s engaging, and you can create more of a personal connection with your audience. Most of all, it’s really cool to see a community of people come together who enjoy making things and sharing different tips and insights with each other.
Not long ago, American Rotary visited another Wisconsin based business and their good friends at Tormach for their 2016 open house. The turn out was amazing as it was packed the entire time! The show featured seminars that were held all day long to help educate and inform machinists at all stages in their development.
In attendance was Autodesk, providing some great tutorials and training. YouTube machinist, John Saunders of NYCCNC, was also in attendance. As a friend and Sponsor of John’s channel it was great to visit with him as always. American Rotary can not wait to see what Tormach has in store for everyone next year and we sure hope to see you there!
Stan from Bar Z Industrial held his second annual Bar Z Summer Bash for YouTube fans and fellow YouTube contributors. After American Rotary sent down the AI 12 phase converter for the online contest, Chris and Jason went down as well. Here is a video recap of the day’s events, with commentary from Stan, Adam, John, Keith, Ray, James and more.
Before the 2016 Bar Z Summer Bash event in June, we stopped by the Marton Brothers shop in Lake Elsinore, CA. This was Stan’s second year hosting the bash for YouTube fans and contributors. So while on our visit with John, we decided to whip up something quick in the shop to give away at the bash the next morning. You can check out the prologue video below to get an idea of more to come!
We’re excited to announce that we will be at the 2016 Bar Z Industrial Summer Bash coming up in June. Leading up to the event, we are accepting submissions for the chance to win a 20 HP AI Smart Series Industrial Phase Converter.
Enter here for your chance to win and watch below for details!
In this video, we go behind the scenes with our friend John Marton of Marton Brothers in Lake Elsinore, CA. Marton Brothers is a versatile machine shop that takes on all types of requests and orders of all sizes. Whether it be thousand piece orders or a one-piece order, Marton Brothers can likely do it. By always trying to keep the “small guy” in mind they are able to help a wide array of customers and keep their business going strong while doing what they love.
Marton Brothers Shop Tour
As part of our recent trip to Lake Elsinore, CA to visit John Marton of Marton Brothers, John was kind enough to take some time and describe his experience with American Rotary. For someone who is running their machines 18-24 hours/day, 7 days/week, including 2 CNC milling machines, a Bridgeport mill, a CNC plasma cutter, a Miller 875 Spectrum, air compressor and more, John is able to keep his operations running smoothly at an affordable cost. In addition, American Rotary has been able to assist him in the growth of his shop over the years.
Marton Brothers with American Rotary Part 2
American Rotary phase converters are perfectly suited for precision metalworking equipment such as wire EDM’s, CNC lathes, CNC mills, and other voltage-sensitive applications. General Metal Fabrication equipment such as grinders, welders, shears, brakes, and benders, are often run on American Rotary phase converters. When converting from single-phase to three-phase power, American Rotary phase converters produce balanced 3-phase output to accommodate both very small, lightly loaded machines and very large or heavily loaded machines…all with just one phase converter.
In its second year, the NYC CNC Open House had another great turnout! People came from all over the country and even out of the country to meet and network with other machinists and metalworkers alike. A huge thanks to John Saunders of NYC CNC for putting this event together. It was a great time!
If you weren’t able to make it to Zanesville in 2016, we hope to see you next year.
Oh, and did we mention? There will also be a raffle for the chance to win an AI12 20hp Nema3R outdoor rated Rotary Phase Converter! All proceeds from the raffle will be donated to benefit youth machining and engineering!
At American Rotary, we have the opportunity to connect with customers across the country who create amazing, American made products. Last month, we had the chance to meet up with Richard and Dusty Hicks at the NYC CNC Show. Dusty and his father, Richard, are long time American Rotary customers and invited us out to visit their workshop in Union Mills, Indiana to see what they were working on, including fully functioning, miniature cannons!
Dusty and Richard have an impressive workshop that includes a Bridgeport Mill, a LaBlond Lathe, a CNC machining center, a crane and welder all powered by American Rotary phase converters. Dusty shared, “We don’t have access to three phase utility power and the cost to bring it out to our property is outrageous.”
The Hicks are also running two of our new AI Industrial units to irrigate their fields, driving their farm lease revenue. We also had a chance to visit their forest of impressive black walnut trees. Richard added, “We used to run our irrigation systems on diesel generators, but we’ve found it is more cost efficient to use an American Rotary phase converter.”
Dusty and Richard are both full of entrepreneurial spirit and we had a great time checking out all the new products they were working on. Dusty was experimenting with a number of new projects, including; tractor attachments, chess pieces and our favorite. . . Dusty’s miniature, fully functioning cannons. Check out this video to see these amazing cannons in action!
Big thanks to Richard and Dusty Hicks for having us out to their workshop. We had a great time on our visit. Seeing the cannon in action was a definite highlight. “I could sit out here and do this all day!”, Christopher Feavel, American Rotary.
When you go to a trade-show, do you ever get the feeling that you are being sold to? If you are like me, I just want to look at equipment and get more information. A tradeshow provides a chance to see a machine up close, but everyone knows that companies are really there to sell, and just about any machine looks good when new, with a factory pro running it, in an environmentally controlled carpeted showroom. With the age of social media, there may be a new way to get a realistic perspective on equipment beyond the video.
Our friend John Saunders of Saunders Machine Works, YouTube: (NYC CNC) may just be onto something a bit different. John is hosting a mini-trade-show or open house so that any of his more than 45,000 YouTube subscribers can see first hand some of the machines working that he uses daily in his videos about metalworking and machining.
John’s YouTube channel is called NYC CNC and he provides his viewers with a first-hand look at some of the problems and solutions of running a small machine shop. Attendees of his open house will get to see his equipment, making real parts in a real shop, in real-time. No salespeople, just technicians on hand to answer questions and to demonstrate the machines in a real working environment.
American Rotary is here in Zanesville, Ohio at John’s shop to help support his efforts and to answer any questions regarding the use of American Rotary Phase Converters which run some of John’s equipment.
American Rotary visits an MD helicopter maintenance facility. They have a shop full of 3-phase equipment from mills and lathes to welders and air compressors. Hangars that are off the 3-phase grid can run three phase equipment on American Rotary phase converters.
Dave & Dave visit East Side Cabinets, a maker of european style cabinets. Bryan gives us a tour of his shop and shows how multiple phase converters from American Rotary power all of his equipment from his edge-bander, air-compressor, to his CNC router, all three-phase. As East Side expands, American Rotary has continued to provide the single to three-phase solution for the company.