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Can you make your own motor speed controller? Perhaps

#266610 by everettdavis » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:55 pm

OK, I need a Shopsmith Planer Feed Motor Controller for a 30 year old Planer that is exceptionally good.

That’s where I started out. But wait, I want to repurpose a high quality Treadmill motor and drive my 10E / 10ER, or just something else.

I know there have been a number of discussions on building DC motor controllers or adapting them for use. There's a wealth of information out there and the DIY market is replete with a ton of information on building these sorts of devices with Arduinos that can layer in a multitude of features and function.

There’s even Arduino for Dummies books that can help you get up to speed (OK pun intended) with motor speed control, robotics, drones, whatever your interest. There’s videos on YouTube for all levels of folks and a host of other resources.

I included the link below to one from Long Technical and I would suggest you might want to view it and others like it if this is an interest you have beyond your presence here in the Shopsmith Forums.

In it you will find processes to get from concept to reality in a simple video for those among us whose engineering and inventive passions need more outlets, and it may be educational on how one gets from this to that. It will help explain in simple terms what you are buying from some sources on eBay today.

This is not a solution thread but rather information that my lead me, or others here to adapting something to retrofit or upgrade equipment utilizing technology out there today, to equipment still in use made 60 years ago.

It allows someone to download a schematic and produce a finished circuit board as a DIY project for taking something beyond bread boarding without having to invest in manufacturing hardware to get it done.

You can specify dimensions, layers, thickness, and very small quantities of 10 board prototyped finished boards. About $2 each as an example from JLCPCB using a Gerber file you upload that you laid out with something such as Eagle Software etc.
How do I get there.png
How do I get there.png (2.35 MiB) Viewed 3778 times

He uses materials salvaged from other devices and powers his with a laptop power brick for his mini controller.

The point is if this is something that interests you, you can go there today. I know it’s a bear to find something today electronic for a 40 year old device of some nature. All I am pointing out is that you may not have to. There are folks all over the web doing this every day, and there are companies out there who specialize in helping you get it done with parts that aren’t 40 years old and no longer available. They aren’t available for a reason, and most often it’s because someone invented something better. Might that next someone, be you?


Everett L. Davis

You may also be interested in Facebook Groups
Shopsmith Sales Group
Shopsmith Owners Group
Shopsmith Digital Motor Conversions

I have some recent discussion in Shopsmith Owners Group regarding a planer controller circuit board which fried. Where have we heard that before? Yes, my odyssey and interest was piqued right here in Shopsmith Forums a few years back. Von Weise motors, brushes, brush holders interests began there, and I am still looking for answers, alternate sources, and even alternate solutions entirely.

Check out a fraction what is possible at the video link.

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I just wanted to comment here and say this was a great post with lots of helpful information. I have a couple of suggestions to add for newbies starting out in this to consider as they jump into this endeavor. I haven't used Eagle in many, many years, but it is still the go-to solution for free schematic capture and PCB layout as I understand it. I don't know if the free version has built in LVS (layout versus schematic). You can get by without it, but if you do, it is imperative to manually trace every trace to confirm connectivity. Shorts do happen! For a small enough design, you can just print out every PCB layer and go layer by layer holding them up to each other and viewing against a light. Light tables work best for this and can be easily built as a DIY project to help if needed. In my early career, I caught many battery to ground shorts and misconnections on 8 layer cell phone PCB's because our SW didn't have LVS running then (boy, was that tedious!). Hopefully LVS is working in the free Eagle version, but even if it is, it can be helpful to double-check by comparing layers as I describe here. Sometimes by combing through the layout you find weaknesses and areas you might choose to rework before going to PCB etching.

It is also important to know that there are DRC's (design rule checks). These involve how closely via's can be spaced, the drill diameter used, minimum trace widths, etc., etc. These vary from PCB manufacturers. These depend directly on the equipment the PCB manufacturer uses and their tolerances. You should be able to get this information from the PCB manufacturer (and enter it in the DRC checks in Eagle). It is helpful to find this out up front before laying out a complicated PCB design and going to manufacture and finding out the PCB layout has to be totally re-worked, or worse that the low end (cheap) PCB manufacturer that you want to use could never build your design unfortunately. While you are talking to the PCB manufacturer, find out what their minimum order is, e.g. how many panels, is there a setup charge, do they charge for engineering time if your CAD files aren't in the exact right format for them, etc. A lot of PCB manufacturers won't build less than 3 panels. If your PCB is small, you might wind up with 100+ PCB's because you can't make a small enough order. So, shop around to find the best deal. The big guys aren't going to want to process your small batch order, but there are some smaller ones that will AND give you a good price. If you do end up with too many PCB's, consider selling them (fully stuffed or bare boards). If you come up with a good design, others online are likely available who might want the same thing and can help offset your costs.

For control, programming, etc., Arduino or Raspberry PI are great SBC (single board computer) choices and are cheap. As Everett mentioned there is an immense amount of information out there if you just search for it. I have some experience on Arduino, but I am far from an expert. Anyone interested should start with the Arduino forum and branch out from there:


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Yes, you can add dc treadmill motors to your SS equipment. It can be fairly easy or complicated with LCD screens and software. I did mine simple because all I needed was to slow my mark VII way down so I could drill through steel.
There are 2 DC motor systems in old treadmills, (maybe more but these are the 2 most common.
1. A smaller DC motor (approx 1 1/2 HP) with a MC50 or Mc60 control board with a slider or potentiameter for speed control. This is by far the simplest. It is basically turnkey. Just mount you motor, put the control board in a box, mount the speed control to the box and plug it in and go.
2. A bigger DC motor (2- 3HP) with an MC2100 control board with push buttons on the top of the treadmill to contol the speed. This is the one that I got (not by choice).
So to see how it worked for me I mounted the motor to the back of my SS; connected it with pulleys and a belt and controlled the speed with the treadmill pushbutton control. It worked just fine.
Then I wanted to downsize the speed control but didn't know how to rewire it to eliminate the bulky pushbuttons so I joined the facebook SS digital motor conversion group to get some knowledge on how to do it. Turns out it was not too hard. All I needed was a signal generator ($10 on amazon), a 5 volt power supply (a couple bucks at Goodwll) to power the signal generator and a little wiring from the signal generator to the control board.
The signal generator is needed to send a 20HZ pulse signal to basically tell the control board to gey to work ( I'm not an electrician) and a speed signal (in % of full speed) to control the DC motor speed.
It works great. I have a copy of the instructions if anyone wants them but doesn't want to join facebook (can't blame you).


treadmill motor1.jpg
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dc motor control2.jpg
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signal gen 2.jpg
signal gen 2.jpg (541.2 KiB) Viewed 3564 times
MC2100 control.jpg
MC2100 control.jpg (765.56 KiB) Viewed 3564 times


SS Mark VII(sn 405025), SSband saw, SS 4" jointer, SS Mark V 1980,
Smithy SuperShop 720, Craftsman RAS, Ridgid TS2412 Table Saw,
Delta 12" planer

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