Variable Frequency Drive (VFD)

VFDI am running my step-pulley J-Head Bridgeport mill using variable frequency drive (VFD).  Basically, VFD converts one-phase power into three-phase required for Bridgeport mill.  It connects directly to the Bridgeport motor bypassing the Bridgeport reversing switch.  I went with WEG CFW-10 VFD model that has potentiometer allowing me to adjust the speed of the motor very quickly.  So far I’m happy with my choice, however, I haven’t used it long enough to recommend this particuar brand.  The set up of the drive is pretty straight forward.  The link above provides good information on how to choose the drive as well as has links to you-tube videos, which explain the drive set up, programing and speed control.  Good luck with VFD selection!

Happy Trails!

– Vlad

Troika, Fat Bike Review

I am learning that the process of acquiring frame building tools is very long.  But finally, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!  My last jig for mitering main tubes should be arriving after Labor Day weekend.  Also, the conversion from one phase to three phase power for my Bridgeport mill worked out fine.  I am using WEG CFW-10 VFD (variable frequency drive) with potentiometer allowing me easily adjust the speed of the Bridgeport motor.  Meanwhile, I’ve been riding Troika that I built at Metal Guru and can share my experience of riding on the “fat” wheels.

I’ve been test riding Troika mainly in the Tourne Park, little gem of the Garden State, which became my “backyard” mtb park.  This rugged park  is the only remaining undeveloped fragment of the Great Boonton Tract.  This area was purchased by David Ogden, colonial Attorney-General of New Jersey in 1759.  The main entrance of the park, McCarfey Lane, was created in 1767 to haul iron from Hibernia’s mines to Old Boonton where cannonballs were manufactured for Continental Army during American Revolution.

Tourne Park offers a bit of everything for mountain biking: ripping through single track, needling technical rock gardens and roots, leg burning rock and gravel climbs as well as hairy, technical descents.

Troika shows very stable ride downhill over loose rocky terrain because of the larger contact patch with the ground on 70 mm rims and 3.8″ tires that I run at about 7 psi.  The tire pressure and rim width dictate the amount of footprint on the ground.  Hence, the wheels with wider rims and lower tire pressure increase the contact patch, which in turn provide for a more stable ride downhill and cornering.

In addition, Troika does not slip during high-grade climbs over gravel.  I had a non-slipping ascend to the top of the Tourne during test riding.  Troika’s rear wheel equiped with Surly’s Nate 3.8″, 120 tpi (threads per inch) tire with super large knobs sticks to the ground extremely well.  Going over the logs and large rocks is not a problem either.  As I expected, Fat Bike performs as an all terrain bike.  I have no doubts that Troika will even be more superior ride over anything I owned in the past when riding during wet and snow conditions.

Below are few photos riding Troika in the Tourne.

Happy Trails!

– Vlad

Powering my Welder and Bridgeport Mill

While my wife and kids were at the lake last Sunday, I was having fun with setting up my Miller Maxstar 200DX Welder.  This welder works with 1 or 3-phase input power, 230V, which is a great feature because I don’t have to worry about phase converters here.  So, after connecting everything, I did some practice welds and everything worked fine!

My Bridgeport J-Head Vertical Mill has 220v, 4.2apms, 60hz, 3-phase motor.  Since, my input power is 1-phase, I need a converter to generate 3-phase power.  As I learned through research and discussions with electricians, there are many options available on the market, including Static, Rotary or VFD (variable-frequency drive) converters.  At first, I was considering Static phase converter (cheapest option), but after reading reviews on their performance, I quickly abandoned that option.  Rotary converter, is a good choice, since you could power up few machines with it.  However, I decided to go with VFD for the following reasons:

–          provides more balanced flow of current through all three phases

–          provides “soft start” that reduces the wear of the motor

–          more efficient electrically than other converters

–          allows for variable electronic speed control

Prior to selecting VFD make sure that you studied your machine and know the Amps, Voltage, HP of the motor as well as voltage and power available to you.

Stay tuned for review of VFD I just purchased and performance of my Bridgeport in the next blog post.  Happy Trails!

– Vlad

P.S.  Here is an action shot riding Troika last weekend. Riding Troika