Three-phase power used to be one of those things that separated the professionals from the amateurs — but now, with the availability of inexpensive AC drives, you can easily run three-phase equipment in your shop. In the past, phase converters were large and expensive, and in some cases they decreased the motor’s power. Inverter technology has solved all of those problems.
Automation Direct offers their line of GS1 and GS2 AC drives starting at $99. When you feed 120V single-phase input to this drive, it can output 230V three-phase to power a 1/4 HP motor. The GS2 drives can handle motors up to 3 HP from a 230V single-phase input.
These drives also control the motor speed by varying the frequency from zero to 120Hz. At 120Hz, the motor spins at twice its rated RPM, albeit at a lower torque. Not all motors are rated for higher frequencies, so motor life may suffer.
The well-used GS2 drive in the photo above has been running my 1 HP lathe with no problems. Setup is quick and easy. The electrical connections are basic, but consult a professional if you’re not comfortable with wiring.
AC Drives [Automation Direct]