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What to do with a washing machine motor?

  1. Nov 13, 2011 #1
    Hello all. Today I salvaged the electric motor out of a washing machine that was being thrown out. It is in perfect working order. As a budding mechanical engineer, (I am still in school, applying to universities just now) I would love to do something useful and fun with it. Anybody have any ideas?

    Bearing in mind:

    -It is mains powered (230V, 50Hz)

    - Says on the label 15000rpm, but I reckon for anything useful I will gear it down, although I'm not an expert on gear ratios so I could probably use a bit of help there.
    I salvaged the control panel of the machine with it, meaning I should be able to set it to variable speeds.

    -It is quite bulky and heavy, ie not particularly portable.

    Any ideas? I'm sure plenty of you guys have done things similar to this before.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2011 #2


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    Be creative.
    Make a washing machine out of it. ha

    Seriously, it's probably about 1/3 hp give or take.

    You could make a table saw.
  4. Nov 13, 2011 #3


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    15000 rpm eh? That must have been some spin cycle!
  5. Nov 14, 2011 #4
  6. Nov 18, 2011 #5


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    That would be 1500 RPM probably.

    It is probably a 4 pole single phase squirrel cage induction motor. It will run at fairly constant speed unless you severely overload it and it probably has field and starter windings that will let you reverse the motor direction.
    It probably had a starter capacitor which you will need if you ever find a use for it.

    You could use it to power a bench saw or a wood lathe, but these need you to spend a lot more money than the motor is worth.
  7. Nov 18, 2011 #6
    I don't know about the newer washing machine motors, but the old top loaders are actually two motors in one with a centrifugal switch up top. both motors come on in a low speed high torque mode. After the tub comes up to speed, the second motor drops out.
    Be careful, in some applications having as motor double up on it's torque as it slows down
    may be dangerous.
  8. Nov 22, 2011 #7
    I would recommend in addition to the make-zine website you also check out instructables

    If it were me I would see if you could use it as a generator
  9. Nov 23, 2011 #8
    Think about what to do with it.
    Can't think of any thing to do with it but put it on a shelf somewhere because it'll "come in handy"
    Six years later sling on the scrap heap.
    Six years and one week later realise that what you need right now is an old washing machine motor.
  10. Nov 25, 2011 #9


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    Possible use:

    - a DJ turntable, with high torque, so you can scratch as much as you want without slowing it down.

    - a jumping robot. use a piston-system to transform the rotating movement in an alternative longitudilan movement, put a spring mechanism in the end. Think about equilibrating the thing. enjoy seing it bounce in your livingroom.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2011
  11. Nov 26, 2011 #10
    Yes, this is the standard industry practice.
  12. Mar 31, 2012 #11
    ooh-ooh!send it to me! I want to build an a solar powered speed boat and I'm looking for cheap motors. I think the average 10 hp- boat motor spins at about 3400 rpm's ..I think two front loader washing machine motors would work nicely.. I'm thinking marine batteries linked positive to negative ..I'm not sure ..probably two..maybe four..with a solar panel front deck covered in fiberglass so I can stand on it for fishing and then a pit with an overhead cover also with solar panel and a back deck..with solar panel and reinforced plexi-glas..i'm thinking the entire boat will weigh around 750?..I'll use fiberglass and some kind of wood resin and epoxy..it will be awsome..lol..any ways send me the motor ..I'll pay for shipping..splinteroftruth@yahoo.com
  13. Apr 1, 2012 #12


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    Bear in mind that this is potentially lethal. You know the clatter it makes when on fast spin. You will need to mount it VERY securely. You will also need to make a very safe electrical supply to it with loads of insulation and well made connections (with a good fuse in there too). If this thing takes off when it's running with an unbalanced load, it will chase you all the way around your garage.
    Boring boring,I know but BE SAFE.
  14. Apr 2, 2012 #13
    You will also need an inverter (sorry if I'm teaching my granny to suck eggs) to convert battery DC into AC for the motor.
  15. Apr 4, 2012 #14
  16. Apr 4, 2012 #15


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    And with that thought in mind my wife still cant understand why the car wont fit into the garage cuz of all the hoarded electronics that "may" come in handy one day haha

    I spent $200 on some old 24GHz microwave equip, it sat there unused for 5 years or so
    then one day my fellow ham radio mate said to me ... ohhh we just got this 24GHz gear that we are going to make use of. I said what make/type? and lo and behold the same that I had sitting there all those years!! my stuff finally got pressed into service doing 24GHz FM Amateur TV with the Gunn Osc systems :)

  17. Apr 4, 2012 #16

    jim hardy

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    It is a treasure. New washing machines have a computer controlled three phase motor that does not lend itself to home shop applications. Get a couple of these while you still can.

    Belt it to an old car alternator and you have a hefty battery charger.
    Or to a piston style air conditioner compressor for airing tires. The old square Ford compressors are easy to mount because of all the flat surfaces and they have a crankcase for lubricating oil.

    I have several squirrelled away.
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